“A fantastic opportunity”

Nearing one year from their victory, we asked the Alex Hitchcock Quintet – a London-based band composed of Alex Hitchcock (tenor sax), James Copus (trumpet), Will Barry (keyboard), Joe Downard (bass), and Jay Davis (drums) – to talk to us about their experience at Umbria Jazz, their emotions and any advice they would give to someone who decides to enter the Contest.

**Let’s talk about you. When did you start playing together? And what made you decide to enter this contest? **

We started playing together while studying at the Royal Academy of Music in London three years ago. We joined the contest when I found it online and there were lots of great bands who had already submitted entries, so we were inspired to enter!

You triumphed at the last edition of the Conad Jazz Contest. What was your experience like? What was it like competing with other guys who share your same passion?

It was great and very flattering to win. There were lots of deserving entries and it was great to check out some of the other bands in more depth online. Generally I don’t tend to think of music as a competition but it was a fantastic opportunity for the ten finalists.

How would you evaluate your experience at Umbria Jazz festival?

We had a brilliant time at both the summer and winter festivals! The piazza where we played in the summer was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever played. And then the audience indoors at Palazzo del Populo in Orvieto was really supportive and attentive. We were looked after really well by the festival and it was great to see gigs by people like Vijay Iyer and Andrea Pozza. We jammed with Dayna Stephens in Orvieto as well!

**What happened after your victory? **

We were very lucky to receive €5000 prize money which we put towards travel and the release of our debut recording ‘All Good Things’, which is released in May on the Spanish label Fresh Sound New Talent. Winning the competition was a great boost in profile for the band and we hope to return to Italy to play again soon!

**Would you recommend it to your peers too? **

I’d certainly recommend that young musicians enter as it’s a fantastic opportunity to play at a really important festival and to start to make your name known in Europe.

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