Sad thoughts on “Bryan Corbett’s HiFly Quintet”, 13 July 2020

We had been looking forward to this gig since 2020. We just lost it to the beginning of the first lockdown. This was the first opportunity to book them. I was going to make a video with full audio recording of this wonderful band. So many people, myself very much included, rank Bryan Corbett with the masters: Steve ranks him with Freddie Hubbard, and I agree.

Then in the morning of the gig, a call from Bryan. There are health problems with two of the band. What to do? Well, with Bryan’s permission, we tried valiantly to find two appropriate musicians, and almost made it. We and Bryan agreed that we had to cancel.

I had to send a note to all of our email subscribers with the bad news. What was lovely was the many responses wishing the band members well. We do too. We will have this great band back as soon as we possibly can.

Take care,


On Wednesday, 13th July 2022: Bryan Corbett’s Hi-Fly Quintet, £20.

Bryan Corbett

Bryan Corbett Trumpet/Flugel

Chris Bowden Alto Sax

Matt Ratcliffe Piano

Tom Hill Bass

Carl Hemmingsley Drums

This outstanding quintet celebrate the year 1959 in jazz that saw the release of some of the most revered albums such as Miles Davis’ ‘Kind Of Blue’, Charles Mingus’ ‘Mingus Ah Um’, Dave Brubeck’s ‘Time Out’ and Ornette Coleman’s ‘The Shape Of Jazz To Come’ as well as ‘Blowing The Blues Away’ by Horace Silver amongst others by Benny Golson etc etc……

As well as performing under his own name, Bryan Corbett has been performing with world renowned stars, a who’s who in the jazz and commercial world. Bryan is not only a great performer of the jazz standards repertoire but an artist who pushes the boundaries writing and performing original works with his various line-ups. ‘A warm brilliant tone and formidable technique’ (the Independent). 

My favourite quote: “Bryan is one of the chosen few. Class, pure class, plays from the heart, every note has a reason to live. Truly someone who can sing through his instrument.”{Andy Taylor, who makes Bryan’s trumpets).

Saxophonist Chris Bowden works as an arranger and performer with a highly individual style. He first came to prominence with his 1996 funk/acid/Latin-jazz album ‘Time Capsule’.  Matt Ratcliffe has performed with a wide range of jazz musicians in clubs and festivals across the U.K. 


On Tuesday, 27th December 2022: Alan Barnes’ Octet plays Copperfield: A Dickensian Jazz Suite £25

Alan Barnes' Octet plays Copperfield: A Dickensian Jazz Suite

Alan Barnes Saxophones, clarinets and raconteur

Bruce Adams Trumpet

Mark Nightingale Trombone

Robert Fowler Saxophones and clarinet

Karen Sharp Saxophones and clarinet

David Newton Piano

Simon Thorpe Double Bass

Clark Tracey Drums

“Like the Dickens classic itself, Alan Barnes’ “Copperfield” has something for everyone. A great night out that is also a treat for the jazz connoisseur; it will delight anyone who loves music or literature – or just being entertained!”

Review of a performance at Pizza Express Jazz Club, Soho

This new set takes the audience through the characters and scenes of ‘David Copperfield’, told in Alan Barnes’ own inimitable style with his charismatic, engaging humour.  After each sketch, eight virtuoso musicians bring the characters and scenes to life, switching audiences from hilarity to pathos with a skill that would have done credit to Dickens himself!

Alan Barnes is one of our greatest jazz musicians, winning many awards, playing clarinet, alto & baritone saxophones, both in smaller intimate jazz clubs and on larger concert hall stages with equal creativity, all with his unique and warm style of presentation rich in anecdotal humour. He is also an outstanding music writer and arranger, with two previous, brilliant jazz suites playing to packed houses in the EFG London Jazz Festival. Tonight he is joined by an outstanding  ensemble of highly- awarded British Jazz greats.

“Barnes is a true Dickensian. He is a serious reader of the novels. It is a clear blunder of providence that he was born too late to appear in their pages!”

– Hot News


On Wednesday, 7th December 2022: Derek Nash’s Acoustic Quartet £22.

Derek Nash's Acoustic Quartet

Derek Nash Saxes

David Newton Piano

Geoff Gascoyne Double Bass

Sebastiaan De Krom Drums

“From smooth cool to groovy funk, to ingeniously recast standards, to one quite gorgeous ballad, the music fizzes with energy, even at its most restrained.”

The Guardian 5* review of ‘You’ve got to Dig It to Dig It, You Dig?’ by the Derek Nash Acoustic Quartet

Performing original compositions and unique arrangements of jazz classics, this quartet features some of the best exponents of jazz in the UK whose work together has encompassed Jamie Cullum and Michel Legrand.

Derek Nash is a featured soloist with the Jools Holland Rhythm and Blues Orchestra; leader of the British Jazz award-winning Sax Appeal and also co-leader of funk/fusion band Protect the Beat. Derek is a master of all saxes from soprano to baritone and is renowned for his energetic, vibrant, passionate and charismatic performances.

Dave Newton was voted best Jazz Pianist in the British Jazz Awards for the thirteenth time in 2014. He has been the pianist of choice for many female vocalists including Annie Ross, Marion Montgomery, Tina May and Claire Martin. Becoming a professor at Leeds College of Music in 2016, Dave is the epitome of melodic, swinging piano.

Geoff Gascoyne‘s reputation in the business is sky high as a player, producer and composer. The plaudits come from a huge range of top musicians. Here is one from Jamie Cullum: “Geoff is uniquely accomplished and experienced across all aspects of music making. It is rare to find such abilities all in a single musician. He was a massive part of my success – as an arranger, producer, musician, bandleader, collaborator, songwriter and as a killing bass player.”

Sebastiaan de Krom is a maestro of effortless swing. He has played for many years with Jamie Cullum, appearing on his multi-gold selling albums and touring the world for several years. He has also worked with Guy Barker, Gene Harris, Kurt Elling and Michel Legrand. He, too, is a professor at Leeds College of Music.

“To get some idea of the sheer breadth of his accomplishment as a saxophonist, composer and bandleader, you should hear this.”

The Guardian 5* review of ‘You’ve got to Dig It to Dig It, You Dig?’ by the Derek Nash Acoustic Quartet


On Wednesday, 14th December, Glen Manby’s “Homecoming” – £18

Glen Manby's "Homecoming"

Glen Manby Alto Sax

Steve Waterman Trumpet/Flugel

Leon Greening Piano

Jeremy Brown Double Bass

Joe Dessaeur Drums

“This well-balanced and finely integrated quintet speaks bebop fluently….their cohesion and familiarity with some clean, unfussy and elegant arrangements is remarkable” – Jazz Journal  

In 2015 Glen Manby was awarded an Arts Council of Wales Project Grant to compose, arrange and record a new repertoire with his recently-formed quintet. It was recorded with Steve Waterman, Leon Greening and Matt Home (we have Joe Dessaeur for our gig) with Adam King on bass (we have Jeremy Brown for our gig). The resulting CD, “Homecoming”, is available on the Mainstem jazz label, but we will have the great pleasure of hearing it live.

Here is part of a review of the CD by Dave Gelly of the Observer, headed “Glen Manby Quintet: Homecoming review – stylish hard bop ****”

“Jazz is constantly throwing up new genres and forms, but hard bop continues to outlive them all. Perhaps because it is technically demanding, it seems to attract more than its fair share of talented musicians too. Alto saxophonist Glen Manby is a case in point. Fully at home in the idiom, with a polished technique and mature tone, he’s an eloquent player. Normally based in Cardiff, he appears here with four of Britain’s A-team: trumpeter Steve Waterman, pianist Leon Greening, bassist Adam King and drummer Matt Home. Most of the tunes are Manby originals, plus pieces by Wayne Shorter, Quincy Jones et al. All round, it’s a stylish session, with a good variety of mood and tempo.” 

” Hard bop lives and is in no better hands than the Glen Manby Quintet” – London Jazz News 

“…this is British jazz at its best” – The Jazz Rag 

On Wednesday, 23rd November – Art Themen Trio £18

Art Themen Trio - Dizzy Moods

Art Themen Saxophone

Pete Whittaker Organ

George Double Drums

“A first-rate excellent set..Themen is one of the very few totally original, utterly engaging jazz musicians around”  –  ****           Dave Gelly – THE OBSERVER

What we have here is a first-rate trio playing jazz standards by such greats as Sonny Rollins, Herbie Hancock and Cannonball Adderley.  Art Themen is one of the very few totally original, and at the same time utterly engaging jazz musicians around.

Usually, even with the best, you have some idea of where the improvisation is going, some route from A to B, but Themen will pile up ideas, apparently at random, maybe with the odd outlandish quotation for good measure, and when he’s finished, it all seems to have made sense.

The wonderful organist Pete Whittaker and the superb George Double on drums complete the trio.

“Themen, a veteran master now, in such eloquent form” –  ****         Peter Vacher – JAZZWISE 

“Boistrous and inventive as ever..funky and swinging”HI FI NEWS & RECORD REVIEW

In any other country he’d be regarded as a national treasure”Leonard Weinrich – LONDON JAZZ NEWS


On Wednesday, 2nd November 2022: Pete Oxley’s “Flight of Hand”, £20.

On Wednesday, 2nd November 2022:                        Pete Oxley's "Flight of Hand", £20.

Pete Oxley Guitars

David Gordon Piano

Oli Hayhurst Bass

Paul Cavaciuti Drums

This is a new group, made up of four highly experienced players, who are familiar to audiences all over the UK and internationally. Fronted by the hugely creative and inventive pianist, David Gordon, and master of the jazz guitar, Pete Oxley, the band will perform “hugely engaging, melodic, groove-driven works” by these two masterly jazz composers. (Both Pete and David are two of only a handful of British composers to have their tunes included in the ‘European Real Book’). In addition to their originals, expect works by such contemporary jazz composers as Michael Brecker, Lyle Mays, Pat Metheny, Chick Corea, etc..

David’s musical career has been – and continues to be – hugely versatile, ranging from performing harpsichord with The English Concert to touring the world with the gypsy-tango band, Zum. Pete Oxley began his gigging career during his ten years living in Paris. On his return to the UK, he founded The Spin Jazz Club in Oxford and has been the house guitarist there. He currently tours extensively with the Swiss guitar virtuoso, Nicolas Meier.

The rhythm section will be well known to a jazz audience: Oli Hayhurst has worked with just about the entire UK jazz glitterati in addition to numerous international A-listers, such as Kurt Rosenwinkel and Pharoah Sanders. Paul Cavaciuti is an in-demand drummer, known for his outstanding musical empathy with the musicians that he works with.

The Independent on Sunday described David Gordon as “a richly gifted player with a sparkling style and boundless imagination“.

Jane Cornwell (Evening Standard) reviewing the Oxley-Meier album ‘Chasing Tales’: “The array of changing sounds, moods and textures they create is gorgeous, fascinating and apparently endless. If you love music of any kind you’ll probably fall for this.”

A night of super-appealing, lush and groovesome music is assured!

Paul was ill, and we wish him a quick recovery. We had Tom Hooper on drums, and he was excellent.


On Wednesday, 26th October 2022: “Dexterity”: The Music of Dexter Gordon £18.

"Dexterity": The Music of Dexter Gordon

Vasilis Xenopoulos Tenor Sax

Ross Stanley Piano

Simon Thorpe Double Bass

Steve Brown Drums

“I loved his playing before lockdown, but now he’s even more confident, bursting with enthusiasm and much, much stronger – he really holds the stage. Without doubt a 5 star evening!”

– Trevor Bannister, The Jazz Mann

Dexter Gordon was a true colossus of 6’ 6” whose stature as a tenor saxophonist and composer matched his massive frame; a sharp sense of outfitting, a smart choice of hats and an engaging personality completed his persona as the ‘cool hipster’.  He emerged as an important and influential soloist in the Bebop revolution of the late-1940s.  After a period in the 1950s when his promise was decimated by narcotics and Dexter spent most of his time in various ‘places of correction’, the 1960s saw his renaissance and a return to the recording studio for the Blue Note and Prestige labels. He made his home in Europe for fourteen years, before returning to the US.  He died fourteen years later leaving an indelible impression on those fortunate enough to hear him play in person and countless more who discovered his music from his vast legacy of recordings.

Vasilis Xenopoulos was one such young musician who fell under Dexter’s spell, saving his hard-earned pocket money to buy the precious albums that would influence his playing. He has made a significant reputation for himself on the international jazz scene, forming partnerships that have stood the test of time.

Acknowledging Gordon as one of his early influences, Vasilis in no way attempts to emulate his hero but plays Dexter’s music in a totally convincing manner that is at once a fitting tribute and also hard bop not of the fifties but brought right up to date. For this latest project, he retains the services of bassist Simon Thorpe and Steve Brown on drums from XPQ with the addition of the wonderful Ross Stanley on piano.

“All-in-all, this is top-notch hard bop played with authority, authenticity and conviction.  The desire to communicate with the audience is clearly in the mind of all concerned.”

Jazz Views


On Wednesday, 12 October, Antonio Forcione – £25

Antonio Forcione

Antonio Forcione Guitars

From the first moment Antonio walks on stage to rapturous applause, a humble smile on his face, guitar in hand, you know you are in the presence of a true artist and are in for an evening with a touch of magic. And as the first deep, warm, intense notes float through the auditorium, you can hear a pin drop and feel the sonic spell of his guitar weaving through the room. As one critic put it “Imagine an Italian hybrid of Michael Hedges, John McLaughlin and Django Reinhardt … ferocious, rampaging, controlled power, meticulous precision and clarity of expression … astonishing musical personality” 

Antonio’s impressive 21 albums and extensive international tours in festivals and theatres – both as a solo artist, in duo and with his acoustic quartet – have brought high critical acclaim from as far as Australia and Hong Kong to the Caribbean, Russia and all over Europe. He has the ‘hands of a tarantula and the heart of a lion’, as another critic so expressively phrased it!

On Wednesday, 28 September, Nigel Price’s “Wes Re Imagined” – £18

Nigel Price, Vasilis Xenopoulos, Ross Stanley, Joel Bartlett

Nigel Price Guitar

Vasilis Xenopoulos Tenor sax

Ross Stanley Organ

Joel Barford Drums

Wes Montgomery guitar fans need look no further than the UK’s Nigel Price on Wes Reimagined (Ubuntu) – respectful in catching Montgomery’s warmth, but also the work of a thoroughly contemporary enthusiast.” -John Fordham –

Some 54 years after Wes Montgomery passed, his music and playing still inspire musicians and listeners. Wes’ music puts a smile on faces with its blend of bebop and blues. The music is sometimes simple, full of interest and always accessible.

The band is a delight. Over a career spanning more than 25 years, award-winning jazz guitarist Nigel Price has become widely acknowledged as one of the hardest working musicians in the business. Musically, his blend of flowing bebop lines, deep blues sensibility and his mastery of chording continue to delight audiences and fellow musicians alike.

This band is a celebration of Montgomery: they are not a tribute band. There is room for every one of these top drawer musicians to solo and shine, honouring, not copying Montgomery.

“When the players are Vasilis Xenopoulos and Nigel Price…..the outcome is downright irresistible” – The Guardian ★★★★

How many Hammond endorsees do we ever get to hear. Ross Stanley is an amazing organist. We are delighted to welcome Joel Barford to Fleece Jazz.