Not many lovers of Jazz music – of music in general – will recognise the name of Patricia India Pascal. However, those who have followed the fortunes of Carmen Souza, the iconic vocalist from Cape Verde and the UK and her musical partner, the great bassist and composer, Theo Pascal might recognise Miss Pascal albeit as a mere signature at the bottom of email correspondence with Carmen Souza and Theo Pascal’s management, for whom Miss Pascal does everything, from everyday admin to booking concerts, making travel plans, taking photographs for album covers and being the all-round dogsbody.
But there has always been another side to Patricia India Pascal. She is and has always been passionate about music – Jazz music in particular. And it seems that she has harboured a secret desire to “Do something about it”. Apparently that desire could not be held in secret any longer for a couple of years ago it exploded. Today the burgeoning UK and soon to be European organisation #JazzNewBlood became a reality. Helmed by this manager-photographer and now director of arguably the biggest thing to happen in the realm of advocacy for young and emerging Jazz musicians in the UK and Europe, #JazzNewBlood is all the rage of Britain.
Miss Pascal is also – probably most importantly – the mother of two prodigiously gifted musicians: a son, Zeñel (Zoe), a drummer who is much in demand not only among musicians of his age, but who also punches way above his weight and has drummed for his father, Theo Pascal on recent recordings for him and Carmen Souza, among other groups who have been busy in and around London. And then there is India, Zoe’s younger sister and a pianist and bassist who is currently being put through her paces at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, in addition to playing professional gigs around London as well. The two are arguably Miss Pascal’s best and most important “gig” and she speaks of them often and with great pride.
Recently, I asked Miss Pascal if she would be willing to put into perspective into “her third child”, #JazzNewBlood, one that she has given birth to and continues to nurture with just as much passion and pride as she has done the two young geniuses whom she also gave birth to. I was gratified when she agreed to found the time for a detailed conversation:
Raul da Gama: First of all congratulations on #JazzNewBlood… What a terrific name that speaks to the visceral qualities of the music… How did you think of this name?
Patricia India Pascal: Thank you Raul for taking interest in this project! #JazzNewBlood intends to be a window into the future talent in the present time = Jazz+Future+Now.
I live in London and I truly believe, right now, this city is the European Capital of Youth Jazz. The UK scene is, presently, the most vibrant and talked about jazz scene in Europe. The collection of featured articles in both national and international media outlets regarding the UK Jazz scene is truly impressive. The Guardian, The Times, Telegraph, i-d.vice, NY Times, and the Rolling Stone review are all over us. Talented young Jazz players lead the ‘movement’ taking UK Jazz forward and the vibe is tremendous.
I see myself surrounded by a slew of outstanding talent in this millennial generation that is giving a ‘transfusion’ of new blood into Jazz, revitalising it. The word is, this new generation is provoking a ‘reboot’, initiating a revitalisation process that is making jazz more inclusive, accessible to a younger audiences, and cooler than ever before.
It might look like a sudden movement but this generation has been trained and nurtured for years by several Jazz talent development programs operating mostly in London. Organisations like Tomorrow´s Warriors, National Youth Jazz Orchestra, Junior Jazz at Royal Academy of Music, are just a few of the programs teaching children as young as 10 years old, around the UK, the alphabet of a universal language called Jazz.