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.