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Alexandra Ridout performs on Tuesdsay 10 April at Hastings Jazz Club

Blowing her own trumpet

Alexandra Ridout was crowned the winner of the BBC Young Musician Jazz Award 2016 at the age of 17. Despite her youth, she is a remarkably mature musician with her own quintet. You can hear her for yourself when she plays Jazz Hastings this Tuesday (10 April) with local musicians Simon Thorpe (bass) and John Donaldson (piano) and
Darren Becket (drums). In order to encourage more young people to attend, tickets for under-18s and students are only £2 for this gig! HOT’s Esme Needham caught up with Alexandra to ask her about all that’s jazz…

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What got you into music originally?
Having musician parents definitely played a huge part, always had music playing around the house and in the car, so it was inevitable that I would get interested!

Why did you choose to take up the trumpet?
The initial reason was that I saw my older brother playing in a concert band and was excited by their loud brassy sound!

What are your ambitions for the future?
I’d love to carry on playing as much as I can, in all sort of areas and genres. I really enjoy playing and writing for my own band and for other people’s projects.

Why do you think it’s important to play classical music alongside jazz?
Personally, I started out playing classical music first and it really does feed in to everything about Jazz, not just technique-wise, but musically. There’s tons of amazing repertoire out there so it’s always worth getting into.

What do you enjoy most about playing alongside other musicians?
As Jazz is such a social music, playing alongside other musicians who are your friends is the best thing about it. I love the interaction and communication that is involved in improvised music because it truly unique.

Do you think it’s important to encourage young people to get into music? If so, how do you think this might be achieved?
Of course it’s extremely important, not just because music is an incredible art form, but also because it influences every other part of life and your learning. I think having really good music department in schools can really inspire the very young people to get involved, and also having lots of widely available and fun ensembles that anyone can join in with, maybe in the local area or something similar.

You’ve composed a lot of your own pieces. How does playing something you’ve composed yourself compare to playing something composed by someone else?
As a relatively inexperienced composer, I’m constantly learning new ways to write, so it often changes. I would say even though you’ve composed your own piece, taking it and playing it with a band can change the feeling of it completely, so the approach to playing it would be similar to that of another composers piece.

00Alexandra-5What advice would you give to young people wanting to make a career out of music?
I would say first of all, you’ve got to be 100% certain that music is the path you want to take, because there are a lot of sacrifices involved, but of course it’s totally worth it for the love of it. I would also say, keep an open mind because you might enjoy something more than you expect. And most of all, remember the reason you’re doing music is because you enjoy it so don’t get too caught up in the minor hardships.

What’s the best thing about being a professional musician?
The best thing is definitely the fact that you are doing what you love the most with the people you like the most and it’s technically your ‘job’. It’s always great to meet new like-minded people and play new interesting music.

A lot of the people who go to jazz events at the Angling Club are older people. How do you think younger people could be encouraged to attend these events?
I think maybe giving young people a taste of what Jazz actually is would help, and also there’s definitely more young people getting interested in Jazz. However, I’m not sure what the best solution would be because Jazz has so little funding anyway.

What other things do you like to do when you’re not playing music?
Honestly, I don’t have too many other hobbies because I’m very consumed by music college. However, I enjoy cooking, and I used to do lots of dance. I also spend lots of my free time with friends.

What other events and concerts are you doing at the moment?
At the moment I run my own quintet and we do lots of gigs around the country. I’m also part of the Clark Tracey quintet in which we also gig lots around the country. I’m a member of the national youth jazz orchestra and I’m also in a few other ensembles that gig regularly. As well as this I take on lots of varying freelance work.

Alexandra Ridout plays on Tuesday 10 April at Jazz Hastings,
East Hastings Sea Angling Association,
The Stade, Hastings, TN34 3JF

Doors open 7.45 for 8.30 start.
Tickets are £10 on the door or only £2 if you are a young person or student!

Posted 21:40 Thursday, Apr 5, 2018 In: Music & Sound

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