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Celebrating Gary Crosby OBE

Tue 14 May 2019

Stars of the new jazz generation join forces to honour the jazz legend

Last night, an all-star ensemble of jazz artists performed a specially curated programme of live music to celebrate the awarding of a Trinity Laban Honorary Fellowship to Artistic Director of Tomorrow’s Warriors Gary Crosby OBE.

In recognition of Gary’s contribution to music education, two-time MOBO Awards winner Moses Boyd (drums & ensemble lead) and Jazz FM Breakthrough Artist Peter Edwards (piano & ensemble lead) were joined by Jazz FM's Vocalist of the Year Cherise Adams-Burnett, Sheila Maurice-Grey (trumpet), Axel Kaner-Lidstrom (trumpet), Camilla George (saxophone), Alam Nathoo (saxophone) and Rosie Turton (trombone) – all artists who have come through both Trinity Laban and Tomorrow’s Warriors. Fellow Tomorrow’s Warriors musician Menelik Claffey stepped in to replace Daniel Casimir on bass.

“He hasn’t been to Trinity Laban – yet!” joked Peter when thanking Menelik for filling in last minute.

The ensemble delighted 130 invited guests with a set that included John Coltrane’s Equinox and Thelonious Monk’s Blue Monk, and culminated in a roof-raising rendition of Duke Ellington’s Caravan, which had people dancing in the aisle.

Lucy Nicholson, Trinity Laban's Communications and Alumni Relations Manager, commented –

“It was wonderful to have alumni back to perform and to honour and celebrate Gary Crosby at this very special event, and strengthen our relationship with Tomorrow’s Warriors.” 

Speaking to long-time friend, British saxophonist Martin Speake (pictured above) during the evening’s Q&A, jazz double bassist, band leader, music arranger and educator Gary explained –

“I enjoy what I do: making gigs happen, working with young people. I enjoy that as much as playing.”

Founded in 1992 by Gary and Janine Irons MBE to increase racial, cultural and gender diversity in mainstream music in the UK, Tomorrow’s Warriors is a pioneering music education and professional development organisation which has given many talented young people the opportunity to develop their musical skills.

Tomorrow’s Warriors and Trinity Laban are organisations which have laid the foundations for much of the current UK jazz scene, and the Conservatoire has a history of nurturing music pioneers, including father of Afrobeat, Fela Kuti. The influence of artists like Kuti can be heard in the music of today’s artists who are shunning the genre’s elitist stereotype and revitalising the scene with genre-blind, rhythmically direct music.

On his fifteen-year relationship with Trinity Laban, Gary commented –

“I knew Simon Purcell [former Head of Jazz] from his Guildhall days, I used to play with him quite a lot. When he came to Trinity Laban it switched something on. I would have loved to have studied here. Trinity Laban has always had an open policy. I love the ethos.

He continued –  

“The last year has been an amazing journey for me. As low as you can go at points, but as high as you can go at this present moment. Tonight feels funky, informal and authentic.”

To find out more about jazz at Trinity Laban, visit our study pages.

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Images: all credit Tas Kyprianou