December 5th Christmas Concert: Brandon Allen All-Star Sextet
Brandon Allen – Tenor sax/arrangements, Sam Mayne – alto sax/flute, Mark Nightingale – trombone, Ross Stanley – piano, Tim Thornton – bass, Ian Thomas – drums
A regular performer at Ronnie Scott’s, Brandon Allen is one of the most exciting tenor players in Britain today. His sextet was formed in 2012 with the intention of creating the ultimate dream band and all members of the band are highly respected soloists, leaders and composers/arrangers in their own right.
The idea was to perform exciting new arrangements of much loved standards, including compositions by Weather Report, Michel Legrand, Stanley Turrentine, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard and others, the tunes being geared towards showcasing the improvising talents of the frontline as well as the rhythm section.
The band has sold out Ronnie Scott’s twice and has performed at various festivals including Swanage, Scarborough Jazz, Highgate Jazz with Soul Festival, Wigan Jazz, Herts Jazz and the Southport Winter Weekender.
“Many musicians would respond to the opportunity of their own band by starting to write original material to foist onto the unsuspecting public. Allen has taken another route by putting his effort into producing wonderful arrangements to showcase the richness of the writing and the skill of his performers. The result is nothing less than a six-person big band – an extraordinary achievement.”
London Jazz News “And make no mistake, theirs was a world-class performance….a front line that Art Blakey would have branded “the baddest cats in town”” The Evening Standard
Marianne Windham performing with the Ridouts at Fleet Jazz Club on 15 Nov 2017. Photograph courtesy of Ben Casey (Aldershot, Farnham and Fleet Camera Club)
MARIANNE WINDHAM is a jazz and classical double bass player, based in Guildford. She is the co-founder & bedrock of Fleet Jazz Club, which wouldn’t exist without her, and is the resident bass player at the Club.
She took up playing professionally at the start of 2011, leaving behind a career as director of a software consultancy in order to pursue a passion for playing the bass. In the Spring of 2011 Marianne set up The Cavern jazz club near Guildford and has now found a permanent home at the Pavilion of the Guildford Rugby Club. At the end of 2012 Marianne added a monthly Jazz Cafe evening at the Electric Theatre, which has become a popular feature of the Theatre’s programme. Apart from these of clubs in Guildford, and all sorts of festivals and workshops, she also plays in various groups, classical and jazz, including (at the last count) 3 big bands.
Nikki Iles performing with the Karen Sharp Quartet at Fleet Jazz Club. Photograph courtesy of David Fisher (Aldershot, Farnham & Fleet Camera Club).
NIKKI ILES is in the front rank of British jazz musicians. From early days playing harmonica and clarinet, she later studied piano at the Royal Academy and played in the Bedfordshire Youth Jazz Orchestra. She moved to Yorkshire and studied at Leeds College of Music; after more than 15 years in Yorkshire, she moved back to London in 1998. She had begun composing and played with the Creative Jazz Orchestra, and many important musicians including Kenny Wheeler, Mike Walker, Mike Gibbs, Mark Anthony Turnage, Mick Hutton, Stan Sulzmann, Steve Arguelles, Steve Berry and Tina May.
She has recorded a number of duo albums including with Stan Sulzmann (two), Martin Speake and Tina May. She has won many awards for composition, for best group and as a pianist. In addition to performing, composing and recording, an important part of her musical life is as a teacher including active links with The Royal Academy of Music and Middlesex University. She has published several books on jazz piano.
Recent playing highlights include with The Julian Arguelles Octet, The Kenny Wheeler Big Band, Tony Coe and Tina May, her trio with Jeff Williams, The Stan Sulzmann Big Band, Joe Locke and Neil Pursey.
Fleet Jazz regulars will recall that Nikki has performed at the club with ‘The Printmakers’ December 2015 Concert (with Norma Winstone, Mark Lockheart, Mike Walker, Steve Watts and James Maddren), Tina May Quartet and The Karen Sharp Quartet.