Blue VanguardExeter's Premier Jazz Club

Forthcoming Gigs


Upcoming | Archive: 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
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    John Parricelli

    “I’m always aiming to make playing my instrument sound the same as if I was singing,” says John Parricelli. “You know, the phrasing, the tone.”

    Parricelli began his career as a guitarist in 1982 and was one of the founding members of the British big band Loose Tubes with whom he recorded three albums. He has worked with Annie Whitehead, Kenny Wheeler, Norma Winstone, Lee Konitz, Paul Motian, Tim Whitehead, Chris Laurence, Eddie Parker, Peter Erskine, Vince Mendoza, Mark Lockheart, Julian Argüelles, Iain Ballamy, Mark Lockheart, Andy Sheppard, Gerard Presencer, Colin Towns, Martin Speake and Jazz singer Stacey Kent among others.


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    Bruce Adams

    BRUCE ADAMS (Trumpet and Flugelhorn): Not only is Bruce one the jazz scene’s most dramatic and stimulating performers, he is also a tremendously affable companion. A band-room with the Glaswegian Mr. Adams present is a happy and riotous place. His stream of jokes, anecdotes, and hilarious observations reflect an early immersion in show-biz, and a keen eye and ear for the many quirks of human nature.

    His stories are populated by a sort of Scottish-Runyonesque cast of characters, some of them long-gone pals of his father and uncle, who were both professional musicians. However, on stage, Bruce Adams takes the playing side of things very seriously.

    And he cut his musical teeth on solid commercial work – on cruise liners, in dance halls, music halls, and even worked in support of comedy legends like, Tony Hancock and Freddie Starr. He has been a regular jazz poll-winner and with his spectacular range and power on the instrument has been in demand as a lead, and jazz trumpet man.

    Bruce has often worked as a special guest soloist with both the Scottish Radio Orchestra and the BBC Big Band. Bruce’s long-running musical partnership with saxophonist Alan Barnes has produced many plaudits and acclaimed recordings.

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    Ant Law

    Described as “An Innovator" by The Guardian, Guitarist Ant Law was a scholar at Edinburgh University and Berklee College of Music. He now lives in London and works extensively with his own quintet, as well as (Grammy-winner and Chick Corea sideman) Tim Garland's “Lighthouse" (along with Jason Rebello and Asaf Sirkis), and with saxophonist/composer Paul Riley and Trio HLK.

    “An exciting band to hear live."
    John Fordham

    “Scarily proficient. A voice to heed"

    “Lean, purposeful… Ambitious, engrossing guitar jazz."
    Guitarist Magazine

    “Bustling power, judiciously harnessed with elegance and poise… Bright, punchy and memorable."
    London Jazz News

    “Terrific and highly accomplished."
    The Jazz Breakfast

    “…guitarist Ant Law, whose fretboard manoeuvres effected an almost uniform raising of audience eyebrows"
    The Herald

    2014 saw Ant's quintet complete a long tour and head straight into the studio, tracking Zero Sum World for Michael Janisch's prestigious Whirlwind Recordings label. ZSW was released on February 16th 2015 to another sold out Pizza Express (this time a 2-night stand) and another tour followed.

    "Law’s compositions strike that hard-to-find balance between tricky and catchy, and the players he has chosen, particularly the rising pianist Ivo Neame, are the sort of musicians who willingly embrace the fuzzy logic of improvisation."
    4 Stars, The Irish Times

    "One of the most original voices of the European Jazz Scene."
    Musik Reviews

    "Along the way we hear post-M-Base-ish metric twists, a funky revamp of a South Indian cyclical rhythmic etude as well as more ambient , jangly folk-rock guitar moments..."
    Jazzwise Magazine

    "It progressively beguiles as greater depth and detail is revealed."
    4 Stars, All About Jazz

    "Law surfaced first in 2013 with Entanglement, an album that certainly made scene-watchers at the time sit up and take note of the hitherto little known guitarist. Zero Sum World is even more accomplished, particularly in the writing department. 2015 augurs well if the imaginative essentially acoustic jazz sounds found here are at all representative of what’s in store."
    4 Stars, Marlbank

    "With "Zero Sum World" Law establishes himself as one of the notable guitarists in the field of contemporary improvisation."
    Medien Info

    "No less than 70 minutes of music with influences from all over the globe... formidable, highly professional musicians... Thumbs up, up, UP!"

    "A high level of music that is equipped with resourceful and such properties as wit, skill, flexibility and variety."
    Musik an Sich

    "His unorthodox and unconventional guitar style marks him as a driving force in the new, improvisation-focused music."
    Jazz Zeitung

    " How refreshing is this Englishman who romps in the border areas between the bop and modern jazz guitar of the post Peter Bernstein-generation, it's self-assured and thoroughly convincing."
    Jazz Podium

    "Marking his debut release on the Whirlwind label, guitarist Ant Law’s second album Zero Sum World assembles something of a British contemporary jazz dream team to realise the frequently freewheeling adventure of his own eleven compositions."
    AP Reviews

    "Law's music has heart and warmth as well as brainy origins."
    Herald of Scotland

    "Guitarist Ant Law builds on the approach laid down in his debut album Entanglement, including dipping once again into the complex concepts of physics (which he studied at Edinburgh University) both for his title and some thematic compositional ideas."
    4 Stars, The Scotsman

    "Getting more and more out of this music every time I hear it."
    The Jazz Breakfast
  • Thu

    Dave O'Higgins

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    Dave played various musical instruments from the age of 7, finally settling on the saxophone. He moved from Derbyshire to London in 1983 to study music at the City University. Whilst still studying he started his own jazz quartet and began gigging with NYJO, John Dankworth & Cleo Laine, & Icelandic jazz-funk band, Mezzoforte.

    Over the years Dave has won various accolades from the British Jazz Awards including Best Tenor Sax. Sketch Book (Jazzizit) is his 10th solo cd, featuring Dave alongside one of New York’s finest tenor saxophonists, Eric Alexander. Dave regularly features as a part of the Ronnie Scotts Allstars & the BBC Big Band.

    Fast Foot Shuffle (Candid) & Push (Short Fuse) were conceived for the jazz dance market and have become favourites in clubs like London’s Jazz Café. The track North Station is also on compilations Brasilia Slim & Messin’ Around. Dave can be seen on many festival stages internationally performing with the breathtaking Jazzcotech Dancers.

    Dave has played over the years with “everyone and their auntie” from Martin Taylor, Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra & Matthew Herbert to Salif Keita. He has also done a fair amount of studio work (jingles, pop stuff, films, library) and composes & arranges for jazz ensembles of all sizes. Dave has also taught at Leeds College of Music, Goldsmiths College and acts as an external examiner for Birmingham Conservatoire.

    “A stunning player in the neo-bop vein, with an apparently effortless flow of coherent ideas, beautiful time and a highly developed harmonic sense.” JAZZ GUIDE

    “one of the most vigorously compelling tenor players on the UK scene, and on this wholly enjoyable, powerful album, he nods to the great saxophonists – Charlie Parker, Coltrane, Dexter Gordon chief among them – who so clearly influenced him, without unduly compromising his individuality; In the Zone is archetypal O’Higgins: unpretentious, accessible, no-nonsense acoustic jazz addressed with skillfully controlled energy.” CHRIS PARKER reviewing In the Zone (Jazzizit)

  • Thu

    Lee Gibson w/ Martin Dale

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    ‘World-class British jazz singers are a rare breed at the moment, but Lee Gibson is certainly one of them. She continues to go from strength to strength, both on record and in person. While Cassandra Wilson leads the female vocal field in America, Lee Gibson has comparable status in Britain.’ (Manchester Evening News)

    Lee Gibson is a ‘jazz vocal sensation’ (The Independent). A nationally and internationally acclaimed singer who has delighted critics and fans alike with her wonderful voice, innate sense of swing and dynamic stage presence. ‘She is that rarity, a swinging singer who has also reached the highest standards of musicianship.’ (Time Out).

    ‘Subtle…sensuous…joyful…musical’ (The Stage). A superb, charismatic performer with a reputation for excellence that pulls in the crowds, her live appearances regularly set venue attendance records. ‘Soaring, meticulous vocals….the perfect jazz voice, truly playing it like an instrument (Blackpool Evening Gazette).

    She has been regularly featured in over 1,000 broadcasts on BBC Radio including ‘live’ broadcasts with the BBC Big Band (with whom she has also appeared in concert on many occasions) and the BBC Concert Orchestra on ‘Friday Night is Music Night’. Lee was interviewed about her career by Russell Davies on his BBC Radio 2 show and recorded a series of songs which were featured on the programme over a five week period.

    Lee has appeared at The Barbican, The Purcell Room, The Queen Elizabeth Hall, The Fairfields Hall, Ronnie Scotts, seven seasons at Pizza on the Park, the 606 Club, The Spice of Life and at all the major jazz venues throughout the UK and Europe. Festival appearances in the UK and Ireland include Appleby, Ealing, London, Birmingham, Wigan, Marlborough, Edinburgh, Dundee, Newbury, Bude, Derry, Cork, Preston, Swanage, the Isle of Man and in 2015 at Dartmouth and Swansea.

    In addition to being one of the UK’s premier jazz performers, her talent continues to be recognised internationally. Lee has performed at festivals in France, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Holland, Sydney, South Africa and represented the UK at the Latvian Jazz Festival in Riga.

    As well as working with her own trio and quartet, Lee is a highly respected and accomplished big band singer. In Europe she has recorded and starred with The Netherlands Metropole Orchestra in Holland (‘Night Songs’ released by Koch Jazz), The UMO Jazz Orchestra in Finland, The WDR Band and The Francy Boland Band in Germany and the marvellous Danish Radio Band (conducted by the late great Thad Jones) in Denmark.

    Lee accompanied the multi award winning Midlands Youth Jazz Orchestra at the opening night concert of the IAJE conference in Toronto and also appeared at festivals at Topeka and Palm Springs and at The Orleans Casino in Las Vegas with the Ken Peplowski Big Band.

    Lee has a long association with leading UK jazz independent record label Spotlite Records which has seen the release of three solo albums ‘Songs of Time and Place’, ‘Linger Awhile’ and ‘Here’s to Love’. All have received universal critical acclaim. A further recording is scheduled for release in 2016.

    Her many film and television credits include ‘Victor Victoria’, ‘Privates on Parade’, ‘The Great Muppet Movie’, ‘An American Tail’, ‘Willow’, ‘Yentl’, ‘The Two Ronnies’, ‘The Morecambe and Wise Show’, ‘Only Fools and Horses’, ‘Barrymore’, ‘The Benny Hill Show’ and 7 Royal Variety Shows.

    ‘As far as I am concerned there can never be too much Lee Gibson…she lights up any song with her musicality.’ (The Observer) ‘She is, without doubt, the best jazz singer this country has produced in the last 40 years.’ (Digby Fairweather)

  • Thu

    Leon Greening Greening is fast making a name for himself as a brilliant jazz pianist who is among the best of the current crop on the British jazz scene. Inspired by his predecessors Wynton Kelly, Bud Powell, Vic Feldman and Dudley Moore, his melodic, post-bebop playing is causing a real stir. So come along and hear what all the fuss is about.

  • Thu

    Brandon Allen

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    Theo Travis

    The London-based saxophonist and composer Theo Travis has made a name for himself on the British jazz scene for his virtuosity and soulful style as well as his fine compositions. Born in Birmingham, Theo studied classical music at the University of Manchester whilst playing in various jazz and rock bands. He signed to 33 Records in 1993, has released 3 solo albums on the label to date and has just finished the improvised album Bodywork with drummer John Marshall and guitarist Mark Wood. In Oct 1996 Travis released Secret Island, his third CD on 33 Records which also features guitarist John Etheridge. The album has several blues-oriented tracks and a tune inspired by the Iain Banks novel The Crow Road. Following the release of Secret Island, Travis and his band undertook a 27-date UK tour. His performance at the 1996 Glasgow International Jazz Festival was voted "Outstanding Concert as Voted by the Audience" for which he won the prestigious Scotrail Jazz Award.

    Travis' second CD on 33 Records, View from the Edge, was voted Best British Jazz CD of 1994 by the Jazz on CD Readers/Critics poll. He was also nominated as Rising Star in the 1996 and 1998 British Jazz Awards and was named Best Newcomer of 1993 by the Financial Times. Travis was featured in a session for Jazz Parade on BBC Radio 2, and was praised as "one of the very best young tenor players of this or any jazz generation in Britain" by presenter Digby Fairweather. In July 1994, he appeared on a one-hour interview on New York radio station WKCR-FM. He was also commissioned to write new music for the 1926 Hitchcock silent film The Lodger which was performed live in September 1996 as part of the Derby Metro's 100 Years of Cinema Festival. Travis was acknowledged by Penguin author Nicholas Royle as one of the inspirations behind his novel Saxophone Dreams. Theo Travis was awarded a music degree (with honours) from Manchester University. He played in NYJO, with whom he toured Spain. He performed at New York's legendary Blue Note club in 1987.

    In addition to working with his own groups, Theo has worked with musicians including Jim Mullen, Norma Winstone, Dick Heckstall-Smith (including on his recent acclaimed CD Celtic Steppes), Tony Coe, John Marshall, Mick Karn and the late Slim Gaillard. He has performed at the Brecon, Edinburgh, London, Glasgow, Bradford, Llangollen and Swanage Jazz Festivals, and at jazz venues nationwide as well as on local and national radio. In August 1997 he toured Japan with Mick Karn, Steve Jansen, Richard Barbieri and DJ Krush. Travis has been awarded three Jazz Services touring grants and was commissioned by West Midlands Arts to compose a suite for jazz septet, Broad Street Changes, which he performed on a short tour of the Midlands.

    Since May 1999 when Theo filled in for Didier Malherbe at short notice for a European tour, he has been part of the group Gong. Originally formed in the late 1960's Gong have undergone various personnel changes, but is mainly associated with the main front man Daevid Allen. Other Gong luminaries have included Pierre Moerlin, Steve Hillage, Mike Howlett and Bill Laswell who for a time was involved in the New York Gong. The music has been described as cosmic/ psychadelic/ jazz / improvised / progressive rock / space metal etc etc. Theo not only plays saxes and flute, but did most of the keyboards on the CD Zero to Infinity (SnapperMusic). He also co-wrote most of the album. Theo has toured with them since 1999 playing over 125 gigs in Britain, Europe, Scandinavia, America and Japan .

    Theo tours regularly with the Theo Travis Quartet which has performed 12 separate weeks at Ronnie Scotts Club, London, at the Red Sea Jazz Festival, in Eilat , Israel and at jazz clubs and festivals all over the UK from Cornwall to the North tip of Scotland.

    In 2006 he replaced Elton Dean in the Soft Machine Legacy with whom he has performed internationally and recorded the album Steam (for which he contributed three orignal compositions).

    Theo continues to write and record with his experimental ambient band Cipher (with Dave Sturt).See They have made 3 CDs and written scores for many classic silent films of the 1920s and toured all over the UK performing them live in independant cinemas accompanying the films.

    Theo's 2007 project Double Talk features the soulful hammond organ of Pete Whittaker, the guitar of Mike Outram and the drums of Roy Dodds. Their new album Double Talk is released in 2007 and the band will be touring extensively in 2007/2008.

    Theo also performs with ambient and progressive rock artists and has performed or recorded with Robert Fripp, David Sylvian, Bill Nelson, Hatfield and the North, Richard Sinclair, Porcupine Tree, Harold Budd, Jah Wobble, the Tangent, John Foxx, Gong, Porcupine Tree, Anja Garbarek, Kangaroo Moon, No Man and Bass Communion.

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