Leeds Conservatoire Graduate Wins Tina May Jazz Award

By Gemma Cross


A Leeds Conservatoire graduate landed the prestigious Tina May Jazz Award in a live final at the Pizza Express Jazz Club in Soho, London on 6 November.

The six finalists, which featured some of the best young talent in the UK jazz scene, played together as an ensemble. The set consisted of original compositions by the finalists themselves and a selection of jazz standards. Fergus chose ‘Sun Dream’ from his debut Fergus Quill Trio album ‘Zoop Zoop.’

‘Sun Dream’ is an experimental tune inspired by the music of Alice Coltrane. Fergus said, “It sets out a framework for the musicians to explore improvisations both inside and outside of the initial structure of the composition. I’ve arranged it for a wide range of bands, including my 25 piece big band, and always with different results. It is a testament to the quality of the other finalists that this was one of my favourite versions.”

The winner was decided with the help of an audience vote and the Master of The Musicians’ Company Graeme Knowles CVO presented Fergus with the winner’s medal. In addition to receiving the Tina May Jazz Award, Fergus also received fees totalling £1,000 and a further £600 to perform with his trio as part of The Musicians’ Company’s annual jazz programme.

Fergus added, “Obviously it’s a massive honour to win the award and I have nothing but respect and admiration for the other finalists. I look forward to taking my trio back to the club next year.”

In October, Fergus featured in the Reader's Digest list of 50 inspirational young UK jazz artists and composers. Fergus is a founding member of Leeds’ Tight Lines jazz collective and record label, and is also a regular performer at a wide number of music venues across West Yorkshire including Seven Arts in Chapel Allerton, Brudenell Social Club and Hyde Park Book Club in Leeds.

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Find out more about studying Jazz at Leeds Conservatoire

Read The Musicians' Company Young Artist of the Month feature on Fergus Quill - published February 2023

By Gemma Cross

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