Alex Garnett has been one of the leading saxophonists in the UK and Mainland Europe for over two decades, being instantly recognized by his dark, husky sound. A versatile musician and first call sideman, he has enjoyed success as both a jazz artist, composer and arranger, and an in demand session, studio and commercial saxophonist, having racked up countless recording credits along the way. A ubiquitous performer with many of Europe’s leading bands from underground to pop, he’s a regular sideman of choice for many visiting American artists when touring in Europe, and has performed in over 30 countries worldwide appearing at such venues as the Blue Note, Birdland, as well as the Perugia, North Sea, Vittoria, Montreax, and Oslo Jazz Festivals to name but a few, with varied and diverse artists across the spectrum such as Sir John Dankworth, Wynton Marsalis, Pete King, Humphrey Littleton, Scott Hamilton, Van Morrison, Evan Parker and The Rolling Stones, as well as with his contemporaries Gareth Lockrane, Seamus Blake, Phil Robson, Michael Janisch, Joel Frahm, and more. Although Alex has accumulated one of the most impressive biographies of any saxophonist in Europe of his generation, he did not release his own solo album until the age of 40 in September of 2011. Recorded in NYC at Systems Two Studios, Garnett’s debut album Serpent features drummer Willie Jones III, Anthony Wonsey on piano, and bassist Michael Janisch, while showcasing eight original compositions from the leader. The album proved to be one of the most anticipated debuts for years in the UK, winning universal acclaim by press, fans and musicians alike. As of late Garnett can be seen at his weekly late-night residency at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in Soho every Monday and Tuesday while not touring, and released his second album with his new band ‘Bunch of Five’ in January of 2015. Titled Andromeda, it features long time musical associate and fellow tenor saxophonist Tim Armacost, pianist Liam Noble, bassist Michael Janisch and drummer James Maddren.
Brought up around the sounds of jazz by a music-loving father, Quentin had seen many of the greats by a young age, including Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton & Dave Brubeck. This had a profound influence upon his decision to become a professional musician.
In 20 years as a professional, Quentin has established himself as one of the UK’s top Jazz/Commercial trumpeters, having performed, toured and recorded with a plethora of internationally renowned artists across many genres. These include Fred Wesley, Gregory Porter, Mark Ronson, Kyle Eastwood, Omar, Basement Jaxx, Roy Ayers, Alicia Keys, Dennis Rollins and Mulatu Astatke.
Quentin released his debut solo album, ‘If Not Now, Then When?’, on SunlightSquare Records in 2007. It received much critical acclaim:
"Proving that Collins knows a thing or two about good
song writing, ‘If Not Now, Then When?’ is an impressively intense debut."
“This debut album by England's top young trumpet master is breathtaking
from start to finish, and is sure to catapult Quentin
to stardom and yet more critical acclaim.”
MOJO magazine voted ‘If Not Now, Then When?’ one of its top jazz albums of 2007.
Quentin currently co-leads QC/BA, a Hammond-organ quartet with tenor sax titan Brandon Allen. QC/BA released their latest album, ‘Beauty in Quiet Places’, in September 2015 on Ubuntu Music. Some of the comments by the critics are below:
“It's so damn infectious, it's almost impossible to resist!"
-Blues & Soul Magazine
"Provides the listener with a dazzling array of solos from all four musicians,
especially the two leaders.”
-UK Vibe Magazine
"From the up-tempo flavour of 'Fuerteventura' through the foot stomping 'Handshake' to
the full-on workout of 'Modal Tranesition', the listener is instantly gripped by
QC/BA's thrilling slant on the post-bop tradition."
-UK Vibe Magazine
"Superb album...absolutely contemporary and of the moment."
QC/BA’s debut album, ‘What's It Gonna Be?’, released in May 2011 on Sunlightsquare Records, was greatly acclaimed by the critics.
"This talented quartet get the full five stars, not only for performing brilliantly
here but also for playing the type of jazz few can master - namely bright,
tuneful neo-bop originals that swing from start to finish.”
-Jack Massarik, Evening Standard
For the past five years, Quentin has toured the world extensively with the Kyle Eastwood Band. Their latest album, ‘Time Pieces’, was released worldwide on JazzVillage in April 2015. ‘Time Pieces’ was the follow-up to 2013's highly acclaimed release, ‘The View From Here’. Quentin is prominently featured as a performer and a composer on these two recordings.
In early 2015 Quentin Collins & Martin Hummel formed Ubuntu Music with the clear ambition to help nurture young & gifted artists and connect them with wider audiences. Quentin's role as Artistic Director allows him to develop his skills as producer, overseeing the various musical aspects of the album-making journey. Projects so far have included producing Noemi Nuti's "Nice to Meet You" & Camilla George's recent "Isang", both highly acclaimed, and an integral role in producing young tenor sax tyro Leo Richardson's upcoming debut album, to be released Autumn 2017.
Presently, Quentin hosts a twice monthly residency at London’s prestigious Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club with his current quartet, featuring Andrew McCormack on piano and Gene Calderazzo on drums. He will be recording a new album during 2016 on Ubuntu Music with this line-up.
First started playing saxophone and clarinet whilst at art school in Bristol. His reputation as a broad-toned, swinging tenor player soon grew and he joined the Pasadena Roof Orchestra in 1986. The next ten years saw him touring with the band throughout Europe, the USA and the Far East, and appearing as featured soloist on six of their albums.
Since leaving the Pasadena Roof Orchestra, Robert has worked with many bands and has also released his own CD entitled Front and Centre, which demonstrates the strong influence on his style of some of the greats of the classic jazz era - Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster. He has also been working and touring with Bryan Ferry on his recent album As Time Goes By.
Gareth Lockrane started playing at the age of 10 and after raiding his dad's record collection discovered jazz at 14. Early influences included Cannonball Adderley, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Bill Evans and Stan Getz on the jazz side whilst also being transfixed by the great blues-rock guitarists of the 60s and 70s as a child - Jimi Hendrix, Albert King, Eric Clapton and Buddy Guy continue to be major influences. On flute the initial main inspirations were saxophone "doublers" like Frank Wess, James Clay, Roland Kirk, Bobby Jaspar and James Moody and later on he fell under the spell of flute visionaries like Jeremy Steig, Eric Dolphy, Hubert Laws, Paul Horn and Eddie Parker amongst many others.
In 1994 he enrolled on the jazz course at the Royal Academy of Music in London where teachers included Stan Sulzmann, Martin Speake, John Thomas and Eddie Parker and where he struck up musical relationships with fellow students the Fishwick brothers, Tom Cawley, Osian Roberts, Orlando le Fleming and many others. In 1997, his band "The Jazz System" formed with Osian Roberts was a finalist in the Vienna Jazz Festival Grande Concours de Jazz. In 1998, he studied on the Lake Placid Jazz Course in New York with Joe Lovano, Dick Oatts and Jim McNeely and in 2000 was a finalist in the Young Jazz Musician of the Year competition.
Around this time he began to expand his flute family of instruments to include piccolo, alto and bass flutes as well as the standard C flute.
In 2002, he formed the band Grooveyard with saxophonist Alex Garnett which released a critically acclaimed CD "PUT THE CAT OUT" which went on to win the Best European Jazz Group award in the 2003 Granada Jazz Festival. Grooveyard completed a successful Jazz Services tour of the UK in 2005. Their 2012 album "THE STRUT" is the 'sequel' to PUT THE CAT OUT and has been released on the fabulous independent jazz label Whirlwind Recordings. LINK TO WHIRLWIND RECORDS! "THE STRUT" was named "Jazz album in the year" in MOJO magazine!
From 2006, in search of some fresh musical challenges he enrolled on the prestigious MA course in film composition at the National Film&Television School,graduating in 2008.
He also founded his own septet which released the album "NO MESSIN" in 2009 and went on to win best album in the Parliamentary Jazz Awards that year. This band features Robbie Robson (trumpet), Steve Kaldestad (sax), Trevor Mires (trombone/euphonium), Robin Aspland - (piano) Matt Miles (bass) and Matt Home (drums).
He has formed his own big band, a fruition of all Gareth's musical interests - combining his cinematic influences of greats such as Jerry Fielding, Lalo Schifrin and Bernard Herrmann with the soul jazz and unrestrained improvisatory nature of Grooveyard and the intricate through-composed nature of his septet writing. Making their debut in the 2008 London Jazz Festival and influenced by, amongst others, Gil Evans, Maria Schneider, Kenny Wheeler, Jim McNeely, Thad Jones, Basie, Mingus and many more,the band blends heavy grooves and luscious orchestrations to spectacular effect. The band play almost exclusively Gareth's compositions and arrangements. Watch this space for an album of this band some time in the near future!
As a sideman,Gareth has been involved in many diverse projects - as a key member of the late great Bheki Mseleku's group during his last years from 2005 to 2008 and also with the James Taylor Quartet, Phil Robson's IMS Quintet featuring Mark Turner, as a featured soloist with Tommy Smith's Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, Laurence Cottle's Big Band, bands led by Asaf Sirkis, Michael Janisch, Brian Charette, Michael Kiwanuka, Xantone Blacq, Kate Williams,Bokani Dyer, Guida de Palma, Heritage Orchestra, Adam Glasser, Claudio Passavanti, Dan Messore, Patrick Cornelius, Sheryl Bailey, Callum Au Big Band, Simon Woolf, Incognito, Max Luthert, Georgia Mancio, Tristan Mailliot, Dave Preston, Nia Lynn's Bannau Trio, Hans Koller, Sirius B, Anita Wardell, Natalie Williams, Paul Booth, Gwilym Simcock Nonet and Big Band, Tom Richards Jazz Orchestra, The National Youth Jazz Orchestra and many more.
Gareth is also heavily involved in the music educational world, as course director of the prestigious junior jazz course at the Royal Academy of Music in London, as well as regularly teaching at degree and post grad level at the Royal Academy of Music, Guildhall School of Music&Drama and Trinity College of Music, and teaching flute at Kingsdale School in Dulwich. He also teaches regularly on the National Youth Jazz Collective courses across the UK, and every August on the residential Loire Summer School in France run by drummer extraordinaire Tristan Mailliot.
"I also enjoy learning new instruments for fun! As well as keeping my piano chops up, currently on the boil are alto and tenor saxes, EWI, chromatic harmonica and many different ethnic flutes and whistles, and also a space-age sonic array of delays and guitar/synth effects to use with the flute that i'll bring to any gig where the other guys in the band will put up with it. Watch this space!"