Blue VanguardExeter's Premier Jazz Club

Forthcoming Gigs


Upcoming | Archive: 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
  • Thu

    Sue Richardson

    Since being tipped for the top by Jazzwise magazine, Sue Richardson's career has been going from strength to strength. With her latest CD, Fanfare, Sue has firmly cemented her position in the jazz world - 'There are singer-songwriters behind every tree, but Sue Richardson is the only trumpeter-singer-songwriter you are likely to encounter. She plays swinging jazz trumpet, with excellent technique and a remarkable command of a variety of styles. She sings with a musician's phrasing and her songs come with proper tunes and grown-up harmonies attached - a rarity in itself. Conclusive proof that this is no mere gimmick.' The Observer

    The French singer Mina Agossi is delig to be working with Sue and Archie Shepp on an album recorded in Paris this year. Archie on hearing Sue's playing for the first time commented 'She can sure growl!'

    Sue is currently working on a new project, Too Cool. It brings her love of Chet Baker and her sensitive writing together into a new show interpreting aspects of Chet’s life not just through his most famous recordings but also his own compositions.

    Recently Sue has been honoured to work with The Humphrey Lyttelton Band. Clive Davis writing in The Times compared her style to Humph's: 'When the cast of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue led a high-spirited tribute to the late Humphrey Lyttelton at the Hammersmith Apollo last year, the trumpeter Sue Richardson was among the many musicians who helped to give the old man a stirring send-off. Some of his insouciant comic timing seems to have rubbed off on her as well: she is a breezy presence on the bandstand who is quite happy to make self-deprecating asides about the everyday problems of finding a lipstick that doesn't leave sediment inside her horn. More to the point, she also possesses something of Hump’s flair for constructing a concise, neatly crafted melody. If Chet Baker and Clifford Brown are two of her main role models - her timbre is warm and full-bodied - her soloing, while avoiding high-note theatrics, evokes the generosity and exuberance of players from the swing era.' The Times

    Recent bookings include the London Jazz Festival, The Royal Albert Hall, The Royal Opera House with Liane Carroll, The 606 & Ronnie Scott's.




  • Thu

    Jonnie Bruce & Ben Waghorn

    Working as both a soloist and a lead player in a variety of musical contexts, Bristol-based trumpet player Jonny Bruce has received much critical acclaim over the past few years.

    His command over the instrument has made him a very versatile and in-demand musician. His exuberant trumpet playing has become an essential feature of Bristol's music scene over the past few years, bringing excitement to bands of every style.Jonny Bruce </span>

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  • Thu

    Tina May

    20.00 - 22.30
  • Thu

    Stan Sulzmann


    ‘But a shining light of the whole attractive enterprise is the presence of Stan Sulzmann, who seems to sound more personal and hauntingly moving than ever.’ John Fordham, Jazz UK

    A veteran of the UK jazz scene, Stan Sulzmann has a rich and varied career that has included playing with musicians as diverse as Kenny Wheeler, Larry Grenadier and Gwilym Simcock, as well as a prolific output as bandleader.

    Always moving forward, Stan’s Neon Quartet sees him amongst some of the UKs most sought-after young musicians, and their latest album “Subjekt” explores Stan’s ever-developing musical influences. Stan is also a highly respected composer and arranger; his vibrant big band arrangements have excited and inspired people for the last 25 years, and in 2013 Stan was commissioned to write an original piece for the London Jazz Festival.

    Highly in demand as a sideman, Stan has worked with a host of musicians, including: John Taylor, Jim Mullen, Nikki Iles, Mike Gibbs, Marc Copland, Allan Botchinksy, European Jazz Ensemble, Kit Downes, Michael Brecker and Gil Evans.

    ‘It simply doesn’t get any better than this’ John Kelman

  • Thu

    Dave 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 LonDavid Newtondon 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 "Portrait of a Woman", 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 for the thirteenth time in 2014 and was made a Fellow of Leeds College of Music in 2003.

  • Wed

    Art Themen

    Art Themen.jpgb. Arthur Edward George Themen, 26 November 1939, Manchester, England. A self-taught musician, Themen played tenor saxophone with a university jazz band while studying medicine at Cambridge. After qualifying as a doctor, he moved to London and in the early 60s played in several blues and R&B bands and also worked in the backing groups for numerous pop sessions. During this period he worked with Alexis Korner, Phil Seamen, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Rod Stewart, Joe Cocker and Long John Baldry. In the late 60s and early 70s his musical direction shifted towards jazz and he played with Barbara Thompson, Michael Garrick, Henry Lowther and Graham Collier. In 1974 he began a long and particularly fruitful association with Stan Tracey, which continued into the 90s. He has also accompanied numerous visiting US jazzmen, including Al Haig, Red Rodney, George Coleman and Nat Adderley. A highly individual playing style marks Themen’s performances and had he chosen to adopt music as a full-time career he would have doubtless been an international artist of considerable stature. That he has achieved his present high standing in the jazz world while at the same time pursuing his medical career as a consultant surgeon, is testimony to his remarkable gifts.

  • Thu

    Denny Ilett

    For the past 16 years Denny has been the guitarist and musical director for Lillian Boutte (the Official Musical Ambassador for the city of New Orleans). She inherited this title from none other than Louis Armstrong for whom it was created. Together with Lillian and her band of international musicians Denny travels the world performing at festivals, concert halls, churches, clubs and workshops where he performs

    a mix of classic jazz, blues, gospel, funk, soul and R&B always to large and enthusiastic audiences.

    Denny also works as regular guitarist for saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis who, along with Maceo Parker and Fred Wesley made up the JB’s, James Brown’s horn section. Denny has performed at many festivals in the UK and Europe as part of Pee Wee’s troupe. For the past 2 years Denny has been collaborating with Adrian Utley (from the group Portishead), Will Gregory (from Goldfrapp) and Charles Hazelwood (BBC concert orchestra) on a new score to accompany the 1928 classic silent movie The Passion of Joan of Arc, which has been performed at the Lincoln Centre in New York, the opera house in Krakow, Poland and at the All Tomorrows Partys festival at Alexandra Palace. With this group Denny also performed a ‘recreation’ of Tubular Bells at QEH in London, Glastonbury festival and St Georges concert hall in Bristol among others.

  • Thu

    Ian Ellis

    Ian Ellis has worked as a professional jazz saxophonist since 1985  performing and recording all over the country, playing modern jazz. The Ian Ellis quartet plays a mix of original material and re-invented standards, and has perfo

    rmed at venues both here and abroad including the Royal Festival Hall; the Barbican Centre; Ronnie Scott's Club; London's 606 club, Pizza Express Soho jazz club, Glasgow jazz festival; Saarbrucken jazz festival. Ellis has performed live and recorded with Ruby Turner; Victoria Newton; Artoro Sandoval; Gwilym Simcock; Adelaide Hall; Benny Hill, Rumer and many others. In his latest show , Ian pays Tribute To Billy Strayhorn, the Brilliant Composer and composer who was Duke Ellingtons right hand man through his most creative years with his Orchestra. Classic tunes include , Lush Life, Isfahan and Dukes signature tune Take The 'A' Train.

    ' Masterful Virtuoso saxophonist, one of our very best'  -   Jazz Wise Magazine.

    ' Brilliant Saxophonist'   -   Sir John Dankworth.

  • Thu

    Vasilis Xenopoulos

    Saxophonist Vasilis Xenopoulos was born in Athens and started playing clarinet and piano at 9 years of age. He started on the saxophone at 13, and continued his music studies at the Philippos Nakas Conservatory in Athens. He showed great potential from the very early stages of his student years and gained a great deal of experience by playing with some of the top names in the Greek jazz scene.
    In 1999 Vasilis was awarded a jazz scholarship to the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston MA. There he studied under Billy Pierce, George Garzone and Andy McGhee.

    In the same year he represented Greece in the European Jazz Youth Orchestra and toured with them in many European countries. By 2002 Vasilis had moved to London and continued his studies under the guidance of Eddie Harvey, Stan Sulzmann, Jimmy Hastings and Pete Cook. Vasilis formed his first Quartet in 2005 and gradually established himself as one of London’s up and coming jazz saxophonists. As a jazz musician he has worked with some of the best musicians in the British jazz scene, such as Jim Mullen, Steve Waterman, Alan Barnes, Derek Nash, Bruce Adams, Martin Shaw, Nigel Price, Ray Gelato and many others. On an international level, he has appeared with a variety of top performers such as sensational pianists Hiromi, and Jason Lindner. In 2009 he formed his current ensemble “The Xtet” and their debut album “Loud City” containing 8 original compositions was released on 33Jazz Records in 2011 to much critical acclaim. Vasilis has appeared in many guises, as guest soloist, as band leader or as saxophone section leader in jazz venues and jazz festivals throughout the UK. He is currently lead tenor in the Steve Taylor Big Band, and in the Ealing based Sound of 17 Big Band.

    …”A bright newcomer on alto and tenor saxist Vasilis Xenopoulos”… (Evening Standard)

  • Thu

    Greg Abate

    Greg_Abate_A  BW.jpgGreg Abate - saxophonist, flautist & composer.

    In the mid 70’s after finishing a four year program at Berklee College Of Music, Greg played lead alto for the Ray Charles Orchestra for 2 years.

    In 1978 Greg formed his group Channel One which was a favorite in the New England area and from there had the opportunity to play tenor sax with the revived Artie Shaw Orchestra under leadership of Dick Johnson from 1986 to ’87.

    Following this experience Greg ventured out as post hard bop soloist playing Jazz Festivals, Jazz Societies and Jazz Clubs throughout the U.S. Canada and abroad, including most of Europe, UK, and Moscow and Georgia Russia.

    Greg’s newest release The Greg Abate Quintet features Phil Woods  , Jesse Green, Evan Gregor and Bill Goodwin. 


    “I sleep alot better knowing there are alto players like Greg! It was a joy to make music with him and he writes good songs that are challenging.”  Phil Woods

    Greg recorded his first CD Live At Birdland NYC in 1991 on the Candid Jazz Label with the trio of James Williams, Rufus Reid and Kenny Washington.

    To this date Greg has recorded over 15 other recordings and was nominated for a Grammy for his 2004 recording EVOLUTION in four categories . James Williams, Harvie S and Billy Hart comprised the trio.


    Greg is also an adjunct professor of Jazz Studies at Rhode Island College and is also a very active jazz clinician with co. sponsorship from the Conn -Selmer Instrument Co., conducting workshops and master classes through the U.S and abroad.

    What some say about Greg Abate:

    Abate is not content to rely on stock bebop riffs and standard chord progressions. Rather, the sharp angularity of his phrases and the often startling pauses in his fast-moving lines give his work a feeling of constant invention and creativity.”

    –Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune

    “…Abate’s musical style can be seen as a distillation of swing’s easygoing vibe and bop’s
    more animated groove. He has developed a unique voice.

    –METRO San Jose,

    “Greg Abate is an absolute powerhouse who will absolutely not let hard driving bebop die.
    One of the most exciting players around today, Greg’s commitment to the music is total…”

    –W. Pickowitz, Jr., The Jazz Messenger

    “Multi-saxophonist Greg Abate is a prime example of the ‘rear back and blow’ school of contemporary bop-based players. The tunes he writes or chooses are based on the kinds of changes that harmony-oriented jazzmen have favored since the beginning and he swings through them with and eager and easy virtuosity.”

    –David Franklin, Jazz Times

    “Greg Abate is one of the most appealing saxophonists on the scene today. He is mature with an abundance of gentle self-confidence. The result is that he plays music with sweetness and daring.”

    –Jim Merod, New Jazz Recordings