Richard Exall (sax/clarinet) Amy Roberts (flute & reeds) Alan Haughton (piano)
Thursday May 18th – Gary Wood (trumpet/vocals) Alan Haughton (piano) Chris Green (double bass)
Tom Syson Trio featuring Tom on trumpet with Edwin Ireland (double bass) Jacky Naylor
Rachel and Friends featuring Rachel Hickey (vocals) Bill Meredith (piano) Nigel Emerton (double bass)
Julian Marc Stringle (clarinet, sax) Alan Haughton (piano) Bobby Orr (drums)
Ben Holder (violin) Alan Haughton (piano) Tomas Pederson (bass)
Susan Valliant Speer (vocals) Alan Haughton (piano) Bobby Orr (drums)
Alan Haughton studied piano at the Royal Academy of Music in London, he performed both solo and concerto concerts in the Dukes Hall. He has held various teaching posts and was Deputy Head at Hazeldene School, Bedford for many years. He also taught jazz and classical piano at Bedford High School. He now just concentrates on performing. Alan is an established composer/performer and has had over sixty albums of music published by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, Kevin Mayhew Publishers and Oxford University Press. In addition to his classical work he has been musical director for Annie Get Your Gun, Cabaret, No, No, Nanette and Blood Brothers. He is an established jazz pianist having worked with John Dankworth, the Terry Lightfoot Band, The Pasadena Roof Orchestra, The Krupa Connection, Tad Newton's Jazz Friends, Richard Exall, Amy Roberts, Roy Williams, Alan Barnes, Denise Gordon, Simon Spillett, Greg Abate, Tina May to name but a few, as well as running his own band.
Richard Exall has worked with most of the established big bands and has become a regular name in the vintage jazz fraternity playing regularly with the Pasadena Roof Orchestra, Harry Strutters Hot Rhythm Orchestra and the Charleston Chasers. Richard became a regular member of the Big Chris Barber Band in 2004, leaving at the end of 2014 to focus on his own career. More recently, Richard has worked with Kenny Ball and toured with American pianist Johnny Varro’s Swing Seven throughout Germany and Switzerland, and runs his own band “Richard Exall’s Shooting Stars” which is a favourite at jazz clubs and festivals. Other recent projects include “The Krupa Connection”; a trio dedicated to the music of Gene Krupa and Benny Goodman. “The Magnificent Seven”; a hard-core swing/latin, traditional/mainstream band formed from the top players on the jazz scene today. “Sugar Ray’s Lucky Strikes”, Jackson Sloan and The Rhythm Tones, and the award winning Amy Roberts/Richard Exall Quintet.
Amy Roberts was the first female musician to join the Big Chris Barber Band. Amy has performed with the London Swing Orchestra, Pete Long’s Echoes of Ellington, Keith Nichols Blue Devils Orchestra, Harry Strutters Rhythm Orchestra and many others. The Richard Exall/Amy Roberts Quintet has released their album, “Why Not?” to critical acclaim.
Gary Wood took an early interest in music. He quickly developed a taste for jazz and swing, joining his first band in 1986. Since then Gary has built a solid reputation as a trumpeter and vocalist and now works as a busy, freelance musician appearing with bands in a variety of jazz & swing styles. He has performed at festivals in the UK and Europe and has played with many top musicians such as Alan Barnes, John Dankworth and Roy Williams. Currently Gary plays trumpet with Tad Newton’s Jazz Friends and runs his own successful quartet. Recently he released his debut CD ‘Evening Standards’ and joined Richard Leach’s “7 Stars of Jazz” at the beginning of 2015.
Chris Green originally developed his musical interest as a classical guitarist, but went on to learn the piano, drums … and also the tenor horn. He began playing the double bass at the age of fourteen, and this soon became his main instrument. He did his first jazz ‘gig’ just within a few months of picking it up ... and he hasn’t stopped playing since. Having had the opportunity to play alongside some of the Country’s best players, Chris has continued to work as a freelance player with numerous bands, travelling throughout the country. Plays regularly with the Gary Wood Swing Band.
Tom Syson was born in Leicester in 1993, and moved to Bedfordshire when he was 5. At the age of 8 he was under the tutelage of local trumpet teacher Mike Lock. After moving up into the local upper school, he was taught by American trumpet player Brant Tilds, who helped introduce him to jazz and the theory behind it. At the age of 16, Tom started to attend the National Youth Jazz Orchestra's second band under Paul Eshleby before moving up into the main band a year later. Tom was granted a place on the prestigious BMus Jazz Course at the Birmingham Conservatoire. He acquired the lead trumpet chair in the Conservatoire Jazz Orchestra and The Tom Haines Jazz Orchestra, as well as regularly playing lead in the Birmingham Jazz Orchestra founded by Hans Kollar and Sean Gibbs. Tom graduated the BMus Hons Jazz course in the summer of 2015, leaving with a First-Class degree. Tom has been lucky enough to play with a number of high profile jazz musicians, such as Jacqui Dankworth, Osian Roberts, Frank Griffith, Ian Shaw, Dudley Phillips, Chris Allard and many more.
Edwin Ireland learnt the cello from the age of seven, Edwin picked up the bass guitar at 13 and soon began playing regularly in various projects in and around his hometown of Bedford. At 18, he began studying at the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance and three years later achieved a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Performance on the bass guitar. After a year spent establishing himself as a performer and teacher, Edwin enrolled onto the Guildhall Jazz Masters course during which he has studied electric and upright bass under the likes of Laurence Cottle and Geoff Gascoyne. He now lives in London and teaches for several music services alongside working as a freelance bassist.
Jacky Naylor is a jazz pianist, composer and arranger based in Birmingham. In 2012, he was awarded a Leverhulme Scholarship to study on the bespoke Jazz course at Birmingham Conservatoire. Since an early age, Big band music has been a major influence and source of inspiration to Jacky and his music, and in 2015, he won the Birmingham Conservatoire Composition and Arranging Prize with his arrangement of Thelonious Monk’s Rhythm-a-ning, performed by the Birmingham Conservatoire Jazz Orchestra with guest vocalist Judy Niemack. Over the next year Jacky continued to study, analyse and hone his big band compositional approaches and techniques and completed his debut big band album Rough Boundaries, which was performed and recorded by Birmingham Jazz Orchestra. The album was launched at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall, and The Vortex, London and has received critical acclaim and 4 star reviews across the board. In addition, Jacky also reached the semi-final stage of BBC Young Jazz Musician 2016, supported Jason Rebello (Sting/Jeff Beck) at Birmingham's Symphony Hall and gained first class honours in his Bachelor of Music (hons) Degree from Birmingham Conservatoire.
Rachel Hickey has been singing since childhood and is classically trained. After playing her part in many musicals she began to sing with a local big band directed by Nigel Carter, lead trumpeter with the BBC Big Band, and developed her jazz skills over the coming years. She now stars regularly with Rachel and friends, a five-piece combo which performs everything from jazz standards to more modern items, as well as continuing her interest with the Silsoe Drama Club where the band played the part of “house band” at an event where the village hall was transformed into a convincing night club.
Bill Meredith started playing with his first jazz group aged 17, and probably spent more time at university playing piano than studying. After university he worked professionally in Germany and back in Liverpool, and has continued to do so ever since in Cumbria and London, where he was lucky to play with many professional musicians and in some important venues from local clubs to the foyer of the National Theatre. Since moving to Bedford in 1990, he has continued to play with local big bands, jazz combos, rock bands and more. Bill writes most of the arrangements for Rachel & Friends.
Nigel Emerton has over the past 25 years earned his position as one of the premier double bass players in the area. As a teenager, Nigel played for both the Luton Youth Jazz Orchestra and the County Youth Jazz Orchestra, playing at the Royal Albert Hall on many occasions. Between 1982-92 Nigel was part of the Big Band 'Page 3', named this way as the band rehearsed in the Sun Hotel, Hitchin. The band toured the UK and Europe playing the great music of Count Basie and Duke Ellington that Nigel loves. Also, during the 80's Nigel toured extensively with Chico Arnez providing him further valuable experience. Nigel was also a mainstay of a great 9-piece function band called 'Aries'. The band was together for 20 years, specialising in covers of songs from the 1970's, 80's and 90's. In recent times Nigel has played with ‘5 Star Swing’ and the big band formerly directed by Nigel Carter (of the BBC Big Band), as well as with Rachel and friends. He also plays with the Luton Symphony Orchestra and is in regular demand for local musical productions.
Julian Marc Stringle was a child prodigy reed player. He was educated at the Latymer School and the London College of Music where he studied Clarinet with Wilf Keeley and Composition with William Lloyd Webber. Julian made his TV debut with Acker Bilk when he was just 14. The show featured Julian's teenage Dixieland band "Young Jazz" that included the Sidwell brothers on Trumpet & Trombone, Paul Clarvis on Drums, Andy Cleyndert on Bass, and Sam Brown vocals. At 17 he formed a Modern Jazz quintet and toured Europe with Dave Cliff, Nick Weldon, Andy Cleyndert and Mark Taylor. He has played on concert, club, festival and broadcast dates with his own band and with:- Peanuts Hucko, Wild Bill Davidson, George Chisholm, Don Lusher, Kenny Baker, Cleo Laine & Sir John Dankworth. He has recorded with John Parricelli, Digby Fairweather, Danny Moss, Sam Brown, Roy Williams, Jim Mullen, Marc Almond, Tommy Whittle, George Melly, Joe Brown, Chas & Dave, Dennis Lecorriere, The Grid and the Spice Girls! He has appeared at Wembley Arena with Meatloaf.
Bobby Orr has played drums extensively around the country. He was drummer for the Terry Lightfoot Band and played with top musicians such as Bruce Adams, Frank Griffith, John Critchinson, Gilad Azmon and Simon Spillett. He was alsobeen the drummer for the Mainline Big Band and performs regularly as part of Alan Haughton’s band.
Ben Holder is one of the most gifted and exciting young jazz violinists in the UK. Taught classically from the age of six, he studied at the Birmingham Conservatoire. During his classical studies, Ben began listening to Jazz - classic masters such as Benny Goodman and Oscar Peterson and of course the great jazz violinists including Grappelli, Joe Venuti and the awe inspiring Stuff Smith. Alongside his early studies and later at college he embarked on a detailed analysis of these musicians techniques and the way in which they merged this most classical of instruments into the jazz idiom. Ben's innate sense of swing rhythm (something which often eludes classical players) stems from those early listening sessions - and his various awards bear testimony to his abilities. A first call jazz violinist for many of the North's top bands and studios.
Tomas Pedersen started playing double-bass in 1971 when he studied classical bass in Denmark. After only one year of hard practice he joined the Danish Radio Youth Symphony Orchestra. At this point his interest in Jazz grew and he began playing in Jazz Clubs all over Denmark and Scandinavia with leading Danish bands. In 1977 he went to sea playing on board cruise ships – travelling all over the world, playing shows, jazz and light classical music. At this time Tomas also had the opportunity to accompany several great American Jazz artists such as Mel Thorme, Joe Williams, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Red Rodney and Ira Sullivan. Tomas moved to England in 1991 and soon got busy playing a great variety of music from Big Band, Swing, Mainstream, Traditional Jazz and also some Pop, Rock, Blues and Soul.
Susan Valliant Speer was born in San Francisco, USA, Susan has been singing jazz since her graduation from the University of Oregon. She began her career with the Uptown Lowdown Jazz Band in Seattle, Washington where she and the band appeared frequently throughout the Pacific Northwest as well as at jazz festivals throughout the USA and Canada. One of her greatest honours came when she was invited to sing in the White House for President Bill Clinton. She has also performed for President Jimmy Carter. Since moving to the UK she has appeared at many jazz festivals and has performed in popular venues such as the 100 Club, The Queen Elizabeth Hall, The Banqueting House of St. James Palace, and she is a favourite at the Olney Jazz Club! Susan’s passion is her trio featuring pianist Alan Haughton and the American Songbook repertoire.