Tommy Blaize & NYJO Present: Ray Charles

October 17, 2022

Tommy Blaize & NYJO Present: The Music of Ray Charles


The father of Soul, Ray Charles changed the course of music history with his pioneering combination of gospel, jazz, and R&B. Nicknamed ‘the Genius’, he would become one of the most recognisable artists of the 20th century, his hoarse voice and passionate performances made him an icon, celebrated across the globe. A prolific pianist, singer, and composer, Charles was also an important figure in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s. His refusal to perform at racially segregated venues would lead to a life-ban from his home state of Georgia, who would later apologise and make his version of ‘Georgia on My Mind’ the official state anthem.



We are incredibly excited to announce that in 2023, NYJO is touring a programme in celebration of the history and immeasurable talent of Ray Charles – to whom all jazz musicians and fans alike owe so much – featuring the brilliant singer, Tommy Blaize. A fantastic opportunity to see a 19-piece band of some of the most talented young jazz musicians in the UK take the stage with one of the country’s finest vocalists.



Tommy Blaize


As lead singer of the BBC Strictly Come Dancing band, Tommy Blaize‘s powerful yet sensitive performances have helped create some of the most memorable TV moments of recent times. Singing live to an audience of more than 12 million every week, his soulful voice is etched in the public consciousness.

Tommy began his singing career at the tender age of nine with The Blaize Brothers, alongside siblings Tony and Darrin, playing in clubs across the North-West of England in the 1970s. In a career spanning a remarkable 50 years, Tommy has gone on to work with some of the world’s most legendary and renowned artists, from Diana Ross to Queen, The Beach Boys, Amy
Winehouse, Joe Cocker, and Stevie Wonder.

Him and his band are regulars on the London soul & blues scene, performing at venues such as Ronnie Scott’s, Jazz Café, 606 Club, and Pizza Express Live. Tommy also appears regularly as a guest artist at special events at Royal Albert Hall, Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Birmingham Symphony Hall, and BBC Radio 2’s Friday Night Is Music Night.



It’s very special to me to be going out on tour performing the iconic music of Ray Charles with this wonderful orchestra that launched the careers of so many of my close friends and peers. It’s a joy singing alongside such young, enthusiastic, and talented players who really appreciate this incredible repertoire, even if it’s ancient to them!

Tommy Blaize


Tour dates


03.03.2023 • Taunton Brewhouse • Somerset

04.03.2023  • Repertory Theatre • Stoke-on-Trent

10.03.2023 • Stoller Hall • Manchester

16.03.2023 • Norwich Playhouse • Norwich

26.03.2023 • The Concorde • Eastleigh

30.03.2023 • The Apex • Bury St Edmunds

01.04.2023 • Woolwich Works • London

03.04.2023 • Royal & Derngate • Northampton

07.04.2023 • Usher Hall • Edinburgh

26.04.2023 • The Lighthouse • Poole

08.07.23 • St George’s Church • Deal Festival

28.07.23 • Corn Exchange • King’s Lynn Festival

…& more to be announced!

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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