10 Young Jazz Musicians to Watch

Rising Jazz & Blues Stars

More than ever Scotland can boast a monstrously talented constellation of star young players who have emerged on the jazz scene in the last couple of years. Many have grouped around the Conservatoire in Glasgow, and play on a regular basis around the many bars and clubs in the city.

Here’s a new list that spotlights ten of the many young artists who making waves today with the sheer quality of what they produce or who are pushing jazz forward into new, experimental directions.

We’ve rounded up the bands and musicians that will prove how just how bold, fresh and undeniably alive jazz is in 2018

photo of Mark Hendry playing a bass


Described as “commanding” by The Times, the 19 year old saxophonist, is currently studying at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. He has played at Love Supreme Festival, Newport Jazz Festival and BBC Proms and according to Tommy Smith is  “fast becoming one of the leading lights in Scottish Jazz”.

The EJBF2018 he plays at The Jazz Bar at 10pm on Friday 13th July.


"There’s a punk energy to STRATA, a jazz ensemble that are as comfortable at the Royal Conservatoire as they are Bar Bloc" (The Skinny). Since Graduating from Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, drummer, Graham Costello has become just as involved in the Scottish jazz scene as the independent/underground scene, having performed live at BBC’s Jazz Nights at the Quay, the Glasgow Jazz Festival, but also playing Kelburn Garden Party, headlining Stirling’s independent festival Strange Behaviours.

They make their EHBF2018 debut on Wednesday 18th July at 9pm at The Jazz Bar


Fresh from playing to thousands at the Love Supreme Festival, this group is a youthful collective with musicians based all over Scotland, the UK, the US and Asia. Members include winners and finalists in both Scottish Young Jazz and Young Trad Musician of the Year competitions. With a host of international and Festival performances and three albums under their belt their trademark mix of jazz/funk/pop/ jigs and reels led BBC Radio Scotland to dub them “one of the best bands in British music full stop."

For EJBF2018, Fat-Suit launch the new late night Festival Club at Teviot.


Inspired by Charles Mingus to play the bass, Mark Hendry is currently studying Jazz at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Aged 20 he shows a scarcely believable maturity writing brilliantly; creating absorbing, impactful, and exciting new music that appeals to a wide-range of audiences marrying Jazz, Classical, Folk and Rock worlds.

He showcases both his Octet and two new suites written for large ensemble (23 musicians on stage). The first is centred around Endangered Species, the second on George Orwell‘s dystopian classic “1984”.

Mark Hendry Octet plays as part of the New Wave of Scottish Jazz on Saturday 14th July at Teviot

Mark Hendry Large Ensemble plays at Teviot on Friday 20th July


Jazzwise Magazine praises “the fragile beauties of Lightbody’s voice”. Growing up in Chicago she was immersed in American music — from Billie Holiday to James Taylor – which influenced her eclectic range of material from classic jazz standards/ blues and some well loved show tunes. Since graduating from Strathclyde University with a  first class degree in Applied Music, she now works with a host of other young musicians. For EJBF 2018 she is joined by a superb band featuring Tom Gibbs (piano) and top young London saxophonist, Matthew Herd.

She plays at The Jazz Bar at 10pm on Friday 20th July.


Aged just 24, guitarist Joe Williamson is a force to be reckoned with on the Scottish jazz scene, leading a myriad of bands. The Times noted his “expressive improvisation” and he has just won the title of Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year 2018. Joe is nothing if not collaborative and for EJBF2018 has teamed up with another leading Scottish jazz guitarist Ben MacDonald to play the music one of the greatest guitarists in the history of jazz, Wes Montgomery who virtually defined modern jazz guitar during the 1950s and 60s

They play at the Jazz Bar on Sunday 15th July 


20 year old Fergus McCreadie, leads a Trio whose album “Turas” shows off the leader’s thrilling compositions, with Scottish traditional music and American jazz as combined inspirations. The Trio are all brilliant musicians and bring an extraordinary level of creative energy and excitement to every performance. “Engaging, combining dash with sensitivity” (The Scotsman)

They play as part of the New Wave of Scottish Jazz on Saturday 14th July at Teviot and also at Piccolo on Saturday 21 July and at Oslo Jazz Festival as part of Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival partnership with Oslo Jazz Festival.


Steeped in the world of classic jazz standards, Luca has a musical maturity beyond his
years, his clarity and authenticity make jazz compositions new and old sound timeless and fresh. A gifted improviser as well as a singer, he is currently attending The Guildhall School of Music, supported by the Guildhall School scholarship fund, The Cross Trust and The Dewar Arts Awards. For EJBF2018 he is joined by another compelling young singer, Irini Arabatzi

Luca duets with Alan Banzie as part of the New Wave of Scottish Jazz on Saturday 14th July at Teviot

Luca and Irini play at Piccolo on Saturday 21 July


Led by award-wining double bassist David Bowden, who graduated from the Royal Conservatoire after being awarded the Yamaha Scholarship award as well as winning the Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the year 2017. He has also studied music in Ghana and adds uplifting world music flavours into Mexcla’s fresh and vibrant jazz. Mezcla has appeared at the BBC Music’s ‘Biggest Weekend’ festival 2018 and as part of Jazz FM’s ‘Jazz in the Round’ in London.

They play The Jazz Bar on Thursday 19 July


Winner of the coveted Rising Star Award at the Scottish Jazz Awards 2017, the pianist is immersed in the jazz tradition and has just been featured on BBC Radio Scotland

For EJBF2018 Urquhart, teams up with Chet expert, trumpeter, Colin Steele, to recreate a magical moment in jazz history: in the mid 50s with Cool Jazz at its peak in LA, the pin-up young man with the horn, Chet Baker, formed his own group for the first time, with the pianist, Russ Freeman. 

They play at Teviot on Wednesday 18 July