Playing the bass from the tender age of 12 (they sat her on a high stool until she grew tall enough!), Jen was classically trained and studied music at Cambridge University. Having been immersed in classical music, with a particular love of the baroque, she left university with no idea what to play when there wasn’t a piece of sheet music in front of her! A trip to France saw her studying bass at Strasbourg Conservatoire, where her journey into improvisation in other genres began. There followed a decade of fun, touring and diverse music making in the beautiful city of Edinburgh, and a couple of years on a small island off the north west coast of Scotland, where the idea for Songs of Separation was born and the album was recorded.
Jen has just completed what turned out to be an epic project! Intended to be a small-scale recording project, with just 1000 copies to be sold online, SoS grew to be a huge touring ensemble, with sold out shows and rave reviews, culminating in a nomination for Best Album at the Scottish Trad Awards. For Jen, it was an immersion in the industry, involving producing, promoting, booking, managing, providing tour support, media appearances, delightful admin and so much learning!!
Watch the video to find out more…
During her time living in the Scottish Highlands, Jen was developing material for her own project, a bass-centred album which will be inspired by the work she’s been doing in the trad arena, but which takes a different approach to the ‘role’ of the bass in this genre. Inspired by bassist such as Avashai Cohen, Jen is in the early stages of bringing together a top-notch ensemble to create the work, along with writing mad bass lines and having harmonic adventures.
She’s also exploring the possibility of a second phase of Songs of Separation, which will give opportunities to other women musicians through rural recording retreats. Read about these early plans here.