Southampton Youth Jazz Orchestra

Southampton Youth Jazz Orchestra

"Working with the young students of SYJO was a wonderful experience for me especially as my music has never been used in this way in this country. The evening's performance with the band was magical."
Prof Courtney Pine O.B.E / C.B.E
"We had a wonderful time performing with SYJO, it was a real pleasure to hear our music in this setting... really impressed by the standard of the band too.”
Adam Waldmann Kairos 4Tet
“You guys [SYJO] swing better than most American bands I hear! Maybe you should come over to the Lincoln Centre and show them some tricks!”
Chad Eby Jazz At The Lincoln Centre (New York)

FREE Six Session Course in Jazz (starts 18th Nov 2016)

The MB Jazz Academy is a free 6 Session Course run by leading jazz educators and performers to teach fundamental jazz skills through playing and exploring.

Topics will include Time and Feel; Jazz Harmony; Jazz Language for Improvisation; Jazz Chords and Building A Solo.

Who Is It For?

The course is for any musician hoping to gain a better understanding of performing jazz and improvising. If you currently play jazz but feel that your understanding is limited to blues scales and intuition, this course will be perfect for you. The course aims to demystify some of the complexity surrounding jazz conventions and to explain in simple terms how to make the most of improvising and playing the music.

The course is free to any musician aged 14-21. All instruments are welcome. Ability to read music highly encouraged. Knowledge of major scales also very helpful. Guitar and bass amps, piano and drum kit will be provided.

All sessions will take place at The Lantern Theatre, Mountbatten School, Romsey SO51 5SY.

Session timings are 6.30 - 7.45pm.

Session dates are:
- Friday 18th Nov
- Friday 13th Jan (2017)
- Friday 3rd Feb
- Friday 10th Mar
- Friday 12th May
- Friday 16th June

(NB Any date changes will be communicated nearer the time).

Each MB Jazz Academy session will be followed by a Jazz Jam Session from 8-10pm. This jam session is open to all abilities and ages and is in a relaxed and friendly environment. There is a £3 entry charge, refreshments are available.

If you have any queries, please email with the subject heading “MB Jazz Academy”.

Please use the following link to sign-up for the course: We look forward to seeing you on Nov 18th!

MB Jazz Academy

Trombonist and Bari Sax player wanted!

Fancy playing with one of the best youth jazz groups in the UK? SYJO is currently looking for a trombonist and a baritone sax player to add to the current line-up for this year (2016).

There is no fee to be a member, you will meet some of the best young jazzers in the South of England and get to explore some really exciting music, much of it written especially for SYJO! On top of this you will get to play with leading professional jazz musicians. We have some great gigs in the diary including with pianist Julian Joseph in April.

You will need to be interested in jazz, have good reading skills and, most importantly, listen to jazz music. We’d love to hear from improvising musicians but if you haven’t tried improvising yet, don’t worry as this is something you can learn within the ensemble.

If you want to know more, please visit and get in contact via the website.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Montreux Jazz Festival 2015

The Swiss town of Montreux sits on the edge of Lake Geneva, surrounded by mountains and stunning picturesque views. Each year, this magical setting plays host to one of the best-known jazz festivals in the world featuring great artists. This year, for the second time, SYJO was also on the bill and performed two gigs at the Music In The Parc venue to large and enthusiastic audiences.

It is no secret that SYJO contains some of the best young jazz musicians in the country and they cemented this reputation with some blistering performances. In particular, the band’s arrangement of A Love Supreme by John Coltrane was extremely well received leading to offers of future concerts as far away as Japan!

The Montreux trip caps a hugely successful year for SYJO which has included performances with sax masters John Surman and Jean Toussaint, appearances on London Jazz Radio, an invite to the National Music for Youth festival and several of the band being offered prestigious places at leading Music Conservatoires to study jazz.

SYJO with Jean Toussaint - 16th June @ Talking Heads 8pm

On Tuesday 16th June, the award-winning SYJO will be playing at Talking Heads venue in Portswood with a true master, saxophonist Jean Toussaint. Toussaint’s CV reads like a who’s who of jazz, having played with Art Blakey, Wynton Marsalis and Horace Silver amongst others. 

SYJO & Jean will be exploring classic Blue Note Records tunes including compositions by Herbie Hancock and Horace Silver alongside an arrangement of the entire John Coltrane album “A Love Supreme”.

Tickets for Tuesday’s concert can be purchased on the door - £15 full/ £6 students. For more info please go to

8pm start

Trumpeter Needed!

SYJO are currently recruiting for a young trumpeter with an interest in jazz from the Southern region. This could be your chance to join a pioneering group and perform at major music festivals, including Montreux Jazz Festival, and with major jazz artists including ex-Jazz Messenger, Jean Toussaint. We rehearse on select Sundays throughout the year and there are no fees to join.

Interested? Get in touch with SYJO here:

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SYJO is part of the Southampton Music Hub - a network of local and national organisations that work collaboratively to provide a range of musical activity for all children and young people in Southampton.