November tour round-up


My tour with the quartet went well this month!  We had a great time playing and hanging out together, and it was really nice to get to many different cities to play for loads of lovely people who’d never heard us before.  We were promoting the upcoming release of our new album “While We Still Can”.

In the middle of the tour I had two days of recording with Nat Birchall for his new album, and an afternoon demo-ing some tunes for Kyran Matthews Quartet, with Paul Baxter and David Austin Grey.  I’ve heard them both, and they’re sounding great!  I’m excited to see what happens with them.

Just after the quartet tour finished, I was down in London to play a lovely gig at Jazz in the Round, the Cockpit, with Nat’s Quintet.  There was also a quality set from Leafcutter John and another from Andreas Schaerer!  Whilst I was in London, I also managed to get to see some of Jazz festival; a double bill of Charles Lloyd (with Eric Harland!), and Dave Douglas/Joe Lovano group (with Joey Baron!  And Linda Oh!).

I spent so long organising the tour and getting my new quartet album finished, and it has gotten close to Christmas, that it now feels like I’m done for the year, although I’ve still got some nice gigs coming up (with Engine Room Favourites on 27 Nov, Mark Hanslip on 30 Nov, and Fragments on 18 Dec) and I’ll be recording with Fragments, Marley Chingus and Misha Gray’s quintet in December, so still lots going on.

Quartet tour – November 2014

November tour dates!  Generously supported by Jazz Services!

Nov 06 LUME, London – 8pm £5
Nov 09 Hillary Step, Manchester – 8.30pm FREE
Nov 15 Zeffirellis, Ambleside – 8.30pm FREE
Nov 16 Seven Jazz, Leeds – 1pm £7/5
Nov 16 Splinter Jazz, Newcastle – 7.30pm £6
Nov 18 Spotted Dog, Birmingham – 9pm FREE
Nov 19 Lescar, Sheffield – 8.30pm £5
Nov 20 Matt & Phred’s, Manchester – 9pm FREE
Nov 21 Caledonia, Liverpool – 9pm FREE

Jazz Services are helping me tour!

I am touring with my quartet again in November and I am very happy that Jazz Services are able to help me with it!  For those of you who don’t know, Jazz Services is an invaluable charitable support organisation for Jazz music, promoting its growth and development and offering services on touring, recording, information, international support, education and communications, publishing and promotion; they do so much for the UK Jazz scene by helping musicians, promoters and audiences across the country.  Unfortunately, they have recently found out that they will not be receiving any more funding from Arts Council England after March 2015.  This is devastating news for the Jazz community as the comparatively tiny amount of money made such a huge difference for many musicians and promoters who are trying to keep music live.  Please sign the petition here, and there is also a Facebook group that you should “like”.


Manchester Jazz Festival 2014: July 18-27

The Jazz Festival started a few days ago and it’s already been great!  I’m really disappointed to have missed loads of great stuff, but it’s bound to happen when there’s so much happening.  Here’s just a few of the groups that caught my eye but there is so much more: Pigfoot (Sat 19), Adam Fairhall’s Imaginary Delta (Tue 22) and his solo performance (Mon 21), the Dead Hedge Trio (Tue 22), The Great Mountain (Wed 23), Jonathan Silk’s Big Band (Wed 23), Silence Blossoms (Wed 23), and of course, Beats & Pieces (Fri 25).  Check the listings on the website (

With regards my own gigs, I was very happy that my Quartet was chosen to play for the BBC Introducing Showcase at the Band on the Wall on Friday 18th along with the Moss Project, Brassy B and the Peter Edwards Trio.  The whole concert will be broadcast on Monday 28 July on Jazz on 3, BBC Radio 3, at 11pm.

I’m also excited to be playing in my brother’s MJF Originals commission (6pm on Thursday 24 July at the Central Library), the Nat Birchall quintet (7.30pm on Wednesday 23 July at Band on the Wall), and Engine Room Favourites (5pm on Thursday 24 July at teh Festival Pavillion).

See you there at the Festival Square!

Quartet Tour Round-Up

We finished the tour last week and, despite my best efforts, I didn’t manage to document any of it…  I got some lovely pictures at the end of each night when I remembered that I had a camera.  Luckily there were some people at our gigs – people with cameras – so here is a selection of snaps from our travels.

Photo credit – Alan Hough

Photo credit – Peter Fay

Photo credit – Ken Drew

23.02 – Darwen was a good start to the tour; an appreciative audience and a cheese buffet!  The promoter Gary Ward deserves a special mention for the amount that he does for the music scene in South Lancashire.  The county would not be the same without him.

24.02 – Rehearsal (without Ben) was spent mostly playing standards and realising that a trumpet/double bass/drums trio sounds great!

25.02 – We were honoured to be the last group ever to play at Liverpool’s Parr Jazz whilst at its home in Studio 2.  See below for a video from the gig.

26.02 – Sheffield was the best city for CD sales (mainly because I made a group of my old friends pay for their copies…)!  The Jazz at the Lescar weekly nights are a really great establishment and should supported!  It’s been running for over 10 years and consistently brings in some of the best in UK Jazz (and sometimes me) and it only costs you £5.

28.02 – Echo…o…o…  Playing in the foyer of the Royal Exchange Theatre was a good exercise in control!  Stew and I then hotfooted it back to Liverpool to play some heavy Coltrane-inspired Jazz with Marley Chingus.

01.02 – Back in Liverpool again (again)!  I was able to fit in a gig at the Liverpool Jazz Festival with the Blind Monk trio.  I went over early to catch Jamil Sheriff‘s Trio and Colin Towns‘s group, both of which I really enjoyed.  I also ended up spending more than my gig fee at Jazz House Records‘ brilliant pop up shop in the Capstone‘s foyer.

02.02 – The lowest audience turnout of the tour, but the 15 or so people who did come to watch us were by far the best people in Newcastle!  Andy even raced back from his gig with ACV at the Liverpool Jazz Festival; that’s dedication.  It was definitely a good gig to finish the tour with.  You can read Lance Liddle’s review of the gig on the ‘Be-Bop Spoken Here‘ blog.

Thanks to everyone who came down to our gigs, and thanks especially to Graham, Ben and Stewart for coming!  Here’s a video of us in Liverpool, filmed by Paul Necci.

(Northern) UK Tour to promote my new CD

My quartet are taking to the road in a couple of weeks to promote the release of our new CD, ‘Appropriations’.

Sun 23 FEB Darwen Number 39 Hopstar Brewery Tap, 3pm
Tue 25 FEB Liverpool Parr Jazz @ Studio 2, 8pm
Wed 26 FEB Sheffield Jazz @ the Lescar, 8.30pm
Fri 28 FEB Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre, 6pm
Sun 02 MAR Newcastle Splinter Jazz @ the Bridge Hotel, 8pm

If you can’t make it to any of our performances, you can still buy the CD from the Efpi Records online shop.

‘Appropriations’, my new CD, is now out!

My first record as band leader/composer was released yesterday on Efpi Records. Wonderful artwork by Angela Guyton, “big hearted” tenor playing by Ben Watte, “recklessly cool” trumpeting from Graham South and Stewart Wilson is “especially flexible” on bass!

You can hear it and buy it online at

The first review of the CD is from Marlbank.  Read it here -

My quartet EP/album has arrived!

First off, is it an album or is it an EP?  I don’t really know…  I think it’s probably an EP.  Either way, it’s here and it looks fit!  I owe a massive thank you to everyone who helped me with this.

I don’t know when the label bosses are wanting to officially release it but I will definitely be selling it behind their backs to anyone who wants one…

Graham South (trumpet), Ben Watte (tenor sax), Stewart Wilson (double bass), Johnny Hunter (drums).

More incredible artwork from Angela Guyton; the best artist I know.  She also did the amazing cover for Skamel’s debut album.  It was beautifully recorded and mixed by Ben Cottrell, and mastered by Ben Watte.  CD replication from Disc Wizards – I used these guys for Skamel’s album last year and was very happy to use them again.  I definitely recommend them; their digipaks look great.

We’re playing at Creative Space in Manchester in a couple of weeks time so come down and pick up a copy!  Tuesday 10 December – 8.45pm @ The Slug and Lettuce, Wilmslow Rd, Didsbury, Manchester, M20 6QZ.

Jazz On 3: Adventures In Sound

I’ve just got back from the London Jazz Festival, playing at a Jazz On 3 event which featured “short sets from established acts as well as one-off collaborations. This year’s line-up includes UK electronic improviser Leafcutter John, expect anything from samples distorted by a Wii to creaky floorboards; Dutch experimental acoustic bass guitarist Luc Ex, along with Ab Baars and Ingrid Laubrock on reeds and saxes; and the Anton Hunter Trio. A guitarist from Manchester, Anton’s spiky melodies and heavy riffs reveal his roots in experimental post-rock.”

It was a really great gig.  Loads of fantastic musicians creating loads of incredible music.  I was so chuffed to have been a part of it.

You can hear Jez Nelson presenting highlights from “Adventures In Sound” tomorrow evening (Monday 18 November) on BBC Radio 3 –

Skamel tour round-up

We had a good tour with Skamel that finished earlier this month.  We played in some new cities to some really great crowds and we also got to try out a bunch of new material which is slowly amassing for our second album which may be recorded next year!  You can hear an early recording of one of these tunes which we recorded for Chester Zoo and Act for Wildlife‘s October campaign to raise money to help Orangutans in Borneo.

The biggest news, however, is that Nick lost a chess game to Tim in four moves.  How embarrassing for him.

Thanks to these venues, their promoters and their audiences – Studio 2 in Liverpool, Zeffirellis in Ambleside, the Jazz Bar in Edinburgh, Number 39 in Darwen, Jazz at the Priestly in Bradford, Matt & Phred’s in Manchester, and Jazz at the Lescar in Sheffield.