Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Olivia Chaney has appeared on BBC Two’s Later…with Jools Holland, CBS This Morning; performed live sessions on KCRW’s Morning becomes Eclectic, BBC Radio 1 with Gilles Peterson and BBC Radio 2 with Mark Radcliffe; and in 2019 was nominated BBC Radio 2 Folk Singer of the Year. Her second solo album, Shelter, released on Nonesuch Records in 2018 and made with New York-based producer Thomas Bartlett was met with critical acclaim, being called ‘a big, beautiful new record’ (Mojo, Albums of the Year ★★★★), ‘rare beauty’ (The Sunday Times) and ‘an elegant, luminous album’ (the Observer).
Born in Florence, Chaney grew up in Oxford, studying composition, piano and voice. Early influences include Bert Jansch, Mozart, medieval plainchant, Prince, Billie Holiday, Henry Purcell and Joni Mitchell. At 14, Chaney won a joint-first piano and voice scholarship to Chetham's School of Music, where she focused on classical repertoire. She then went on to attend the Royal Academy of Music, also on scholarship, where, as an improviser and songwriter, she spent much of her time experimenting and collaborating beyond boundaries of any one genre. On graduating, Chaney taught herself guitar and Indian harmonium, and began performing regularly as an eclectic soloist. She has worked as an actress and singer/multi-instrumentalist at Shakespeare's Globe theatre, been choreographed by Cathy Marston (former Associate Artist of the Royal Opera House) and her rendition of the French folk song, Auprès de ma blonde, was chosen for the closing credits of legendary director André Téchiné’s 2017 film, Nos années folles.
Chaney has performed around the world in venues and festivals including the Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Glastonbury Festival, Sydney Festival and Newport Folk Festival. She has collaborated with artists including Kronos Quartet, Bryce Dessner, Katia and Marielle Labèque, The Decemberists, Shirley Collins, Eliza Carthy and Jon Hopkins. She has sung support and live backing vocals for the likes of Sharon Van Etten, Bruce Hornsby, Jarvis Cocker, Robert Plant, Ben Folds, Patty Griffin and Richard Thompson.
Saxophonist and composer Trish Clowes has been described as ‘an improviser to be reckoned with’ (Downbeat Magazine) and ‘one of the most agile and original jugglers of improv and adventurous composition to have appeared in the UK in recent times’ (the Guardian). A BASCA British Composer Award winner and former BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist, Clowes works in a variety of settings and has received critical acclaim for all of her album releases.
Clowes’s band, My Iris (with Chris Montague, Ross Stanley and James Maddren), has toured worldwide and been hailed as ‘the jazz of the future’ (Augsburger Allgemeine). She has appeared either with her band or as a soloist at the Barbican, Toronto Jazz Festival, Rochester International Jazz Festival, Royal Festival Hall, Wigmore Hall, Celtic Connections (with BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra), Women in (e)motion Festival and National Opera House (Ireland), and made broadcasts for BBC Two Proms Extra, BBC Radio 3 and Radio Bremen. In 2019, Clowes premiered Joe Cutler’s saxophone concerto, Hawaii Hawaii Hawaii, with the BBC Concert Orchestra. Recent commissions include writing for the London Sinfonietta (a Sinfonietta Short for solo bass, and their Sound Out projects), BBC Concert Orchestra (BBC Radio 3) and Onyx Brass.
Born in 1984, Clowes was raised in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, and moved to London in 2003 to study at the Royal Academy of Music, notably with saxophonist Iain Ballamy and composer Pete Churchill. Clowes was later honoured as an Associate of the Academy in 2013. She is currently finishing her studies as a PhD candidate at Birmingham City University with a STEAM scholarship. Alongside her work as a performer and composer, Clowes has been curating her own new music project, Emulsion, since 2012, through which she has commissioned 17 new works. She is also passionate about her roles as professor at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and ambassador for the charity Donate4Refugees.
It is not often one encounters an imagination with the depth and prolificacy of Jacob Collier’s. Born in 1994, the London-based singer and multi-instrumentalist is dubbed by many as one of the most innovative musicians of his generation. In 2012, Collier’s self-made YouTube videos achieved legendary status in the music world, attracting the praise of such luminaries as Herbie Hancock, David Crosby, Steve Vai and Quincy Jones, who manages Collier to this day. His debut album, In My Room, crafted entirely in his room at home, went on to win two Grammys. His success has led to musical collaborators and fans including the likes of Coldplay, Ty Dolla $ign, Tori Kelly, Daniel Caesar, H.E.R., Charlie Puth, Kehlani, Jessie Reyez and Finneas, among others.
In January 2018, Collier began designing and creating a recording project on an unprecedented scale: a quadruple album called Djesse comprising 50 songs divided between four volumes, with each operating within a separate musical universe of sound, style and genre. Scattered across the four volumes are 30-plus collaborators from across every facet of the music world. Djesse Volumes 1 and 2 both have earned him a Grammy each, meaning that Collier has never lost a Grammy in a category he’s been nominated in.
Kit Downes is a BBC Jazz Award winning, Mercury Music Award nominated, solo recording artist for ECM Records. He has toured the world playing piano, church organ and harmonium with his own bands ('ENEMY', 'Troyka', 'Elt' and 'Vyamanikal') as well as artists such as Squarepusher, Thomas Strønen, Aidan O'Rourke and Django Bates. He has written commissions for Cheltenham Music Festival, London Contemporary Orchestra, Stavanger Konserthus, ReWire Festival, Scottish Ensemble, Cologne Philharmonie, BBC Radio 3 and the Wellcome Trust, as well as collaborating with film-makers, video game developers and classical composers.
Over the course of his career, John Escreet has earned a reputation as one of the most active and diverse pianist/composers working in jazz and improvised music. His prolific output is reflected over the course of eight wide-ranging and critically acclaimed albums - the most recent being Learn To Live, named by Downbeat Magazine as one of the best releases of 2018.
Bursting onto the scene with his 2008 debut album Consequences, Escreet quickly earned a reputation as one of the most exciting new pianist/composers to have emerged in recent years, with Downbeat magazine proclaiming ‘John Escreet’s recent debut Consequences signals the jumpstart of a new voice in jazz’. Similar praise followed for his 2010 sophomore release Don’t Fight The Inevitable, the New York Times’ Ben Ratliff said ‘... on an ambitious second album, the pianist John Escreet seems to be thinking about where jazz can go next; it’s like a tour of the last 25 years of serious jazz’.
2014 saw the release of Sound, Space and Structures, followed by 2016’s live album The Unknown - both of which feature his working trio paired with the master free-jazz saxophonist and British elder statesman Evan Parker.
Over the years Escreet has worked with virtually everybody on the New York jazz scene in a wide variety of settings, as well as being a constant member of Grammy award winner Antonio Sanchez’s band Migration.
He has received numerous awards and grants, including the Chamber Music America New Jazz Works Grant in 2009, the Jazz Gallery Residency/ Commission in 2012-2013 and the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation US Artists International grant in 2014. He is also an active educator and has given clinics and masterclasses at institutions across the globe.
Escreet’s music is often described as eclectic, and is perhaps best summed up by the New York City Jazz record: ‘Escreet is a musical omnivore who embraces aspects of contemporary classical music, Frank Zappa, dance music, electronica and a wide swath of jazz, from bop to avant-garde. What comes out is uniquely personal - some of the most inventive and distinct jazz around today.’
South London-born Ashley Henry is one of a new generation of musicians who have been raised with a wide range of influences. His album debut Beautiful Vinyl Hunter saw him nominated by Cerys Matthews for BBC 6 Music’s Album of the Year, only the second jazz album to do so. The album won Jazz Japan's Album of the Year and Henry is France’s Jazz Magazine New Jazz Artist of the Year.
Henry graduated from Royal Academy of Music in 2016, going on to perform with Jason Marsalis, Terence Blanchard and Jean Toussaint, the latter featuring on Henry’s record, Easter EP. At the age of just 25, Henry was commissioned as guest resident Musical Director for both Jazz Café and Ronnie Scott's, and won the Jazz FM Live Experience Award. In 2018/2019, he toured with Christine and the Queens and supported Loyle Carner’s 2019 tour.
His live performances have gained outstanding reviews, including a sold-out standing-room-only show as part of the 2019 EFG London Jazz Festival and he featured in BBC Music Introducing at New York's Winter Jazzfest, curated by Gilles Peterson.
Lauren Kinsella is an award-winning Jazz FM vocalist of the year, known as having ‘embraced an entirely new conception of vocal improvisation, touching on various traditions but also connected to the avant garde’ (The History of European Jazz).
Snowpoet, her band with multi-instrumentalist Chris Hyson, released Thought You Knew on Edition Records and was hailed by National Public Radio (USA) as one of the best albums of 2018. Their music regularly features on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 6 and RTE Lyric FM. Their next album is set for release in March 2021.
As a soloist, collaborator and band leader, she has performed worldwide at several European Festivals including Unerhört Jazz (Switzerland), InJazz (Netherlands), Cool Britannia (Vienna), Klaeng (Cologne), Down With Jazz (Ireland), Ankara International Music Festival (Istanbul), 12 Points (Porto), Dublin Literary Festival (Ireland), European Jazznights (Oslo), Jazzy Colours (Paris), Belfast Literary Festival (UK), Südtirol Jazz Festival (Italy), Cardiff Poetry Festival (Wales), Galway Jazz Festival (Ireland), Songlines Encounters and the London Jazz Festival (UK).
Awarded the Arts Foundation Fellowship (2017) she has performed with Tom Challenger, Dave Smith, Henry Lowther, Ruth Goller, Steve Beresford, Simon Jermyn, Matthew Jacobson, Laura Jurd, Liam Noble, Chris Batchelor, Phil Minton, Kit Downes, Julian Siegel, Elliot Galvin, Elias Stemeseder, Yves Roberts, Attila Csihar, Pat Thomas, Mark Sanders, Ingrid Laubrock, Hannah Marshall, Mark Lockheart, Hans Hassler, Olie Brice, Cleveland Watkiss, James Maddren, Julie Kjaer, Robin Finker, Josh Arcoleo, Matthew Halpin and many more.
Kinsella also collaborates with film composers, contemporary classical composers and writers, exploring the role of the voice in varying performance contexts including Cherry Smyth, Harry Escott, Ed Bennett and Sally O’Reilly.
Originally born in Dublin, Kinsella completed her masters at the Royal Academy of Music in 2013. There she was awarded the Gershon Ellenbogen / Maccabaen Award and The Kenny Wheeler Jazz Prize leading to the release of Blue-Eyed Hawk’s Under the Moon (Edition Records) which was awarded Best Jazz Album in the Irish Times Ticket Awards.
Among the most proficient and accomplished bassists in the field of contemporary jazz, Orlando le Fleming's virtuoso technique, boundless creativity and powerful beat are those of a musician who has found himself occupying a space in the uppermost stratum of American improvised music.
His facility as an improviser and capacity as a team player were first honed not on the bandstand, nor in the practice room, but on the cricket pitch. Originally from the UK, Le Fleming seemed destined for an athletic career, and was briefly a professional cricketer, until he was granted a place at the Royal Academy of Music, and his lifelong passion for music won out.
His 2003 move to New York City was a timely one. Soon after arriving stateside, he joined Jane Monheit's band, consequently sharing the bass duties on her 2004 release Taking a Chance onLove with Ron Carter and Christian McBride; the year following, he recorded with jazz legend Jimmy Cobb on his Marsalis Music Honors release. In the years since, leaders as diverse as Branford Marsalis, Joey Calderazzo, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Bill Charlap, Billy Cobham, Ari Hoenig, Seamus Blake, Jeff “Tain” Watts and David Sanchez have relied on Le Fleming's firm beat and eloquent counterpoint to propel their rhythm sections forward.
While he succeeds as a sideman, it is as a leader that Le Fleming truly shines. From Brooklyn With Love is a living document of Orlando's original compositions, as performed by his 2010 quartet. Recorded in concert at storied Park Slope hangout Freddy's, it features saxophonist Will Vinson, guitarist Lage Lund, and drummer Antonio Sanchez. Riding the high acclaim of this initial release, Lund, Vinson, and Le Fleming would go on to form the drum-less OWL Trio, who’s eponymous 2013 debut was hailed by critics and listeners alike.
More recently, Le Fleming has become recognized as a keen doubler: 2016 brought a wide array of opportunities as an electric bassist, from accompanying Tony-winning vocalist Leslie Odom Jr. to navigating the shifting metrics of Wayne Krantz's legendary 55 Bar residency. His latest endeavour, Romantic Funk, presents a pastiche of classic fusion sounds and ideas, updated by Le Fleming's signature palette of polyrhythm and abstract exploration. 2020 will the see the release of Romantic Funk’s second album - The Unfamiliar, and also a new OWL Trio record featuring grammy-winning vocalist, Kurt Elling.
Rob Luft is an award-winning jazz guitarist from London whose virtuosity has been compared to that of six-string legends John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola and Paco De Lucia. For performances with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra in 2015, The Times said he was destined ‘to achieve great things in the future’. He was subsequently the recipient of the 2016 Kenny Wheeler Prize from the Royal Academy of Music and received second prize in the 2016 Montreux Jazz Guitar Competition at the Montreux Jazz Festival. His debut album, Riser, was released on Edition Records in 2017 to widespread critical acclaim from the European jazz media; John Fordham wrote in The Guardian a ‘very sophisticated debut, but given Luft’s old-soul achievements since his early teens, we should have heard it coming’.
On the back of the success of his first album, Luft was nominated for a string of awards – Breakthrough Act in the 2018 Jazz FM Awards, Instrumentalist of the Year in the 2018 Parliamentary Jazz Awards and Instrumentalist of the Year in the 2019 Jazz FM Awards. In May 2019 he was selected as BBC New Generation Jazz Artist 2019-2021, an accolade granted to ‘some of the world’s most exceptional young musicians’. His eagerly-awaited second album on Edition Records, Life is the Dancer, was released in April 2020 to critical acclaim, with Chris May at All About Jazz describing it as ‘balm for the soul’ and ‘a garden of heavenly delights’.
Concert highlights for Luft are performances with Django Bates, Arve Henriksen, Loose Tubes and Dinosaur, Laura Jurd’s jazz/rock quartet. As well as leading his own quintet, Luft collaboratively runs several other projects, including a duo with the Albanian jazz singer and ECM recording artist Elina Duni, a mainstream jazz quartet with Dave O’Higgins and the tango quintet Deco Ensemble. He is also a regular member of some of London’s finest modern jazz groups, such as Byron Wallen’s Four Corners, Eddie Parker’s Airborn and the Chris Batchelor/Steve Buckley quintet. His playing has been documented on a wide variety of albums over the past five years, and he appears on the Sweet Sister Suite by Tommy Smith’s Scottish National Jazz Orchestra (SNJO); Liane Carroll’s album Seaside (Linn Records); two albums from Italian drum virtuoso Enzo Zirilli on Milanese label UR Records, Zirobop and Ten to Late; and the latest release from Misha Mullov-Abbado on Edition Records Cross-Platform Interchange.
Gwilym is one of the most gifted pianists and imaginative composers on the British scene. Able to move effortlessly between jazz and classical music, he can, at times, inhabit both worlds and has been described as stylistically reminiscent of Keith Jarrett, complete with ‘harmonic sophistication and subtle dovetailing of musical traditions’ as well as being a pianist of ‘exceptional’, ‘brilliant’ and ‘dazzling’ ability. His music has been widely acclaimed as ‘engaging, exciting, often unexpected, melodically enthralling, complex and wonderfully optimistic’.
Simcock’s influences include jazz legends Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea and John Taylor and classical composers Maurice Ravel, Igor Stravinsky and Mark-Anthony Turnage. Although principally a jazz artist, he is breaking new ground between genres and often uses classical reference points in his composed work.
Aside from his renowned solo piano work, he has worked extensively throughout Europe with the cream of British and international jazz artists including Dave Holland, Kenny Wheeler, Lee Konitz, Bill Bruford’s Earthworks, Bob Mintzer and Bobby McFerrin. His own groups as leader range from trio to big band. His debut album Perception featured his sextet with Stan Sulzmann (saxophones), John Parricelli (guitar), Phil Donkin (bass), Martin France (drums) and Ben Bryant (percussion) was nominated for Best Album in the BBC Jazz Awards 2008 and has been critically acclaimed at home and abroad. His most recent release Blues Vignette features both solo piano and work with his new trio with Yuri Goloubev (bass) and James Maddren (drums). The album has been universally praised as ‘sublime’, ‘flawless’, ‘impressive’ and ‘a marker that few others are likely to equal’.
Winner of the Perrier Award, BBC Jazz Awards 2005 and British Jazz Awards 2005, Simcock was the first BBC Radio 3 New Generation jazz artist. He was voted Jazz Musician of the Year at the 2007 Parliamentary Jazz Awards nominated for the 2008 BBC Jazz Awards as Best Instrumentalist. His impressive formal education includes Trinity College of Music (London), Chetham’s School of Music (Manchester), where he studied classical piano, French horn and composition and the Royal Academy of Music, where he graduated from the jazz course with first class honours and won the coveted Principal‘s Prize for outstanding achievement.
Loosely connected to the jazz world but realistically inhabiting her own realm, vocalist, violinist, and composer, Alice Zawadzki, is a distinctive presence on the European creative scene. Her rich musical background and “whimsical hyper-creativity” (MOJO Magazine) draw upon her early exposure to New Orleans jazz and gospel, an extensive classical training as a violinist, and a continuous exploration of improvisation, poetry, and folk music from diverse traditions, “all propelled in a voice of velvet suppleness and gutsy emotional power” (The Arts Desk). She performs extensively as a soloist and a collaborator internationally, having played in Canada, USA, Brazil, Europe and the Far East. Her 2019 release, Within You Is A World Of Spring (Whirlwind Recordings) was met with warm critical praise, being made Contemporary Album of the Month by The Guardian newspaper, and described by Jazzwise Magazine as "Tender in spirit and defiantly anti-genre... A cornucopia of delights." Her debut album China Lane was made Album of the Week by BBC Radio 3, had numerous radio and live appearances, was described by The Guardian as “a genuine original” and led to her being nominated for vocalist of the year by both Jazz FM and the Parliamentary Jazz Awards. As an interpreter of new and unusual works, she has premiered several large-scale works both in the UK and internationally. She trained in Jazz voice and composition at the Royal Academy of Music and in violin at the Royal Northern College of Music, with scholarships from the Musicians Benevolent Fund, and the Hilda Collens Prize.