Composer, arranger, producer, musical director and saxophonist Jason Yarde writes music that has been described as powerful, spiritual, evocative, rhapsodic, hair-raising and formidable. He composes across various styles (progressive jazz, classical, hip-hop, fusion, free improvisation, broken beats, R&B, reggae, soul, song writing) and for a variety of media (orchestras, chamber ensembles, big band, dance, film, electro-acoustic and midi) and his potential and originality is such that he was nominated for the Bird Award at the 2004 North Sea Jazz Festival and for the Jazz on 3 Innovation Award for the 2005 and 2006 BBC Jazz Awards. In 2006 Jason participated in the LSO's Discovery Panufnik Young Composers Scheme and has since progressed to be a LSO-UBS Sound Adventures Artist. Most recently his Proms compositional debut Rhythm and Other Fascinations won the first ever BASCA award for Contemporary Jazz Composition in 2010.
He has a BA (Hons) in Performance Arts from Middlesex University - a degree incorporating a year at William Paterson College in New Jersey where he studied orchestration, studio engineering, jazz performance and saxophone under Joe Lovano, Gary Smulyan and Steve Wilson. Since then heʼs been a key member of award winning groups Quite Sane, J-Life and a longtime sideman of Louis Moholo.
As well as composing for his own performance projects – ACOUTASTiC BOMBASTiC, Trio !WAH! & MY Duo – he has written for dance (JazzX-Change, Phoenix Dance Company, Garth Fagan Dance), music theatre (Jonzi-Dʼs Aeroplane Man), and opera (composing The Big But as part of Tete-a-Tete's Blind Date season). He is also active in the contemporary UK urban scene having written music, lyrics and arrangements for artists such as Julie Dexter and the Mercury Music Prize nominees Terri Walker and rapper Ty. He has arranged for many groups including Shadow, Kronos Quartet, Plan B, Guy Barker and Hugh Masekela in collaboration with both Jazz Jamaica All Stars and with the London Symphony Orchestra. Other work in this area includes the critically acclaimed Future Sounds of Jazz project which featured many of the leading lights of the British jazz scene and his collaboration with Grime producer DaVinChe on the arrangements for the ground-breaking Urban Classic – a project which featured some of the UKʼs most exciting Grime artists and the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Charles Hazlewood.