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 14 August  The Oddgeir Berg Trio- £20

Oddgeir Berg Piano

Audun Ramo Bass

Lars Berntsen Drums 

“A piano trio to get truly excited about, a trio for the new millennium”– **** Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz

Jazz trios named after the piano player give certain expectations, be it Horace Silver and his tender “Que Pasa” or Esbjørn Svensson and his Northern sounds; clarity and intimacy are common to these, with a hint of tonal melancholy.  These characteristics also present with Oddgeir Berg Trio, who are clearly familiar with a Scandinavian jazz tradition. 

The trio’s sound has been called “withdrawn and cinematic.” In this aspect they share a characteristic with another Norwegian piano group, the Tord Gustavsen Trio. A notable difference is Oddgeir Berg Trio’s more effusive embrace of electronics, which adds to the cinematic and atmospheric aspect of the sound. 

The trio has some other tricks up its sleeve though, most importantly an urgency for action, pace and adventure.   Here the Oslo based trio has more in common with Miles Davis’ Jack Johnson than Scandinavia’s Jan Johannson. The love of jazz and blues drive Audun Ramo’s double bass and the propulsive drum sound of Lars Bentsen energetically support Oddgeir Berg’s playing. Berg’s curiosity in experimenting with Wurlitzer\Rhodes and synthesizer sounds sneaks into the soundscape and lends a distinctive colour to the sound panorama.

“Electroacoustic jazz with one leg in melancholy and the other in ecstasy.”

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.