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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 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 and improvising skills. Continual development of our members' awareness and understanding of the jazz idiom, relevant jazz theory and practice is also important to our sessions.


GYJA (Gloucestershire Youth Jazz Academy)

* A hugely popular group encouraging the next generation of jazz stars.
* This ensemble is the ideal opportunity for any young musicians keen to explore jazz music and develop fundamental musical skills and musicianship.
* Young musicians 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 c. 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 home page for more information). Frequent practice is pivotal to sustaining membership.
* Usually ideal for students up to the age of 19 (anyone 20 or above is only 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 its members.
* No audition is required - just being keen, attending every week and frequent practice are needed.
* 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


Group entry

Suitability for groups should firstly be based on the grade examination references as explained above, however performing experience and independent ability are vital as well. We encourage that new visiting musicians come along to our trial rehearsals (free of charge) as explained below, before deciding whether to continue and become an official member. All GJL members are provided with an outline of our expectations which are available from this gmail mydrive link (hover pointer over red PDF icon to find the appropriate document).


GJL 2017-18 Trial Rehearsals

Autumn 2017 - Wednesday 13 and 20 September 2017

Spring 2018 - Wednesday 3 and 10 January 2018

Summer 2018 - Wednesday 9 and 16 May 2018

NB. Parents are welcome to stay and listen to GYJA / GYJO trial rehearsals. GYJO also has a full quota of drummers, guitarists and singers for 2018, however vacancies (TBA) may be available for our May 2018 auditions.


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 you feel ready. We cover useful theory and musical skills that can be put into practice in our rehearsals and performances, so do not worry if you feel you need to know more about scales, chords or improvising - we are here to encourage, guide and help you. Do ask us any questions in rehearsals that will help you with your playing, musical awareness and theoretical knowledge.


To register your interest for our GYJA trial rehearsals please complete this google form link.

To register your interest for our Jazz2Go trial rehearsals please contact Tessa Frye

Students wishing to join GYJO should ideally be of grade 6 standard and are required to attend our two trial rehearsals, however an audition will also be necessary at the discretion of our GYJO Director. In the two attended rehearsals we assess each student's ability to play the music, sight-read and respond to the instructions of the Director. 


GYJO 2017-18 auditions

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.


Our audition dates will be as follows for this academic year:

Autumn 2017 (for GYJO autumn membership) - Wednesday 27 September and 4 October

Spring 2018 (for GYJO spring membership) - Wednesday 17 and 24 January 2018

Summer 2018 (for GYJO autumn 2018 membership) - Wednesday 23 May and 6 June 2018


Our GYJO 2017-18 audition criteria is available to download here. 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.


Students will need to register for our GYJO trial rehearsals and auditions using this Google forms link.

School / College teacher references will need to be submitted using this Google forms link.

Instrumental teacher references will need to be submitted using this Google forms link.



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.  Our full rehearsal and performance schedule is available on our GM calendar.  You can also download our published 2017-18 schedule here.


Further performance details for our members about our GYJA, GYJO and joint GJL performances (with Jazz2Go) will be published and communicated by email from our GJL Director (Peter Martin) and made available on this Padlet link.


PLEASE NOTE all parents and GJL members MUST ensure any clashes with our events are communicated by email to our GJL Director (Peter Martin) by the end of September 2017 (Autumn members) or end of January 2018 (new Spring members). We do not want our members disappointed with clashes that happen due to short notice from school / college or employed work events they have. Jazz2Go members MUST communicate any issues to Tessa Frye (Jazz2Go Director).


GYJA and GYJO will also have sectional rehearsals on the dates shown below. 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 in September 2017). A description of the GJL Section and Assistant Section Leader roles is available for download here.

Band members' attendance is absolutely crucial on these dates - thank you.

Term 1 - Wednesday 4 October 2017
Term 2 - Wednesday 8 November 2017
Term 3 - Wednesday 24 January 2018
Term 4 - Wednesday 28 February 2018
Term 5 - Wednesday 23 May 2018
Term 6 - Wednesday 13 June 2018

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


You can enquire about joining our groups at any time (see contact information below).  Subscription is amazing value at just £150 a year. It could be less if you join more than one group. 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.

* For details of costs and how to join click here

* If you need to hire an instrument please click here

* Visit our GJL YouTube channel for audio / video links on all groups' repertoire (see our playlists)

* Become a friend of GYJA on facebook

* Become a friend of GYJO on facebook

* If you are a NEW member and have not received the latest version of our jazz booklet (has useful and recommended resources) please email Peter Martin. 


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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