• Press/external:
    “The sweet sound of jazz is making a young band
    one of the hottest properties on the local
    music scene.”

    “They are as crisp and talented a band as you could hope for.”
  • Tutors:
    “We want to make our music as original as we can
    and move with the times. If the orchestra is enjoying
    itself, this will reflect on the audience.”
    Geoff Miller, former KYJO director
  • Band members:
    ‘The people at KYJO are great and I love playing at
    gigs, especially being put on the spot when
    I get the chance to solo.’
    Ben, tuba

    ‘The gigs are awesome, really amazing to play in
    a variety of venues and not just a school hall.
    I’ve learnt so much from the tutors and MDs.
    Come along to a gig... you won’t regret it!!’
    Richard, trumpet and flugelhorn
  • Members’ parents:
    ‘Graham and Mike supply a cocktail of vital magic
    ingredients – inspiration, expertise, support,
    encouragement and energy – helping our son to
    move beyond his classical training at just the right pace. In less than two years he has gained so much confidence and really grown as a musician.
    Learning to improvise is, both liberating and exhilarating - he comes offstage buzzing after
    every solo.
    Yes, even tuba players get the chance, if they want it!'
    Fran Broady, parent
  • Members’ parents:
    ‘It is fantastic to see Richard in KYJO. I remember
    the sense of fun, playing enjoyment and learning I
    had with Geoff Miller when I was in the band. From
    Richard’s enthusiasm for rehearsing and playing at
    gigs it is obvious he is now having the same experiences as me and best of all he is learning and
    growing as a musician.’
    Ian Blake, parent

About KYJO

KYJO’s origins can be traced way back to 1981, when it was launched by its first musical director, the late Randy Colville after a series of jazz workshops. Under the leadership of Geoff Miller, who directed the band for many years, KYJO subsequently reached new heights and started performing at high-profile events.

Thirtyfour years later it is still going strong with about 25 young players rehearsing fortnightly at Invicta Grammar School in Maidstone and continuing to run jazz workshops across the county. Current musical director Graham Mann and tutor Mike Austin are both former members who have returned to bring jazz to the next generation of young musicians.

Many members of KYJO have also played in the National Youth Jazz Orchestra and many become professional musicians, play with the armed services or follow a career in music teaching. Many of them retain their links with KYJO, returning for guest performances and reunion concerts and parties - or as parents whose children are now members.

KYJO owes much of its success today to former manager, the late Mike Taylor. Mike's involvement with KYJO began when his daughter played tenor sax in the band many years ago. Like many parents, Mike continued to support the band after his daughter had moved on to university and stayed on to become its manager. As such, he was the driving force for over 15 years. KYJO appreciates the continuing support it receives from Mike's family.



KYJO is currently run by a committee of volunteers, mainly parents and friends, providing a wide range of skills to support the work of Graham Mann, music director and Mike Austin, assistant music director. Together they organise gigs and workshops to encourage young musicians to explore big band jazz and keep KYJO at the hub of youth jazz across the county.

Graham Mann, musical director

Graham Mann was born and bred in Kent. After cutting his ‘jazz teeth’ in KYJO as a teenager he studied trombone, piano and percussion at Colchester Institute and was already teaching drum kit, percussion and brass by the time he graduated in 1993. He is a musician of outstanding versatility and when he is not teaching plays in a range of different ensembles, from jazz quartets to classical orchestras and has performed at both Ronnie Scotts and The Jazz Café. He coaches and directs on many music courses and is currently percussion tutor for Kent Youth Wind Orchestra as well as musical director of KYJO.

Mike Austin, assistant musical director

Fellow KYJO ‘graduate’ Mike Austin studied saxophone and clarinet in Manchester at the prestigious Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM). Here he was a member of the RNCM Big Band, leading to performances with guest artists including Wynton Marsalis, Bob Brookmeyer and Bobby Shew. In his final year, he was director of the RNCM Jazz Orchestra. As well as teaching, Mike now regularly performs with The Andy Maclean Band, The Pete Abbott Sound and is lead alto in the Andy Mawbey Main Event Orchestra.


Guest tutors have included:

Derek Nash
Sid Gauld
Steve Waterman
Pete Long
Paul Booth
Will Michael
Gary Plumley


KYJO has shared the stage with many other bands, including:

Ben Beddoes Big Band
Bobby Lamb Big band
University of London Union Big Band
Warwick University Big Band
Harbour Jazz Orchestra
Midland Youth Jazz Orchestra
National Youth Jazz Orchestra
Tomorrow’s Warriors
Snowboy and the Latin Section
Big Band Jazz Paul Garein, Dunkerque
Brass & Fun, Germany


KYJO has performed at many major concert venues, jazz clubs and festivals, including:

Sevenoaks Festival
Whitstable Oyster Festival
Faversham Hop Festival
Canterbury Festival
Herne Bay Festival
London Marathon
Modern Pentathlon
Kent County Show
Tunbridge Wells Pantiles
Maidstone River Festival
Chatham Historic Dockyard
Hythe Festival
Thanet Jazz Festival
Pizza Express, Maidstone
Acacia Ballroom, Dartford
RAFA Club, Chatham
Brook Theatre, Chatham
Hazlitt Theatre, Maidstone
Stag Theatre, Sevenoaks

Next Gigs

12th December - 7pm

Christmas Special

Tudor Park Marriott Hotel, Maidstone

2nd January 2018 - 7pm

Pizza Express


20th January 2018 - 7pm

Maidstone Young Musician of the Year

Invicta Grammar School, Maidstone

6th February 2018 - 7pm -9.30pm

Jazz Workshop with Steve Waterman

Benenden School

3rd March 2018 - Evening

Old Harveians Association - Harvey Grammar School Folkestone with Steve Waterman

Harvey Grammar School Folkestone

16th March 2018 - Evening

Tunbridge Wells Jazz Club

Tunbridge Wells

22nd April 2018 - Morning

London Marathon


23rd June 2018 - Afternoon

Sevenoaks Summer Festival

Bligh's Meadow

26th June 2018 - Evening

Sevenoaks Summer Festival Workshop

New Beacon School

1st July 2018 - Afternoon

Vine Bandstand


20th - 24th October 2018

Concert Tour to The Rhineland