Twenty-year old Scottish double bassist Ewan Hastie has won BBC Young Jazz Musician 2022. The announcement was made during the broadcast of the Competition’s Final on BBC Four this evening [Sunday 20 November at 8PM], presented by Jamz Supernova and Huw Stephens, both DJs and broadcasters.
Born in Edinburgh, and raised in Kirkcaldy, Ewan Hastie started playing the bass guitar at the age of 12, and during his time with the Fife Youth Jazz Orchestra he took up the double bass. With the National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Scotland, he gained touring experience, visiting Skye, Glasgow, Belfast, and Sligo Jazz Festival, finally enrolling into the Royal Scottish Conservatoire in Glasgow, where he is currently in his fourth and final year. Ewan has previously received the Mark McKergow Prize for Jazz Improvisation, which was awarded for hard work, diligence, and creativity, and was selected to go to Nuremberg, Germany, for a European Jazz workshop.
Ewan Hastie impressed the judging panel (including some of the most celebrated British performers on the current international jazz scene: saxophonist and composer Camilla George; pianist, composer and producer Bill Laurance, also a member of global phenomenon Snarky Puppy; vocalist Claire Martin, OBE; multi-instrumentalist, singer and producer Emma-Jean Thackray; and composer, singer and cellist Ayanna Witter-Johnson) with an eclectic performance featuring his own composition Impulse, and arrangements of Tricotism by bebop trailblazer Oscar Pettiford, and Chick Corea’s Humpty Dumpty – from 1978 concept album The Mad Hatter.
For the final all of the musicians had the chance to work with and were backed by Nikki Yeoh’s Infinitum. Led by British jazz composer and pianist Nikki Yeoh, the trio also features siblings Michael Mondesir (bass) and Mark Mondesir (drums).
The BBC Young Jazz Musician 2022 Final was held on Saturday 19 November at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, in collaboration with the EFG London Jazz Festival. Each of the competition’s five finalists presented a 14-minute set including their own versions of music from the standard jazz repertoire, and at least one piece of their own arrangement or composition.
Ewan Hastie said: “The other finalists were fantastic and I really did not expect to win. I am overwhelmed with emotions. I am just so grateful to be part of the show and to be able to bring the trophy home to Scotland.”
Judge Claire Martin, OBE said: “We were so impressed with the way Ewan picked three contrasting tunes that he played brilliantly. He has fantastic harmonic knowledge, great chops, and we loved his soulful feeling on the bass. We thought he was daring choosing Chick Corea’s Humpty Dumpty on the bass – that’s just brave. We liked his energy, we liked the way he communicated with the other musicians – all in all he had everything for us. But it was very tough to decide: everybody was great and it was really hard, but in a competition there is always a winner, and we felt that Ewan was very deserving.”
The BBC Young Jazz Musician 2022 Finalists are: pianist Luke Bacchus (21) from London, in his final year as a jazz piano student at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance; Birmingham Conservatoire student pianist Nick Manz (21), born in Durham; Guildhall School of Music and Drama graduate, guitarist Ralph Porrett (23) from Shropshire, currently based in London; and saxophonist Emma Rawicz-Szczerbo (20), born in Devon and a current student at the Royal Academy of Music in London.
Suzy Klein, BBC Head of Arts and Classical Music TV, said: “It was thrilling to see the exceptional performances by these rising stars of the UK jazz scene, and to share them with audiences live at Southbank Centre and at home. BBC Young Jazz Musician is a real opportunity to witness the next generation of jazz stars as they take their first steps into the industry. Congratulations to Ewan Hastie and I can’t wait to see what comes next for all our talented finalists”.
Ewan Hastie follows in the footsteps of pianist Deschanel Gordon, who won the Competition in 2020 and is building a successful career performing in the UK and beyond, working with the likes of Mark Kavuma, Cassie Kinoshi’s SEED Ensemble and US-born singer Judi Jackson on stages at London’s Ronnie Scott’s, Jazz Café, and Barbican Centre, and at jazz festivals in Europe and the USA, including Moods in Zurich, New York’s Winter Jazz Festival, Jazz TM in Romania and Fasching in Sweden.
Deschanel performed at the BBC Young Jazz Musician 2022 Final, accompanied by the Mondesir brothers on the rhythm section. He presented his own composition I Know a Place.
Previous winners of BBC Young Jazz Musician include: saxophonist and composer Xhosa Cole, who won the Competition in 2018 and went on to win Breakthrough Act of the Year at the 2020 Jazz FM Awards and Jazz Newcomer of the Year in the 2019 Parliamentary Jazz Awards, with a performing schedule that has taken him to the most prestigious venues across the UK; trumpeter Alexandra Ridout, who was the 2016 BBC Young Jazz Musician, was nominated for the Parliamentary Jazz Awards in 2020 and was a British Jazz Awards “Rising Star” in 2018; and 2014 Winner saxophonist Alexander Bone, who went on to win the British Jazz Awards “Rising Star” in 2016, and regularly performs with his own bands at venues and festivals across the UK and Europe.
In addition to the television coverage on BBC Four, now available on iPlayer for 12 months, BBC Radio 3 will broadcast highlights from the event on Saturday 3 December as part of J to Z (also on BBC Sounds).
BBC Young Jazz Musician 2022 is managed and produced by BBC Studios Music Cardiff.