Thursday, 22 August 2013 15:02

Julian Joseph Jazz Academy

Written by 

Rebecca Redfern is 
Music Manager at HMDT (Hackney Music Development Trust) Music.  She has kindly taken the time to write a few words about the Julian Joseph Jazz Academy - set up by pianist and Jazz Services supporter Julian Joseph - which will shortly be holding student auditions for its autumn 2013 term...

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"It’s Not Just Playing Jazz, It’s Living Jazz…"

In 2012 the Julian Joseph Jazz Academy was launched with that tag line, and it is a belief that permeates through every great jazz musician.  Julian set up the academy with the aspiration to "get to the heart and power of jazz through its roots and history.  The infectious rhythm, melody and invention inspires in an environment of cooperation and encouragement.  The Academy’s mission is to be true to this great music".

The Academy was set up so that students would be able to really break down and study jazz from its earliest roots; for example, just as a classical musician would study Bach and Mozart, jazz musicians should study their Ellington and Monk.  Through a carefully structured curriculum, students immerse themselves in jazz, the influences, rhythms, melodies and history; all of which helps the students to develop their own personal language.  Just as Ellington took influences from Delius and Debussy, students are also encouraged to explore across the genres of music; to embed the harmonies, structures and stylistic peculiarities in order to develop a rich and varied musical understanding.  Through an organic process, students develop a keen understanding of the Art of Improvisation (Real Jazz Notes), the Voice of Jazz (yes, everyone does have to sing!), the Discipline of the Sideman (let’s take it in turns…), core principles of jazz and the history and context.

Under the directorship of Julian Joseph, who regularly leads sessions, there is a core team of staff to guide the students consisting of Trevor Watkis, Tony Kofi and Byron Wallen as well as many incredible guest artists including Jean Touissant, Cleveland Watkiss, Mark Mondesir, Mark Hodgson, Steve Williamson and many more.

It is a truly exciting programme, which gives an exceptional grounding.  Students are able to study at the Julian Joseph Jazz Academy between the ages of 10 – 25, either in main programme or the Junior Academy for students who show great potential at audition.  We are delighted to announce that one of our students has been accepted on a scholarship to study full time at Berklee starting in 2014, which is an incredible achievement.  Julian’s hope is that we will be able to help a new generation of emerging artists hone their skills and to develop the cats of the future!

The Academy is holding auditions at Ronnie Scotts on the 15th September for the Autumn Term, so if you are interested in finding out more, please contact HMDT Music on 020 8882 8825 or via email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it