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Serious Announces Participants of Fifteenth Edition of Take Five Programme.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Live music producers Serious have announced the participants of the fifteenth edition of their prestigious talent development scheme "Take Five". Press release, including details of individuals, att.

We have received the following press release;


Live music producers Serious are proud to announce the participants of the fifteenth edition of their prestigious talent development scheme Take Five – an annual programme that offers mentorship and opportunities to eight of the finest emerging jazz and improvising musicians from across the United Kingdom, funded by the PRS Foundation, Help Musicians, Arts Council England, Night Dreamer, Garrick Trust and Serious Trust.

Going back fifteen years, the programme has brought through the likes of Seb Rochford (of Polar Bear), Shabaka Hutchings (Sons of Kemet, The Comet is Coming), Yazz Ahmed, and Nubya Garcia – serving as a pivotal moment in their careers that led to wider recognition, touring, record deals, and more.

This year’s eight participants are an eclectic group, demonstrating the vibrancy and variety of the UK’s burgeoning jazz scene and offering a taste of what is to come from the genre in the coming years. They are:

Jasdeep Singh Degun (sitar, voice)

Jelly Cleaver (guitar, voice, producer)

Jemma Freese (keyboards, piano, voice)

John Pope (double bass, bass guitar)

Noemi Nuti (voice, Paraguayan harp, flute, and more)

Rosie Turton (trombone)

Sam Eagles (saxophone)

Sarathy Korwar (drums, tabla, percussion)

The scheme centres around a week-long residency that brings the artists together with music industry experts, giving them a chance to learn about the complexities of the business in an intimate setting, and offering them the chance to take some time out from their usual busy touring/recording schedules and step back and think about how to advance their music and careers. They also get to collaborate on a series of pieces that each of them arranges for the entire group, directed by the esteemed composer and saxophonist Jason Yarde.

Due to the complications around COVID-19, this year’s residency has had to be postponed to early 2021, but the ongoing mentorship of the scheme continues apace, with Serious providing the artists with guidance and funding through what is an especially difficult time for all musicians. 

This year’s Take Five programme also marks the beginning of a new series of performances by the artists which are directly linked to their participation in the programme – taking the form of the inaugural “Take Five Showcase” as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival in November 2020. Other aspects of the scheme such as mentorship, funding and marketing support will create further opportunities for the artists to reach a wider audience and gain a greater foothold in the rapidly evolving music industry.

For more information about the artists, you’ll find their biographies below and on Serious’ website here:

To listen to each of the artists’ music, check out this YouTube playlist: 

To find out more about Take Five, please visit our website here:

Joe Frankland, CEO of PRS Foundation said ‘Take Five offers important opportunities at timely career stages and we’re delighted to be supporting this latest edition. So many exciting and creative jazz musicians have benefitted from the programme including Shabaka Hutchings, Shirley Tetteh, Zara McFarlane, Peter Edwards and Laura Jurd to name a few. I look forward to seeing what these participants do next’.

Lucy Bampton, Head of Creative Programme, Help Musicians said: ‘We are delighted to once again support the Take Five programme and to play our part in offering the next generation of inspirational jazz artists a platform to develop their artistic and leadership skills. Help Musicians is committed to supporting musicians from all genres and walks of life, and with Take Five and 30 years of our Peter Whittingham Jazz Award, we hope to continue to contribute to helping jazz musicians find a way to thrive. This year has been, and continues to be, challenging for musicians but by working in collaboration to ensure initiatives such as this exist we can ensure there are development opportunities in the face of adversity.’

Abel Selaocoe, musician and participant of Take Five Edition XIV said of the programme: ‘Serious and Take Five have been so crucial in connecting me with those that can impart incredible musical knowledge and lend a hand in understanding all other aspects that make being on stage possible. All the while having a chance to sculpt a unique voice to show on some fantastic platforms.’


Take Five 2020 artist biographies

Jasdeep Singh Degun - Sitar, Voice
Awarded the Yuva Sangeet Ratna ‘Musician of the Year’ at the National Indian Arts Awards 2016, Jasdeep is fast establishing a name for himself as a rising star of the Indian classical and contemporary music scenes. An active musician and sitar player, Jasdeep has performed internationally in many high profile productions and prestigious venues, including Buckingham Palace, the Amphitheatre in Doha, and the Royal Albert Hall at the 2014 BBC Proms to name a few.
As a British-born composer, Jasdeep has developed a well-rounded sense of musicality and sensitivity towards not only Indian Classical music but many other different styles and genres of music. He has gained a rich experience in collaborative work across art forms and regularly creates music for classical and contemporary ensembles. He has recently been commissioned by Opera North to write and perform a new concerto for Sitar and Orchestra titled ‘Arya’, to go on tour in 2020.
Jasdeep has worked with musicians and producers such as Guy Chambers, Cerys Matthews, Melanie C, and Vangelis as a regular studio session musician and was awarded a Sky Academy Scholarship to work on ‘Anomaly’, his debut album of contemporary and classical music. As part of the scholarship, Jasdeep is currently mentored by the illustrious multi-instrumentalist and producer, Nitin Sawhney. Jasdeep continues to push the boundaries of Indian classical music in the UK as well as developing his unique versatility as a promising young artist.

Jelly Cleaver - Guitar, Voice, Producer
Jelly Cleaver is a band leader, singer-songwriter, guitarist and producer based in South London. She’s been called ‘the next artist to make an impact on London’s Jazz Scene’ by Supreme Standards and recently received the Steve Reid Award. With an eclectic taste in music, Jelly is heavily involved in both the jazz and DIY/punk scenes in London. She’s also an activist, and a strain of political dissent runs through her music.
Her latest album, The Dream Jazz Manifesto, was released in May 2019, receiving critical acclaim and radio play by BBC Radio 1xtra, Rinse FM, Jazz FM, Worldwide FM, Soho Radio and others. She has been a featured guest numerous times on stations like Worldwide FM and GW Jazz. She has also performed at the Jazz Café and Pizza Express in London and several times in Bristol as well as festival appearances at We Out Here, Brainchild, Jazz Stroud, DJazz and the London Jazz Festival. As part of Tomorrow’s Warriors Female Frontline she has also performed at multiple festivals such as Love Supreme, Wilderness, Women of the World and supported Monty Alexander at Cadogan Hall.
She has played in the live bands of a number of artists including Cherise Adams-Burnett, Loucin Moskofian, Katie Moberly, Kasia Konstance and Queen Colobus.

Jemma Freese - Keyboards, Piano, Voice
Jemma Freese started playing piano around the age of 10 and quickly discovered that she liked making up songs and only enjoyed playing her own material. As a teenager, she was heavily influenced by Ray Charles, Nina Simone, Muse and Tom Waits, this fed into her interest in jazz as a vocalist as well as piano player. From the age of 17 she started writing her own songs to help her get through the bullying she went through at school. She then went on to study Pop Composition and Jazz vocals at Leeds College of Music from 2014-2017 for which she graduated with First honours.
Jemma is now a full-time musician and teach vocals and piano/ keyboard at Leeds Music Academy and has done numerous jazz and improvisation workshops with Jazz North and BlueJam Arts in Penrith aimed at young females. Her projects include J Frisco, an avant-garde/ electronic/ punk/ experimental/ jazz trio; freese trio, a triphop/ electronica/ grunge/ darkjazz band where she composes all the music; DOMI, an electro-pop band with members from the UK, Czech Republic and Norway; Eva Eik, a 4-piece alternative electronic Scandi-pop band where she is one of the composers; Maximo Park where she is the keyboardist/ backing vocalist; and No Fixed Identity, a duo where she improvises on the keyboard, creating a dark/ spoken word/ hiphop/ experimental/ electronic/ jazz sound.


John Pope - Double Bass, Bass Guitar
John Pope is a bass player and composer based in the North East of England. His main focus as a creative musician explores the boundaries and combinations of jazz, free improvisation, rock and experimental music. His primary projects include a chord-less quintet of Northern musicians (John Pope Quintet, Northern Line 2019 ambassador artists), an ongoing composition project blending structured pieces and free improvisation with a flexible ‘chamber group’ ensemble (developed during Sage Gatesheads ‘Summer Studios’ 2019).
John is also co-leader of the avant-jazz trio CARTOON with UK improv veterans Chris Biscoe and Roger Turner, and a founding member of award winning garage-jazz band Archipelago, lead by Faye MacCalman (Take Five Edition XIV). Alongside these projects he performs as a sideman in many varied groups across the jazz and improvised music spectrum, including The Lindsay Hannon Plus (2015 Northern Line Artists) and Ponyland (2018 Northern Line).
In addition to working in jazz he is an active member of the UK improvised music scene. He has performed solo as an improviser around the country, as well as in collaboration with internationally recognised artists, including appearances at festivals across the country (London Jazz Festival, Manchester Jazz Festival, TUSK and Gateshead International Jazz Festival at the Sage) as well as internationally in prestigious venues such as Bimhuis (Holland) and Area Sismica (Italy).
In addition to his career as a performer, John is a committed practitioner of education and community outreach as a composer/arranger and facilitator.


Noemi Nuti - Voice, Paraguayan Harp, Flute
Born in New York City, from Italian descent, Noemi’s musical personality has always been characterised by a fusion of Mediterranean and metropolitan sounds. She graduated from Trinity College of Music, London with a master’s in Jazz and received a BA in Music from Brunel University on Classical harp.
Her debut album Nice to Meet You was produced and featured trumpet sensation Quentin Collins and was the first release on the up-and-coming Ubuntu Music Label. It received wide critical acclaim across the board. Six out of eleven tracks have been featured on various radio shows, two of which on the highest possible rotation on Jazz FM.
She has toured around the UK with her own band during 2015 and 2016 with notable performances supporting Brazilian legend Marcos Valle at Islington Assembly Hall and headlining on the closing night at Ipswich Jazz Festival as well as establishing herself on the London music scene.
In 2017, Noemi collaborated with sax legend Jean Toussaint, pianist extraordinaire Liam Noble and a fantastic Brazilian rhythm section at London’s renowned Pizza Express Jazz Club, Soho. She regularly tours with Andrew McCormack’s Graviton internationally as lead singer, playing in prestigious venues such as Ronnie Scott’s, the 606 Jazz Club, the Vortex as well as Europe.
Noemi has released her second album Venus Eye in March 2020, on the Ubuntu Music Label. Noemi has composed nine out of the eleven tracks and is both the lead vocals and harmonies singer on the album and Paraguayan and classical harp player.


Rosie Turton - Trombone
Rosie Turton’s musical path is defined by her unwavering desire to explore new territories: sounds, cultures, textures and collaborations, she’s always open to discoveries. A mainstay of the new London Jazz scene, Rosie started the trombone at age 11. She played with Tomorrow Warriors which was instrumental in Rosie’s development as a musician and is still involved with them these days, returning to run workshops and performing with the Nu Civilisation Orchestra. There, she met some key pillars of London’s burgeoning new jazz scene: Nubya Garcia, Joe Armon-Jones and Sheila Maurice-Grey amongst others. Like them, she went to Trinity College of Music and started jamming at the Steez night. From that period was also born Nérija, a 7-piece collective newly signed to Domino Records that she’s part of. In addition to that, Rosie is involved with a variety of artists. From collaborating with jazz collectives Where Pathways Meet and Steam Down, to recording with Jitwam and Hollie Cooke, she has also recently performed with notable artists Soweto Kinch, Jason Yarde, Sampa The Great and Gaika.
In 2015, following her explorative nature, she got really interested in Indian Classical Music for its soundscape and meditative feeling. Influenced by spiritual jazz forebears such as Alice Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders, she went on a trip to North India and began an exploration of the parallel musical paths of jazz and Indian ragas.
After exploring the eclectic music scenes of London, New York and the Himalayas, Rosie put together a group of her own. The group, lead by strong melodies blends the sound of trombone, violin and electronics over a bed of interlocking grooves and soundscapes. She released her first EP with this group, ‘Rosie’s 5ive’ on Jazz Re:Freshed, the release of which lead her to be listed as ‘One to watch 2019’ by The Guardian.


Samuel Eagles - Saxophone
During his 7 year career, Samuel Eagles has placed himself in many circles from Bebop to contemporary Jazz and from Afro beat to artistic alternative original music. Samuel is constantly using this wealth of experience to search for new paradigms in his own music which has earned him much critical acclaim nationally and internationally throughout almost a decade.
Born and raised in London, Samuel caught the attention of Saxophonist Mornington Lockett who saw his vast potential and therefor went on to mentor him. Gaining a place at the prestigious Junior Jazz program at The Royal Academy of Music Samuel was under the wing of Nick Smart where his early musical promise was nurtured. Later Eagles was accepted into Trinity College of Music and master Jean Toussaint went on to mentor Samuel long after graduation. In 2017 Eagles performed at The Bucharest International Jazz Festival where he and his band SPIRIT went onto win the festivals prestigious award. In the same year he also won an award in the global ‘7 Virtual Jazz Club’ competing among many heavy weight bands and musicians. Eagles’s F‐IRE debut album ‘Next Beginning’ was released in 2014 and his 2nd album, released in 2017 on Whirlwind Records were both received with rave reviews. Gaining over 430K streams on Spotify, this enabled Samuel to begin touring internationally in Europe. Samuel now surrounds himself with some of the UK’s torch bearer’s such as Sam Leak, David Hamblett, Ralph Wyld, Ant Law, Max Luthert, Daniel Casimer and many more. Samuel plans to release his next album in 2020.


Sarathy Korwar - Drums , Tabla, Percussion
Born in the US, Sarathy Korwar grew up in Ahmedabad and Chennai in India. He began playing tabla aged 10, but was also drawn to the American music that he heard on the radio and leaking through the doorway of his local jazz music shop. He moved to London where he trained as a classical tabla player under the guidance of Sanju Sahai at SOAS, focusing on the adaptation of Indian classical rhythmic material to non-Indian percussion instruments.
Korwar has since established himself as one of the most original and compelling voices in the UK jazz scene, leading the UPAJ Collective - a loose band of South Asian jazz and Indian classical musicians brought together through a love of collaboration and improvisation who set up a residency at the Jazz Café in London. Korwar has collaborated with the likes of Shabaka Hutchings, clarinettist Arun Ghosh and producer Hieroglyphic Being, as well as groups Penya and Ill Considered. He has toured with Kamasi Washington, Yussef Kamaal and Moses Boyd.
Korwar’s daring debut album, Day To Day, recorded with the support of the Steve Reid Foundation, was released by Ninja Tune in 2016. The album fused traditional folk music recorded with the Sidi community in India with contemporary jazz and electronics.
In November 2018, Gearbox Records released a triple vinyl live album by Sarathy Korwar and UPAJ Collective. My East Is Your West, performed and recorded at a sold out Church of Sound show, a critically-acclaimed take on the cultural appropriation of ‘spiritual’ Indo-jazz, the three hour show was recorded following a single 45-minute rehearsal. The resulting album was awarded The Guardian’s Contemporary Album of the Month.
Korwar released his second studio album, More Arriving, through The Leaf Label in July 2019, an honest reflection of Korwar’s experience of being an Indian in Britain, and as such is a leap forward from his previous releases, incorporating rappers from Mumbai and New Delhi, spoken word and his own Indian classical and jazz performances.