Blue Jam

Op.61 1983

David Hellewell

An outstanding 14-year-old student, Maja Elliott, of the “Mister D” Music Academy won second prize in the national “Best Young Pop Pianist Competition” of 1982 playing Hellewell’s “Crazy Calypso”. The first prize was won by a 17-year-old youth playing an Oscar Peterson-type virtuoso jazz improvisation.
This inspired Hellewell to write a comparable hi-tech jazz piece for the young Maja to play, which she ultimately did.
A “Jam Session “ is a get-together of jazz musicians for a improvising session - usually pretty ‘hot’, loud and exciting! (Hellewell was one such jazz musician) The blues chord sequence - the chord basis of many jam sessions - is usually 12 bars long, endlessly repeated, using the three basic chords of a key: hence the title BLUE JAM. But, as usual, Hellewell stretches this blues form and sequence into a more complex, virtuoso piece for solo piano - a real show piece!

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