Toe-tapping toddlers across the capital benefited from a series of innovative jazz workshops, organised by award-winning musician Abram Wilson at last November’s London Jazz Festival and he has just finished a family show for the Cheltenham Jazz Festival. After the popularity of these junior gigs, the American-born trumpeter and composer, who plays Herts Jazz Club this weekend, is ready to bring jazz into the lives of as many young people as possible.

“The only way to really understand jazz music is to hear it live,“ says Abram. “I’m amazed there’s no jazz on the radio or jazz piano scores specifically for young people.

“A lot of music does not have that kind of depth. It’s a very inspirational thing to introduce children to the elements of swing and the blues for the first time in their lives.“

Abram tells me his own musical journey began at a very young age.

“I had cousins who played jazz and they introduced me to the music at the age of four or five. I was given a little snare drum by my parents when I was seven and played trumpet from the age of nine. My father played guitar and my mum played clarinet. She taught me my first note and showed me how to produce a sound and the same thing she told me is what I tell young people now.“

Aged nine, Abram went off to study at the New Orleans Centre for Creative Arts and continued his music education at the Ohio Wesleyan University. He then attended the world-renowned Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, studying for a masters in jazz performance and composition. He moved to the UK, by accident, in 2002.

“I was going to go to Paris and look up Quincy Jones. He was a big jazz man as well as a main player in the music industry, so I thought I’d buy a ticket and fly over and find him. I was just a young kid and wanted to go out and do crazy things. I’d got chatting to someone on the plane who gave me this big long list of places to check out as my flight had a layover in London and I got opportunities to play – and it just went on from there.“

His prolonged stopover has reaped rewards: Abram won the BBC Jazz Award for Best Band in 2005 as well as scooping two MOBO Awards for Best Jazz Act in 2005 and 2007.

He released his first album, Jazz Warrior in 2004, followed by Ride! Ferris Wheel to the Modern Day Delta in 2007 and Life Paintings in 2009.

The original compositions he will share with Herts Jazz Club are inspired by the bitter-sweet life of child protégé Philippa Schuyler. As well as performing his works inspired by Philippa, Abram is also working on a play based on her life story in association with a National Theatre director, planned for 2013.

“She was born in the 1930s to a white Texan mum and a Harlem black man. She was a world renowned classical pianist, who was never revered in The States because of her background. She went around the world to develop a profile as a musician. Eventually she became a journalist, like her father, and was covering an assignment in Vietnam where she died in a helicopter crash.

“I read a book about her and wrote the album. It’s recorded in the traditional format of one take only, just like they did in the old days. The music reinterprets her life and reflects all the stuff that was happening when she was growing up with black musicians all over America trying to command the respect they felt they deserved, which runs alongside her life’s struggle to be accepted as a musician and a woman and to find her cultural identity.“

The Abram Wilson Quartet come to Herts Jazz Club, Campus West, The Campus, Welwyn Garden City on Sunday, May 13 at 8pm. Details: 01707 357117