Jazz-at-heart is an organisation created to promote jazz events and education in the Headingley area of North Leeds and based at the community-run arts and enterprise centre called HEART (www.heartcentre.org.uk).

Leeds is fortunate in having the first ever jazz degree course running at Leeds College of Music and it produces outstanding jazz musicians many of whom spend time playing in and around Leeds both during and after their studies. Leeds also benefits from a thriving jazz scene and a large number of enthusiastic supporters who have heard major figures play at venues in the city in recent years, most strikingly at 7Arts for Seven Jazz (http://www.sevenjazz.co.uk/).

When Headingley residents succeeded in turning the old Headingley Primary School into a thriving arts centre, it was clear that music should be high on the list of priorities for creating a new buzz around the centre of Headingley. Jazz is just one of the genres which are being promoted at HEART, but it is already making a difference to the scene in Headingley with a programme of events and workshops which cater for a wide age range of fans and musicians.

The two original (mid-2011) motivations driving the development of jazz-at-heart still remain. The first is to provide opportunities for young jazz musicians who are striving to make their way into a notoriously difficult career. These opportunities include playing in the house band (usually whilst still students) at jam sessions, playing gigs in the main performance space at HEART (the Shire Oak Room) and running workshops for adult learners. The second motivation behind jazz-at-heart is to provide high quality jazz education for adults in the area as well as exceptional gigs for local residents to attend without having to travel a long distance (or stay up too late!).

This website lists all the current activities planned by jazz-at-heart, but do get in touch if you have ideas of activities or bands that you think would fit the aims of the organisation.

Lesley Jeffries (lesley@jazz-at-heart.org.uk)

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