Samuel from Hackney Music Service is our December Scholar of the Month

13 year old Samuel from Hackney has been playing piano at the Julian Joseph Jazz Academy for the duration of his Scholarship and has been making rapid progress. His tutor told us that his conception of sound and rhythm is almost unparaelled when you consider his age. They went onto say that his skills on the drums are as good as those he has on the piano which is very impressive. Recently Samuel took part in a a 'Jazz Five' performance at Bridge Academy in Hackney. This was Samuel's 10th 'Jazz Five' and he is only the third (and youngest!) person to reach this milestone which is an excellent achievement. We are very proud of how well Samuel is doing and look forward to seeing what he does next. 

James Joseph of the Julian Joseph Jazz Academy told us: "Sam has not chosen music, music chose him and he is so dedicated to it. He is a rare talent."

Samuel at Awards Day in 2016

Read our Q&A with Samuel below...

Why did you decide to play the piano?

I've always loved Jazz Music and my favourite pianist was Horace Silver. I was interested in the way he used the piano so percussively and melodically. Also improvisation was something that appealed to me

Has your music taken you to some cool places? If so, where?

It's taken me to perform at the Southbank Centre multiple times with the Classical Meets Jazz project through Hackney Music Service in partnership with Serious and the London Symphony Orchestra.  We have performed at several London Jazz Festival events. Performing at the Southbank Centre was an exhilarating opportunity and I loved seeing the artists before us perform. I loved CMJ because it has helped me see the connections between Jazz and Classical music. It has also opened me up to see the possibilities of merging the two genres. I will now like to move on to the Hackney Creative Jazz Essemble. I am currently at the Julian Joseph Jazz Academy. 

What music do you like playing the most?

Obviously, I love playing jazz. It is a music of initiative and uses creativity and imagination.  Improvisation is my favourite aspect of this music because everything about jazz and its sub-genres are based around your perspective of the tune your playing and how your ear adheres to the chord progression. 

If you could perform alongside someone famous who would it be? Or what musician do you look up to?

I would love to play with Sonny Rollins as he was one of my favourite saxophonist. Sonny Rollins has a georgous tone on the saxophone and melodic lines. A good example is Moritat/Mack The Knife. My favourite musician is Horace Silver because he uses the piano so uniquely like a drum. He uses his whole hand at the bottom of the piano like a perpetual rumble and has funky and humorous lines at the top. A good example is his piano solo in the 1960 version of Nica's Dream. I love others--I could go on forever!

Has the Scholarship enabled you to have new opportunities?

Definitely. I've had the privilege to play with some of the most talented young jazz musicians in the country through the Julian Joseph Jazz Academy, which is the HMDT Saturday Music Programme that I attend weekly thanks to my LMF scholarship.  As well as the other amazing students at JJJA I have also had the opportunity to perform there with Julian Joseph himself, as well as Trevor Watkiss, Byron Wallen and Tony Kofi. 

What advice would you give scholars who have just started their scholarship?

Make every single second count. You are extremely lucky for this opportunity and you should utilise everything the scholarship can give you. And don't take it for granted because this is an opportunity that you have won versus lots of other great musicians.

Samuel at one of our Playing Days in 2017