Our jazz nights at the Pavilion at Guildford Rugby Club are held on the second Wednesday of each month. It’s a perfect venue, with a bar that is just the right size with good seating, a great atmosphere, a nice view, a large car park, disabled access, and of course a licensed bar with guest real ales! Since we started holding our monthly jazz nights in March 2011, Guildford Jazz has established itself as a popular club on the British jazz circuit – here are a few of the guests we’ve had the pleasure of inviting.
The gigs start at 8pm, and the doors open at 7.30pm. There’s no booking fee, or membership – to book tickets just click the “book tickets” link after each event and complete the form that’s displayed, and we’ll send you a confirmation email with all the details. Thank you!
Chris Biscoe and Allison Neale
“Two of a Mind”
Exploring afresh the freewheeling, wonderfully melodic interpretations of standard material recorded 50 years ago by Gerry Mulligan and Paul Desmond on Blues in Time and Two of a Mind, this new band promises to evoke the spirit of these classic recordings while giving free reign to the personalities of the musicians.
Featuring Chris Biscoe – Baritone sax, Allison Neale – alto sax, Colin Oxley – guitar , Matt Fishwick – drums, Marianne Windham – bass
The Mulligan and Desmond recordings were by a quartet of baritone and alto sax, bass and drums. CD re-releases included some tracks with guitar added.
The band’s new CD Then and Now (Trio tr597), includes three performances by the quartet and four with guitarist Colin Oxley. Colin’s playing is an object lesson in how to enrich the harmonies and add to the rhythmic drive without detracting from the interplay between the saxes which is the hallmark of this band.
Tonight’s concert will feature arrangements drawn from the original Desmond/Mulligan records, including Stardust, Stand Still, All The Things You Are, Easy Living, Lover, The Way You Look Tonight and Blight of the Fumble Bee, as well as the band’s own arrangements of How Deep Is The Ocean and Indian Summer, and new standards based compositions by Chris Biscoe, Then and Now and Rest Easy.
Multi-instrumentalist Chris Biscoe has been featured on baritone sax with the big bands of Hermeto Pascoal, Tony Kinsey, Graham Collier and the New York Composers Orchestra, as well as in various Mike Westbrook Bands and John Williams’ Baritone Band. Chris has released two CDs with Tony Kofi, and Profiles of Mingus with Henry Lowther. American born altoist Allison Neale’s beautifully crafted lines evoke the spirit of Paul Desmond and Art Pepper, with whom she has a particular affinity. She has performed with Adelaide Hal, Bud Shank and Scott Hamilton, as well as featuring in the John Dankworth Generations Band and the Back to Basie Orchestra. Her latest CD I Wished on the Moon (Trio tr593) was released in 2015.
Guitarist Colin Oxley established an international reputation with the Stacey Kent group, and has gone on to work with Harry Allen, Warren Vache, Houston Person and Dave Newton. He is professor of guitar at the Guildhall School of Music. And on drums, Matt Fishwick brings his subtle and dynamic playing to bands with Steve Fishwick and Osian Roberts and has played in the UK and USA with Scott Hamilton, Harry Allen, Jim Mullen, Warren Vache, Cedar Walton, John Colliani, Anita O’Day and many others.
Tickets £15 (£7 students). Click here to book tickets.
“Two saxophonists, Chris Biscoe and Allison Neale, revisit the music of Gerry Mulligan and Paul Desmond. The baritone-and-alto interplay of this classic late 50s-early 60s partnership had the rare distinction of being both clever and tuneful, with touches of wit. The trouble was, they only made two albums together. Now, with perfect rapport, and a positively uncanny grasp of this elusive idiom, Biscoe and Neale have come up with more, including two Biscoe originals. The playing is immaculate” Dave Gelly, The Observer, ****
“BLOWIN’ THE BLUES AWAY”
FREDDIE GAVITA & ALEX GARNETT
Trumpet player Freddie Gavita, winner of the 2017 British Jazz Awards, and Alex Garnett, one of the leading saxophonists in the UK and Mainland Europe for over two decades, present their tribute to the iconic Horace Silver album, Blowin’ The Blues Away.
Described by Allmusic as “one of Horace Silver’s all-time Blue Note classics… one of Silver’s finest albums, and it’s virtually impossible to dislike”, this classic LP includes the well-known tracks ‘Peace’ and ‘Sister Sadie’ and featured performances by Silver with Blue Mitchell, Junior Cook, Gene Taylor, and Louis Hayes.
Featuring Freddie Gavita – trumpet, Alex Garnett – sax, Rob Barron – piano, Chris Higginbottom – drums, Marianne Windham – bass
ABOUT HORACE SILVER
When Horace Silver once wrote out his rules for musical composition (in the liner notes to the 1968 record, Serenade to a Soul Sister), he expounded on the importance of “meaningful simplicity.” The pianist could have just as easily been describing his own life. For more than fifty years, Silver has simply written some of the most enduring tunes in jazz while performing them in a distinctively personal style. It’s all been straight forward enough, while decades of incredible experiences have provided the meaning.
Silver was born in Norwalk, Connecticut on September 2, 1928. His father had immigrated to the United States from Cape Verde—and that island nation’s Portuguese influences would play a big part in Silver’s own music later on. When Silver was a teenager, he began playing both piano and saxophone while he listened to everything from boogie-woogie and blues to such modern musicians as Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk. As Silver’s piano trio was working in Hartford, Connecticut, the group received saxophonist Stan Getz’s attention in 1950. The saxophonist brought the band on the road and recorded three of Silver’s compositions.
In 1951, Silver moved to New York City where he accompanied saxophonists Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young and many other legends. In the following year, he met the executives at Blue Note while working as a sideman for saxophonist Lou Donaldson. This meeting led to Silver signing with the label where he would remain until 1980. He also collaborated with Art Blakey in forming the Jazz Messengers during the early 1950s (which Blakey would continue to lead after Silver formed his own quintet in 1956).
During these years, Silver helped create the rhythmically forceful branch of jazz known as “hard bop” (chronicled in David H. Rosenthal’s 1992 book, Hard Bop: Jazz and Black Music, 1955-1965). He based much of his own writing on blues and gospel—the latter is particularly prominent on one of his biggest tunes, “The Preacher.” While his compositions at this time featured surprising tempo shifts and a range of melodic ideas, they immediately caught the attention of a wide audience. Silver’s own piano playing easily shifted from aggressively percussive to lushly romantic within just a few bars. At the same time, his sharp use of repetition was funky even before that word could be used in polite company. Along with Silver’s own work, his bands often featured such rising jazz stars as saxophonists Junior Cook and Hank Mobley, trumpeter Blue Mitchell, and drummer Louis Hayes. Some of his key albums from this period included Horace Silver Trio (1953), Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers (1955), Six Pieces of Silver (1956) and Blowin’ The Blues Away (1959), which includes his famous, “Sister Sadie.” He also combined jazz with a sassy take on pop through the 1961 hit, “Filthy McNasty.”
But it was a few years later when Silver would record one of his most famous songs, the title track to his 1964 album, Song For My Father. That piece combined his dad’s take on Cape Verdean folk music (with a hint of Brazilian Carnival rhythms) into an enduring F-minor jazz composition. Over the years, it has become an American popular music standard, covered not only by scores of instrumentalists, but also such singers as James Brown.
As social and cultural upheavals shook the nation during the late 1960s and early 1970s, Silver responded to these changes through music. He commented directly on the new scene through a trio of records called United States of Mind (1970-1972) that featured the spirited vocals of Andy Bey. The composer got deeper into cosmic philosophy as his group, Silver ‘N Strings, recorded Silver ‘N Strings Play The Music of the Spheres (1979).
After Silver’s long tenure with Blue Note ended, he continued to create vital music. The 1985 album, Continuity of Spirit (Silveto), features his unique orchestral collaborations. In the 1990s, Silver directly answered the urban popular music that had been largely built from his influence on It’s Got To Be Funky (Columbia, 1993). On Jazz Has A Sense of Humor (Verve, 1998), he shows his younger group of sidemen the true meaning of the music.
A graduate of the Royal Academy of Music and the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, Freddie Gavita rose to prominence through the John Dankworth Orchestra, and has been a member of the Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Orchestra for ten years. He has performed as a guest soloist with the BBC Big Band and featured twice on the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. He has made numerous radio and television appearances, including Downton Abbey!
Freddie has played with, among others, Peter Erskine, Joe Locke, John Hendricks, Kenny Wheeler, Stan Sulzmann, Tim Garland, Jon Faddis, Gregory Porter, Curtis Stigers, Paloma Faith, Jess Glynne, Seth McFarlane and Dionne Warwick.
A fearless improviser, “he solos with fluent authority, his tone ranging from the warmly conversational to the eloquently strident.” He won the British Jazz Awards 2017 in the Best Trumpet category and his recently released CD, Transient, garnered a 4 star review in the Observer.
A versatile musician and first call sideman, Alex is instantly recognized by his dark, husky sound. He has enjoyed success as both a jazz artist, composer and arranger, and an in-demand session, studio and commercial saxophonist, having racked up countless recording credits along the way.
He has performed in over 30 countries worldwide appearing at such venues as the Blue Note, Birdland, as well as the Perugia, North Sea, Vittoria, Montreax, and Oslo Jazz Festivals to name but a few, with varied and diverse artists across the spectrum such as Sir John Dankworth, Wynton Marsalis, Pete King, Humphrey Littleton, Scott Hamilton, Van Morrison, Evan Parker and The Rolling Stones, as well as with his contemporaries Gareth Lockrane, Seamus Blake, Phil Robson, Michael Janisch, Joel Frahm, and more.
Although Alex has accumulated one of the most impressive biographies of any saxophonist in Europe of his generation, he did not release his own solo album until the age of 40 in September of 2011, and his second album, Andromeda, with his new band ‘Bunch of Five’ in January of 2015.
Alex also runs a weekly late-night residency at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in Soho.
Tickets £15 (£7 students). Advance booking recommended. Book now.
MATT WATES SEXTET
Featuring Matt Wates – alto sax, Steve Main – tenor sax, Steve Fishwick – trumpet, Leon Greening – piano, Marianne Windham (bass), Matt Skelton – drums
“A seriously good band containing six of Britain’s finest jazz musicians, regardless of age or style” (Dave Gelly, The Observer).
A firm believer that music should regain the swingy melody it once held, Matt leads his sextet with seamless harmony, delivering perfect jazz notes with humour and evident pleasure.
As he says: “In style, the sextet certainly resembles many of the great small bands of the 50s and 60s, such as those of Horace Silver and Art Blakey. We take inspiration from the past, but we are not trying to replicate it, merely to add in a small way to the music for which we have the deepest respect and love.
“I strongly believe that jazz has to swing. To me, this is what gives the music that beautiful human quality which attracted most of us to jazz in the first place. We play some Latin American style pieces and some funky things too, but the heart and soul of the band will always be straight-ahead swing. If it isn’t swinging at least some of the time, I really don’t feel it’s jazz.
“In general, I am trying to put back into the music some of the things that I feel have got lost over the years : melody, swing, and the idea that a band should not be just a battleground of egos. Above all, I maintain that jazz should be fun to listen to as well as to perform.”
And with this band it certainly is!
Tickets £15 (£7 students). Advance booking strongly recommended!
featuring TONY WOODS
An evening of jazz to make you smile, Honk! plays jazz versions of catchy, groove driven world music tunes, embracing Latin, South African Township jive, New Orleans Second Line, Funk, a touch of Ska, and even a hint of Afro Beat, with some brilliant originals from the band members.
With TONY WOODS alto sax, ALAN YATES tenor sax, SIMON COOK trombone, RUSSELL JARRETT guitar, MARIANNE WINDHAM bass, MARTIN PYNE percussion
A great evening guaranteed!
DEREK NASH QUARTET
Much-loved alto sax player Derek Nash is a featured soloist with the Jools Holland Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, and a vibrant and charismatic performer. Expect an evening of the best of swinging modern mainstream jazz, infused with catchy melodies and infectious rhythms, fronted by one of the most popular and versatile saxophonists in the UK.
“Derek Nash is not only a superb player, he has a stage presence that enthuses both his audience and his fellow musicians.” (Jazzin’ Around)
Derek is renowned for his energetic, vibrant, passionate and charismatic performances on all four saxophones – from sonorous baritone to soaring soprano – and is an award-winning performer having received the John Dankworth Award and the British Jazz Award (Small Group) for Sax Appeal. He received Best Jazz CD of the Year for Young Lions, Old Tigers with the late Spike Robinson, receiving the same British Jazz Award for “Joyriding” by The Derek Nash Acoustic Quartet in 2012. He regularly appears in the British Jazz awards nominations in several categories (Alto/Tenor and Baritone) and was nominated for Jazz Musician of the Year by the Global Music Foundation.
Tickets £15 (£7 students).
O’HIGGINS and LUFT
play MONK and TRANE
Part of a national tour to promote their recent CD release playing the music of jazz giants John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk, award winning tenor saxophonist Dave O’Higgins and the virtuoso guitarist Rob Luft bring their quartet to Guildford for a night of swinging jazz….
Featuring Dave O’Higgins – tenor saxophone, Rob Luft – guitar, Scott Flanigan – organ, Rod Youngs – drums
Dave O’Higgins’ tenor and soprano sax sounds are highly personal and recognisable, with a clear sense of melodic development and adventure. A popular performer with the public, with an excellent sense of pacing and presentation, he has a wide palette from Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon, John Coltrane, Joe Henderson through to Stanley Turrentine and Michael Brecker. He has relentlessly pursued artistic and sonic exploration and development with a deep respect for the tradition of the music.
“O’Higgins and Luft Play Monk and Trane” is Dave’s 21st CD release as leader.
Dave was nominated Best Tenor Sax 2018 British Jazz Awards and has worked with some of the world’s finest musicans, including: Joey Calderazzo, Joe Locke, Dave Kikowski, Eric Alexander, Grant Stewart, Max Ionata, Phil Dwyer, Adam Nussbaum, Joe Lovano, Phil Woods, Jimmy Smith, Nancy Wilson, Peggy Lee, Kurt Elling, Wayne Shorter, Eddie Gomez, Billy Childs, Abdullah Ibrahim, Chico Chagas, Stephane Grappelli, Michel Legrand. He wrote and produced the last Matt Bianco album, “Gravity”.
Rob Luft is an award-winning 25-year-old musician from London, and has been described as one of the UK’s most prominent and talented young contemporary jazz guitarists. Praised by The Times ‘to achieve great things in the future’, Rob was the recipient of the 2016 Kenny Wheeler Jazz Prize in association with Edition Records, and he also received the 2nd Prize in The 2016 Montreux Jazz Guitar Competition. His debut album, “Riser”, was released in July 2017, to widespread critical acclaim from the European jazz media. John Fordham wrote in The Guardian that it’s a “very sophisticated debut, but given Luft’s old-soul achievements since his early teens, we should have heard it coming”. Rob was nominated “British Jazz Musician of the year” – Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2018 and “Breakthrough Act of the year” – Jazz FM Awards 2018
Scott Flanigan is one of the foremost keyboard players on the Irish jazz scene. He performs regularly across the United Kingdom, Ireland, France and Germany, and has recently performed with Van Morrison, the Ulster Orchestra, Larry Coryell, Jean Toussaint, Jim Mullen and Linley Hamilton.
Drummer Rod Youngs has a uniquely identifiable style, loose-limbed and giving everything a great sense of swing. It is a style that incorporates influences across the board from Sid Catlett to Tony Williams, but centres in the great post-Bop drummers of the 50s. His consummate musicianship has garnered him a wide variety of work from concerts and recordings to sessions for radio, TV and film and he has become the drummer of choice for a formidable array of international artists and groups.
Tickets £15 (£7 students). Advance booking recommended.
VASILIS XENOPOULOS QUINTET
This Autumn, Greek sax star Vasilis Xenopoulos releases a new album celebrating the spirit and music of one of his musical heroes, Dexter Gordon. Vasilis will be bringing his quintet to Guildford to perform music from the album which consists of some of Dexter’s original tunes (specially arranged for this project), a few standards played in a “Dexter” style and a couple of original tunes written by Vasilis and inspired from Dexter’s legacy.
The quintet also features Quentin Collins on trumpet, Ross Stanley on piano, and Steve Brown on drums, with Marianne guesting on bass.
Tickets £15 (£7 for students).