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Trish Clowes

Trish Clowes

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A graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, saxophonist Trish Clowes released her debut album Tangent last year. Recently selected by Jamie Cullum, Gilles Peterson and Jez Nelson to perform on the BBC Introducing stage at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival, she's also performed at the London Jazz Festival and Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Trish was in the recent intake of the Take Five programme - a professional development scheme run by music producers Serious and the Jerwood Charitable Foundation. Supported by Arts Council England and the Musicians Benevolent Fund, Take Five aims to give some of the UK's most talented emerging jazz musicians the chance to take 'time out' to develop their craft.

Trish will be appearing at this year's London Jazz Festival which runs from Friday 11 to Sunday 20 November. Whether you're a jazz enthusiast, or new to the scene, the Festival offers something for everyone and has grown into one of London's landmark music events.

We got the chance to speak to Trish and ask her a few questions about her life as a musician.

Can you give us an insight into how and when you started making music?

I started having piano lessons when I was 4 and I quite often made up little tunes rather than practicing what I was supposed to be working on!

I continued to do this right through my childhood and it was when I started playing jazz and improvising that it became more of a passion.

Are there any musicians in particular that you would say influenced you to pursue a career in music?

It was my own love of composing and improvising that made me choose to make a career out of music, but in terms of mentoring, it has generally been the saxophonist/composerIain Ballamy who has guided me along the way.

What obstacles have you encountered during your career as a musician and how have you overcome them?

Mainly personal confidence - if you're having a low moment, not letting yourself get dragged into self pity and remember why you're doing this for the - love of music.

If you could go back in time to when you were just starting out what advice would you give yourself?

Just concentrate on being the best version of yourself that you possibly can. Enjoy all your quirky interests outside "the norm" because they are what makes you an individual.

What are your favourite and least favourite things about being a professional musician?

Favourite: that incredible feeling of having a great gig with these great musicians who are also your closest friends - self expression is an amazing thing.

Least favourite: dealing with the day-to-day non-musical tasks of making a career as a musician. You're basically a one-man business.

Do you have any personal highlights from this year's London Jazz Festival programme?

There's loads of great music happening this year, but the ones I'm particularly hoping to get to are Henry Threadgill + John Escreet; The London Vocal Project with Kenny Wheeler and Norma Winstone; Phil Robson IMS Quintet featuring Mark Turner and Christine Tobin

What are your thoughts on the Take it away scheme?

Well, I've already forwarded a link about this scheme to one of my students who needs an instrument and currently can't afford to buy a decent one - so I think this is great.

I come across young people all the time who have the potential but haven't had the money to afford all the things to make music happen for them - it requires so much investment in so many ways.

Thanks so much to Trish for sparing the time to give us an insight into her musical life!

Trish Clowes will perform at this year's London Jazz Festival in association with BBC Radio 3, opening for violinist Regina Carter at Southbank Centre's Purcell Room on Monday 14 November, and as part of Radio3's Jazz Line-Up at Southbank Centre's Clore Ballroom on Saturday 19 November.

Stay tuned at londonjazzfestival.org.uk for news of the Festival's exciting programme of commissions, premieres, learning projects and numerous free events. Plus you can head to Trish's own website for her latest touring dates.

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