Zsofia Boros Guitar

Hungarian classical guitarist Zsófia Boros, born in Prague and today residing in Vienna, Austria, studied in Bratislava, Budapest, Vienna and at the Francisco Tárrega Guitar Academy in Pordenone, Italy. She has been the recipient of numerous esteemed awards and received venerable scholarships from the Herbert von Karajan centre in Vienna as well as the Thyll foundation in Switzerland. At the Bratislava conservatory, Zsófia studied under Jozef Zsapka, to whom she owes her holistic understanding of sound and tone – a quality also noticed by Fanfare magazine, who has praised her: “clear, beautiful tone, liquid phrasing, precise layering of melody and accompaniment, fluid figuration and her emphatic sense of mood and emotion”. She has travelled internationally as part of renowned classical and jazz festival programmes as well as on solo tours, playing some of the most esteemed venues across the globe.

Niki Iles Piano

THE GUARDIAN (JOHN FORDHAM)
“A formidable UK jazz presence …”

‘Iles is one of the most refreshing figures to have emerged in the UK scene in recent times, with a liquid sound and supple, obliquely resolved phrasing as an improviser’. – The Guardian

“Formidably creative…. “The Heroine of British Jazz …”

As a founder member of the hugely innovative Creative Jazz Orchestra in the early 90s, Nikki Iles came to prominence working with musicians such as Anthony Braxton, Vince Mendoza, Mark Anthony Turnage, Kenny Wheeler and Mike Gibbs.

Mike subsequently booked her for one of her first recording dates with great American musicians, Steve Swallow and Bob Moses on the CD “By The Way” on AH HUM records. For many years, Nikki served a lengthy apprenticeship in the North of England playing with the cream of British and American jazz such as Peter King, Iain Ballamy, Art Farmer, Peter King ,Tina May ,Tim Garland and Jim Mullen.

Gwilym Simcock Piano

Gwilym Simcock has carved out a career as one of the most gifted pianists and imaginative composers on the European scene.  He moves effortlessly between jazz and classical music, with a ‘harmonic sophistication and subtle dovetailing of musical traditions’. Gwilym has been hailed as a pianist of ‘exceptional’, ‘brilliant’ and ‘dazzling’ ability, and his music has been widely acclaimed as ‘engaging, exciting, often unexpected, melodically enthralling, complex yet hugely accessible’, and above all ‘wonderfully optimistic’.

Gwilym’s influences are wide ranging, from jazz legends including Keith JarrettChick CoreaJaco Pastorius and Pat Metheny, to classical composers including Maurice Ravel, Henri Dutilleux, Béla Bartók and Mark-Anthony Turnage. Although principally a jazz artist, Gwilym has composed numerous works for larger Classical ensemble that combine through-composed elements with improvisation, creating a sound that is distinctive and very much his own.

Mike Walker Guitar

Mike Walker was influenced by his father’s piano playing, his mother’s singing, and his brother’s guitar playing. He went on to discover a passion for jazz guitarists Wes MontgomeryJoe PassPat MethenyJohn ScofieldLarry Coryell, and Tal Farlow.

He joined the jazz fusion band River People with Paul Allen, Tim Franks, and Paul Kilvington in Manchester. In the 1980s, he became a member of a quartet led by vibraphonist Alan Butler and worked with Michael Gibbs and Kenny Wheeler. He worked with Nikki and Richard Iles, then the Sylvan Richardson band, where he met saxophonist Iain Dixon. While in Zurich with the Kenny Wheeler big band, he met Julian Arguelles and joined his quartet.

In the 1990s he toured in bands led by saxophonist Tommy Smith. He has worked as George Russell‘s guitarist, recording with him on several occasions, and with the Creative Jazz Orchestra, Arild AndersenTim BerneAnthony BraxtonJacqui DankworthTal Farlow, Bill Frisell, Dave HollandVince MendozaBob MosesPalle MikkelborgMica ParisJohn TaylorMark-Anthony Turnage, and Norma Winstone.

Ian Thomas Drums

Over his career Ian Thomas has worked in almost every musical style playing everywhere from basement jazz clubs to Madison Square Garden and has recorded with some of the most successful artists in the world.

Ian Thomas was born in Cardiff Wales in 1963 and began playing drums at the age of 12. Throughout his teens Ian played in organ and drum duos for local dance and cabaret clubs, which lead to his first professional job at Barry Island Butlins in 1979. Ian subsequently played summer seasons, cruise ships and worked in the Cardiff and South Wales area until moving to London in 1984. After joining the National Youth Jazz Orchestra in 1985, which lead to numerous London gigs, Ian was asked to play on his first major session in 1987. The track was ‘Kissing a Fool’ by George Michael for the album ‘Faith’. His next major break was being asked to tour with Seal in 1990 and did so for two years playing live and recording.

Since then Ian has gone on to tour with artists such as: Mike Oldfield, Tom Jones, Eric Clapton and Mark Knopfler and his recording career has included albums with Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Robbie Robertson, BB King and Chrisse Hynde to name but a few.

Martin France Drums

Throughout a career spanning over thirty five years Martin France has performed and recorded with some of the world’s finest and creative musicians. He has performed in all five continents including concerts and tours in over forty countries worldwide. He is currently Professor of Jazz – Drums/Percussion at the Royal Academy of Music in London.

Martin began performing at the age of twelve backing singers in Working Men’s clubs with Organ trios in and around Manchester in the North of England. He studied under Geoff Riley, Kenny Clare and Richard Smith – Principal Percussionist with the Halle Orchestra. After moving to London in 1983 he began his recording career performing on several records for Manfred Eicher’s ECM label. He has since gone on to record over one hundred CD’s for a variety of different artists since his ECM debut.

He has been invited to perform with many orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, London Sinfonietta, BBC Concert Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra of Wales, Liverpool Philharmonic, City of London Sinfonia, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC Radio Big Band, BBC Philharmonic, Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, ASKO Ensemble – Amsterdam, Danish Radio Big Band – Copenhagen, HR Big Band – Frankfurt, WDR Symphony Orchestra – Cologne, MDR Sinfonieorchester Leipzig, Duisburg Philharmonic Orchestra, The European Jazz Orchestra – Portugal. He is also a regular performer with NDR Big Band in Hamburg.

Nick Smart Trumpet

Head of Jazz at the Royal Academy of Music, Nick Smart is an internationally renowned jazz educator, trumpeter and musical director who has given guest masterclasses and performances around the world. In 2013 he was the winner of the prestigious Parliamentary Award for Jazz Education. In the UK he is recognised as one of the leading musicians on the London jazz scene, where as well as being in regular demand as a sideman to players of all generations, he continues to record and tour with his own projects.

In 2005 Nick released his debut album “Remembering Nick Drake” to critical acclaim. The album featured Smart’s arrangements of Nick Drake’s music played by an all star line-up including John Parricelli, Paul Clarvis, Christine Tobin and Stan Sulzmann amongst others. It was described by Straight No Chaser magazine as “…a future classic because it really captures all that is best about British jazz….” and by John Fordham in Jazz UK as “…fascinating music devoted to a fascinating inspiration.” In December 2008 Nick released his highly praised trio album “Remembering Louis Armstrong” featuring Hans Koller and Paul Clarvis. His latest band, Nick Smart’s Trogon, merges contemporary jazz sounds with Afro Cuban concepts and is due for release on Babel Records in November 2013

Hermine Deurloo Harmonica

Hermine Deurloo, hailing from Amsterdam, Netherlands, is a conservatory-trained saxophonist who changed to the chromatic harmonica after being inspired by Toots Thielemans. With a strong foundation in jazz, she has carved a unique musical path, expanding the harmonica’s horizons to modern jazz, string quartets, big bands, African music, and film soundtracks. Her extensive career features collaborations with renowned jazz musicians and orchestras, such as the Metropole Orchestra and Al Jarreau. Notably, she was awarded the USA Bernie Bray Harmonica Player of the Year in 2018 and continues to innovate, most recently showcasing her talents in modern classical compositions with the SWR Orchestra.

One of her latest albums, Riverbeast, released December 2019, available from Zennez Records, features legendary drummer Steve Gadd, with special guest Alain Clark.

Tim Garland Saxophone
Throughout an international career starting in the late 1980’s, Tim Garland has become known as a unique polymath in the UK’s music scene.

His first break as saxophonist was joining Ronnie Scott’s band age 23. Later he was to join Chick Corea as a regular member of several globe-trotting projects over a seventeen year period including The Vigil. Playing tenor and soprano saxes, bass clarinet, and flute, he also won a Grammy for his symphonic orchestrations on Corea’s “The New Crystal Silence” album from 2007.

Garland has fulfilled commissions from several of the worlds top orchestras, including  a double concerto from the LSO, a piano concerto for Gwilym Simcock from The Royal Northern Sinfonia, with whom he went on to record three CDs, a cello and sax concerto from the CBSO, and a sax concerto from the BBC Concert Orchestra.

His concert works continue to celebrate the fertile ground between modern composition and jazz. His creative arranging skills have won much praise from such diverse artists as Jean Luc PontyJohn Patitucci, The Royal Holloway and Westminster Choirs, the Catalan National Cobla Group, the LPO, the London Session OrchestraNYJO as well as Chick Corea.

His work is often inspired by, but not limited to, the jazz idiom, whilst his celebrated virtuosity as a saxophonist maintains his position as one of the UK’s most unique and authentic jazz voices.

 

Mark Lochart Saxophone

Mark Lockheart is one of the most distinctive and creative musicians on the current British music scene. As a saxophonist and composer, his work often defies categorisation and crosses the boundaries of the jazz, new music and folk worlds. “Lockheart is a consummate saxophonist and a original and versatile composer” The Rough Guide to Jazz.

Mark came to prominence in the mid 1980s with the influential and radical big band Loose Tubes, which he toured with throughout the USA and Europe and recorded with until its demise in 1989. The late 1980s also saw Mark composing and touring his own music, performing three times at Ronnie Scott’s in London, and at festivals in Vienna, Paris and Berlin. Around this same time Mark was seen touring with Annie Whitehead and Roger Dean’s Lysis.

The formation of the co-led Perfect Houseplants in 1992 saw the emergence of one of Mark’s most important projects, which is still very much developing today. Perfect Houseplants has released six albums and is involved in several crossover projects such as its collaborations with the Orlando Consort (Extempore, 1998), with baroque violinist Andrew Manze, and more recently with recorder virtuoso Pamela Thorby (New Folk Songs, Linn, 2002). In 1998 the band represented the BBC at the EBU in Vienna where the concert was recorded and broadcast to 11 European countries. A concert recorded at the Norfolk and Norwich Festival this year was broadcast as a special BBC Radio 3 programme over Christmas and Boxing Day. This period also saw Mark collaborating with Irish pianist and composer Michael O’Sullebhain, and recording a world/jazz album entitled Matheran (Isis, 1993) with guitarist John Parricelli.

In the mid-nineties Mark toured extensively with Django Bates’ Delightful Precipice, performing at many international festivals including Berlin, Molde and Willisau, and recording with jazz, folk and pop artists June Tabor, Billy Jenkins, Stereolab, Jah Wobble, Robert Wyatt, Prefab Sprout, Don Um Romao ,Thomas Dolby, and more recently Anja Garbarek and Radiohead.

Steve Watts Bass

Steve Watts has been playing jazz on the British scene for over 25 years, during which time he has worked with many musicians of international stature, incuding: Django Bates, Iain Ballamy, Julian Arguelles, Kenny Wheeler, Stan Sulzman, Jim Mullen, Joe Lovano, Kirk Lightsey, Richard Rodney Bennett and many more. He is a member of the influential Loose Tubes jazz orchestra and “The Printmakers “- a band featuring Norma Winstone, Nikki Iles and Mike Walker. He has made numerous broadcasts for radio and television and has recorded widely.  Live work has taken him all over the world and his playing can be heard on the soundtracks of many films.

Yazz Ahmed Trumpet

Through her music, British-Bahraini trumpet player, Yazz Ahmed, seeks to blur the lines between jazz and electronic sound design, bringing together the sounds of her mixed heritage in what has been described as ‘psychedelic Arabic jazz, intoxicating and compelling’.

Over the last decade, Yazz has led her ensembles in performances across the UK & Europe, and further afield in Algeria, Bahrain, Beirut, Kuwait, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, USA & Canada. She has also enchanted audiences at major festivals such as WOMAD, Love Supreme, NYC Winter Jazz Fest & Pori Jazz.

Her career is studded with high profile collaborations, which have seen her record and perform with the likes of Radiohead, Lee Scratch Perry, Transglobal Underground, Arturo O’Farrill, Natacha Atlas, and Obongjayar, including a world tour with These New Puritans.

Frank Harrison Piano

Frank Harrison took up the piano at 11, and began playing gigs when he was 15. After taking up a scholarship at Berklee School Of Music, Boston, he returned to the UK and joined Gilad Atzmon’s Orient House Ensemble. The band regularly tours Europe, playing at major Jazz and World music festivals. Frank has also performed with Tim Garland, Peter King, Julian Arguelles, Bobby Wellins, Julian Siegel, Don Weller, John Etheridge, Louis Stewart and Iain Ballamy.

Frank’s trio features Dave Whitford (Bill Frisell, John Taylor, Kenny Wheeler) on bass and Enzo Zirilli (Bob Mintzer, Tom Harrell, Enrico Pieranunzi) on drums. They have released four albums and regularly tour the UK, Europe and the Far East.

Frank Harrison is one of the most talented young musicians I have heard Ronnie Scott

His talent shines among his peers Julian Joseph

Asaf Sirkis Drums

Born in Israel, Asaf started his professional career as a drummer in the late 80’s and played with some of Israel’s Jazz luminaries such at Harold Rubin and Alber Beger. A few years after the recording of his first solo album ‘One Step Closer’ Asaf relocated to the Netherlands, France and finally settled in London around 1999 where he soon became one of the most active Jazz drummers around. During that time Asaf became a founder member of Gilad Atzmon’s ‘Orient House Ensemble’ and started his long time collaborations with renown saxophonist Tim Garland and pianist Gwilym Simcock. Asaf has been leading his own bands and projects such as ‘Asaf Sirkis & the Inner Noise’ – a band of an unusual line up of church organ, guitar and drums as well as the Asaf Sirkis Trio and the Sirkis/Bialas IQ. He has been touring worldwide and recorded over 150 albums as a sideman, collaborator and as a leader.

Since 2016, Asaf has been recording many albums for the Moonjune record label (NYC); collaborating with Moonjune artists such as Makus Reuter, Mark Wingfield, Dwiki Dharmawan, Carles Benavent, Gary Husband and many more.

In January 2023, Asaf became a member of the legendary British jazz-rock group Soft Machine and been touring with Softs worldwide. Asaf have been playing with many other renown jazz and world music artists such as: Dave Holland, Jacob Collier, Tim Garland, Gwilym Simcock, Larry Coryell, Jeff Berlin, John Abercrombie, Bob Sheppard, Norman Watt-Roy (off the Blockheads), Wilco Johnson, Robert Wyatt, Natacha Atlas, Dave Liebman, David Binney, pianist John Taylor, Norma Winstone, Kenny Wheeler, Andy Sheppard and many more.

Immy Churchill Vocals

Immy Churchill is a jazz singer and singer songwriter studying at The Royal Academy of Music. As a member of The London Vocal Project, Immy has played with the likes of Norma Winstone and Dave Holland and has recently been involved in Jon Hendricks’ Miles Ahead. As a soloist she has performed in The London Jazz Festival with her trio and also alongside Liane Carroll. Recently she has performed with her own band at The Vortex as well as performing in other original music projects at Ronnie Scott’s. She has sung with a range of ensembles at venues such as The Green Note, Royal Festival Hall, Pizza Express Live, and Kings Place and looks to embrace not only the lyrical quality of being a singer but also the joys of singing wordlessly and improvising. Her influences range from Joni Mitchell and James Taylor to Ella Fitzgerald and Norma Winstone, providing her with a wide breadth of musical knowledge that sets her apart as a vocalist.

Conor Chaplin Bass

Born in the south west of Ireland and then growing up mostly in Surrey, Conor Chaplin studied at Trinity College of Music in Greenwich under the tutelage of Simon Purcell, Steve Watts, and others. Also formative in his education were the late great composer and educator Martin Read at Alton College in Hampshire, and his time as part of Surrey County Youth Jazz Orchestra, based in Woking, and the National Youth Jazz Orchestra under Bill Ashton and Mark Armstrong. 

He is currently touring mainly with such projects as Marius Neset’s ‘Happy’ Quintet, rising star saxophonist Emma Rawicz, Laura Jurd’s Mercury Prize nominated group Dinosaur, and guitarist Tom Ollendorff’s trio.  

Between these regular projects and other one-off occasions he has had the pleasure of touring extensively throughout the UK, North America, Europe and Asia and has been fortunate to perform with diverse artists including Kit Downes, Ben Van Gelder, Reinier Baas, Thomas Strønen, Bobo Stenson, Harold Mabern, George Garzone, Billy Cobham, Jacob Collier, Jesse Van Ruller, Iain Ballamy, Julian Siegel, Natalie Williams, Ivo Neame, Tony Tixier, Keyon Harrold, Stan Sulzmann, Bobby Wellins and many others. 

Pete Churchill Piano and vocal

Originally trained in Canada, Pete has been based in England since 1985. Having completed almost twenty years teaching at the Guildhall School of Music, he is now Professor of Jazz Composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London whilst running the jazz choir at Trinity College of Music.

His busy freelance career has included work as diverse as a year in the West End as a Musical Director of Five Guys named Moe, almost a decade and a half as the British accompanist for the legendary jazz-singer Mark Murphy and the conductor of the Kenny Wheeler Big Band.