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Despite being pumped full of classical music from an early age, Nigel Kennedy has always had an instinct for playing jazz. Indeed, it was while he was honing his classical violin skills at the Yehudi Menuhin School in Surrey that a visit from jazz fiddler Stephane Grappelli opened his ears to the instrument’s wider potential.

“Grappelli came to the school when I was 11 or 12, and that really turned me on to the possibilities of the violin in improvised forms of music,” he recalls. “He asked us ‘does anyone want to play?’ and I had my fiddle there and I said ‘yeah’. He was really happy that someone from three generations underneath him was interested in the same music.”

Kennedy’s new double album, named in typically idiosyncratic fashion A Very Nice Album, marks his boldest excursion into jazz so far. His previous outings, 2006’s Blue Note Sessions and his 1999 album Nigel Kennedy Plays Jazz, focused on interpreting compositions from past masters of the jazz repertoire, but this time Kennedy steps to the fore as composer as well as improviser.

This competition is now closed. The winner is as follow:
Rachel Harding, Kent, TN9