Recipients Announced for the Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2019


The recipients of the 2019 Parliamentary Jazz Awards were announced last night on Tuesday 3rd December. The Awards, organised by the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group (APPJAG), were presented at the PizzaExpress Live in Holborn.

Featuring a broad array of jazz talent from within the industry, the awards are sponsored by PizzaExpress Live. During the ceremony, award presenters comprised of British politicians and home-grown UK jazz talent including Co-Chairs of the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group, Kelvin Hopkins and Lord Colwyn, Jon Newey, Editor in Chief of Jazzwise, Deirdre Cartwright, Danielle White, Raestar Promotions, Steve Crocker – Chair of Jazz Leeds and  Northern Jazz Promoters, (NORVOL), Simon Cooke, Managing Director of Ronnie Scott’s, Gary Crosby OBE,Tina May, Kevin LeGendre and Baroness Coussins.

Compére for the evening was Ross Dines of PizzaExpress Live, “This has been a really strong year for the Parliamentary Jazz Awards in terms of talent and nominations. The well deserved recipients are a veritable who’s who of names that have made a real impact on the music and helped make the UK one of the world’s leading jazz territories”.  A big hand to the Parliamentary Band on the evening; Max Brittain, Alison Rayner, Henry Lowther, Diane McLoughlin and Cheryl Alleyne.

The full list of recipients is as follows:

Jazz Vocalist of the Year: Zoe Gilby

Zoe Gilby is a vocalist and songwriter, making a stunning impression on the music scene today.

Her compelling original compositions are written with double bassist husband Andy Champion. Her music reaches covers a wide range of more contemporary material from Pink Floyd to Kate Bush, with influences from Sheila Jordan and Joni Mitchell.

Touring the UK and internationally, she continues to perform at prominent jazz festivals and venues

showcasing her original material; Koktebel International Jazz Festival, at Kiev and Odessa, Changsa International Jazz and Blues Festival, China. Pakkasukko Jazz Festival, Finland. Jazz Au Chellah Rabat, Morocco. Jazz in July, Crete to name a few

Sage Gateshead invited Zoe to be the featured soprano soloist for the spiritual work of Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concert. The Zoe Gilby Quartet has been performing rural tours facilitated by National Rural Touring and her quartet was selected for Jazz North’s Northern Line Scheme, her album Twelve Stories” was released to critical acclaim.

Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year: Josephine Davies

Josephine Davies is a solo artist at the forefront of the UK contemporary music scene, pushing the boundaries of jazz with her current main artistic project Satori – a sax/bass/drums trio with an emphasis on extended and collaborative improvisation. It is a project that combines her seeking of freedom of expression with her interest in Japanese philosophy and lifestyle.

Originally from the Shetland Islands and now based in London, UK, Josephine’s writing and playing continues to be infused with a Nordic quality, notably in her use of traditional folk music elements, and her haunting tone reminiscent of the late great tenorist Bobby Wellins.

As a saxophonist she is known for her melodic focus, versatility and unique style which has been described as “consistently inventive” (Jazzwise Magazine), “strong and authoritative” (The JazzMann) and “gifted and imaginative” (All About Jazz).

Deeply influenced by the American composer Maria Schneider, Josephine has been resident composer and tenor player for the London Jazz Orchestra since 2011 and is now embarking on a big band project of her own.

In 2016 Josephine was privileged to be a featured soloist on veteran saxophonist and composer Pete Hurt’s jazz orchestra recording A New Start, which was released to wide acclaim and came second in the British Jazz Awards Best New Album.

Jazz Album of the Year: Fergus McCreadie – “Turas”

Winning Best Instrumentalist at the Scottish Jazz Awards aged only 20; Fergus McCreadie is one of Scotland’s most exciting artists. His compositions for his trio feature Jazz and Scottish Traditional music in equal measures, creating a fusion that is warm and appealing, yet also fresh and exciting. His debut album ‘Turas,’ was described as “Erik Satie running on Islay Malt rather than Absinthe” in a 5-star review by the Scotsman. He has played at the Oslo Jazz Festival, JazzKaar in Estonia, the Edinburgh Jazz Festival, and has been featured alongside artists such as Bob Mintzer, Mike Stern and Iain Ballamy. 


Jazz Ensemble of the Year: Ezra Collective

London five-piece Ezra Collective is proving themselves as a harmonious tour de force. Their sound nods respectfully to a classic jazz footprint, celebrating the originators whilst simultaneously carving a path solely their own. Ezra Collective marries the delicate technicalities of jazz musicianship with afrobeat and hip hop, tied together by a sound that’s unmistakably London. Following a joyous and stunningly cohesive show in May 2016, Boiler Room rightly labelled the group as “pioneering the new-wave of U.K. jazz”.

Ezra Collective is adding their own fresh and imaginative face to a style that continues to be “as entertaining as it is educational” (Trench). In a year that saw them sell out legendary London venue Ronnie Scott’s not once but twice, 2017 also bought with it the release of their genre-bending second EP, Juan Pablo: The Philosopher. After Ezra Collective took the EP on a successful tour across the UK and Europe winning the accolade of Best Jazz Album at Gilles Peterson’s esteemed Worldwide Awards in January 2018. The band won the 2018 Jazz FM Awards for “Best UK Jazz Act” and “Live Experience of the Year”, and in April 2019 the band released “You Can’t Steal My Joy”, which is an exuberant, defiant debut album that’s destined to cement Ezra Collective’s status as one of the UK’s most exciting groups. The Ezra Collective has just started a 12 date tour of the USA and Canada.

Ezra Collective is: Femi Koleoso – Drums, TJ Koleoso – Bass, Joe Armon Jones – Keys, Dylan Jones – Trumpet, James Mollison – Saxophone.

Jazz Newcomer of the Year:

Handsworth-born Xhosa Cole is an embodiment of the success of numerous community arts programmes in Birmingham. Having first played the Tenor at Andy Hamilton’s Ladywood Community Music School, he’s now among a long legacy of Birmingham Saxophonists. In October 2018, he won the BBC Young Jazz Musician competition following a critically acclaimed performance in the Final at the Queen Elizabeth Hall as part of the BFI London Jazz Festival.

Xhosa’s earliest memories of the arts are with ACE Youth Dance group. However, since playing in Holyhead School’s Jazz band with Ray Prince and Sid Peacock he decided to pursue music and joined the Jazzlines Ensemble, Birmingham Schools Symphony Orchestra, Midland youth Jazz Orchestra among others. While studying at Bishop Vesey’s Sixth Form Xhosa attended courses with the National Youth Jazz Collective and National Youth Wind Orchestra.

Xhosa continually pushes his playing while studying with teachers and mentors including Mike Williams, Jim Bashford and David Austin-Grey; Performing regularly around Birmingham; Writing for commissions by the Ideas of Noise Festival and Bobbie-Jane Gardener’s ‘For-Wards’ and teaching Birmingham’s next generation of talent alongside his former teacher Toni Grehan

Jazz Venue of the Year: Watermill Jazz, Dorking

Watermill Jazz have been presenting the best of jazz in the heart of Surrey for 25 years  Its team of four volunteer activists share the planning, marketing and management of each event to make it a pleasurable and fulfilling experience for performers and audience alike.

Watermill Jazz was founded in March 1994. Weekly concerts are held every Tuesday evening except in December – an ambitious programme which they justify financially by attracting consistently good attendances and presenting a mix of established jazz artists and newcomers, some large-scale events and the occasional visiting artist from overseas

Originally based at the Watermill restaurant in Reigate Road, Watermill Jazz relocated to the Sports and Social Club of Aviva in Pixham Lane, Dorking in October 2001. It is moved to a new home at a nearby golf club in May 2016, opening with concerts by Jacqui Dankworth and Charlie Wood, then Darius Brubeck.

Jazz Media Award: Ian Mann, The Jazz Mann

Ian Mann runs a blog called the Jazz Mann. Living in a remote area like Herefordshire means that over the years he has put in thousands of miles travelling to gigs, both home and abroad. The Brecon and Cheltenham festivals have been staples of his musical calendar since their inception, joined in recent years by the Lichfield Real Ale Jazz and Blues Festival.

Ian Mann explains: “As a fan it’s taken a lot of dedication but I’ve been lucky enough to see many of the jazz legends over the years. This music has been a voyage of discovery and I’m still learning about it

Jazz is an ever-evolving music and I think it’s great that after listening to it for all this time the emergence of exciting young musicians still gives me a thrill. I think we have some fantastically talented players in this country, right across the generations but sadly many of them are deeply undervalued.

If my work on this site helps in any way to gain greater recognition for new musicians I will be more than satisfied.

They say that in jazz you need to find your own voice. With this website I hope that I’ve found it”.

Jazz Education Award: Nikki Iles

Nikki Iles

As a founder member of the Creative Jazz Orchestra in the early 90s, Nikki Iles came to prominence working with musicians such as Anthony Braxton, Vince Mendoza, Mark Anthony Turnage, Kenny Wheeler and Mike Gibbs. Mike subsequently booked her for one of her first recording dates with great American musicians, Steve Swallow and Bob Moses on the CD “By The Way” on AH HUM records.

For many years, Nikki served an apprenticeship in the North of England playing with the cream of British and American jazz such as Peter King, Iain Ballamy, Art Farmer, Scott Hamilton, Tim Garland and Jim Mullen. Many of these relationships were rekindled later when Nikki made the move to London in 1998. Here she joined the groups and toured and recorded with innovative musicians such as Steve Arguelles, Stan Sulzmann, Martin Speake, Mick Hutton and Tina May. Several awards followed with the BT British Jazz Award and an IAJE Award in America for services to Jazz.

Although well known as a pianist, composition still remains a major part of her musical life. There have been several nominations for the Paul Hamlyn Award and many commissions have followed. The breadth of Nikki’s artistic vision has led her to disregard the arbitrary boundaries of the jazz scene and most notably, commissions have included “In All My Holy Mountain” with poet Roger Garfitt and the New Perspectives Ensemble. A collaboration with American dancer Mimi Cichanowicz (2004) “Distance No Object” (2004) -IOU Theatre company, “A Gentle Prayer “ – London Sinfonietta , “Red Ellen” – Tim Garlands Underground Band and “Carillion – Renga (Contemporary group from the London Philharmonic Orchestra 2010). Finally Nikki was honoured to have her piece commissioned by the National Youth Jazz Orchestra featured at the 2012 Proms (broadcast Radio 3 and BBC TV).

As a player she remains much in demand. She was nominated in the piano category of the 2012 and 2013 British Jazz Awards. Recent work has taken her across the world as a member of the inspirational Julian Arguelles Octet. Also with, Joe Locke, The Kenny Wheeler Big Band, The Stan Sulzmann Quartet, Tony Coe, The Anglo/Canadian group with Martin Speake, Christine Jenson and vocal legend Norma Winstone. She has made many recordings and most recently, a trio CD “Hush“ in New York with Americans, Rufus Reid and Jeff Williams. “Mirror” with Kenny Wheeler and Norma Winstone, Stardust with Stan Sulzmann and finally her own group, The Printmakers “Westerly”. With a parallel career as a widely respected teacher, Nikki is Professor of Jazz Piano at the Royal Academy of Music and Middlesex University. She also gives master classes around the world. She has been a driving force behind the Jazz syllabus at the ABRSM and continues to publish extensively with Oxford University Press.

Services to Jazz Award: Dame Cleo Laine

Born in a London suburb, Cleo showed early singing talent, which was nurtured by her Jamaican father and English mother. She auditioned successfully for a band led by musician John Dankworth, under whose banner she performed until 1958, in which year the two were married. Then began an illustrious career as a singer and actress.

In 1958 she played the lead in a new play at London’s famous Royal Court Theatre. This led to other stage performances such as the musical Valmouth in 1959, the play A Time to Laugh (with Robert Morley and Ruth Gordon) in 1962, and eventually to her show-stopping Julie in the production of Showboat at the Adelphi Theatre in 1971. During this period she had two spectacular recording successes. “You’ll Answer to Me” reached the British Top Ten. In 1964 her “Shakespeare and All that Jazz” album received widespread critical acclaim

1972 marked the start of Cleo’s international activities, with a triumphant first tour of Australia. Shortly afterwards, her career in the United States was launched with a concert at New York’s Lincoln Center, followed in 1973 by the first of many Carnegie Hall appearances. Coast-to-coast tours of the U.S. and Canada soon followed, and with them a succession of record albums and television appearances. This led, to Cleo’s first Grammy award, in recognition of the live recording of her 1983 Carnegie concert.

Other important recordings during that time were duet albums with Ray Charles (“Porgy and Bess”) and Mel Tormé, as well as Arnold Schoenberg’s “Pierrot Lunaire” which won Cleo a classical Grammy nomination.

Cleo’s relationship with the musical theatre, started in Britain, continued in the United States with starring performances in “A Little Night Music” and “The Merry Widow” (Michigan Opera). In 1985 she originated the role of Princess Puffer in the Broadway hit musical “The Mystery of Edwin Drood”, for which she received a Tony nomination, and in 1989 she received the Los Angeles critics’ acclaim for her portrayal of the Witch in Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods”. Los Angeles was also the scene of a Lifetime Achievement Award to Cleo by the US recording industry (1991).

In 1979 Cleo received an OBE and in 1997 she was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire. She has also been awarded honorary doctorate degrees in the USA and UK. In 1998 the Worshipful Company of Musicians awarded her their Silver Medal for a Lifetime Contribution to British Jazz, and the British Jazz Awards have recognised her a number of times, including with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002. In March 2010, Laine and Dankworth’s final musical collaboration was released on CD and for download – Jazz Matters. The recording featured the Dankworth Big Band playing new compositions written by Dankworth for the couple’s performance at the 2007 Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. In 2018 Dame Cleo Laine received the PPL Lifetime Achievement Award at the Jazz FM Awards.

Special APPJAG Award: Henry Lowther

Henry Lowther was born in Leicester, England, in 1941. As a child Henry learned cornet from his father and took private violin lessons before going on to study with Manoug Parakian at the Royal Academy of Music.

In the sixties Henry was one of the first musicians on the British jazz scene to experiment with total free improvisation and also at this time began a musical relationship with Sir John Dankworth which lasted till the composer’s death in 2010. In 1967 he played on the now legendary Kenny Wheeler album, “Windmill Tilter”.

In 1969 Henry appeared at the famous Woodstock festival with the Keef Hartley band.

Over the years Henry has worked in all areas of the British jazz scene and is one of only two or three trumpet players to have played lead trumpet for both Gil Evans and George Russell. He has also worked extensively as a studio and classical musician.

Currently Henry composes and plays in the London Jazz Orchestra, leads his own band Still Waters, and is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music.

The new album from Henry Lowther’s Still Waters, “Can’t Believe, Won’t Believe” was released in February 2018.The band was born out a long association and friendship, going back forty years, between Henry and bassist Dave Green. As a result Still Waters is now one of the most accomplished tightly ensembled and creative bands around. Although a classic quintet of two front line and rhythm, Still Waters plays radical and original music, ranging from gentle, quietly pastoral and melodic music, reflecting the band’s name, through to dynamic, free improvisation.

“Meltingly attractive solos, startling originality.” Chris Parker, Vortex

Kelvin Hopkins, APPJAG Co-Chairman, said: “The Parliamentary Jazz Awards are a great way for MPs and Peers of all political parties to show their support for British jazz by recognising and honouring the amazing musical talent we have in our country. From established stars to fresh new talent, the range and diversity of this year’s winners shows the vibrancy and creativity of British jazz. We are extremely grateful once again to PizzaEpress Live for supporting the Awards.”

APPJAG currently has 80 members from the House of Commons and House of Lords across all political parties. Their aim is to encourage wider and deeper enjoyment of jazz, to increase Parliamentarians’ understanding of the jazz industry and issues surrounding it, to promote jazz as a musical form and to raise its profile inside and outside Parliament.  The Group’s officers as at the 1st November 2019 were Co-Chairs, Kelvin Hopkins MP and Lord Colwyn, Secretary, Baroness Coussins, Vice Chairs, Alison Thewless MP and Sarah Champion MP, the Treasurer is Ian Paisley MP. Officers are: Lord Crathorne, John Mann MP and Sir Greg Knight MP. The Secretariat is Chris Hodgkins.


For further information please contact:

Chris Hodgkins

Tel: 0208 840 4643


Notes to editors

The categories for the 2019 Awards reflect the ever-increasing scope of talent from within the UK’s jazz scene and include:

  • Jazz Album of the Year (released in 2018 by a UK band or musicians)
    •    Jazz Vocalist of the Year (UK-based vocalist who impressed in 2018)
    •    Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year (UK-based musician who impressed in 2018)
    •    Jazz Ensemble of the Year (UK-based group who impressed in 2018)
    •    Jazz Venue of the Year (including jazz clubs, venues, festivals and promoters)
    •    Jazz Media Award (including broadcasters, journalists, magazines, blogs, listings and books)
    •    Jazz Education Award (to an educator or project for raising the standard of jazz education in the UK)
    •    Jazz Newcomer of the Year (UK-based artist, musician or group with a debut album released in 2018)
    •    Services to Jazz Award (to a living person for their outstanding contribution to jazz in the UK).The awards have been running since 2005. APPJAG has 80 members from the House of Commons and House of Lords, across all political parties. Its aim is to encourage a wider and deeper enjoyment of jazz, to increase Parliamentarians’ understanding of the industry and issues surrounding it, as well as promoting jazz as a musical form, and to raise its profile both inside and outside of Parliament.



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