BEN CROSLAND - BASS
JOHN ETHERIDGE - GUITAR
DAVE O'HIGGINS - SAXOPHONE
STEVE LODDER - KEYBOARD
BUSTER BIRCH - DRUMS
We are delighted to present this all-star, critically acclaimed, jazz super-group this coming Friday at Orpington Jazz Club. As a special treat, they will be performing a sneak preview of their second album of Ray Davies tunes ahead of the official album launch at the 606 next month! I was asked to dep for their regular drummer, the fantastic Sebastian De Krom, last summer in Swansea and took the opportunity to invite them down to Orpington.
Ben Crosland began his musical education at the age of 13 by taking up the drums and the Kinks’ singles were constantly on the Dansette as he played along in his bedroom. 50 years on, as bandleader and composer/arranger, he is again discovering new subtleties and strengths in these wonderful compositions and has assembled a Quintet of international quality to perform these imaginative arrangements.
John Etheridge rightly enjoys a glowing reputation throughout the jazz world and beyond and has been described by Pat Metheny as, "One of the best guitarists in the world". He is a prodigiously gifted and creative player whose approach to music can only be described as 'eclectic' as he refuses to accommodate or even acknowledge artificial musical boundaries. His range is well illustrated by his years of touring and recording with the iconic Stephane Grappelli while simultaneously doing likewise with the legendary jazz-fusion group, The Soft Machine. John is equally at home on acoustic and electric guitar and his willingness to engage with so many styles is matched by his ability to excel in any of them. He has played with John Williams, Yehudi Menuhin, Dizzie Gillespie, Herb Ellis, Mundell Lowe, Nigel Kennedy, Pat Metheny, Birelli Lagrene, Barney Kessel, Vic Juris and countless others.
Dave O'Higgins is a saxophonist, composer, arranger, educator and latterly recording engineer and producer. He has been a popular figure on the UK and international jazz scene for 30 years now, with 19 albums as leader under his belt. Dave’s tenor and soprano sax sounds are highly personal and recognisable, with a clear sense of melodic development and adventure. A popular performer with the public, with an excellent sense of pacing and presentation, he has a wide palette from Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon, John Coltrane, Joe Henderson through to Stanley Turrentine and Michael Brecker. Dave has toured and recorded with hundreds of artists all over the world. He feels his main apprenticeships were served with John Dankworth and Cleo Laine, Jim Mullen and Martin Taylor. He has also performed with Frank Sinatra and Ray Charles.
Steve Lodder is a highly regarded sideman for many international and UK jazz musicians and has toured and recorded with Andy Sheppard, Nana Vasconcelos, George Russell's "Living Time" orchestra, Sarah Jane Morris, John Harle, Carla Bley, Monica Vasconcelos. He has also been musical associate with Sir Paul McCartney on the "Standing Stone" and "Ecce cor meum" projects, and musical arrangers for the Zappatistas. Originally a Cambridge organ scholar he has played church organ on albums with Mark Ramsden and Asaf Sirkis and has written several books, one on Stevie Wonder, one on the hammond organ and also the Keyboard Bible (with Janette Mason).
Buster Birch has an honours degree in music from the University of London and a post-graduate diploma in jazz performance from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He has performed at virtually every major concert hall and jazz club in London as well as major international festivals and toured in over 30 countries and recorded over 30 CDs. He has worked with many of the UK's finest jazz musicians as well as The Royal Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra and deputised on West End shows. He is the drummer for ARQ (Alison Rayner Quintet), winners of the Parliamentary Award for "Best UK Jazz Ensemble 2018".
Considered one of today's finest trumpeters, Enrico Tomasso is a regular nominee at the
British Jazz Awards, and has taken the award for best trumpet in 2012 and 2013.
Enrico started playing the trumpet at the age of five. His father, jazz clarinettist
Ernie Tomasso, nurtured and encouraged his inherent talent and gave him every opportunity to hear and meet many jazz greats such as Benny Goodman, Roy Eldridge, Oscar Peterson, Buddy Rich,
Dizzy Gillespie, and the Basie and Ellington bands. His biggest inspiration was Louis Armstrong who he met and played for during Louis' visit to Britain in 1968. This led to a correspondence and friendship until Louis' death (You may have seen some of Enrico's TV interviews about Louis).
He spent twelve years with the Pasadena Roof Orchestra followed by a long stint with
Ray Gelato's Giants. Having a wide stylistic range, he has a busy studio career, including working with Clare Teal, the film composer John Altman, and also Bryan Ferry, featuring both on the latter's CD
As Time Goes By, and with the Bryan Ferry Orchestra on the album The Jazz Age as well as the soundtrack for Baz Luhrmann's recent film adapation of The Great Gatsby (2013).
With an international reputation, Enrico is one of the major players on the British jazz scene as can be seen by listing just some of his recent collaborations which include those with Scott Hamilton,
Marty Grosz, Warren Vache, Dan Barrett, Ken Peplowski, Bucky Pizzarelli, John Barnes, Acker Bilk,
Keith Nichols, the Pizza Express All Stars and Alex Welsh Remembered. He has also featured in the big bands, Echoes of Ellington, taken the Roy Eldridge role in the Gene Krupa Big Band tribute, and performed his own tribute to Louis Armstrong, Salute to Satch.
An exciting stage presence and a lively personality, combined with Enrico's fine command of his instrument and stylistic invention place him among the finest jazz stars of today.
Steve began studying the clarinet at the age of 10, first with Cyril Chapman (clarinetist with the Royal Philharmonia Orchestra) and later with Colin Courtney (clarinet professor at the Royal College of Music). He was a member of the Bromley Symphony Orchestra from ages 14 to 18 playing anything from Haydn and Mozart to Stravinsky and Shostakovich. At 16 he took up the saxophone with a pile of Charlie Parker 78’s as his main guide and inspiration. He completed an Earth Sciences degree at Leeds University before deciding to become a professional musician.
He was a key member of Loose Tubes (the highly acclaimed 21 piece jazz orchestra that became the focal point of the British jazz renaissance of the 80s). During this time, he was closely associated with the London African and Latin American scenes, playing with bands such as Taxi Pata Pata (a top Zairean Soukous outfit) , Bosco D’Olivera’s Grupo Folia and Roberto Pla’s Latin Jazz Ensemble. His own projects included Orchestra Rafiki, co-led by long-time associate Chris Batchelor and featuring Kenyan Nyatiti player Ayub Ogada and Ghanaian drummer Nana Appiah, and also the Pigs Head Sons, another Buckley/Batchelor collaboration. He toured and recorded with Ashley Slater’s Microgroove, Norman Cook’s Beats International and the contemporary classical ensemble Jeremy Peyton-Jones’ Regular Music.
He has played and recorded with several Django Bates’ projects including The Third Policeman, Human Chain and Delightful Precipice.
His continued connections with African music led him to travel to Ghana to work with The Pan African Orchestra and with Kakatsitsi in the UK. He has also played and recorded with Massukos from Mozambique.
Steve’s main area of work has always been within the contemporary jazz scene, playing and recording with artists such as John Taylor, Julian Arguelles, Steve Arguelles, Eddie Parker, Iain Ballamy, Steve Noble, Billy Jenkins, Huw Warren, Christine Tobin, Phil Robson, Colin Towns, Seb Roachford, Mark Lockheart, Mike Outram, Joseph Jarman, Jonathan Joseph, Mark Sanders, Kit Downes and Leroy Jenkins. Steve’s close association with Chris Batchelor has continued with projects such as the internationally acclaimed Big Air, featuring Myra Melford, Jim Black and Oren Marshall. In 2006 Steve and Chris received the BBC Jazz on 3 award for best new work with “Ten Tall Tales”.
More recently he has played and recorded with the legendary South African pianist Tete Mbambisa and also with the newly re-united Loose Tubes.
ARQ is a vital and creative jazz quintet led by bass player Alison Rayner, whose profile has risen dramatically over the past four years, with extensive touring and critical acclaim for their second album, ‘A Magic Life’. They won Jazz Ensemble of the Year at the 2018 Parliamentary Jazz Awards and topped the ‘People’s Vote at the British Jazz Awards 2018.
In ARQ, Alison Rayner has gathered a group of fine musicians who sympathetically support her music: Steve Lodder on piano, Deirdre Cartwright on guitar, Diane McLoughlin on saxophones and Buster Birch on drums. The group’s imaginative and assured playing are superbly suited to Rayner’s compositions and reflect a confidence inspired by working intensively together.
“In a Jazz age with an abundance of technical excellence – and ARQ have it in great quantity – we look for something else as well. ARQ bring to the stage a musical bond that is expressed in such fun and joyful moments that it is a pleasure to be in the room with them. Jazz of the highest quality.” Phil Rose, Birmingham Jazz