Blues and Roots Jazz Workshop

Pupils across the Junior and Senior schools enjoyed a dive into the world of jazz improvisation with workshops led by the Blues and Roots Ensemble, culminating in an evening concert.

For the Junior school workshop, pupils were given experiences of jazz in a fun, hands-on and creative way, including having the chance to play alongside the Ensemble musicians using instruments, hand-held percussion, body percussion and singing, while senior musicians had the opportunity to explore in greater depth the creative world of jazz improvisation across a range of instruments.

The interactive workshops used the music by bandleader and composer Charles Mingus to actively explore the concepts of jazz music and the social context in which it developed. The concert featured performances from KS2 pupils and the Senior school’s Jazz Ensemble and Choir, as well as performances from the Blues and Roots Ensemble themselves, with Mingus pieces at the forefront of the programme. Born at the height of the jazz age, Charles Mingus (1922-1979) was a musician who defied convention and never fitted a specific genre, whose family lineage included Asian-British, German-American, African-American and Native American. The songs and instrumental numbers performed by pupils perfectly showcased the skills developed throughout the day, and reflected the diversity and creativity of jazz music and its roots.

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