Young northern jazz talent selected for Festival showcase gigs

J Frisco hanging of a chain fence in Leeds.

J Frisco – Jemma Freese (Keyboards), Lara Jones (Saxophone) and Megan Roe (Guitar)

Two outstanding bands of young musicians are being given the chance to make their name, thanks to a pioneering initiative by Jazz North, the organisation devoted to nurturing and showcasing talent.

Manchester based Andchuck (Manchester) and Leeds band J Frisco (Leeds) are the latest beneficiaries of the Jazz North Introduces scheme, which will offer them high-profile exposure at leading jazz festivals in the north, along with guidance and supporting in promoting themselves.

Now in its 5th round, Jazz North Introduces offers young musicians under 25 their first high profile showcase opportunities at major Jazz festivals across the North and Jazz North is delighted that additional funding support has enabled it to expand the scheme to support two bands in the current year.

Andchuck is a modern and experimental jazz quartet featuring Tom Chapman (Bass), Caitlin Laing (Saxophone), Jack March (Guitar) and Gabriel Alexander (Drums). Their main influences being Esbjorn Svensson Trio, Impossible Gentlemen and Snarky Puppy, they met at the Royal Northern College of Music and formed quickly, having played a few gigs across the North West already.

J Frisco is made up of Jemma Freese (Keyboards), Lara Jones (Saxophone) and Megan Roe (Guitar) who met whilst studying at Leeds College of Music and formed this free, experimental trio combining art and poetry with improvised music. Their aims are to change perceptions and break down boundaries through improvisation.

The four members of Andchuck, laughing and wearing fluro paint splattered teeshirts

Andchuck- Tom Chapman (Bass), Caitlin Laing (Saxophone), Jack March (Guitar) and Gabriel Alexander (Drums)

The selection panel prioritized musical excellence, in terms of musicianship, creativity, innovation and potential. A shortlist was drawn up and assessed by an advisory panel consisting of experienced musicians, promoters, educators and Jazz North staff. This year’s applications for Jazz North Introduces demonstrated the wealth of young talent in the north.

‘The Jazz North Introduces scheme provides a fantastic and unique opportunity for emerging musicians to present themselves to audiences and for promoters to showcase the best young talent developing in the north of England.’

Dave Shooter, Lancaster Jazz Festival.

The initiative was open to bands of up to five musicians, 75 per cent of whom, including the nominated leader, must be under 25, and living or studying in the north of England.

Both bands will receive a package of help as part of the Jazz North Introduces scheme, including payment and expenses for the gigs, a photo-shoot and assistance in creating an electronic press kit. Each band will be offered six showcase performances at leading northern jazz festivals during 2017-2018.

Jazz North’s partners in the initiative are Gateshead International Jazz Festival, Lancaster Jazz Festival, Liverpool International Jazz Festival, Marsden Jazz Festival, Scarborough Jazz Festival, Manchester Jazz Festival, Cleethorpes Jazz Festival and Leeds College of Music. Enquiries are welcome from festivals and promoters who might like to host either or both bands.

The Application Process

2016 Jazz North Introduces winners Wandering Monster
2016 Jazz North Introduces artists Wandering Monster

Deadline for applications extended – 2200 Sunday 14 May 2017

Jazz North Introduces is now looking for an exceptional northern band up to the age of 25 to be showcased at six northern jazz festivals. The scheme builds on the mjf introduces scheme to showcase the very best new jazz talent from across the north. Previous Jazz North Introduces artists: The Stretch Trio (2013) who went on to win the Peter Whittingham Jazz Award, The Jam Experiment (2014), Artephis (2015) and Wandering Monster (2016). The Jam Experiment and Wandering Monster were both featured on BBC R3 Jazz Now in early 2017.

Benefits for selected young jazz artists

  • High profile showcase performance at 6 northern jazz festivals
  • The gigs will be paid and expenses will be covered
  • Photo shoot for the band
  • Video showreel for the band created from interviews and this performance
  • Help with producing EPK (Electronic Press Kit)
  • Mentoring from leading UK jazz artists

How to apply

To apply to be considered for this opportunity you’ll need to have three audio or video recordings of your band available on a platform like soundcloud / bandcamp / YouTube / Vimeo and complete the apply online here.

Deadline for applications extended
2200 Sunday 14th May 2017


  • maximum band size is 5 musicians
  • 75% of musicians and the nominated leader will be 25 years of age.
  • musicians can be in full time education
  • 75% of band members in any group must be currently living or studying in the north of England (please see the geographical definition below)
  • in making our selection of successful applicants, we will prioritise musical excellence, in terms of musicianship, creativity, innovation and potential.
  • there are no stylistic barriers
  • the band must be ready to gig by July 2017 and you must be able to provide a recording of your band (including all members)
  • you must demonstrate readiness to commit time and attention to the scheme’s activities (listed above)
  • the successful bands will be required to complete a simple evaluation exercise with project coordinator