Music director, composer and jazz musician Jilly is a multi-instrumentalist who works with schools and youth and adult community groups on songwriting and performance projects. She uses improvisation as a way for the individual voice to be heard and celebrated within a cooperative group setting.

Founder and Creative Director of BlueJam Arts ( she enjoys collaborating with other artists and organisations. Currently she is establishing a network of Improv Choirs in England and Scotland, writing an online improvisation resource for teachers and devising gamelan, samba and jazz performances for the summer festivals.

Carol singing and playing

A bit of medieval, bit of jazz bit of folk bit of trad – good to support the Eden Valley Network’s second Rheged show.

Women Play Jazz!

I’m delighted to be asked by Jazz Coop Newcastle to run a series of workshops for emerging women jazz players at their base, the Globe pub. First 4 Saturday afternoons in January with an evening party on the 27th. Go to for details and booking.

Will Michael Jazz Education Award

BlueJam was awarded a diploma along with three Music Hubs from around the UK last week. Jilly shown here receiving it!
This is a real boost for the work being done by all the organisations promoting youth jazz in Cumbria and for the Music Hub’s commitment to a viable and innovative jazz development programme.
Congratulations to everyone!

EVAN Gallery opening

Eden Valley Artistic Network – EVAN – the new gallery and studios is up and running at 4 Corney Place, Penrith. Lots of lovely art but worth going to just to see BlueJam tutor Lawrence Leith‘s Virginal with a painting of Brougham Hall on the underside of the lid. There is also artwork in the exhibition by BlueJam supporters, with proceeds going towards our Youth Programme.
Fantastic news – they just sold one of my sketches!

New carol for North Lakes School

Putting the finishing touches to this year’s carol for North Lakes School, where my children went and we now all work in one capacity or another. I write a carol for them every year and this will be about the 16th offering. Most of them can be found on and are free to use for non-profit occasions. Glad to see Mary Keith is using “Welcome” with her choir this year.

BlueJam Arts award for services to jazz education Nov 2017

I am off to London next week to pick up an award for BlueJam from Will Michael Foundation – a chance to meet new people in the jazz world and also catch up with old friends. Thanks to all the team at BlueJam and Cumbria Music Hub who helped to make this happen.

Girls In Jazz Workshop

India Harding Great to start off the new academic year with an inspiring collaboration with India Harding, a young vocalist from Lancaster – off next year to Birmingham Conservatoire. One of those rare musicians who combines the skills to perform opera with the inclination to improvise over everything in sight – and an encouraging facilitator who genuinely enjoys engaging with emerging musicians.

We had a really successful session with four newcomers to the group who found their feet quickly, and it was a delight to hear how the others had improved both in technique and confidence.

I got to play drums and trumpet and sing all at the same time so was happy!

BlueJam Winter Music

Regular gigs from now til the New Year at Centerparcs. They are actually great fun as lots of people come to listen, dance, join in and appreciate a range of winter music from medieval to pop to world and jazz arrangements of familiar tunes. I get to play whistle, flute, trumpet and accordion in quick succession so much better than those puzzles at keeping my brain on the go. We’ve done this for 4 years now so are actually quite well-rehearsed – and the money helps to keep BlueJam afloat for the rest of the year.

Absent Friends Nov 2017

What a beautiful event at Eskdalemuir last Friday – part of a Scotland-wide series of events organised by Scotland Palliative Care.

I was commissioned by the Eskdalemuir Expressive Arts group to set a series of verses written by the Writing Group to music. We then performed the song together at the evening event.

It will be recorded before Christmas.

One Small Bird

The Ballad of the Red-Necked Phalarope
by Kate Stilitz and Jilly Jarman
Originally commissioned by Haringay Music Service for 2000 young singers and instrumentalists, for performance June 27th 2016 Royal Albert Hall.

Next performance with Cumbria Youth Orchestra, primary school choirs and BlueJam Youth Jazz Ensemble at The Sands, Carlisle, July 10th 2017


LAND OF SHADOWS at Rheged: a new song cycle written with 8 primary schools


CARLISLE FIRESHOW 2017 – a chance to write filmic music for an audience of more than 40,000 – and it didn’t rain!