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About

Jacky is currently studying a Master’s at The Royal Academy of Music under the tutelage of Kit Downes, Nikki Iles, Gwilym Simcock, Pete Churchill and Jasper Høiby. He is a multi-award-winning pianist and arranger, composing for his own trio, ‘Meraki’, featuring Nick Jurd and Jonathan Silk.

Whilst growing up in the Yorkshire Dales, the worlds of jazz and professional music were remote. Jacky started studying with Mark Donlon, towards the end of his time at secondary school. In 2012 he received a Leverhulme scholarship to study a BMus (Hons) at Birmingham Conservatoire. During years one and two, Jacky was lucky to receive 1-1 tuition from John Taylor, a gold-standard role model both inside and outside the teaching room. In his third year, Jacky won the Conservatoire’s Composition and Arranging prize, judged by Judy Niemack (New York/Berlin), and was awarded a lesson with Maria Schneider. This interest in big band composition led to his debut album, Rough Boundaries, which sought to capture the characters of five contrasting cities through the diverse sounds and moods of a jazz orchestra. The album received four-star reviews from major jazz publications as well as being featured on Radio 3 and Jazz FM.

The album was launched, subsequently, at Symphony Hall, Birmingham, and The Vortex, London. For one piece in particular, ‘Bilbao’, Jacky won the Dankworth Composition Prize in 2016. It was part of a formative year as Jacky made a significant step from student to professional performer, reaching the semi-finals of BBC Young Jazz Musician, and graduating from Birmingham Conservatoire with First Class Honours.

After graduating, Jacky worked as a freelance musician but hoped to pursue education and relocate to London. In 2017 he applied to The Royal Academy and received the Barbara Kesterton award and entrance scholarship. His trio, Meraki, completed its debut tour in April 2019. Thanks to generous support from Arts Council England, Meraki recorded a first album with Real World Studios, which is due to be released in 2020. Jacky would like to thank the Tarn Moor Trust for their financial contribution towards his ongoing studies.


“(Naylor) has the potential to establish himself as a leading player of his generation internationally” - Hans Koller. 

“One hears shades and echoes of Kenny Wheeler, Gil Evans and Maria Schnieder as well as the improvisatory flexibility of Graham Collier and Django Bates” - LondonJazzNews