Winner of the 2018 BBC Young Jazz Musician of the year, Xhosa Cole is an embodiment of the success of numerous community arts programmes in Birmingham. Having grown up in Handsworth and first played the Tenor at Andy Hamilton’s Ladywood Community Music School, he’s now among a long legacy of Birmingham Saxophonists.
Xhosa’s earliest memories of the arts are with ACE Youth Dance group. However, since playing in Holyhead School’s Jazz band with Ray Prince and Sid Peacock he decided to pursue music and joined the Jazzlines Ensemble, Birmingham Schools Symphony Orchestra, Midland youth Jazz Orchestra among others. While studying at Bishop Vesey’s Sixth Form Xhosa attended courses with the National Youth Jazz Collective and National Youth Wind Orchestra.
Xhosa continually pushes his playing while studying with teachers and mentors including Mike Williams, Jim Bashford and Percy Pursglove; Performing regularly around Birmingham; Writing for commissions by the Ideas of Noise Festival and Bobbie-Jane Gardener’s ‘For-Wards’ and teaching Birmingham’s next generation of talent alongside his former teacher Toni Grehan.