Simon Spillett - Tenor
Anders Olinder - Piano
Al Swainger - Bass
Andy Tween - Drums
Winner of the British Jazz Award for Tenor Saxophone in 2011, Simon Spillett is recognised as one of the most distinctive saxophonists on the current UK jazz scene, appearing at famed venues such as Ronnie Scott's club in London and at major jazz festivals from Birmingham to Brecon, recording critically celebrated albums and broadcasting with his own band on BBC Radio 3.
His press reviews include high praise from respected jazz observers; "Formidable" (Humphrey Lyttelton, BBC Radio 2), "Phenomenal" (Dave Gelly, The Observer) and "saxophone playing of the highest order" (Jazz Journal).
Spillett's father Richard worked as a semi-professional musician who studied trombone with Eddie Harvey and played gigs with saxophonists Tony Coe, Jimmy Skidmore and Lol Coxhill.
A love of jazz grew through exposure to his father's record collection and by his teens he was listening to Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, Sonny Rollins, Stan Kenton, Frank Sinatra and others. His musical life began at school, singing in school choirs, whilst at home he learned first cornet, then trombone and valve trombone. Spillett took up the alto saxophone aged 16 and tried to teach himself initially by playing along with records. Aged 17, he switched to tenor saxophone inspired by hearing albums by John Coltrane, Stan Getz and Sonny Rollins. At this time he also played piano, clarinet and soprano saxophone.
In his late teens, Spillett began to sit in at local jazz venues, appearing with saxophonists Dick Morrissey, Art Themen, Spike Robinson and Duncan Lamont among others. At the same time he began two and a half years of private saxophone tuition with saxophonist Vic Ash, then a member of the BBC Big Band.
Spillett began playing gigs aged seventeen with a variety of amateur and semi-professional bands playing mainstream jazz. By the age of 21 he had turned professional, working chiefly in function bands. During the early 2000s he played gigs with saxophonists Peter King and Alan Skidmore, trumpeter Steve Waterman, guitarist John Etheridge and vocalist Tina May.
In 2005 Spillett formed a quartet featuring pianist John Critchinson, bassist Andrew Cleyndert and drummer Martin Drew. The band was a popular attraction at UK jazz venues and festivals including Brecon, Marlborough, Swanage, Birmingham, Wigan, Southport and Wavendon. During this period Spillett also worked with English jazz players including Sir John Dankworth, Alan Barnes, Danny Moss, Stan Tracey, Bobby Wellins, Louis Stewart, Jack Parnell, Gwilym Simcock, Clark Tracey, Tony Kinsey Allan Ganley, Tony Levin and Spike Wells. In 2007 he joined the Ronnie Scott's Jazz Orchestra, working with the band up to it disbanding in late 2013. With this band he worked with several popular artists including Will Young and Mick Hucknall.
Spillett has appeared with various American jazz artists including vocalist Jon Hendricks, saxophonist Greg Abate, pianist Phil De Greg and vocalist Monica Mancini.