photo credit: Benjamin Amure
Know Your Greatness (KYG) is our ongoing career development programme for up and coming jazz musicians consisting of mentoring, showcase opportunities and support with securing funds to build successful and sustainable careers.
Our impact between 2014 to 2016:
- 40 artists
- 14 mentees
- 36 gigs
- 26 days of research and development workshops, including script and music development
- 60+ hours of mentoring sessions plus on going support
- Approx. 5,000 audience members
- Reached over 1,000,000 people via press and radio
- 1 EP launch
- 2 album launches
- 3 City Music Foundation awardees
- 2 Steve Reid Innovation awardees
- 1 Associate Artist for the Abram Wilson Foundation
- 4 new workshop leaders for our Achieve Your Greatness programme
Kansas Smitty’s Case Study
‘We love working with the Abram Wilson Foundation because Jennie is really good at identifying passion in people early on and then turning that into something tangible. She’s been brilliant at helping us to stay on top of what we’re doing and keep growing.’ – KYG mentee and band leader, Giacomo Smith
The Abram Wilson Foundation started mentoring Kansas Smitty’s founder and band leader, Giacomo Smith, in 2014. We helped him secure two-year support from the City Music Foundation, which in turn resulted in the release of the superb Kansas Smitty’s House Band’s debut album in October 2015.
Today Kansas Smitty’s consists of the Kansas Smitty’s House Band and an ever-increasing community of young jazz musicians. They have recorded and released a second album, sold out Shoreditch Town Hall at the London Jazz Festival 2016, received praise from the critics, including the Evening Standard, the Sunday Times, and the Telegraph, and even opened their own jazz bar in East London!
In 2016, Kansas Smitty’s ‘graduated’ to become Associate Artists of the Abram Wilson Foundation and their founder, Giacomo, is now one of our Achieve Your Greatness workshop leaders.
Reuben James Case Study
‘Abram is one of the reasons I’m doing what I’m doing today and I hope that by being a patron of the Abram Wilson Foundation I can help carry on his legacy and inspire others to live out their greatness.’ – Reuben James, critically-acclaimed jazz musician and Abram Wilson Foundation patron.
Reuben was just 17 when he was asked to join Abram’s band, offering him a chance to raise his profile as a jazz musician and develop his skills as a pianist. A year later, Reuben was identified by The Times as ‘fast becoming Britain’s best young jazz pianist’ and later went on to win the British Jazz ‘Rising Star’ award.
In 2013 Reuben was given an opportunity to play with an up and coming singer called Sam Smith. He is now back from a world tour and numerous award ceremonies performing on Smith’s multi-award winning album, In The Lonely Hour.
He continues to play jazz, recording with Soweto Kinch and touring with Jason Marsalis, whilst also working on his own soulful electro-funk project, KINGDM, and acting as music director for new pop star, Calum Scott.
Abram valued the power of teaching. He stood out as an educator because he could teach anybody regardless of age, ability or experience. He taught creatively and passionately often inviting much younger musicians like Reuben to join his bands, providing a unique opportunity for them to learn from him through rehearsals and gigs.
Abram gave Reuben a chance to discover his greatness and we want the Abram Wilson Foundation to do the same for the other Reubens that are out there.
In 2016 Reuben became the first patron of the Abram Wilson Foundation.