Gary Crosby awarded OBE in HM The Queen’s Birthday Honours
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Bassist/bandleader and Director of Tomorrow’s Warriors Ltd and The Dune Music Company, Gary Crosby has been awarded an OBE (Officer of the Order Of The British Empire) for Services To Music in HM The Queen’s Birthday Honours.
The award - given to individuals who occupy a distinguished role in their field and in recognition of exceptional achievement and dedicated service - honours Crosby’s tireless commitment to nurturing and educating young musicians, his work as a musician/bandleader, his and his efforts to raise the profile of jazz in the UK.
Born in London of Jamaican parents and nephew of the great Jamaican guitarist, Ernest Ranglin, Crosby is a towering figure in jazz who started his career in the late 1970s playing with George Lee, Ed Bentley, Ray Carless, Roger Thomas and Frank Roberts. He has been consistently at the forefront of the British jazz scene since the mid-1980s when he was a founding member of the original Jazz Warriors, playing/recording in bands led by Courtney Pine, Steve Williamson, Cleveland Watkiss, Orphy Robinson and many others. He then went on to develop his own award-winning groups including the acoustic jazz ensemble Nu Troop and international dance band favourites Jazz Jamaica.
In 1991 Crosby established Tomorrow’s Warriors to provide a platform for the nurture and development of new young talent and, in 1996 co-founded The Dune Music Company (incorporating the award-winning Dune Records) with his partner, Janine Irons MBE, to help further the careers of young artists through touring and recording opportunities.
Many of today’s jazz celebrities have earned their stripes as members of Tomorrow’s Warriors - respected artists such as Soweto Kinch, Denys Baptiste, Abram Wilson, Jason Yarde, Andrew McCormack, Byron Wallen and Tony Kofi, plus several groups including J-Life, Jade Fox, Empirical, Zed-U and the soon to be launched Rhythmica. These, and so many others, owe much of their current success to Crosby’s willingness to put not only his faith but also his time, energy and resources into allowing them the time and space to develop.
As well as looking to the future of the music he is a keen advocate of celebrating the jazz legacy - Nu Troop regularly performs tributes to the jazz masters whilst, in recent years, Jazz Jamaica has paid tribute to Motown and Trojan Records with their ‘skazz’ (ska/jazz) projects - Motorcity Roots and Tighten Up.
Most recently his newly-formed Tomorrow’s Warriors Jazz Orchestra (TWJO) has commenced touring of Duke Ellington’s evocative, though rarely heard, The Queen’s Suite - which the composer dedicated to HM Queen Elizabeth II - arranged by the hugely gifted pianist/composer Peter Edwards and featuring rising stars Zem Audu, Mark Crown and Andy Chapman who, along with bassist Pete Randall, make up Rhythmica.
Gary’s exemplary efforts were also acknowledged in 2007 when he was awarded the prestigious BBC Jazz Award for Services to Jazz. He is a firm believer in the need to support young jazz musicians in this country and, through the auspices of Tomorrow’s Warriors, regularly hosts workshops, seminars and jam sessions to this end.
Few people have done more for British jazz in the last 25 years than Gary Crosby and, as a recipient of the OBE, his importance in the history of the music is cemented even further.
Members of the public have an opportunity to witness the impact of Gary’s work as a nurturer of young jazz talent on Friday 24 July at the Southbank Centre, London when Tomorrow’s Warriors showcase the Teenie Warriors, the Youth Warriors and other young musicians as part of London’s Open Rehearsal Weekend, and the Tomorrow’s Warriors Jazz Orchestra perform Duke Ellington’s evocative piece, The Queen’s Suite in the Queen Elizabeth Hall. What’s more, the entire day - including the evening concert - is ABSOLUTELY FREE!
PR: Sheela Bates
tel: 020 7386 1600
management: Janine Irons
tel: 020 8484 2807
bookings: Bethan Hay
tel: 020 7386 1600
JAZZ MANN FEATURES
A welcome addition to a relatively small written and visual canon.
Ian Mann on the final day of the festival with performaces by Huw Warren / Gabriele Mirabassi, Debs Hancock, Ollie Howell, John Taylor, Township Comets, and Christine Tobin.