Jacky Naylor is a jazz pianist, composer and educator based in London. He leads his own trio Meraki, alongside Nick Jurd and Jonathan Silk, who are releasing their debut album in September 2020 on Ubuntu Music. In addition, he leads his Sextet, formed in 2019 for a commission from Lancaster Jazz Festival titled ‘Industrial’. A dynamic composer, Naylor’s debut release was ‘Rough Boundaries’ - a suite of original big band music written about five contrasting cities - which he recorded with Birmingham Jazz Orchestra in 2016.
Whilst growing up in the Yorkshire Dales, the worlds of jazz and professional music were remote. Jacky started studying with Mark Donlon, towards the end of his time at secondary school. In 2012 he received a Leverhulme scholarship to study a BMus (Hons) at Birmingham Conservatoire. During years one and two, Jacky was lucky to receive 1-1 tuition from John Taylor, a gold-standard role model both inside and outside the teaching room. In his third year, Jacky won the Conservatoire’s Composition and Arranging prize, judged by Judy Niemack (New York/Berlin), and was awarded a lesson with Maria Schneider. This interest in big band composition led to his debut album, Rough Boundaries, which sought to capture the characters of five contrasting cities through the diverse sounds and moods of a jazz orchestra. The album received four-star reviews from major jazz publications as well as being featured on Radio 3 and Jazz FM.
The album was launched, subsequently, at Symphony Hall, Birmingham, and The Vortex, London. For one piece in particular, ‘Bilbao’, Jacky won the Dankworth Composition Prize in 2016. It was part of a formative year as Jacky made a significant step from student to professional performer, reaching the semi-finals of BBC Young Jazz Musician, and graduating from Birmingham Conservatoire with First Class Honours.
After graduating, Jacky worked as a freelance musician but hoped to pursue education and relocate to London. In 2017 he applied to The Royal Academy and received the Barbara Kesterton award and entrance scholarship. His trio, Meraki, completed its debut tour in April 2019. Thanks to generous support from Arts Council England, Meraki recorded a first album with Real World Studios, which is due to be released in 2020. Jacky would like to thank the Tarn Moor Trust for their financial contribution towards his ongoing studies.
Lancaster Jazz Festival Youth Commission 2019
Barbara Kesterton Award (Entrance Scholarship) (Royal Academy of Music)
John Dankworth Award for Big Band Composition 2017
BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year 2016 - Semi finalist
Mike Gibbs Big Band Composition & Arranging Prize (Royal Birmingham Conservatoire)
Leverhulme Trust Entrance Scholarship (Royal Birmingham Conservatoire)
"Jacky Naylor is a fantastic creative musician, both as a player and as a composer, leading his own exciting and dynamic trio” - Kit
“(Naylor) has the potential to establish himself as a leading player of his generation internationally” - Hans Koller.
“One hears shades and echoes of Kenny Wheeler, Gil Evans and Maria Schnieder as well as the improvisatory flexibility of Graham
Collier and Django Bates” - LondonJazzNews