NYJO Stories: Dan Coulthurst

July 12, 2022

Dan Coulthurst was raised in a musical family and started learning the trumpet aged 8. After initially pursuing a keen interest in classical music, Dan found his true passion in Jazz – particularly Big Band. During his time studying at Leeds College of Music, Dan got involved in as many different musical activities as possible, which included performing with world renowned artists such as Baptise Herbin and Iain Ballamy.  

Having the opportunity to perform and rehearse Big Band music so regularly made Dan perfectly suited to joining the Jazz Orchestra, which he did in 2019. Dan is also a band leader and composer for his own quartet, ‘The Dan Coulthurst Quartet’ that has performed at a number of concerts such as Wakefield Jazz Festival and as the support band for Mike Walker at Seven Arts as well as having a twice monthly residency at Sela Bar, Leeds. 

As a member of NYJO, Dan has had the opportunity to play at venues such as Ronnie Scotts Jazz Club and Leeds Town Hall as well as being commissioned to perform music composed by saxophonist Josephine Davies. Dan is not only a gifted versatile musician, but his efforts for NYJO have spanned multiple projects and initiatives, including his mentor/support work in NYJO Learning, utilising his experience to give back to generation below. 

As well as having a keen passion for Jazz, Dan also writes and plays in the Neo-Soul outfit Mamilah. Following the release of their first EP ‘Moonlight Walking’ Mamilah have been featured frequently on Alan Raw’s BBC Introducing Show in West Yorkshire, being highlighted on his ‘Ones to Watch in 2019’ broadcast and featured on Bandcamp’s ‘Best Soul of August 2018’ article. Earlier this year Mamilah released their second EP ‘Talk Less’ to great acclaim, with Jazz Revelations reviewing the EP and giving it 4 out of 5 stars whilst the lead single from the EP ‘Speak Freedom’, was added to BBC Sounds’ playlist ‘Working From Home Mix’. During last summer Mamilah played at a number of festivals including Boomtown Festival and El Dorado Festival. 

Now 25, Dan will look beyond NYJO and seek to apply his talents to new projects. Whatever they will be, we have every faith will be well worth taking the time to check out. 

Lucy-Anne (EP quote)

“Since joining NYJO, I’m so much more confident as a performer. Especially in terms of being able to entertain and keep the crowd engaged with you. It’s really nice to be able to feel that difference.” 

Lucy-Anne, NYJO Emerging Professional (Vocals)

Georgia (EP quote)

“It’s hard to just learn this music in the practice room but being immersed in the music at NYJO is a great environment to really push my playing. ” 

Georgia Ayew, NYJO Emerging Professional (Drums)

Sam Eastmond (MD quote)

"Giving them space to create whatever they wanted, without setting parameters of idiom or style helped them to conceptualise how they could bring these new concepts into their work without scaring them off, or mystifying the process."

Sam Eastmond, NYJO Educator

Jazzwise quote

"NYJO has never been conformist, never hewing to one particular line, never known for fawning replications and very deliberately these days a vehicle for new possibilities."

Jazzwise Magazine

Lydia (EP quote)

"The past year has been an absolutely incredible experience, pushing me way out of my comfort zone into playing with some of the greatest young jazz players of my generation and getting to call them my colleagues and friends has been beyond inspiring, and also an obscene amount of fun!"

Lydia Cochrane, NYJO Emerging Professional (Saxophone)

Anna (Learning national quote)

"[The NYJO residential in Cumbria] helped me to make friends with other young musicians. I enjoy playing a lot more and I’m quite proud of what I’ve accomplished. I feel more confident now. I have learnt different ways of coming up with solid melodies and also a little bit on harmonies. I think it’s been one of the best experiences I’ve ever had."

Anna, NYJO Learning Widening Access participant

Briony (Learning U18s quote)

"I’ve felt very fortunate to be surrounded by amazing musicians, and I think that the environment at NYJO – which has fostered creativity and improvisation – has allowed my confidence and musical ideas to grow."

Briony, NYJO Under 18s

Oscar (Learning U18s quote)

"I think I’ve progressed a lot in my piano-playing. NYJO has helped me to flourish and really enjoy it. I’ve really enjoyed being engrossed in a high level of playing and learning things in a hands-on-way. I also like the diversity of perspectives and abilities of all the players and teachers which enables me to try things I might not normally."

Oscar, NYJO Under 18s

Jennie (Learning U18s quote)

"NYJO has got me listening to more jazz and learning more changes. It has also helped with working as a band. I’ve really enjoyed the free jazz, learning by ear, the people, and the atmosphere."

Jennie, NYJO Under 18s

Leah-Anais (Learning U18s quote)

"I love the people at NYJO. Everyone here is so encouraging and lovely and it makes the experience worthwhile. Though I have fun I’m still learning on the way which makes me feel productive too."

Leah-Anais, NYJO Under 18s

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