Jack Mac’s Jazz Journal – Master of Jazz

Why hello there, it’s been quite some time now!  Since the last update we’ve had GDPR, an England FIFA World Cup Semi-Final match and a Royal Wedding!  Now, it’s the hot summer of 2018 and I am very pleased to say I have successfully completed my Master’s Degree in Jazz at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, having graduated on 6th July.  It has been two years of blood, sweat and tears but I have so enjoyed extending my knowledge of this fascinating genre of music, as well as improving my technique on the saxophone. I have also made some really good friends and I hope we will continue to gig together whenever the opportunity arises.


The Funk Pack continues to grow and gain new followers at the various venues where we have performed. In addition to regular appearances at Porter’s in Cardiff together with The Old Duke and Mr Wolf’s in Bristol, the Funk Pack have played their Funky music to a wider audience. This has included the RWCMD student union, Elixirs in Swansea, Buffalo’s Beer Garden and the Philharmonic in Cardiff as well as several private functions. The icing on the cake was when The Funk Pack were asked to perform at the opening for the 250th Summer Exhibition at the Royal Acadamy of Art in London back in June. This was an amazing gig and an experience that will long stay in the memory of all of us. It is also with great pleasure to say that my debut album with the Funk Pack, Swagger Mac, will be released this coming October! It has been several months worth of work and I am so grateful to all involved! Keep an eye out for upcoming singles from the album being released in advance over the coming months!




Having performed my final recital with my Jazz Quintet at the RWCMD Amser Jazz Time Festival, I now look forward to pursuing more opportunities to develop my Jazz ensembles in the coming months! I have already been booked in early 2109 to appear with my Jazz Quintet at a concert with the Malmesbury Abbey Music Society and there are several other opportunities I wish to pursue. I’m also keen to write and arrange more original music to perform and record with my Jazz groups, so keen an eye out for this.




Life goes on as normal with Bass 12 which is a band I have played with since my student days at Cardiff Uni. Although things have changed personnel wise the music remains the same and during 2018 Bass 12 became the regular band playing at Cardiff Blues rugby club home matches at the Cardiff Arms Park Stadium.  Bass 12 has also been asked to play at private functions in and around South Wales and South West England as well as local festivals in Cardiff, including the Tafwyl Welsh Culture Festival. The band can also be seen from time to time playing in Cardiff City Centre and we are planning a summer tour busking in towns in the North of England.  More of this next time.

The Bandits are a jazz trio I have played with for coming up four years. We started gigging at a Cardiff late-night venue and continue to perform there every Monday night. However, we also play at various private functions including the regular Cardiff Blues testimonial charity functions which take place in the Cardiff area. Recently the Bandits have been seen at other local music venues and have performed as far afield as Tenby in Pembrokeshire and Oxford.

When time permits I continue to guest with other good friends in the local music scene such as Donnie Joes’s American Swing, Oldus Fawn and the Will Blake Band. Recently I have started to play again with the Jiveoholics who I had played with for a couple of years until my studies at RWCMD took priority.   I also continue to perform at private functions either on solo saxophone or with piano, and sometimes even with a DJ, all of which brings out the contemporary side of me.




Having achieved my MA post-graduation qualification at RWCMD, I am now planning where I go from here. I will continue to teach both privately and also at local schools with the Cardiff and Vale Music Service. This brings me into contact with young developing musicians and I am very pleased with the results my students have achieved in their recent music examinations.  As mentioned previously I will be active in launching the Funk Pack album and will be looking to take my Jazz ensembles into the recording studios. I am already in touch with other musicians and have a couple of recording sessions booked to develop my session playing in various genres of music.

By the time you see this blog I will be on my way to the USA to spend time in New York and then move on to stay with my sister and her husband in Baltimore. This should give me the opportunity to see some of my favourite artists such as Trombone Shorty and some live Jazz in the Big Apple. Who knows, maybe I’ll sit in on a gig or two at a down town local music venue.

Watch this space and as you may well realise I am so excited about life after graduation from RWCMD.  Just briefly, a big thanks to Paula Gardner, Huw Warren and to all the staff at the RWCMD, as well as the Arts Council of Wales, for supporting me these past two years studying there.