The Jazz Defenders are a group borne out of a deep love for Blue Note Records, specifically the hard bop recordings of Horace Silver, Hank Mobley, Lee Morgan and The Jazz Messengers. Those records were highly regarded for a reason – catchy horn lines and incredible musicianship combined with Rudy Van Gelder’s engineering skills mean they will forever be regarded as classics of the genre. The Jazz Defenders are a group that would ‘defend’ the legacy of those recordings whilst creating its own original identity and distinctive flair.
The group is led by vibrant pianist and composer George Cooper and is the brainchild of both Cooper and producer Adam Gibbons, of Lack of Afro. After Gibbons shared his idea with Cooper, the musicians were chosen for the individual qualities and style that they brought to the group and an all original set of tunes was written between Cooper and each member of the ensemble. Featuring some of Bristol’s finest players the line-up is Nick Dover (tenor saxophone), Nick Malcolm (trumpet), Matt Brown (drums), Will Harris (bass), and George Cooper (piano). The music that they produce together is a modern slant on classic hard bop, effortlessly channelling the spirit of the golden Blue Note era of jazz.
As session musicians in their own right, the five members of the band have worked with a variety of internationally acclaimed artists such as Nigel Kennedy, Massive Attack, Pee Wee Ellis, Andy Sheppard, Get The Blessing, Simon Spillet, Alan Barnes, Rodriguez & Nostalgia 77, as well as playing at venues including Ronnie Scott’s, The Jazz Cafe & The 606 Club.
George Cooper - Piano and Synth
Dan Messore - Guitar
Aidan Thorne - Double Bass
Tom Cottle - Drums
Render is a new project led by George Cooper and Dan Messore, combining modern film music with Jazz and improvisation. Selected material that has been re-worked and arranged for quartet include cues from The Dark Knight, Inception and Gladiator (Hans Zimmer), Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows (Alexandre Desplat) and Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror (Max Richter). Since their debut gig at St Ives Jazz Club in the spring, the group have taken time to develop their rich and cinematic sound, exploring ambient textures and effects to create a lush soundscape that is entrancing, subjective, dynamic and often electrifying.
Ruth has defined herself as a quality performer, blithely crossing boundaries of nu-soul, jazz and R&B.
"One of the most versatile singers I've worked with" - Mo Pleasure (Earth Wind and Fire)
"Great singer songwriter, who sings from the soul" - Kevin Mark Trail (The Streets)
Ruth has already performed at the iconic Abbey Road Studios, toured Germany, Holland and the UK. She has worked with artists including Mo Pleasure (Earth Wind and Fire), Immani (Incognito) and more.
"Ruth, your voice physically bounced me out of my chair. What a night! Thanks!” - Jeremy Vine, BBC Radio 2
"What an incredible voice, an incredible performer and a brilliant tune" - Sam Bonham, BBC Introducing in the West
Ruth is joined by a stellar lineup including Anders Oleander on keys, Craig Crofton on sax and Andy Tween on drums.
Greg Abate jazz saxophonist, flutist, composer continues as an International Jazz/Recording Artist with 225 days a year touring the globe.
In the mid 70’s after finishing a four year program at Berklee College Of Music, Greg played lead alto for the Ray Charles Orchestra for 2 years. In 1978 Greg formed his group Channel One which was a favorite in the New England area and from there had the opportunity to play tenor sax with the revived Artie Shaw Orchestra under leadership of Dick Johnson from 1986 to ’87. Following this experience Greg ventured out as post hard bop soloist playing Jazz Festivals, Jazz Societies and Jazz Clubs throughout the U.S. Canada and abroad, including most of Europe, UK, and Moscow and Georgia Russia.
Greg recorded his first CD Live At Birdland NYC in 1991 on the Candid Jazz Label with the trio of James Williams, Rufus Reid and Kenny Washington. To this date Greg has recorded over 17 other recordings as leader.
Greg is also an adjunct professor of Jazz Studies at Rhode Island College and is also a very active jazz clinician with co. sponsorship from the Conn -Selmer Instrument Co., conducting workshops and master classes through the U.S and abroad. Greg has been inducted into the RI MUSIC HALL OF FAME 2016.
“I sleep a lot better knowing there are alto players like Greg! It was a joy to make music with him and he writes good songs that are challenging.” - Phil Woods
Abate is not content to rely on stock bebop riffs and standard chord progressions. Rather, the sharp angularity of his phrases and the often startling pauses in his fast-moving lines give his work a feeling of constant invention and creativity.” - Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune
“…Abate’s musical style can be seen as a distillation of swing’s easygoing vibe and bop’s more animated groove. He has developed a unique voice." – METRO San Jose
“Greg Abate is an absolute powerhouse who will absolutely not let hard driving bebop die. One of the most exciting players around today, Greg’s commitment to the music is total…” – W. Pickowitz, Jr., The Jazz Messenger
“Multi-saxophonist Greg Abate is a prime example of the ‘rear back and blow’ school of contemporary bop-based players. The tunes he writes or chooses are based on the kinds of changes that harmony-oriented jazzmen have favored since the beginning and he swings through them with and eager and easy virtuosity.” –David Franklin, Jazz Times
“Greg Abate is one of the most appealing saxophonists on the scene today. He is mature with an abundance of gentle self-confidence. The result is that he plays music with sweetness and daring.” – Jim Merod, New Jazz Recordings
Heralding from the suburbs of Bristol, Rich comes from a family of musicians that draw influences from an array of differing musical styles, ranging from Jazz, Funk and Soul, to Rock/Pop, Blues and Hip-hop. Aside from being an active member in a number of projects such as Mango Factory, Trip The Switch, Murrumbidgee, In Extremis and The Trish Brown Band, his latest solo project, self-titled The Rich O'Brien Project, merges grooves reminiscent of a Marcus Miller or Soulive record with ambient melodies that explore a range of musical styles.
The Rich O'Brien Project is a formidable 5/6 piece Nu-soul/Jazz/Funk outfit based in Bristol, UK. The project features the beautiful and charismatic compositions of bass player and leader Rich O'Brien, whose playing merits include collaborations with Roni Size, Joker, Robert Brian (Siouxsie Sioux), James Morton, Jay Wilcox, William Cartwright and Celestine (from BBC's "The Voice"). Following from their acclaimed award winning debut album Hot Potato, their latest release Horizonsoffers a modern blend of deep 'grooves for moves' with soul-drenched melodies reminiscent of smoke-filled jazz clubs. Channelling a cocktail of influences from Marcus Miller to D’Angelo and Soulive, the Rich O'Brien Project appeals to both astute listeners and dance floor goers alike. "This is unquestionably music that is destined to fill, and captivate, jazz and soul clubs the length and breadth of the country and beyond." (John Toolan, 2012).
With the release of the highly acclaimed new album Horizons, and extensive UK tour dates planned throughout 2014 , The Rich O'Brien Project is already beginning to create quite a stir in the British Nu-Soul, Jazz and Funk scene.
As a 1st class honours Music graduate, Rich is an experienced performer and composer, and can read chord charts and musical notation to a high standard. Rich has also taken part in various classical compositions and performances, including regular choir concerts at Bath Abbey, compositions for a string quintet and for film scores.
Sophie Stockham is an alto saxophonist based in Bristol UK. She has studied with Dennis Rollins, Denys Baptiste, Soweto Kinch, Abram Wilson, and Tomorrow's Warriors. Sophie has performed at many major venues and festivals across the UK and Europe, and has had regular radio play (BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 6) with her own original projects; Dakhla and Lady Nade. Most recently her band Dakhla was chosen to represent BBC Introducing's ‘Best of New Jazz’ at the Manchester Jazz Festival, by Gilles Peterson and Jez Nelson (BBC Radio 3 and 4). Her strong signature sound makes impressive use of space and melody.
Drawing influences from Wayne Shorter, Ornette Coleman, David Newman, Stan Getz and John Zorn, Sophie Stockham has put together 'Sefrial'. This inventive project performs music with an eclectic range of music from The Tin Hat trio, avant-rockist composer John Zorn and post-boogaloo experimentalists Medeski, Martin & Wood. This project features some of Bristols top players including the brilliant Jake McMurchie on tenor sax, Joe Wilkins on guitar, Riaan Vosloo on bass and Matt Brown on drums.
After a sell out debut performance at the Bristol Fringe in January this stellar lineup reunite to bring you the music of one of the most successful and prolific musicians in jazz history. The group covers music from Metheny's whole career from the chamber-like trio albums to the dense orchestrations of the PMG recordings.
The band features:
Will Harris - bass.
Matt Hopkins - guitar
Dave Newton - piano
Mark Whitlam - drums
John Pearce - violin
Emily Wright - vocals/violin
Blow the Fuse Records presents A Magic Life...
‘Inspired by real-world ideas, people and situations but infused with the kind of heady imagination that transforms their resonances into a series of vivacious musical adventures’ - ***** BBC Music Magazine
‘A gorgeous album synthesising mood, melody and the interplay between musicians totally at home with each other.’ **** Jazzwise
‘Spirited, eloquent and graceful’ *** The Guardian
‘Purposeful, full-toned and melodic… a beautifully integrated band’ ****
‘If the first rule of life is to do what makes you happy, this album tumbles and flows with such a spirit, performed by a quintet whose musicality and heart enables it; a celebration of life itself ‘ LondonJazzNews
“An album of unified musical dexterity, with not a note wasted and with sound as story – clear and undisguised, deeply affecting and unashamedly open”
The Morning Star
Alison Rayner bass
Buster Birch drums, percussion
Deirdre Cartwright guitar
Diane McLoughlin saxophones
Steve Lodder piano
‘Is music stronger than magic, a young boy asked Alison Rayner? And here’s one answer: a gorgeous album synthesising mood, melody and the interplay between musicians totally at home with each other. Not that ‘A Magic Life’ is complacent or cosy; Lodder’s keys always challenge, Cartwright remains that most chameleon of players, able to summon the spirit of others while retaining her own voice, and McLoughlin can mix a keening tone with a melodic sweetness. It’s all there, even in the apparently throwaway fun of ‘The Trunk Call’ that sashays between a bluesy theme, a dub ska breakout and a South Indian theme like it’s the most obvious of musical conversations, which, obviously, it ain’t. Beneath it all Rayner is dark and sonorous, like a Haden or Weber, able to make a rounded single note underwrite the band’s soarings, never more so than on the blues of ‘Swanage Bay’, which mixes memory, loss and love into a heady serenade. Occasionally the Arts Council gets it right, and this project fully deserves such support.’ - Andy Robson, Jazzwise
Consisting of three of Birmingham’s most forward thinking and engaging young improvisers, the Olly Chalk Trio are a vastly creative new outfit.
Citing influences such as David Binney, Tim Berne, John Escreet, Ambrose Akinmusire, Pablo Held and Steve Lehman, Matt Mitchell and Einojuhani
Rautaavara - Olly’s intricate writing is daring, bold and emotive. His music tells a personal story, one of nostalgia, dystopia, anxiety and hope.
"Super creative and different" - John Escreet
"Olly is one of the most gifted players of his generation. He has everything: Sound, groove, vibe, detail, intellect, intention, invention, energy, delicacy
...above all, he plays from the heart" - Hans Koller
Gary Alesbrook is back with his funk and soul inspired 'Duval Project'. Details and full lineup to follow...