Alex Thomas-French studied Jazz Piano and graduated in 2011 with a First Class Honours in Jazz and Popular Music from the University of Hull. It was here that Alex found his passion for leading ensembles; conducting the University Orchestra, becoming President of the University Big Band, and acting as Musical Director for various musical theatre productions. Upon leaving he won the department’s ‘Special Prize in Music’.
Following his degree Alex became the Projects Assistant for the music charity ‘HMDT Music’. This led to him being part of the founding faculty of the Julian Joseph Jazz Academy (JJJA) in 2013. For over a decade Alex has taught there under the mentorship of the brilliant pianist, composer and educator Julian Joseph, and is now proud to be Programme Manager. Through JJJA Alex has taught alongside many prominent players of the UK and international jazz scene: Byron Wallen, Tony Kofi, Trevor Watkis, Jonathan Gee, Benet Mclean, Steve Williamson, Cleveland Watkiss, Rod Youngs & Jas Kayser to name a few.
Alex dedicates his career to guiding and enabling aspiring young musicians and facilitating opportunities for them. He believes that musicians of all standards and ages should be actively learning from one another, and tries to create strong, nurturing communities where the players inspire and propel one another to greatness.
In 2018 Alex began running intensive four-day JJJA Holiday Courses. These have ranged from Jazz beginner courses to working with more advanced players on Duke Ellington Big Band repertoire. All courses aim to bring together young and aspiring players with more experienced musicians and leaders from World Heart Beat, JJJA & Trinity Laban.
Joining the World Heart Beat family in 2016 Alex leads the 51st State Big (and Little) Band at Embassy Gardens. He also leads the Jazz Roots programme and is the Assistant MD for the original 51st State Band at Kimber Road.