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Gloucestershire Jazz Live (GJL)


Gloucestershire Jazz Live [GJL] is an award winning jazz centre that hosts county youth and adult jazz groups (see our adult groups page) for local musicians of any jazz experience. We have two youth bands and one adult band in GJL who typically have towards 30 rehearsals and a strong variety of performances each academic year.

  • Gloucestershire Youth Jazz Academy (GYJA)  - Training youth jazz ensemble (c. Grade 4+)
  • Gloucestershire Youth Jazz Orchestra (GYJO) - Advanced youth jazz ensemble (c. Grade 6+)
  • Colwell Arts Jazz2Go - Training adult jazz band (c. Grade 4+)


Musicians are encouraged and learn how to improve their jazz ensemble playing and improvisational skills in regular rehearsing, practising and performing with musicians of similar ability as well as developing their own individual playing. We expect all of our members to be proactive in demonstrating good reading, sight-reading, improvising and organisational skills. Continual development of our members' awareness and understanding of the jazz idiom, relevant jazz theory and practice is also important to our rehearsals and performances.


GYJA (Gloucestershire Youth Jazz Academy)

* A hugely popular group encouraging the next generation of budding jazz musicians.
* This ensemble is the ideal opportunity for any young musicians keen to explore jazz music and develop fundamental musical skills and musicianship.
* Young musicians ideally grade 4 and above are encouraged to join - no experience of jazz nor audition is necessary, however the ability to read music notation is important, as well as frequent independent practice.
* Usually ideal for students age 10 - 16.
* Led by Peter Martin, Maureen Currie and Tessa Frye.
* The band perform in a range of genres / styles and develop reading, listening, improvising, ensemble and individual musical skills.

* GYJA is involved in our annual GJL concerts, the annual GYJA and GYJO end of year concert and typically performs in youth and jazz festivals each academic year.


GYJO (Gloucestershire Youth Jazz Orchestra)

* An advanced county youth jazz ensemble ideally grade 6+
* This ensemble is the highest accolade for young jazz musicians wishing to represent their county.
* Entry to the band is through attending two trial rehearsals and an audition (please see audition information in the next menu). Frequent independent practice is pivotal to sustaining membership.
* Ideal for young musicians up to the age of 21 (anyone over 21 is eligible for Jazz2Go)
* The band is directed by Peter Martin.
* GYJO learn and perform a diverse range of repertoire with an emphasis on challenge and developing advanced listening, ensemble, improvisation and other jazz skills (eg. theoretical knowledge of chords / chord symbols / scale / modes, performing in different styles)
* GYJO is involved in our annual GJL concerts, the annual GYJA and GYJO end of year concert and typically performs in youth and jazz festivals each academic year. 


Colwell Arts Jazz2Go

* A training adult jazz ensemble ideal for musicians wanting to learn about jazz, from any breadth of experience.
* Adult musicians grade 4 (ie. the ability to read notated music confidently) and above are encouraged to join.
* The band encourages and helps develop improvisation skills and ensemble playing from members.
* No audition is required - just being keen, attending every week and frequent independent practice.
* The band is directed by Tessa Frye. 
* Jazz2Go learn and perform a broad range of repertoire with an emphasis on securing key jazz skills and developing approaches to improvisation.
* Jazz2Go is involved in our annual GJL concerts and often chooses to perform in the National Concert Band Festival. Jazz2Go also acquire their own concerts / gigs throughout each year and always have an end of year concert at a local venue.

Please visit Jazz2Go's webpage for further information about the band




GJL 2018-19 Trial Rehearsals

To attend a trial rehearsal as outlined below you will need to download and complete the Member information sheet and email this to either Tessa Frye (Jazz2Go) or Peter Martin (GYJA / GYJO). Please make sure your email provides the trial musician's first and last name, how you heard about us and why you are interested in the group (this is all useful for us).

Autumn 2018 - Wednesday 19 and 26 September 2018 (for all GJL groups)

Spring 2019 - Wednesday 9 and 16 January 2019 (for all GJL groups)

Summer 2019 - Wednesday 8 and 15 May 2018 (only GYJA and GYJO)

NB. Parents are welcome to stay and listen to GYJA / GYJO trial rehearsals. GYJO also has a full quota of drummers and singers for 2018-19, however specific vacancies for 2018-19 are informed in our GYJO audition criteria (see last paragraphs below).


Group entry

Grades are only a guide to the level required.  More important is a strong commitment and positive attitude alongside good sight reading and general musicianship skills. Teachers may recommend students for a specific group but the Director has the final decision to whether a member is ready for entry into an ensemble.  Once you have gained a place in one of the groups, you will be required to maintain a high percentage of attendance at rehearsals and concerts.  A place within an ensemble maybe withdrawn if commitment is deemed unsatisfactory.

Please click on the links below for an outline of our GJL expectations for each musical role within our bands:

Woodwind Trumpet Trombone Piano Guitar Bass Drum Kit Singer Violin Cello 

Useful theory and specific musical skills are put into practice in our rehearsals, so do not worry if scales, chords or improvising need to be more familiar - we are here to encourage, guide and help you. Please ask us questions in rehearsals that will aid your playing, musical awareness and theoretical knowledge. 


GYJA and Jazz2Go welcome committed musicians from Grade 4 and above with no audition necessary. The ability to read notated music is important as well as being willing to give improvising a go when members feel ready. 

GYJO welcome youth musicians who are ideally grade 6 standard.  Attending two trial rehearsals and an audition are important to gaining a place in GYJO. These allow students to experience our typical rehearsals (sight-reading, rehearsing and responding to the Director's instructions) and demonstrate their independent musical skills in the audition.  


GYJO 2018-19 and 2019-20 auditions

Our audition dates are scheduled as follows:

Autumn 2018 (for GYJO autumn membership) - Wednesday 26 September and 3 October 2018

Spring 2019 (for GYJO spring membership) - Wednesday 16 and 23 January 2019

Summer 2019 (for GYJO autumn 2019 membership) - Wednesday 15 and 22 May 2019 [there will also be opportunity to audition in September 2019 then later in January 2020]


NB 1. For our 2018-19 year we have a full quota of drummers, space for two guitarists, one pianist and one bassist, however singers can ONLY audition in May 2019 for our 2019-20 season. All other instrumentalists are of course welcome to trial and audition.

NB 2. As a reminder GYJO now welcomes any young musicians up to age 21.


The GYJO audition requires students to demonstrate their organisation skills, plus a prepared piece which we provide, one improvisation over provided chord sequences, sight reading and a brief interview with our interview panel.

Places are offered on a basis of good organisation, a positive contribution to our trial rehearsals, as well as students demonstrating a well prepared audition performance. Being prepared to show your improvising skills and explain your approaches is important. Sight-reading does need to have a fair level of strength to be able to handle the amount of repertoire GYJO typically learn which has a broad range of challenge and technical demand.


GYJO 2018-19 audition and application criteriaclick to download



6:00pm - 7:30pm  (GYJA)
7:00pm - 9:00pm  (GYJO and Jazz2Go)

Rehearsals are during term time only and our performances are always spread out over the academic year. Please see the "contact and locate us" menu below for our rehearsal address and location. 


Our 2018-19 rehearsal and performance schedule is available on our online GM calendar  or published for download here.


Performance logistics and details are emailed to members directly from Gloucestershire Music for our GYJA and GYJO members plus any GJL events that also include all three groups. 



PLEASE NOTE we require written notification of any commitment clashes by email to our directors by the end of September 2018 for autumn members, by the end of January 2019 for new spring members and by 3 May 2019 for any summer exams / events.

We do not want our members disappointed with clashes that happen due to short notice from school / college or employed work events.

Jazz2Go members MUST email Tessa Frye

GYJA and GYJO members MUST email Peter Martin.


Sectional rehearsals

Our GYJA and GYJO schedule is provided below.  Band members' attendance is absolutely crucial on these dates - thank you.

Term 1 - Wednesday 10 October 2018
Term 2 - Wednesday 14 November 2018
Term 3 - Wednesday 30 January 2019
Term 4 - Wednesday 6 March 2019
Term 5 - Wednesday 22 May 2019
Term 6 - Wednesday 12 June 2019


GYJA sectionals will be led by band leaders and will involve GYJO members who want to assist for coaching experience. GYJO sectionals will be led by Section Leaders with support from the Assistant Section Leader (both as invited by the GYJO Director).

NB. Additional sectionals may be scheduled, however band members will be informed and reminded about these in prior rehearsals.


A description of the GYJO Section and Assistant Section Leader roles is available for download here.

You can enquire about joining our groups at any time (see contact information below).  Subscription is amazing value at just £150 a year. The fee also entitles you to join as many groups as you like and covers the year from September - August. If you join part way through the year we will reduce your fee accordingly. We may however ask you to wait a few weeks before joining a group if they have an immediate performance that they are working towards.


* Details of costs and becoming a member:please click here

* Hire an instrument: please click here

* Audio / Video weblinks for our Gloucestershire Music YouTube channel Click to visit our GJL Youtube channel.  

* Audio / Video weblinks on our Gloucestershire Jazz Live YouTube channel:  Click to visit our GJL Youtube channel  (Please check separate playlists for each group)

* Developing your jazz skills and theory: Any NEW members can email Peter Martin to request the latest version of our supporting Jazz booklet (promotes useful and recommended resources for all our members).

* GYJA on Facebook: click to visit and like our profile

* GYJO on Facebook: click to visit and like our profile

* Gloucestershire Music on Facebook: click to visit and like our profile. 

GJL perform at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2018 

A highlight of every year is performing at the Free Stage at Cheltenham Jazz Festival and the May bank holiday Monday is always a prime slot for our bands. So GYJA, Jazz2Go and GYJO all showcased their most favourite repertoire and entertained a huge, warm (yes it was beautifully sunny throughout the whole weekend) and receptive audience for the whole of the bank holiday morning. Another successful and thoroughly enjoyable gig at a local and international jazz festival.



GJL gain a third consecutive national education award

Following a submission about our 2016-17 educational provision to the Will Michael awards panel, we were informed in October 2017 that we had been awarded another "Diploma of outstanding commitment to Jazz education." This national recognition is the only of it's kind in the UK and acknowledges the many strengths of education hubs / providers across the country.

Our GJL Director (Peter Martin) attended the awards presentation evening in London in November 2017 and more information can be found on the Gloucestershire Music article linked here.

Leslie East (Musician's Company) and Peter Martin (GJL Director)


GYJA awarded at the NCBF Regional Festival

On Sunday 26 November GYJA performed at the NCBF regional festival in Cheltenham and received a Silver award for their efforts. Particular highlights from our adjudicators included gaining all silver and gold ticks in the award criteria as well as them identifying strengths in our rhythm, style and interpretation skills. The band definitely gave a very good performance, which was quoted as having "a good feeling of style," "good ensemble playing" and where "a lot of good, solid, basic music fundamentals have been established." They also enjoyed our GYJA vocalist who was described as "delightful, very well done." A massive thank you to everyone for a fun and rewarding performance.


Gloucestershire Jazz Live is held at:

Cheltenham Bournside School, Warden Hill Road, Cheltenham.





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