Zara McFarlane and Soweto Kinch turn up the heat at Tomorrow’s Warriors’ Jazz Cafe jaunt  

The night goes on and they keep on coming, a stream of dynamic young musicians emerging onto the crowded stage for a moment in the limelight. They are members of Tomorrow’s Warriors, the music education scheme and charity that is the now not-so-secret weapon behind much of the diversity of talent in the UK Jazz scene today.

This event brought current and former students on stage together, with a palpable mood of celebration and optimism. The first half was dedicated to seven newly commissioned compositions from some of the glittering alumni of Tomorrow’s Warriors – names like Zara McFarlane (above), Soweto Kinch (pictured top) and Cassie Kinoshi.

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The new pieces are strong, with a nice mix of through-composition and space for the young talent to show their improvisatory chops. Master of ceremonies Binker Golding takes over as conductor for some of the more elaborate compositions, before donning a sax to show the room why he must be one of the more in-demand musical mentors at Tomorrow’s Warriors. Another highlight is the delightfully unpredictable and idiosyncratic piece arranged by guitarist and recent alumnus Shirley Tetteh, a fast-rising name on the London scene.

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The second half is more open – an all-hands-on-deck, free-form jam that has Camden’s Jazz Cafe buzzing with delight. Tomorrow’s Warriors co-founder Gary Crosby looks on approvingly – open jams like this are the ideal environment for young players to hone their skills, and have been a crucial element of the scheme since the early days. While this night was a celebration of work already done by Tomorrow’s Warriors, it was also asking us to consider the future of the scheme, most notably the £FREE Young Artist Development programme. Established to give a chance at a career in jazz to all young people – regardless of background – the programme is in dire need of funding if it is to continue running. 

If you remain in any doubt as to the value of the scheme, make sure you take the opportunity to attend a Tomorrow’s Warriors event. It’s more than likely you’ll be watching some of the stars of, well... tomorrow.  

– James Rybacki (@james_rybacki)

– Photos by Jim Aindow

To help support Tomorrow’s Warrriors visit uk.gofundme.com/iamwarrior

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