J Frisco

Course Studied: BA Music Hons (Jazz with Classical), (Pop guitar) (Popular songwriting with Jazz).

Year of Graduation: 2017

 Top Career Highlights: 

  • Supporting Portico Quartet
  • Awarded Jazz North Introduces 
  • Releasing our first album

Award-winning Avante-garde Jazz trio, J Frisco comprises Lara Jones, Megan Roe and Jemma Freese fusing soprano sax, electric guitar, keyboard and vocals into a dynamic and exhilarating musical synergy. The group are acknowledged for their progressive approach - just after graduating, their talent was recognised winning the Jazz North introduces award; their unique sound resonates with contemporary issues and challenges the status quo. Alongside a busy performing schedule, the group actively observe and partake in the importance of arts education, delivering workshops that enable young women to explore their development through music and in turn, building themselves a varied, successful career.

What drew you to Leeds Conservatoire as a place to study music?

The diversity of the course and the openness of collaboration between the courses.

What advice would you give to artists who are applying for schemes like Jazz North Introduces - how did the programme help you develop as a group?

Be brave in your submissions, we honestly felt like we stood no chance and at the time only had very rough demos recorded but we got it and it gave us such an amazing insight into the industry fresh out of College. It helped us develop in so many ways and gave us the chance to play so many amazing Northern Jazz Festivals and immerse ourselves in a wonderful community of like-minded musicians. Jazz North have been an incredible support to J Frisco and we are really grateful for all the work we've done with them and all the work they are doing for jazz and improvised music in the North.

We hear you have a new album coming out on the back of your incredible debut album, Naked, released in November – you’re clearly very busy creating! What can we expect to hear from the new album?

The first album we recorded in 2017 took us a long time to finish and to get out - it feels like old material and we really wanted to get something out ASAP which reflects our music as it is now. We've pushed our sound, and compositions to new places, it's more focused, it's braver and it's been an amazing collaboration between us and our sound engineer Sam Hobbs. 

Your music is self-described as quite political – what is your experience of being an all-female group in the Avant Grade jazz scene?

The Avant-Garde jazz scene and improvised world has been very very kind to us to be honest. 

We've spoken a lot previously about what it's like to be a woman in the music industry, for a long time we were incredibly frustrated about how differently women are and can be treated, this is something we absolutely face but we have tried to channel this frustration into something more positive and use this to educate and inspire young women through our workshops. We just want to be a part of the incredibly strong movement to say that women can, are and have been doing this and to encourage everyone to do the same and continue their work in making positive change.

What advice would you give to people trying to begin creating improvised music?

Listen. It's all about listening. Listening to music, listening to others in the room, listening to yourselves. You need to learn what you like and what you don't like and spend time developing that in your own art form. It's a misconception that improvised music is all just made up, it takes years of developing your ears and learning the language. It's just like having a conversation, conversation is spontaneous and improvised, but you have prior knowledge that you've developed in order to have that conversation. 

We're all improvising all the time, we are all improvisers, so know that it's a mindset thing if nothing else; an openness to listen and communicate in brave ways.

As well as being active gigging musicians, you’re involved in a lot of educational work. Tell us about some of the improvisational workshops you run for children?

We all work as our own educators and then we come together to deliver workshops mostly directed toward inspiring young women. We feel music is a really important tool for expression and developing who you are. Our workshops are completely flexible, we always want to make sure we're delivering sessions that work for the young people in the room and mostly believe in an importance in listening and sharing music together.  We aim to use fun, playful teaching methods to explore emotion and feeling through music. Encouraging children to express themselves fully and freely through music, art and movement.

Photos: Jess Rose

Click here to follow J Frisco on twitter or check out their website.

Listen to their weekly playlist of favourite tracks here or hear the groups own music via their Soundcloud or Spotify 

Learn more about our Undergraduate BA Music courses – here.

Find out more about what our successful graduates have been up to in our Alumni Profiles

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