Since being tipped for the top by Jazzwise magazine, Sue Richardson’s career has gone from strength to strength. Her most recent album, Too Cool, The Life & Music of Chet Baker, cemented her position in the jazz world – gaining four and five star reviews in the jazz press as well as internationally and sell out gigs at Ronnie Scott’s. It was also in The Sunday Times 100 Best Records of The Year 2013 - “The trumpeter and singer Sue Richardson’s homage to Chet Baker brings the boy wonder back to life”.
“Sue Richardson’s trumpet playing catches [Baker’s] combination of delicacy and strength, and her singing has something of his candid simplicity. She even writes the kind of tunes that he might have invented.” 4* review in The Observer“I kid you not, you closed your eyes, you were listening to Chet Baker. A remarkable young woman.” Richard Wheatly, Jazz FM
In 2012 Sue worked in Paris with French singer Mina Agossi and Archie Shepp on the blues project ‘Red Eyes’. Archie, on hearing Sue’s playing for the first time, commented “She can sure growl!”Recently Sue has been performing with Ian Shaw (she guested on his current album dedicated to the work of Fran Landesman) and they performed a sold-out duo show of jazz standards bringing together all elements of their talents.
Described by the late Humphrey Lyttelton as "formidable," Simon Spillett is a British jazz saxophonist who leads his own quartet featuring John Critchinson (piano), Alec Dankworth (bass) and Clark Tracey (drums). He has won several awards for his music, including the tenor saxophone category of the British Jazz Awards (2011), Jazz Journal magazine's Critic's Choice CD of the Year (2009) Rising Star in the BBC Jazz Awards (2007) and most recently the Services to British Jazz Award in the 2016 British Jazz Awards. Other celebrated jazz leaders and bands with whom he has worked have included Sir John Dankworth, Stan Tracey, Peter King and The Ronnie Scott's Jazz Orchestra. He has recorded three albums, Introducing Simon Spillett(Woodville Records, 2007), Sienna Red (Woodville Records, 2008) and Square One (Gearbox Records, 2013), all of which have received highly favourable reviews in both the specialist and national press. His festival, concert and club appearances across the UK have included sold-out gigs at Ronnie Scott's and the Brecon Jazz Festival and he has broadcast on BBC Radio 3's Jazz-Line Up with his own band.
In 2016, Simon was appointed to the board of patrons of The Jazz Centre UK, alongside Sir Michael Parkinson, Dame Cleo Laine, Jools Holland and Van Morrison.
Head of Jazz at the Royal Academy of Music, Nick Smart is an internationally renowned jazz educator, trumpeter and musical director who has given guest masterclasses and performances around the world. In 2013 he was the winner of the prestigious Parliamentary Award for Jazz Education. In the UK he is recognised as one of the leading musicians on the London jazz scene, where as well as being in regular demand as a sideman to players of all generations, he continues to record and tour with his own projects.
In 2005 Nick released his debut album “Remembering Nick Drake” to critical acclaim. The album featured Smart’s arrangements of Nick Drake’s music played by an all star line-up including John Parricelli, Paul Clarvis, Christine Tobin and Stan Sulzmann amongst others. It was described by Straight No Chaser magazine as “…a future classic because it really captures all that is best about British jazz….” and by John Fordham in Jazz UK as “…fascinating music devoted to a fascinating inspiration.” In December 2008 Nick released his highly praised trio album “Remembering Louis Armstrong” featuring Hans Koller and Paul Clarvis. His latest band, Nick Smart’s Trogon, merges contemporary jazz sounds with Afro Cuban concepts and is due for release on Babel Records in November 2013.
His versatility as a trumpet player has allowed him to perform alongside many international jazz stars including George Russell, Bob Brookmeyer, John Hollenbeck, the New York Voices, Mike Gibbs and Dave Douglas, as well as most of the leading names on the UK jazz scene. Amongst other things Nick is currently a member of the Kenny Wheeler Big Band, in a new quartet from saxophonist Stan Sulzmann and just recorded for the new album of vocalist Christine Tobin in her interpretations of Leonard Cohen songs. As an acclaimed musical director of large ensembles, Nick conducts the Stan Sulzmann Big Band (Neon Orchestra) and the Troyka large ensemble, “Troykestra”. He also performs internationally as the regular soloist with the James Taylor Quartet.
Lee is a very talented multi instrumentalist of a very high standard, playing sopranino, soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxes as well as piccolo, flute, alto flute and bass flute; also guitar, drums and percussion. Composing has been a large part of his life and he has worked as a composer for the BBC on projects including the radio plays "Waiting for Concord" and "Clara". He lived and played in New York, USA for many years (1979-1985) performing with a great variety of line ups including Sahib Sarbib's "Multinational Band".
Lee played on recordings with singer Jess Roden produced by the legendary Phil Ramone plus sessions with Steve Gadd, Marcus Miller, Will Lee and Dr John amongst others. Lee recorded and toured with Van Morrison for two years (2000-2002) and appears on three of Van's cds. Lee appeared on Pete Brown, Phil Ryan records entitled 'Road of Cobras'. He played alto, soprano and flute as part of Keith Tippet's "Tapestry" orchestra and appears on "First Weaving" released in 2009.
After his return to Britain he played with musicians of the calibre of Don Weller, Peter King and Andy Sheppard, Alan Skidmore, Stan Tracey, Keith Tippett and John Taylor, not to mention several years with Van Morrison.
Lee also teaches privately, in workshops, colleges and at The Original UK Jazz Summer School. For many years he ran his own recording studio, Oakfield Studios in Newport where he produced and recorded many of the UK’s finest jazz musicians.
Not to be missed! Lee is a world class musician who plays with such incredible passion and taste, he turns every tune in to a classic performance. Combining the dexterity of Cannonball Adderley with the soul of a blues man playing his last note. Lee will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up!