The UK has always been a musical melting pot of new sounds and ideas within the music idiom. right across the board in every genre of music imagined or not, musicians from the Diaspora have made their mark,either as celebrated composers in the classical music world like Samuel Coolridge Taylor,Rudolph Dunbar,through to the world of Jazz ,that have included celebrated artists like ken “Snakehips” Johnson. Joe Harriott, Shake Keane, Harry Beckett, In the last century during the early 1980s a large group of young black musicians who included amongst their number Julian Joseph, Steve Williamson,Courtney Pine, Cleveland Watkiss,Mark Mondesir,Gary Crosby & Orphy Robinson and who were all first generation Caribbean descendants, rose to prominence on the Jazz scene with some also securing major recording contracts with famous iconic record labels,they proceeded to change the style,sound and landscape of Jazz within the UK. Where previously opportunities to pursue professional careers might of been scarce through various questionable social aspects of the UK, these musicians were able to overcome some of these difficulties and make their mark. Talented Musicians and Composers have continued to rise up and contribute to the growing library of top class music synonymous with the Uk, these have included Dennis Rollins,Soweto Kinch,Tony Kofi, Errollyn Wallen, Shirley Thompson, Shabaka Hutchens, Jason Yards, Rowland Sutherland and many more in a wide variety of music genres, gaining well deserved awards and accolades on the International music stages over the past 50 years.
In 2011, the Open University secured a grant to research an area of music termed Black British Jazz. The environment & some of the conditions that had led to the creation of the original Jazz Warriors were found to be still prevalent in the UK. In response to these and other issues that had led to calls for change, A new organisation was created to take on the mantle and spirit of The Jazz Warriors, To address, Create,Innovate & Educate in 2011 and onwards. The Jazz Warriors International (TJWI), will continue to embrace the beliefs of the original band but have a wider organisational remit. This will include focus on Education,Mentoring programmes,Events promotion,Research and Development in the creation of historical archives as well as charitable initiatives.The Jazz Warriors International will broaden out the focus of their music to include talent from other disciplines within the Arts.
WHO WE ARE
Cleveland is a Multi Award Winning Vocalist-Composer, actor & voice coach, with over 25 years experience, has shared the stage with the original Jazz Warriors and its associated members. Kenny Wheeler & John Taylor Big Bands, BBC Big Band & Orchestras; Internationally acclaimed USA artist like: Art Blakey, Jon Hendricks, Steve Coleman, Cassandra Wilson, Wynton & Branford Marsalis, right up to the new wave of young vibrant artists UK’s Soweto Kinch and Gwilym Simcock.
Orphy’s musical career has been well documented on the International stage, he has the distinction to have been one of the few select musicians outside America to have been signed to the legendary record label ‘Blue Note records’. Orphy has also greatly contributed to ground breaking initiatives in Music Education with one of these being an integral member of the design and content team for the ABRSM award winning online Educational presence ‘Sound Junction’.