Day 6 of this year’s Leeds Jazz Festival saw saxophonist, composer and band leader Jasmine Myra take to the stage at Brudenell social club. I had hoped to attend more of the festival – which came to a close at Hyde Park Book club on Sunday – much to my annoyance this was the only performance I managed to catch due to various work ties and holidays. I have no doubt the various jazz artists at the festival will have been an impressive spectacle and an almighty celebration of the musical talent here in Leeds. This being said I was thrilled to have made it to this gig – promoted by Leeds Jazz promoter Lubi Javonic (DJ Lubi), who kindly invited me down to enjoy the wonderful evening she had in store.
Upon entry it was clear the event took on a slightly different vibe to some of the previous jazz land sessions I’d seen – in how the audience were predominantly seated around tables and on benches. A sophisticated and intimate set up such as this encouraged an intent focus amongst the crowd which I had only witnessed in jazz bars or film sets– as a newcomer to the jazz scene here in Leeds I was loving the suave of it all! The chatter in the room was brought to an earnest quiet as Jasmine stepped out onto the glitter dressed stage followed by her entourage of musicians. Her entourage included a guitarist, a double bassist, a flutist, a clarinettist, a drummer, a pianist and even a harp player – yes that’s right a HARP. How cool! The ensemble of musicians made for a truly captivating performance of neo classical jazz, both sultry and groovable in its nature. One track that stood out to me as an especially emotive performance was a song later in the set which had been introduced in honour of Jasmine’s grandmother who’s passing had inspired the song. She called it ‘Words left unspoken’ a track that is yet to be released.
The night marked a celebration of new songs Jasmine was releasing entitled ‘Horizons’ and pre-empted the release of her track ‘1000 miles’ both of which encapsulate her unique euphoric instrumental sound. Tracks which when played live, to us took on a whole new depth of euphoria. Jasmine Myra and her band are yet another example of Leeds talent, having studied at Leeds Conservatoire. No doubt her music will continue to instil awe to audiences both here and beyond as I know she’s already been picked up by West Yorkshire’s BBC introducing Emily Pipbeam and recognised by an emerging talent scheme called Jazz North.