Friday 27 December
with the resident trio
Byron Wallen was born July 1969 in London, England while the Apollo 11 crew were on their way to the moon. Raised in a musical family, as a small child Byron studied classical piano. He also played euphonium but then switched to trumpet, studying with Peter Ruderforth in London and with Jimmy Owens, Donald Byrd and Jon Faddis in New York in the mid to late 80s. In 1992, Wallen graduated from Sussex University with a degree in psychology, philosophy and mathematics.
He played trumpet in various contexts and through into the early 00s was heard with jazz and pop artists, sometimes on record. Among these artists and bands are George Benson, Charles Earland, Chaka Khan, Ingrid Laubrock, Ronnie Laws, Hugh Masekela, Courtney Pine, Lonnie Liston Smith, Style Council, Jean Toussaint, and Cleveland Watkiss. In 1992, Wallen formed Sound Advice touring the UK and playing in Syria in 1996 and the Czech Republic in 1997. The band also appeared at the North Sea Jazz Festival, gaining critical and audience acclaim.
His compositions include Live, with Sheron Wray's dance company, Langston Hughes Suite, The Trumpet Kings, and Tarot Suite, an extended work of 22 movements, written for a 10-piece band. In 2003, Wallen won the BBC's Innovation In Jazz award for his third album Indigo.
In 1995 Wallen played in South Africa, recording with Airto Moreira and Moses Moseleku. A documentary film, Travelling, traces his 1998 trip to Uganda. In 2001 he appeared at the Harare Jazz festival in Zimbabwe and at South Africa's ARTS Alive Earth Summit festival in 2002.
He has also visited East Africa, Morocco, Nigeria, Indonesia and Belize (his parents' homeland). On tour Wallen works with local musicians, developing new ideas for his performances and compositions.
In the UK and during his overseas tours, Wallen has taught in schools; he also lectures and gives private lessons at London's Trinity College and Royal Academy. Wallen's performing, composing and teaching skills combine to make him a leading figure among the new wave of creative jazz musicians centred upon London.
Friday 31 January
Jo Fooks & Andy Panyi Quintet
Jo Fooks, born in Edinburgh, began learning the saxophone at 15. In 1992 she won 'The Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year'. Inspired and encouraged by local Edinburgh musicians, Jo went on to study saxophone at the Guildhall School of music in London (1995-99). She also studied at the Berklee School of music in Boston after receiving a full fee scholarship for the summer jazz programme. After recording her debut album "Here and Now!", the legendary British trumpeter Humphrey Lyttelton invited her to join his eight-piece band. With whom she toured and performed in some of the most amazing theatres and venues in Britain. Humphs fun-filled and melodic approach to music were to be a huge influence. And through performing in his band Jo also recorded and worked with Acker Bilk and played alongside Tina May, Joe Temperley, Scott Hamilton, Elkie Brooks, and many others. Jo's other influences include Illinois Jacquet, Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gorden, Cannonball Adderley and Bill Evans. Her mellow tone is often compared to Stan Getz and Zoot Simms.
Andy Panayi is an exceptionally gifted jazz musician, skilled in performance, composition and arranging.
He plays all the flutes and all the saxophones and currently leads his own groups, both jazz and classical. He also writes commissioned works and compositions & arrangements for his own ensembles.
Andy has performed and recorded with many singers such as; Shirley Bassey, Jessye Norman, Paul McCartney, Seth MacFarlane, Elaine Paige, Salena Jones, Elvis Costello, Georgie Fame, Peter Skellen, Zoot Money, Irene Reed, Elaine Delmar, Helen Shapiro, Madeline Bell & Patty Austin to name a few. He’s also worked alongside or supported Abdulla Ibrahim (Dollar Brand), Freddie Hubbard, Phil Woods, Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Centre Jazz Orchestra, Joe Lovano, Roy Hargrove, Louie Bellson Octet & Big Band, Ed Thigpen, Jiggs Whigham, Billy Cobham, Indo-Jazz Fusions run by Johnny Mayer, Vale of Glamorgan Contemporary Music Festival, RPO, BBC Concert Orchestra, LSSO, The Moscow City Ballet, Ronnie Scott & his Side-men, Scott Hamilton, Ken Peplowski, Pepper Adams, Kenny Baker, Ted Heath/ Don Lusher Big Band, BBC Radio Big Band, Bert Kaemphert Orchestra, Stan Tracey Big Band -Septet – Octet, John Dankworth & Cleo Laine, The John & Alec Dankworth Generation Big Band, Humphrey Lyttelton and many more.
Friday 28 February
The Ben Crosland Quintet
Ben Crosland - Bass, Dave O’Higgins - Saxophone, Buster Birch - Drums, Steve Lodder - Piano, John Etheridge - Guitar
Ray Davies’ songs are rooted on the blues, music hall, popular song, variety and musical theatre – the perfect vehicles for jazz interpretation. Ben Crosland began his musical education at the age of 13 by taking up the drums and the Kinks’ singles were constantly on the Dansette as he played along in his bedroom. 50 years on, as bandleader and composer/arranger, he is again discovering new subtleties and strengths in these wonderful compositions and has assembled a Quintet of international quality to perform these imaginative arrangements.
‘Ray Davies’ tunes – evocative, catchy and deceptively simple. By recasting them in the jazz idiom and delicately elaborating their harmonies, bassist and composer Ben Crosland brings them out in a fresh glow. It’s remarkable how comfortable these melodies sound in their new settings’. The Observer
‘Given the number of hit songs Ray Davies has written over his years fronting The Kinks, it’s astonishing that nothing like this CD has ever seen the light of a laser… So you wait fifty years for one song and then twelve expertly arranged jazz covers of The Kinks’ music arrive at once … What distinguishes this set are the sensitive and sophisticated arrangements. This is a very welcome release of deft and intelligent interpretations, celebrating the idiosyncratic songs of Ray Davies, a man without whom twentieth-century popular music would certainly have been the poorer’. All About Jazz
Friday 27 March
Resident Trio Feature
James trained classically in Piano & Clarinet and studied in Jazz at University. After gaining a degree in Music he taught Jazz piano at Middlesex University for a further 7 years. He has performed at Ronnie Scott’s, The London Palladium and worked with some of Britain’s greatest Jazz artists, including: Pete King, Alan Barnes, John Etheridge, Jim Mullen, Gerard Presencer, Stan Sulzmann, Derek Nash, Bobby Wellins, Rex Richardson, Mark Lockhart, Mick Hutton,Clark Tracey, London Musici, & Anita Wardell. James is a busy freelance musician as well as arranger & composer and has arranged for Sky TV, The Sugababes UK no1 single and Dance Producer David Gray. James is regularly in demand as pianist/MD for Sinatra style “Rat Pack” band, leading London’s best session musicians (Paul Morgan, Mike Smith, Jay Craig, Alan Barnes, Graham Russell, Bob Sydor, etc).
Hailing originally from Montreal in Canada, Eric Guy did the rounds in rock bands as a teenager before enrolling in the Jazz program at Vanier College, where he studied electric and acoustic bass with session veteran Vic Angelillo, arranging with Christopher Smith and composition under Joe Sullivan. He cut his teeth playing jazz around town with long-time friends and guitar virtuosos Jean-Sebastien Williams and Simon Angell (Patrick Watson), and the CJAD All-City Big Band under Denis Christiansen, amongst many others, and played in every musical situation available, from hip-hop to gipsy music, and everything in between. He also made a mark in the Hip-Hop/RnB session scene, notably with El Verso, whose singles have been getting massive airplay. In the period between 2002 and 2007, Eric sailed the high seas for parts of the year, playing bass for the luxury cruise lines Celebrity and Crystal Cruises, culminating in his appointment as bandmaster and musical director in 2006 on the Crystal Symphony. All the while, he continued to study privately with the likes of Rufus Reid, David Friesen and UK electric bass virtuoso Janek Gwizdala. His growing interest in composition and orchestration led him to delve deeply in the music of Schoenberg, Shostakovich, Mingus, and countless others, as well as completing a MIDI orchestration course under Ben Newhouse at Berklee College of music. Since moving to London in 2008, Eric Guy has been making his mark in both the Jazz and Pop scene, notably playing with Anton Browne, Mike Coates and Duncan Eagles in the jazz side of things, and with session ace Chris Madin (Strictly come dancing) and chart-topper DJ Ironik in the pop world.
Buster Birch has an honours degree in music from the University of London and a post-graduate diploma in jazz performance from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He has performed at virtually every major concert hall and jazz club in London as well as major international festivals and toured in over 30 countries and recorded over 30 CDs. He has worked with many of the UK's finest jazz musicians as well as The Royal Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra and deputised on West End shows. He is the drummer for ARQ (Alison Rayner Quintet), winners of the Parliamentary Award for "Best UK Jazz Ensemble 2018". He is an award-winning jazz educator and has published 19 books on music tuition. He has his own critically acclaimed show "Buster plays Buster" featuring his own jazz quartet playing live to screenings of classic Buster Keaton movies for which he has arranged and scored all of the music.
Friday 24 April
The Nick Beston Quartet
Nick’s musical career began at the age of 11 as a chorister at the Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy, London. At the age of 12 he took up the saxophone after finding an old instrument in the back of the cupboard at school, and by the age of 14 had decided to try and make a career as a professional musician. Nick worked his way through various youth bands, orchestras, sax quartets and big bands and, in 1991, went to study music at London University.
Nick graduated from London University in 1994 having specialized in jazz saxophone, studio music technology and composition. During his time at there, Nick was already playing professionally for a number of bands and orchestras and composing music for his own ensembles and various media projects. He also started teaching saxophone and took on several beginner students as well as half a day at a school. After leaving full-time education Nick began working as a freelance sax, clarinet and flute player and also started building up his teaching work. He began teaching at Sevenoaks School (where he still works today, now as Head of Jazz and Contempoary Music) and also taught at St Olave’s School, Orpington (his old school).
In 1996 Nick formed his own jazz quartet, NBQ, with a view to recording a jazz CD for the label Recorded Time. This CD was to be the first of 3 and CD four is currently in production. The quartet was intended for the studio only and had no intention of playing live, however, they began to receive requests to play concerts and perform for other events. From this, Nick developed NBQJAZZ.COM a small business supplying live music for events.
After more than 20 years Nick is still enjoying life as a professional musician. He has recorded sax solos for BBC, ITV, films, advertisements and many other bands and musicians. He has toured the world performing, composed music for education and media and also written a book for Schott Music. Nick lives in South East London with his wife and 2 young children and besides music and family life enjoys running, skiing and motorhomes.
Friday 29 May
Heads South plays sizzling Latin Jazz combining Cuban and other Latin rhythms with distinctive melodies in a dynamic repertoire of original and classic tunes. The Band features top UK trumpeter Steve Waterman trumpet, Cuban percussionist Chino Martell Morgan on congas, bongos, cajon, guiro, Buster Birch on drums, timbale, castanets, frame drum, Venezuelan bassist Adolfredo Pulido, and leader/composer John Harriman on piano and organ.
The Band has released two albums to critical acclaim, it was chosen to perform a national tour of Wales sponsored by the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama and Arts Council of Wales, and was selected from more than 75 bands nationwide as a winner of the UK Jazz Services/National Touring Forum award for 2014/5.
"The compositions and keyboard playing of leader John Harriman and the trumpet of Steve Waterman combine to create a spare, crisp, invigorating set of Latin jazzWatermans mastery of this idiom suits Harrimans deceptively simple compositions to perfection"
Dave Gelly, The Observer.
"Cool, cultured and exhilarating"
Keith Ames, The Musician.
"Very talented..dazzling solos....a Band that is well worth seeing"
The Jazzmann, Brecon Brycheiniog Theatre.
"Brimming with infectious high-energy grooves"
Latin Jazz Network (USA)
"Heads South is a refreshing cultural mix of players with outstanding jazz credentials..Cuban rhythms dominate, rocking syncopated percussion...well worth seeing"
The Gig Guide
Friday 26 June
Blue Harlem have been widely regarded as one of the top swing/jump-blues bands on the London scene for over 15 years. They have become regular favourites at venues such as the world-famous Ronnie Scott's, The100 Club, The Hippodrome, Hideaway, Jitterbugs and many, many more. They enjoy an international reputation - 2007 found them launching the 4th International Film Festival of Dubai and in 2008, they were personally invited by Baz Luhrmann to perform for the launch of his 1940's blockbuster movie ‘Australia’. They have been invited on three separate occasions to perform at Highgrove House charity balls for the Prince’s Trust. They have an enviable reputation as a party band, having played for society soirees all over the UK - including Buckingham Palace, Annabel’s, The Sands Venue and Burgh Island. They also regularly perform abroad, appearing at jazz festivals in Spain, Norway, Belgium and Germany. Blue Harlem launched the career of rising star Imelda May, and are now proud to feature as their vocalist the sensational Sophie Shaw. Blue Harlem is led by Al Nicholls on Tenor Sax.
"The group I'm currently raving about - it's happy music that makes you want to dance!"
Michael Parkinson, BBC Radio 2
“This experienced outfit bring an intelligence and sophistication to the art of combining jazz and rhythm and blues that was prevalent on America’s West coast of the 40s and early 50s.”
Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club
"Blue Harlem are guaranteed to get your adrenaline flowing with their brand of high energy big band swing and R&B that would have been equally at home at the Apollo or the Savoy in the 40's as it is today."
Tony Watson, Blues and Rhythm magazine