Winner of 2018 BBC Young Jazz Musician announced

22-year-old saxophonist Xhosa Cole has won this year’s competition

Published: November 26, 2018 at 11:15 am

Saxophonist Xhosa Cole has been crowned BBC Young Jazz Musician 2018. The 22-year-old was announced as the winner at the competition’s grand final at the Queen Elizabeth Hall at London’s Southbank Centre as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival.


Each musician played a 16-minute set, including at least one piece they had written or arranged themselves. Cole played Johnny Green’s ‘I Cover the Waterfront’, John Coltrane’s ‘Moment’s Notice’ and an original composition entitled ‘Moving Ladywood’.

The other four finalists, aged between 18 and 22, all played either the bass or piano.

Cole is based in Birmingham, and has performed in the Jazzlines Ensemble, Midland Youth Jazz Orchestra, the National Youth Jazz Collective and National Youth Wind Orchestra.

The judging panel was made up of jazz artists and composers including Monty Alexander, Zara McFarlane and Iain Ballamy.

‘Xhosa’s performance was so heartfelt, sincere and communicative’, says Iain Ballamy. ‘It’s easy to see he has such a deep and genuine love of the tradition that gave us such a convincing performance on the night.’


The BBC Four coverage of the final will be available to view here on BBC iPlayer for 30 days, and BBC Radio 3 will be broadcasting highlights of the event in its J to Z programme on Saturday 1 December at 5pm.


Freya ParrDigital Editor and Staff Writer, BBC Music Magazine

Freya Parr is BBC Music Magazine's Digital Editor and Staff Writer. She has also written for titles including the Guardian, Circus Journal, Frankie and Suitcase Magazine, and runs The Noiseletter, a fortnightly arts and culture publication. Freya's main areas of interest and research lie in 20th-century and contemporary music.

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