Guitarist

I started playing the guitar when I was a wee lad in Belper, Derbyshire. Then I stopped and switched to double bass. More than 15 years as a full-time gigging bassist later, I'm now playing the guitar again and absolutely loving it. Stylistically I'm grounded in swing and bebop with occasional forays backwards into the fyggy world of early jazz, forwards into more brow-furrowing modern territory and sideways into the exotic worlds of Brazil and Cuba. My influences include George Benson, Wes Montgomery, Grant Green, Bucky Pizzarelli, Eddie Lang, Carl Kress, Joe Pass, Russell Malone, Freddie Green, Mark Whitfield, Peter Bernstein, Jim Mullen, John Coltrane and Charlie Parker. I'm principally interested in making a clean, straight-ahead, blues-edged sound with some modern elements.

Bass player

I have been playing the double bass since the age of 16. I studied in London and Paris with Dominic Black, Simon Woolf and Pierre Boussaguet, the latter an alumnus of Ray Brown. From 2002 to 2008 I was the full-time bass player with Blue Note recording artist Stacey Kent. Current projects with which I'm involved include 100 Years of Jazz in 99 Minutes, the Graham Harvey Trio and the Back To Basie Orchestra.

I've also performed with (amongst many others) John Dankworth, Bob Dorough, Buddy Greco, Curtis Stigers, Mark Murphy, The BBC Concert Orchestra, The RTE Concert Orchestra, The Halle Orchestra, The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, The Northern Sinfonia, The John Wilson Orchestra, Minnie Driver, Scott Hamilton, Bucky Pizzarelli, Ken Peplowski, Warren Vache, Russell Malone, Les Paul, Bob Wilbur, Claire Martin, Clare Teal, Dave O’Higgins, Ralph Moore, Sumudu, Harry Allen, Howard Alden, The Ronnie Scotts All Stars, The BBC Big Band, Kenny Davern, Pete Long, Peter King, Mark Crooks, Jim Mullen, Anita Wardell, Art Themen, Mornington Lockett, Rossano Sportliello, Chico Chagas, Jonathan Gee, James Langton’s Solid Senders Orchestra, Tina May, John Parricelli, Jason Rebello, Gilad Atzmon and The Pasadena Roof Orchestra.

I have recorded with Stacey Kent, Alan Barnes, Sumudu, Frank Griffith, Steve Fishwick, The Steve Fishwick/Osian Roberts Quintet, Gary Williams, Matt Ford, The Back To Basie Orchestra, Todd Gordon, John Colliani, The Filthy Six, Kai Hoffman, Dave O’Higgins, The Graham Harvey Trio and Mark Crooks.

My main influences as a bassplayer are Ray Brown, Paul Chambers, Jimmy Blanton, Oscar Pettiford, Sam Jones, Christian McBride, Milt Hinton, George Tucker, Ron Carter, Nils-Henning Orsted Pederson, Dave Holland, John Pattitucci, Joe Comfort, Wendell Marshall, Gary Karr and Francois Rabbath.

I guess my approach to playing the bass is first of all to swing as hard as I can and always do everything with a groove and a bounce. I also try to produce a big sound with plenty of attack and sustain; (I like to play without an amp where possible, especially if playing in a rhythm section with an orchestra).

One issue I think about a lot is projection, not only in terms of sound but also note-choice and phrasing. The bass is not an instrument that grabs the ear so you have to work extra hard to find ways to reach an audience and keep their attention. For me musical performance is mainly about communication and entertainment. If you can reach people you must be doing something right!

I also make an effort to explore the various different facets of the bass as fully as I can. I try to play expressive, legato lines with a bow and, by contrast, also like to slap the bass, Milt Hinton style.


Educator

Like most modern musicians, in addition to being an instrumentalist I am also a keen educator. I teach guitar, double bass and electric bass and coach jazz, rock and classical ensembles at CSMC, TMA and Sutton and Banstead Music Centre. I also have a number of private students ranging from beginner up to professional level. I am involved with the JazzFM Jazzworks project, giving introductory jazz workshops in schools.