Reverend William Young – April 21st


Born in Kentucky, Reverend William Young IV performed at The Jazz Bar on his very first day in Edinburgh, after meeting founder Bill Kyle and being asked to join the band. Since then he has become a staple member of the Tuesday jam session crowd and performed in highlight monthly Sunday evenings backed by “the best damned combo in town.”

Son of Reverend William Young III, William joined the clergy at an early age and has studied tirelessly throughout his years, mentored by denominational and civil rights leaders, as well as studying global political economy, theology and philosophy. Musically, he holds a degree from the prestigious School for Creative and Performing arts of Cincinnati Ohio, and was classically trained as a tenor, performing in many choirs including the world-renowned Edinburgh Festival Chorus. Working as assistant minister of St. Giles Cathedral under the Chaplain to the Queen, William organised the first Martin Luther King Day service and the first jazz vespers service in the cathedral.

It feels necessary to mention that The Jazz Bar does not have any religious leaning and are inclusive of all faiths. Regardless of anyone’s beliefs, William has done exceptional work in the community through various outreach initiatives, such as as a founding member of Thriving Places Drumchapel, a project aimed at revitalizing one of the most economically vulnerable communities in the city of Glasgow. He was also overseer of Friendship House Drumchapel, a global cafe and support service for Asylum Seekers and Refugees, served as convenor of Scotland’s coalition of church representatives and advocacy groups working together to combat Modern Slavery and exploitation, a member of the Strategic Oversight Committee on Human Trafficking policy in Scottish Parliament, and personally as an activist regularly speaks to churches and social justice organisations on slavery and racism, and giving the closing address at the 2018 mass demonstration against President Trump’s visit to the UK.

Here’s a relatively poor audio quality recording but does feature Bill Kyle on drums and a 19-year-old Pete Johnstone on piano, from way back in 2009. Wiliam has been performing at The Jazz Bar for 14 years, practically as long as the bar has been open!

In April, the good reverend planned to return to the USA, having his last performance with us on March 15th just before the lockdown. He is to settle in Washington DC to continue his ministerial work. We will deeply miss hosting him and hearing his stunningly soulful vocals and fun stage banter, but it’s clear that he is continually on to bigger and better things, spreading love, hope and equality wherever he goes. All of us at The Jazz Bar wish him all the best on his journey.


On this week’s episode of John Hunt’s quarantine blues, Sir David Attenborough drops in for a chat and Greta Thunberg takes drastic steps for the environment.

Buy John a virtual beer via


You can continue to support us and the professional musicians who are struggling right now, by donating what you might usually spend on an entry fee or a drink, or any other amount that you wish. Professional musicians and all hospitality/event staff are facing an incredibly difficult time, having seen months of steady work disappear over-night. Any donations would be extremely appreciated to help us to continue to pay our staff through our closure and support our local event staff community in any way that we can.

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