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Chiltern Hundreds Area

Scotland's Finest Improvisers
Scotia's Ain Jazzy Bairns -
The McJazz Mafia -
Up an  gae's a wee blaw!

Bobby Orr

Bobby Orr was born on 15 August 1928 in Cambuslang, Lanarkshire, Scotland..His childhood was spent surrounded by, and immersed in, the rich drumming traditions for which the Scots are world renowned. Bobby's father was a drum major, and it was probably written in the stars that he would become a drummer The fact that he began at the tender age of three gives you some idea of the talent we' are dealing with here.

Art Blakey says, Hey man, you gonna get up and play? I say no, but he grabs me by the scruff of the neck, and I go up and play"
                                                                                                                    ^ Swinging New York In 1956

Bobby regularly played at Ronnie Scott's Club, backing top American jazz stars like Zoot Sims, Al Cohn, Milt Jackson, and Dizzy Gillespie  Bobby Orr is one of the true talents of British drumming - a simple summing up for a man who has spent the best part of 70 years playing the instrument we love. His drumming credentials are exemplary and to talk of the past is to see a drummer of an ilk and style that are all too rare these days. But the thing that most impresses is the inspirational way Bobby Orr still plays at 78 years old and recently appeared with Tommy McQuater the veteran Scots trumpeter at Ealing Jazz Festival before his demise.

Jazz Eddie - while erecting posters for Gig 17 in Princes Risborough I was approached from behind by a curious senior citizen - mmm Jazz Eh - have you heard of Bobby Orr the world famous Jazz Drummer?  the gentleman said - "I have as it happens"   was my terse and forward gazing reply - "Well that's me!"  said Bobby - a enthusiastic conversation then ensued about jazz and lapsed well into the Scottish dialect.  "Tell 'em I am still alive and drumming" he added.  Walters Ash is Rich beyond compare and Scotland is Fair Scunnert.  Bobby had a spell as trumpeter with Basil Kirchin's band  before giving up to concentrate on Drums after embouchure problems.  Bobby's Trio + Guests appear at a fortnightly Sunday Jam Sessions at the Red Lion - Bradenham, Bucks. Sundays fortnightly 7 - 9.30pm

Bobby Orr is available for Drum Tuition and Drum Clinics for all aspiring drummers in Bucks Berks or Oxon - there is no finer local Tutor.  If you wish to register your interest and gather like minded students together he would be delighted to impart his insight and skills to all such enthusiasts. - Contact Bobby Orr Drum Tuition

Sebastian Rochford, Aberdonian whose massive hair looks as if someone has plugged him into the mains, has a musical background that explains much of the group Polar Bear's eclectic sound. "I first started playing drums along to Prince and Grace Jones records," he says. "Then I got into Iron Maiden, Metallica and John Bonham of Led Zeppelin." Only later did he discover jazz, and subsequently shared a teacher with orchestral percussionist Evelyn Glennie. "A lot of heavy metal drumming is highly technical and fast," he says. "But what I love is music that doesn't compromise, whether that's Tom Jobim or Pig Destroyer."  Roachford has little time for jazz purists: "From the start jazz was a mixture of musics - New Orleans was a giant melting pot. I tend to like bands who are vague as to what their genre is." Plenty of critics have felt this new wave of jazz so distinctive that it ought to have its own label, (candidates include post-jazz and "skronk"), but Roachford is wary of pigeonholing. "I admire artists like Radiohead or Miles Davies, who have made very different records. In the end it's just their music, which they have stamped their identity on, and which people tell each other about. There's a precious freedom to manoeuvre that we'd hate to lose."

John Burgess - Zeus!............of Saxophone

Former Berklee College student Scotland's John Burgess has toured extensively throughout Europe, Scandinavia and the Middle East, performing with many of the UK's finest jazz players. He has made several recordings as a sideman and in 1989 was the winner of the prestigious NFMS. Concert Artist AwardDuring a lengthy sojourn in San Francisco, Burgess immersed himself in the highly competitive Bay Area scene and he has appeared at jazz clubs all along the West Coast of America.  In addition to contemporary jazz, Burgess has performed recitals of both baroque and 19th century French saxophone music and his tenor saxophone has been featured in several highly regarded blues and jump-jive groups.
John also plays with widely renowned Henry Franklin Trio. The members of the L.A. based group have performed either collectively or individually with Sonny Rollins, Pharaoh Sanders, Zoot Sims, Dexter Gordon and Freddie Hubbard.  Burgess has appeared on several notable recent recordings including "COMPARED TO WHAT" with the Harry Beckett Quintet, "DIAMONDS IN THE NIGHT" by the highly acclaimed folk duo Andy Shanks & Jim Russell and "PENDULUM" by London's ground-breaking drum'n'bass/jazz outfit "Blowpipe". 
John is touring the UK in March & Sept 2007 - Concert Jazz is fortunate to be within the frame.

John Burgess Video

In Johns Own Words-
I lived in London from 1987 till 1994 and worked all kinds of gigs with lots of great players like Alan Skidmore, Harry Becket, Jim Mullen, Chris Biscoe, Stan Sultzmann, Claude Deppa, Tony Marsh, Mario Castronari, Ed Jones and Mark Sanders. Mark and I along with Pete Townsend (no, not THAT Pete Townsend) won the NFMS Special Concert Artists Award in 1989 which seemed a big deal at the time. It got us a gig in Sellafield anyway.  I left in '94 to study with George Garzone at Berklee and then moved to San Francisco to study with Joe Henderson. I played alot of jazz and blues gigs both in Boston and in the Bay Area and recorded my first CD as a leader in '97 in Hollywood with Henry Franklin, Willie Jones III and Theo Sanders but it was when when I went north to Seattle in '98 that I began working steadily. I studied there with Don Lamphere and played everything from duos to big bands. I came back to the UK in '98 and began travelling all over playing gigs all over Europe and in North Africa, Canada, the west coast of the States and the Middle East. I've also been able to work with Evan Parker, Maggie Nichols, Gunter Baby Sommer and Barry Guy as a member of GIO (Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra) since coming back. In 2000 I played a festival in beautiful British Columbia and I've been hooked ever since. I go ever year and as well as playing a bunch of jazz gigs I 've recorded there as a leader with the wonderful Canadian guitarist Bill Coon as as a side man with great BC bassist Scott Watson. I played one of my favourite gigs of the last 20 years at the Commodore Ballroom in groovy downtown Vancouver in 2005 when I was hired to play 'Kasmir' with The White, a Led Zep tribute band out of Toronto.

Alyn Cosker 

Alyn Cosker has emerged as the top young drummer on the Scottish jazz scene, handsomely fulfilling the promise he showed as a teenager in the Strathclyde Youth Jazz Orchestra.
He has gone on to work in a variety of other contexts, from the Tommy Smith Quartet and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra to Celtic-rock outfit Wolfstone.
His work as a composer is less familiar. ‘There are a lot of styles going on within his trio, and he wanted to challenge himself’ 
The trio first came to notice in a sensational set at the Glasgow Jazz Festival’s Homecoming concert last year, introducing electric guitarist David Dunsmuir to a hitherto unsuspecting jazz audience, the better-known Ross Hamilton completing the trio on bass.


Mark began his musical training by earning a degree in music performance at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music. He moved to London to study on the postgraduate jazz course at the Guildhall School of Music after winning the Young Jazz Player of the Year Competition in 1991.  Since leaving college Mark has worked in a wide range of musical settings including classical work and shows but is most at home in the jazz world. He has played in all of London’s top jazz venues and at jazz festivals up and down the country. A recent highlight was a week’s engagement at Ronnie Scott’s with the John Critchinson Quartet opposite the Mingus Big Band.  Mark’s own group features his clarinet and tenor with the brilliant guitar playing of Colin Oxley and is featured on his highly-rated CDs “I Won’t Dance” and the brand new “How My Heart Sings”.  Mark is a member of the Back To Basie Orchestra and the John Wilson Orchestra. He also enjoys appearing in a two-tenor “Al and Zoot” group with Jim Tomlinson and a two-clarinet “Benny” quintet with Julian Stringle.  Mark was the featured soloist in a gala “Tribute to Artie Shaw” concert in Dublin’s National Concert Hall in January 2006. A hand-picked 26 piece orchestra accompanied Mark in scintillating performances of original Shaw arrangements including the infamous Interlude in Bb for clarinet and string quartet and Shaw’s virtuoso Concerto for Clarinet .The concert was such a great success that Mark was immediately invited back to perform a Benny Goodman programme in April 2007 and to reprise the Artie Shaw with Strings Concert in October 2007.


Tommy Smith's special talent was obvious as soon as he appeared on the Edinburgh jazz scene in his early teens. He recorded his first album, Giant Strides, at the age of sixteen in 1983 with drummer John Rae, and that same year he won a scholarship, assisted by an extensive fund-raising programme organised by his music teacher, Jean Allison, to attend the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Born in Edinburgh on April 27, 1967, to a Scottish mother, Brenda Ann Urquhart, and a Polish father whom he has never met, Smith was brought up in the Wester Hailes area of the city. Here he was encouraged by his late stepfather, George Smith, an avid jazz fan and drummer in the Gene Krupa style, to take up the tenor saxophone at the age of twelve.

Under the skilful direction of Jim O'Malley and Jean Allison of the music department at Wester Hailes Education Centre, Smith made swift progress and was soon gigging around Edinburgh and Scotland with his quartet with John Rae. Within four years he had recorded Giant Strides (GFM Records) and was on his way to Berklee, where he formed the co-operative group Forward Motion with Norwegian bassist Terje Gewelt, Canadian drummer Ian Froman and Hungarian pianist Laszlo Gardonyi. This group remained active with varying personnel until 1994 and recorded two albums, Progressions and The Berklee Tapes.

At eighteen, Smith joined Berklee vice president Gary Burton's group, alongside bassist Steve Swallow, pianist Makoto Ozone and drummer Adam Nussbaum, recording the Whiz Kids album for ECM Records and catching the attention of critics including Larry Kart of the Chicago Tribune who opined: "The key addition is Tommy Smith, who, if memory serves, is only the second saxophonist Gary Burton has employed in his twenty-odd years as a leader. Smith's angular, bristling lines suggest he has his own story to tell
Tommy Smith Youth Jazz Orchestra
Experience the glory of a big band with twenty one young musicians of prowess and promise. They play a repertoire that includes Stan Kenton, Maria Schneider, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Oliver Nelson, Dizzy Gillespie and Charles Mingus.
Orchestra features Philip Cardwell, Liam Heath, Alan Blair, Linsey McDonald, Hendon Musk (tp), Billy Fleming, Dionne Copeland, Theo Forrest, Michelle Melvin, Leah Gough Cooper, Rachel Cohen, Louise McDonald, Ben Bryden (s), Scott Annison, Hannah Cohen, Michael Owers, Michael Campbell (tb), Chris Lyons (p), Ross Whyte (d), Calum Gourlay (b) and Mike Nisbet (g).
The above were performing at the Aberdeen Jazz Festival 2006 and proved to be one of the most rewarding events and certainly the most swinging Big Band featured at the whole Festival.  A great pool of young talent motivated by the Maestro of the Saxophone who donates all his time for Charity.  Support them when and where you can as this promising unit gets no funding whatsoever. 

Scottish National Jazz Orchestra The great saxophonist Joe Henderson used to say that a jazz orchestra should have all the colour and power of a big band and yet be as mobile as a quartet. While regularly paying heed to Henderson’s wishes since playing its first concerts in 1995, the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra has added another quality by being as malleable as Plasticine. Under the sure direction of Tommy Smith, SNJO has moulded and remoulded itself into the shape and character of the classic big bands of Ellington, Basie, Kenton and now Herman, and moved forward to interpret Monk, Mingus and Coltrane in the spirit of these idiosyncratic giants. It has taken further leaps into the latin and rock infused compositions of Chick Corea and Pat Metheny and proved its astonishing versatility by commissioning and performing brave new works by the English maverick Keith Tippett, the Gil Evans of our times, Maria Schneider, and members of the orchestra themselves.

David Newton Growing up in Renfrewshire, Scotland, Newton had a musical upbringing with the piano trio sound of Peterson, Tatum or Garner an ever-present feature in the Newton household. After graduating from Leeds College of Music in 1979 David Newton freelanced around Yorkshire and eventually became a resident musician at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough for two and a half years. A move to Edinburgh followed where theatre work using local musicians quickly led to an established position on the Scottish jazz scene but after some four years there, 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.
Newton's recording career had begun in 1985 with Buddy De Franco and Martin Taylor and his first solo album was released in '88 in association with producer Elliot Meadow who oversaw the next nine years of recording for Linn Records followed by Candid Records. Once again, in 1997, David Newton and Alan Barnes teamed up and together with Concorde Label agent Barry Hatcher, made four CDs for that label. By 2003, Newton had learned a great deal of the ways a record company operated and he set up a business partnership with former pupil Mike Daymond and they established "Brightnewday Records" initially as a vehicle for Newton's own music but with an eye to opening up the catalogue to other artists later on.
In the first five years of the nineties, Newton's reputation as an exquisite accompanist for a singer, spread rather rapidly and by '95 he was regularly working with Carol Kidd, 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. While all this was going on, Newton was composing music which he would record on his own CDs as well as writing specifically for Martin Taylor, Alan Barnes, Tina May or Claire Martin and Newton's music can now be heard on many television productions, especially in the United States where over twenty TV movies benefit from Newton's haunting themes. In 2003, after a twenty year gap, David Newton was reunited with playwright Alan Aykbourn having been involved with eight world premiers in Scarborough and London back in the early eighties, and he was asked to write the music for two new productions, 'Sugar Daddies' and 'Drowning on Dry Land'. Currently, with the release of a new CD called "Inspired", on the 'Brightnewday' label, David Newton is relishing the musical freedom of his Trio and the special sound it makes whilst working on two other new recording projects, as an arranger and a composer.
David Newton has been voted best Jazz Pianist in the British Jazz awards six times and was made a Fellow of Leeds College of Music in 2003.

Eileen HunterEileen Hunter is most well known as a Flautist, Pianist and Vocalist. Eileen has a wealth of musical talent from theatre and concert performances to intimate jazz gigs.   She is a versatile performer and can be seen in various venues in and around London.  Among her recording credits are: “Falling” for Jive Records on their compilation album “Sugar Valone” ; Fender Rhodes, flute and backing vocals for Steve Brookstein’s no.1 selling album “Heart and Soul” ; flute on a track for up and coming artist, Susy Thomas.

  • Orchestra and The Thilo Wolf Trio.
  • Chichester Festivities; The Eileen Hunter Quintet.
  • Guest Soloist with Her Majesty’s Band of the Royal Marines.
  • Royal National Theatre; Jazz in the Foyer/ Cabaret Attic space.


Stephen Duffy - Vocalist

Stephen Duffy is a genuine improvising jazz singer who has built a significant Glasgow following due to consecutive sell-out performances at the Tron theatre and the Glasgow International Jazz festival.

He was one of the first students to participate in the Fionna Duncan Vocal Jazz Workshops and is the only vocalist to have studied at the National Jazz Institute of Scotland, where he studied under sax star, Tommy Smith.  His debut album 'I Wish I'd Met You', was released in November 2004 to much acclaim.  Stephen has also appeared with some of the great names in international jazz including saxophonist Scot Hamilton, singer Madeline Eastman and he counts British jazz stars Claire Martin and Sir Richard Rodney Bennett amongst his ardent supporters. Also an accomplished pianist and arranger, he has sung with most of the major Scottish big bands and with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra.   A frequent contributor to BBC Radio Scotland, he has presented features on vocal jazz for BBC Radio 3 and is the Marketing Manager to the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

Vocalist Freddie King  Since becoming a jazz singer, Freddie has attended Jamey Aebersold’s jazz summer camp where his vocal tutor was jazz singer Louise Gibbs, originally from New Zealand.  Freddie has also attended the Fionna Duncan Vocal Jazz Workshops, and studied under both American jazz singer Madeline Eastman and Scottish diva Fionna Duncan herself.  In addition, he has studied in New York with Mark Soskin (pianist), who has played with Sonny Rollins. When in New York, Freddie met saxophonist Frank Perowsky at a jam session on 8th avenue in NYC. Frank appears on the album "Diggin' Deep": see below.  Freddie has appeared as a jazz singer at most of London’s top jazz clubs e.g. Ronnie Scott’s, Vortex, 606 club.  Freddie was also invited by Paul Flush (Hammond organ/pianist), who is part of the leading Belgian Trio Demagogue Reacts, to appear as a guest vocalist in Brussels and Munich.  He has appeared at Edinburgh, Nairn, Dundee and Brecon Jazz Festivals and has become one of the artists in the forefront of jazz vocals in Scotland with his originality and approach to singing. Although self-taught, Freddie’s influences range from Jon Hendricks, Mark Murphy, and Eddie Jefferson to Johnny Hartman, Joe Williams, and Nat King Cole. He has toured with Brian Kellock, the world-renowned pianist, who has been BBC Jazz Musician of the Year. Brian asked Freddie to sing in his band “A handful of keys”, playing the music of Fats Waller, and they played sell-out concerts finishing at the Brecon Jazz Festival. Freddie has become one of Scotland’s premier jazz singers. Although often described as unpredictable, he can sing anything from Bebop and Swing/Latin to beautiful ballads.  After his appearance in Scarborough he headlined in London at the famous Vortex jazz club. He also headlined in 2004 at the Edinburgh Jazz Festival with his band.  2005/6 sees Freddie with his own project and his own new band playing the music of Johnny Hartman and Billy Eckstine, and singing some of the great classic standards and ballads. It shows another side of Freddie’s voice.

Fionna Duncan Vocal Workshops

Ryan Quigley is one of the most versatile musicians on the Scottish Jazz scene today. Ryan has recorded and/or toured with the likes of: TIM GARLAND, ALLAN BERGMAN, SHARLEEN SPITERI, BOB GELDOF, RONAN KEATING, DEL AMITRI, EDDI READER, ISOBEL CAMPBELL, THE BAD PLUS, SALSA CELTICA, CURTIS STIGERS,  THE SCOTTISH NATIONAL JAZZ ORCHESTRA, The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, THE RSNO, THE RTE CONCERT ORCHESTRA, THE IRISH NATIONAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, and many others.
Ryan Plays exclusively on Yamaha trumpets and uses a Marcinkiewicz mouthpiece. Becoming more active as a composer and orchestrator, Ryan will be recording his debut album of original material early in 2008 and is also planning a big band with strings project for later that year

http://www.lornamcdonald.co.uk/ - Trombone

Alto Sax player and composer, Leah Gough-Cooper is one of the rising young stars of Scottish Jazz, and returns from her studies at the prestigious Berklee College in Boston, USA. She plays some of her own distinctive compositions, which combine catchy melody with surprising twists and loads of rhythmic excitement, with Ant Law (guitar), Kevin Glasgow (bass guitar), Calum McIntyre (d) 

The Scottish Jazz Festivals

Fife Jazz Festival - New
8-10 Feb 08
4th Aberdeen Jazz Festival
 March 08
Dundee Jazz Festival

 June 08 - cancelled due to lack of funds - sad day for Dundonians
Glasgow Jazz Festival
22 June - 1 July 07
Edinburgh Jazz Festival
27th July to 5th August 07
Nairn Jazz Festival
4-12 August
Islay Jazz Festival - Scotland
14-16 September 07
Lockerbie Jazz Festival (3rd)

October 08

Hamilton Jazz Festival
5-7 Sept 08


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Last modified: 18/02/2012