For the second successive time, a drummer has emerged as the Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year. Following on from Glasgow-born Corrie Dick, who gave a fine account of himself with the house band during his final minutes as title holder, Jonathan Silk, a 23-year-old honours graduate from Birmingham Conservatory, won the judges' vote with a stylish display of musicality.
Silk, who comes from Dollar, leads his own big band in Birmingham and this experience shone through in a performance that had many of the attributes of orchestral drumming - he seemed literally to know the score at all times - while interacting with and clearly listening to his colleagues, Paul Harrison (piano) and Mario Caribe (bass), in a dynamic, intimate grouping.
He also showed his abilities as a composer, complementing George Shearing's easy-swinging Conception with his own well-conceived and detailed T.B.C., and soloed with direction as well as the light and shade that he brought to his performance generally.
It was another strong showing from the contestants who had won their way through an initial audio-only session (the judges at that stage weren't given any personal details) and a residential semi-final cum mentoring weekend.
Pianist Fergus McCreadie, also from Dollar and who won the under-17 prize for the second year in succession, showed maturity well beyond his years in arrangements of Herbie Hancock's Oliloqui Valley and Cole Porter's Night & Day, and saxophonist Helena Kay from Perth, drummer John Lowrie from Dumfries, and trumpeter Sean Gibbs made the judges' job difficult with performances that all boded well for the future of Scottish jazz.
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