In Saturday night’s grand final (broadcast on BBC Four on the following Sunday evening) each musician played a 16-minute set, which included at least one piece they had written or arranged themselves. Xhosa Cole (pictured right by Jai Jethwa) played his own Moving Ladywood, Johnny Green’s I Cover The Waterfront and John Coltrane’s Moment’s Notice. All contestants were backed by Paula Gardiner (bass), Asaf Sirkis (drums), and leader Gwilym Simcock (piano).
Cole emerged as the winner of the competition and said: “It’s been amazing to represent and have been represented at this prestigious celebration of jazz music in the UK. The calibre of musicianship and passion for jazz music displayed on the stage today has been incredibly inspiring to be a part of”. Handsworth-born Cole has played saxophone in the Jazzlines Ensemble, Birmingham Schools Symphony Orchestra and Midland Youth Jazz Orchestra among others. While studying in sixth form, he attended courses with the National Youth Jazz Collective and National Youth Wind Orchestra. He performs and teaches regularly around Birmingham.