22 year old, Deschanel Gordon, becomes BBC Young Jazz Musician for 2020

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Pianist and Hackney native, Deschanel Gordon, wins the BBC Young Jazz Musician competition for 2020 in collaboration with the EFG London Jazz Festival.

The twenty-two-year-old Hackney-born jazz pianist was revealed as Young Jazz Musician on BBC Four last night (22 November), presented by award-winning saxophonist-compose YolanDa Brown.

Gordon impressed the judging panel, which included saxophonist Nubya Garcia; multi-instrumentalist and NYJO senior trustee Orphy Robinson; and trumpeter, composer and NYJO Alumn Guy Barker. His impressive performance was accompanied by a rhythm section of siblings Michael Mondesir (bass) and Mark Mondesir (drums) and led by British jazz composer and pianist Nikki Yeoh. Deschanel presented his own arrangement of Kenny Garrett’s ‘Haynes Here’; a solo piano rendition of Monk’s classic ‘Round Midnight’; and his own reggae-infused composition ‘Awaiting’. 

The socially-distanced final was held on Saturday 14 November at London’s Cadogan Hall in collaboration with the EFG London Jazz Festival. Each of the competition’s five finalist performed on stage with Nikki Yeoh’s Infinitum, presenting a 15-minute set including their own renditions of music from the standard jazz repertoire, and at least one piece of their own arrangement or composition.

“I had an amazing time playing and hearing the other musicians in the finals. Especially in a year where live music has been stifled, any opportunity to play is very special to me.  Being able to share the stage with Nikki Yeoh’s band Infinitum was definitely a highlight.”

Deschanel Gordon
Deschanel Gordon performing earlier this year on the 606 Club live stream 

 “Deschanel displayed a wonderful mature sound and approach. He possesses an assured command of different styles, while at the same time adding his own individual touch, flair, and technical competence. He conveyed a quiet confidence with some beautiful and fluent dialogue brought to the musical rapport between himself and the first class rhythm section of Mark and Michael Mondesir. It will be interesting to watch Deschanel’s progress as he builds what looks like a very promising future.”

Orphy Robinson

Everyone at NYJO would like to send a huge congratulations to Deschanel, as well as each of the other finalists, which included saxophonist, Matt Carmichael; saxophonist, Alex Clarke; guitarist, Ralph Porrett; and double bassist, Kielan Sheard.  


For those that missed it, you can catch the full event via BBC iPlayer right now!

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