On Wednesday 26 June Fletch’s Brew- £20

Mark Fletcher Drums 

Freddie Gavita Trumpet/Flugelhorn

Paul Stacey Guitar

Jim Watson Piano

Steve Pearce Bass

“(Fletch’s Brew) . . . . . could, without overstating the case, easily be called Band of Virtuosos(Jazzwise magazine)

In 2010, drumming tour-de-force Mark Fletcher founded Fletch’s Brew, a band which blurs the boundaries of musical styles and surpasses preconceived notions of jazz.  Whether playing original compositions or new arrangements from across the jazz canon, their style floats seamlessly between the idioms of fusion, funk, bebop, reggae and rock.  Mark is a remarkably talented and muscular drummer, capable of subtlety but never better than when leading an all-guns-blazing charge, which is both very exciting and intensely engaging.

Freddie Gavita is an award-winning British trumpeter and composer who has cemented his place as a leading light on the British jazz scene.  He is a member of the Ronnie Scott’s Club Quintet as well as being a band leader in his own right, playing his own original music to great critical acclaim.  Once described as “a cross between Kenny Wheeler and Freddie Hubbard”, he has also played with, among others, Peter Erskine, Joe Locke, Jon Hendricks, Kenny Wheeler, Stan Sulzmann, Tim Garland, Gregory Porter and Dionne Warwick.

Paul Stacey is a guitarist, producer, mixer and actor. Paul was a member of NYJO in the ‘80s and The Lemon Trees with Guy Chambers in the ’90s, before working for many years with Oasis, the Black Crowes and Noel Gallagher. Jazz artists that he has worked with include Laurence Cottle, David Preston, Jason Rebello, Pino Palladino, Tommy Smith, Mornington Locket, Gary Husband, Clare Martin, Georgie Fame, Ian Shaw, Iain Ballamy, Jim Mullen, Bobby Wellins and Kenny Wheeler.

A session and touring musician of formidable repute, Jim Watson is rightly considered to be one of the most talented pianists in the country.  He has been featured in a huge variety of bands, including the Jazz/Funk bands Incognito, Brand New Heavies and US3, with US artists Lalo Schifrin, James Moody, the BBC Radio Big Band, Katie Melua and most recently Manu Katché. His jazz bona fides are just as impressive having worked with Dave O’Higgins, Julian Arguelles, Jean Toussaint and Peter King among many others. 

Steve Pearce is one of the most experienced bass players working in London today, playing regularly in the top studios in the capital.  His career spans over four decades over the course of which he has played with artists such as Van Morrison, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, Mose Allison, Al Jarreau, Mark Knopfler Randy Crawford and many more.

We haven’t had anything like this in New York for over twenty years.” (Wynton Marsalis)

On Wednesday 24 July Theo Travis’ Double Talk – £20

Theo Travis Saxes and flute

Pete Whittaker Organ

Mike Outram Guitar

Nic France Drums 

“High octane innovative jazz, continually evolving with underlying rock and ambient influences . . .”           (Mojo magazine)

The full flowing effect of the music from the Double Talk Quartet returns to Fleece Jazz for the first time in seven years.  Theo Travis’ influences are diverse and include the Beatles and Pink Floyd as much as jazz artists like Stan Getz, Pharoah Sanders, Elvin Jones and Chick Corea.  His many musical interests come together in this distinctive quartet project, which delivers music at the fluid interface between jazz, ambient and prog.  He has become one of the most active jazz artists and composers in the U.K. and in addition to having his own group, he is in demand as a sideman to musicians from a variety of musical genres.  He has worked with Soft Machine Legacy, Robert Fripp, David Sylvian, Anja Garbarek, John Etheridge, Gong, David Gilmour and Keith Tippett.

The bluesy, progressive jazz of the quartet draws heavily on the soulful Hammond organ of Pete Whittaker, the soaring guitar of Mike Outram and the powerful but subtle drums and percussion of Nic France.  Pete Whittaker is a regular member of the Nigel Price Organ Trio and has also been involved with several other jazz projects including Toni Kofi’s Organisation and guitarist John Etheridge’s “Blue Spirits”.  Mike Outram is one of the UK’s foremost guitarists who is sought after as an improviser and for his ability to contribute a unique voice to any musical ensemble.  He has toured internationally with Herbie Mann, Carleen Anderson and Tim Garland and recorded with Steven Wilson and Robert Fripp.  Nic France has an impeccable sense of groove and dynamics, making him a sought-after sessionist.  He has played with Andy Sheppard, Nigel Kennedy,  Barb Jungr and the Charlie Haden Liberation Orchestra.

“Travis’ tenor is a warm, mellifluous instrument and together with the luscious, bluesy Hammond organ they create something rather unexpected…a prog-rock/jazz/blues hybrid of genuine power and excitement” (Guy Hayden)

On Wednesday 28 August Tony Kofi and The Organisation – £20

Tony Kofi Baritone sax

Liam Dunachie Hammond organ

Simon Fernsby Guitar

Pete Cater Drums 

Kofi deals not so much with the past as with the eternal truths of jazz music – swing, in-the-moment lyricism, the lust for life – and he continues to find compelling ways to express them.’       (All About Jazz)

Award-winning and internationally recognized saxophonist Tony Kofi teams up with the ‘Organisation’ to perform a hard-hitting selection of tunes in blues, jazz and funk idioms. Having honed his skills in the “Jazz Warriors” of the early 90’s, he has gone on to establish himself as a musician, teacher and composer of some authority. He has performed with such acclaimed artists as the David Murray Big Band, Courtney Pine, US3 (Blue Note), The World Saxophone Quartet and Roy Ayers.  Tony has also recorded with Ornette Coleman and worked with Abdullah Ibrahim. 

Liam Dunachie is a pianist, jazz organist, composer and arranger based in London. After graduating from Trinity College, Cambridge, Liam won a scholarship to study jazz piano and arranging at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama where he studied with Malcolm Edmonstone, Nikki Iles and Scott Stroman among others. He has since gone on to play piano and Hammond organ in groups led by Jim Mullen, Dennis Rollins, Derek Nash and Nigel Price among others. He has performed at all of  London’s major jazz and commercial venues.

Simon Fernsby has toured extensively in the UK, Europe, the U.S., Canada and Japan, headlining such prestigious venues as The Royal Albert Hall, the Forum, Paris Olympia, the Whiskey a Go-Go and the Universal Amphitheatre Los Angeles. With the ‘Organisation’ he has worked with Steve Fishwick, Jim Hart, Alex Garnett and Dave O’Higgins amongst others.

Pete Cater is ‘a gifted and versatile drummer, at home in any context’ (Rough Guide to Jazz) His professional career of over 30 years has encompassed almost the entire musical spectrum, but it is his work as a big band drummer and leader that has secured his worldwide reputation. He is in regular demand with a variety of large ensembles including the BBC Big Band and the Back to Basie Orchestra. In addition, Pete has worked with many international jazz stars in small band settings including Arturo Sandoval, Charlie Byrd and Benny Carter.

“a killer band with real bite, especially when the heat was on” Jazzwise

On Wednesday 10 July The Stan Getz/Cal Tjader Sextet Tribute- £20

Nat Steele Vibes

Mark Crooks Tenor sax

Colin Oxley Guitar

Mátyás Gayer Piano

Jeremy Brown  Double Bass

Mark Taylor  Drums 

The combination of tenor sax with vibraphone is a particularly warm and luxurious sound and has been featured very successfully by several leading tenor players including Sonny Rollins (with Milt Jackson) and Joe Henderson (with Bobby Hutcherson).

Stan Getz and Cal Tjader had an especially successful partnership in the late 1950s, leading an all-star sextet including Scott La Faro, Vince Guaraldi, Eddie Duran and on his very first recording drum master Billy Higgins.

This sextet led by tenor player Mark Crooks and vibraphonist Nat Steele celebrates this collaboration, playing selections from the brilliant 1958 album. The sextet performs gorgeous arrangements of standards “For All We Know”, “I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face” and “My Buddy” along with swinging originals by Tjader and Guaraldi, “Ginza Samba” and “Big Bear”. Stan Getz’s other vibraphone partnerships are also showcased, with selections from his recordings with vibes masters Lionel Hampton and Gary Burton.

Mark Crooks works in a wide variety of musical settings including jazz, big band and classical. He has performed with artists ranging from Tony Bennett to Sir Simon Rattle, Lady Gaga to Dame Cleo Laine at venues from Ronnie Scott’s in London to the Lincoln Center in New York. Nat Steele quickly gained a reputation as a talented musician to watch out for, described by Clark Tracey as “one of the best vibes players this country has ever produced.” Principally self-taught and following in the style of Milt Jackson, his quartet is regularly featured in the Late, Late show at Ronnie Scott’s.

Featured in the rhythm section are the UK’s finest straight-ahead jazz musicians: bassist Jeremy Brown (Brad Mehldau, Peter King), up-and-coming young pianist Mátyás Gayer, and drummer Mark Taylor (George Coleman, Monty Alexander).

Accolades for Mark Crooks: “luscious sound and apparently effortless phrasing”; “a big, warm, engaging tone”; “gorgeous, liquid and elegant.

Accolade for Nat Steele: “A remarkable young vibraphonist in the Milt Jackson tradition.Dave Gelly (Observer)

On Wednesday 12 June “Conversations with Bill”: A Celebration of Bill Evans with The Adrian York Trio – £18

Adrian York Piano

Paul Whitten Double Bass

Mark Fletcher Drums 

Conversations with Bill

Join us for an intimate evening of impressionistic harmony and pure beauty as we experience the lyrical compositions of the iconic pianist and multi-instrumentalist Bill Evans. Conversations with Bill explores the repertoire and recordings, compositions and piano style of this great and most distinctive of all jazz pianists.

Like many of his peers, Bill Evans’ short life was challenged by both his genius and the challenges that faced his generation, but he left a legacy of stunning and very beautiful music that still influences musicians of today. Presented by musician, educator and broadcaster Adrian York, this promises to be a truly interesting and inspiring session.

Dr Adrian York began his musical career in the early 1980s as a member of a swing-pop band Roman Holliday. He then worked for a plethora of artists from the worlds of pop, jazz and light entertainment including Jimmy Ruffin, Shirley Bassey and Paul Young. In the jazz world he has performed with Ian Shaw, Ronny Jordan, Jean Toussaint, Tim Garland, Tina May and Alan Barnes as well as being musical director for a host of Jazz FM live acts.

Paul Whitten has been described as “the best jazz bassist in the South of England” by promoters of the Swanage Jazz Festival. Another music critic said that “Paul Whitten played very sensitively. His tone is sweet and woody – not too much bass or treble. I really like Paul’s solo style. His lines are more like those you would want to sing. His solos are sweet and very clean, melodic.”

Mark Fletcher is one of the UK’s most versatile and in demand drummers.  Equally at home in straight ahead jazz, free improvised music, rock and world music, Mark was the house drummer at Ronnie Scott’s for 12 years and has played there and in leading venues around the world since the late ’80s. Amongst others, he has worked with Dizzy Gillespie, Mark Murphy, Michel Legrand, James Moody, Dave Gilmore, Tim Garland, Liane Carroll, Norma Winstone, Georgie Fame, Ian Shaw, Cedar Walton and Kenny Wheeler. Mark also leads his own band, Fletch’s Brew, renowned for playing original compositions and new arrangements from across the jazz canon.

On Wednesday 22 May 2024, The Clark Tracey Quintet £18

Clark Tracey Drums

Simon Allen Tenor sax

RJ Gilbert Alto sax

David Newton Piano

Andrew Cleyndert Bass

“One of the most impressive jazz drummers today” The Times

Clark Tracey is a well-established jazz master who is recognised as an inventive jazz drummer and as a proven group leader, writer and arranger, having appeared over many years with the world’s jazz greats. He creates educational Master Classes across the U.K. and continues to be an in-demand performer across the world. He has revived the famous jazz suites written by his late father, the great pianist & composer Stan Tracey, bringing masterpieces such as “Under Milkwood” successfully to admiring younger audiences.

Simon Allen is a critically acclaimed, award winning saxophonist, composer and educator who has worked with the Laurence Cottle All Star Big band and made numerous other appearances as a guest soloist as well as with his own quartets and quintets. In addition, he has recorded and performed with Sir Paul McCartney, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Phil Collins, Jamie Cullum, Beverly Knight and many, many more. “Allen…brings a searing urgency… [and] an anthemic soul-jazzy heat” – The Guardian Simon Allen

Alto saxophonist, RJ Gilbert is a young jazz musician who is still studying at Birmingham Conservatoire and already making waves on the UK jazz scene.

David Newton has been voted ‘Best Jazz Pianist sixteen times by the Jazz audience of the UK. A few years after graduating from the Leeds College of Music his old roommate from college, Alan Barnes, persuaded him to move to London where he rapidly became a much sought after pianist teaming up with Barnes, guitarist Martin Taylor and saxophonist Don Weller. Later, he gained a reputation as an exquisite accompanist for singers such as Marion Montgomery, Tina May, Annie Ross, Claire Martin and of course Stacey Kent, with whom he spent the next ten years recording and travelling all over the world. For many years he has been the honorary president of Fleece Jazz and we always look forward to hearing him play.

Andrew Cleyndert started out in the bands of Don Weller and Bobby Wellins and has since flourished on the jazz scene in the UK and beyond.  He has played and toured with the cream of the UK’s musicians and a string of international soloists, including Bud Shank, George Coleman, Ray Bryant, Lee Konitz and James Moody.  He was also closely associated with Stan Tracey in his many bands over fifteen years until Stan’s death in 2013.  Further afield, Andy has worked in Europe with pianists Gene Harris, Benny Green, Junior Mance and Tamir Hendleman.

On Wednesday 23 October The Bryan Corbett Quintet: Blue Note Jazz- £20

Bryan Corbett Trumpet/Flugelhorn

Chris Bowden Alto sax

Paul Deats Piano

Tom Hill Double Bass

Drums TBA

“Corbett’s playing is rousing and fierily expressive and his band are right on top of it.” Jazzwise

“The Bomb”Courtney Pine

“Founded in 1939 by Alfred Lion, Blue Note Records is loved, respected, and revered as one of the most important record labels in the history of music, designed to serve the uncompromising expressions of hot jazz or swing. Direct and honest hot jazz is a way of feeling, a musical and social manifestation”

During a successful engagement as ‘Curator / Featured Artist’ for the Birmingham Jazz ‘Legends’ festival, trumpeter Bryan Corbett put together a series of concerts with a ‘Blue Note’ theme featuring ever popular and critically acclaimed music from the likes of Blue Mitchell, Horace Silver, Art Blakey and Donald Byrd. Known for his lyrical tone and powerful stage presence, Bryan is not only a great performer of the jazz standards repertoire, but he is also an artist who pushes the boundaries. He has toured and performed around the globe as a guest artist with world-renowned stars such as Ben E King, US3, The Brand New Heavies, Tony Christie and Ruby Turner as well as with his own bands at festivals, concert halls and clubs throughout the UK. 

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 ‘Time Capsule’. Pianist Paul Deats is a member of the house trio of the Nottingham-based Jazz Club, Peggy’s Skylight. Paul is the co-founder of the club and has been described as “a powerful and intense player . . . lyrical and thoughtful” ; Andrew is one of the most in-demand live and studio drummers in the East Midlands. Bassist and occasional vocalist Tom Hill is an expatriate American who has become a huge favourite with Midlands jazz audiences. He is a superlative bass player and a supremely versatile musician who leads his own bands (Straitjackets and ZZ Bop) and has been the first-call bassist for performers such as Peter King, Brandon Allen and Sam Crockatt.

Drawing from this pool of local, national and internationally renowned musicians, Bryan presents an evening of finest quality jazz; it is an immense pleasure to welcome him back to Fleece Jazz.

“Corbett’s own playing was imperious, with a beautiful tone on both trumpet and flugel and a high degree of fluency.” Ian Mann, The Jazz Mann 2023

Thoughts on The Ed Jones Quartet, 13th December 2023

On Wednesday night last, the Ed Jones Quartet led by British saxophonist and composer Ed Jones returned to Fleece Jazz for the first time in five years. Initially inspired by the music of Wayne Shorter with a style reminiscent of John Coltrane, the group includes pianist Ross Stanley, bassist Riaan Vosloo and drummer Tim Giles. Together for over ten years, they have forged a unique identity of powerfully driven fire music with atmospheric improvised soundscapes that draws from original compositions and fresh interpretations of the American songbook repertoire.

The programme featured a mix of material from the For Your Ears Only album, a couple of newer, yet to be recorded pieces and four remarkable explorations of jazz standards. The opener, ‘Nomadology’, featured Jones’ Coltranesque tenor sax floating above the rolling grooves generated by Stanley, Vosloo and Giles but there’s plenty of variation along the way with subtle changes of rhythm and tempo keeping things interesting and allowing Jones to stretch out and probe to good effect. The leader’s consistently engaging solo is followed by an expansive excursion from Stanley as he matched Jones for imagination with a skilfully constructed solo.

Next up was the popular standard, ‘It Could Happen to You’, written by Jimmy Van Heusen and originally performed by Dorothy Lamour in the musical And The Angels Sing in 1944, with lyrics written by Johnny Burke. Notable jazz recordings include those by Chet Baker, Miles Davis, Bill Evans and Bud Powell.  A haunting melody with a laid-back rhythm, Jones states the theme on tenor before handing over to Stanley and we are reminded of his formidable skills as a pianist. Both soloists are well served by the supple, fluent grooves generated by the experienced rhythm team of Vosloo and Giles throughout.

Ed then announces that we are about to hear the “East Coast debut” of new composition, ‘Passing Time and Melancholy’, an impressive and atmospheric offering from the pen of Riaan Vosloo providing a welcome contrast to the first two numbers. The tension between the structured and the free is evident throughout as themes are sketched or suggested.

The first set closes with another standard, ‘All or Nothing at All’, composed in 1939 by Arthur Altman and made famous by Frank Sinatra soon after with lyrics by Jack Lawrence. The all-too-familiar melody temporarily suggests a return to more orthodox jazz territory but there’s an intensity about the music that is sometimes reminiscent of John Coltrane or McCoy Tyner.

The second set is ushered in by another fresh composition, Riaan Vosloo’s quirkily named ‘Tune 3 (Sneaky Snakes)’.  This was a more reflective offering, a slow burner of a piece, the kind of abstract but evocative ballad that wouldn’t sound out of place on an ECM recording.  We reverted to another well-loved jazz standard with ‘Star Eyes’ before reaching what was to be the final announced number.

Given a choice of three numbers, our audience picked ‘Solstice’, another impressive and atmospheric offering from the pen of Riaan Vosloo. Beginning appropriately with the deep, woody sound of the composer’s melodic double bass before being joined by the eerie shimmer of Giles’ cymbals, it is yet another long, slow-burning performance with Jones’ tenor smouldering rather than blazing in the tune’s early stages. It slowly unfolds with Jones soloing above waltz-like piano chording and the flowing drum colourations of Giles. Stanley builds up the tension before gradually releasing it again before Jones segues into a stunning, Coltrane-inspired version of the classic jazz ballad ‘Body and Soul’. As the last note fades, gasps and a “Follow that!” are heard from our great listening audience who had responded to this superb original music with enthusiasm throughout.

We will try to “follow that” in two weeks’ time on THURSDAY 28th December when we celebrate the festive season with Ben, Bean, Bird and Barnes. An outstanding quintet, led by Alan Barnes, pays homage to three of the most influential giants of Jazz – Ben Webster, Coleman “Bean” Hawkins and Charlie “Bird” Parker. Please join us for what promises to be a gig full of outstanding tunes from the golden eras of swing and bebop played with passion and musical verve.

Merry Christmas to you all and a Happy and Peaceful New Year.

Steve Jordan

1. Nomadology (Ed Jones)
2. It Could Happen To You (Jimmy Van Heusen/Johnny Burke)
3. Passing Time and Melancholy (Riaan Vosloo)
4. All Or Nothing At All (Arthur Altman/Jack Lawrence)
*          *          *           *         *        *        *
5. Tune 3 (Sneaky Snakes) (Riaan Vosloo)
6. Star Eyes (Gene de Paul/Don Raye )
7. Solstice (Riaan Vosloo)
8. Body and Soul (Johnny Green/Edward Heyman, Robert Sour, Frank Eyton)

On Wednesday 24 April The Music of Dudley Moore – £18

Chris Ingham Piano

Paul Higgs Trumpet

Simon Thorpe Double Bass

George Double Drums 

“A vibrant and moving homage.”Downbeat

Classical organist, violinist, singer, beloved and endearing comic performer, a star of stage and TV in the ‘60s and a Hollywood movie star from the ‘70s . . .

Dudley Moore was not only blessed with all these varied talents and attributes, but he was also one of the UK’s most dazzling, swinging jazz pianists, and a composer of wit and depth – something that has sadly been overlooked for far too long. This has now been redressed, thanks to long-time Dudley Moore fan, pianist Chris Ingham.

The Chris Ingham Quartet revisit the Dagenham-born musician’s fabulous 1960s Decca jazz trio albums, the groundbreaking satirical revue ‘Beyond The Fringe’, the TV show ‘Not Only, But Also’ and the brilliant movie soundtracks for ‘Bedazzled’ and ‘30 Is A Dangerous Age, Cynthia’, in an evening packed with music and anecdote, with pianist and raconteur Chris very ably setting the 1960s scene, placing Dudley’s music in period context.

Joining Chris on trumpet is Paul Higgs, a highly accomplished and respected trumpet player with an impressive career in many fields including performing, composing and arranging music for film, TV and theatre. Simon Thorpe is one of the UK’s best-known jazz bassists who has worked with many of the great UK and US names in jazz, recording and touring with Bobby Wellins, Stacey Kent , Bheki Mseleku, Alan Barnes, Elaine Delmar, Scott Hamilton, Benn Clatworthy and Ray Gelato. George Double is active on the British jazz scene and appears regularly at Ronnie Scott’s club in London and elsewhere as a freelancer with Chris Ingham, John Etheridge, Art Themen, Digby Fairweather, Derek Nash and many others.

“Unfailingly tuneful and spiced with gentle harmonic guile . . . Dudley would have been delighted.” – The Observer

“. . . a worthy tribute to one of the British jazz piano greats.”Bebop Spoken Here

“Classy product . . . with plenty of the right kind of swing.”Jazz Journal

”Swing, humour and poignancy . . . a jazz joy.” MOJO

On Wednesday 10 April, “Jazz Africa” The Origins of Jazz from its Roots to Now £18

Basil Hodge Piano

Tony Kofi Saxophones

Stuart Fiddler Guitar

Mike Edmunds Bass

Winston Clifford Drums 

Basil Hodge

Telling the story of jazz from where it really came from, we’re proud to present the Basil Hodge Quintet featuring two of the UK’s busiest and most exciting jazz performers, the irrepressible Tony Kofi on saxophone and the uber-cool Basil Hodge on keys.

Jazz Africa is Basil Hodge’s exciting new project. It is the story of the diversity and inclusivity of jazz from across the African continent, where you’ll hear the roots of blues, jazz and almost all of today’s modern musical sounds. This five-piece band will perform a range of music from Africa so you will hear Jazz fused with a mixture of Afrobeat, Township and Funk rhythms from such artists as Abdullah Ibrahim (formerly Dollar Brand), Manu Dibango and Fela Kuti.

Basil Hodge has been leading bands since the mid-90s and played in various R’n’B and Gospel bands in the UK and abroad. He has performed at a range of prestigious venues such as Ronnie Scott’s and the Royal Festival Hall. Tony Kofi is a British Jazz multi-instrumentalist born of Ghanaian parents, a  player of the alto, baritone, soprano, tenor saxophones and flute. Having ‘cut his teeth’ in the “Jazz Warriors” of the early 90’s, this award-winning saxophonist has gone on to establish himself as a musician, teacher and composer of some authority. His credits now range from the brooding South African soundscapes of Abdullah Ibrahim to the ferocious aesthetics of The World Saxophone Quartet and Ornette Coleman.

Guitarist Stuart Fiddler gravitated to jazz from a rock and blues background and makes judicious use of his various effects combining slippery jazz chording with the twang of rock. Mike Edwards is a highly accomplished electric and double bass player with a diverse range of musical influences.  Winston Clifford is one of the most in-demand drummers on the jazz scene to date. His playing is free from the usual restraints of stylistic expectations and a true reflection of listening and responding “in the moment”.

Expect breath-taking musicianship and driving rhythms as these excellent musicians also show off their fine percussion skills and some inevitable in-the-aisle dancing. This is one for families of all ages and heritages!

Please note that this gig will start at 8:15pm, doors at 7:45pm.