What's On 2021

June 24th : Andy Panayi

July 29th : Esther Bennett / Hannah Horton

August 19th : Tribute to Wayne Shorter

September 23rd : Simon Spillett

October 14th : Alan Barnes

November 11th : Nigel Price

December 16th : Stringle / Bateman / Ashworth

What's On 2022

January 27th : Robert Fowler

February 24th : Tara Minton

March 31st : Terry Quinney (Tribute to Stan Getz)

April 21st : Gary Alesbrook

May 26th : Rob Luft

June 23rd : Jean Toussaint

July 28th : Greg Abate

Welcome

The Blue Vanguard is a monthly jazz club dedicated to bringing the finest national and international guests to our home town of Exeter.

The club has run successfully since September 2011 and has a loyal following. If you would like to subscribe to our email list we will be more than happy to keep you informed of future gigs held at the club.

Book Now

Advance booking is advisable as events are usually very busy. Please use the contact form to reserve your seats now.

All tickets are £12 (£5 students). Doors are open from 7.30 with performance times from 8.00 – 10.30.

Food and drink is available from the in house cafe or there are excellent restaurants nearby if you'd like to arrive early for something more substantial.

Events are hosted at the St Mathew's Hall, Topsham, EX3 0HF

Our Next Guest :

Alan Barnes (Alto Sax)


Alan Barnes is a prolific international performer, composer, arranger, bandleader and touring soloist.  He is best known for his work on clarinet, alto and baritone sax, where he combines a formidable virtuosity with a musical expression and collaborative spirit that have few peers.

His range and brilliance have made him a “first call” for studio and live work since his precocious arrival on the scene more than thirty years ago.

His recorded catalogue is immense.  He has made over thirty albums as leader and co-leader alone, and the list of his session and side-man work includes Bjork, Bryan Ferry, Michel LeGrande, Clare Teale, Westlife, Jools Holland and Jamie Cullum. He has toured and played residencies with such diverse and demanding figures as Ruby Braff, Freddie Hubbard, Scott Hamilton, Warren Vache, Ken Peplowski, Harry Allen and Conte Candoli.

In British jazz, the young Barnes was recognized – and hired – by the established greats of the time:  Stan Tracy, John Dankworth, Kenny Baker, Bob Wilber, and Humphrey Lyttelton.  But he is equally respected for his longstanding and fruitful collaborations with contemporaries such as David Newton, Bruce Adams, and Martin Taylor.

Alan Barnes’s unique musicianship, indefatigable touring, and warm rapport with audiences have made him uniquely popular in British jazz.  He has received over 25 British Jazz Awards, most recently in 2014 for clarinet, and has twice been made BBC Jazz Musician of the Year.

Barnes’ melodic sense bypasses the usual scale-running clichés that pepper the playing of lesser bop disciples.
Peter Marsh, BBC Music Review.

His stylistic range is quite phenomenal… He has a wonderful capacity for suggesting a given style without actually imitating anyone.
Dave Gelly, Masters Of The Jazz Saxophone.

I was relishing the prospect of Barnes’s casually consummate musicianship, deadpan humour (he could be a comedian, if jazz ever fails him), and indomitable belief in a respected place for the music’s rich history in this eclectic and often forgetful world.
John Fordham - The Guardian.

Barnes plays music that was radical 50 years ago but he infuses it with so much passion and energy you could believe it was minted on the spot, which is always part of the story with jazz.
John L. Walters, The Guardian.


The Blue Vanguard Trio :

Craig Milverton - Keys

Pianist Craig Milverton's main influences are Oscar Peterson and Bill Evans and his jazz interest was spawned by his fathers record collection, initially the Boogie Woogie pianists and then Oscar and Ella. Craig began performing in public as young as 10 years of age. He moved to Devon in 1985 and began gigging with local rock 'n' roll and jazz funk groups.

Since then Craig has toured extensively with a wide variety of groups including Junkyard Angels, Roger Mark's Quintet, the Pete Allen Jazz Band, Pizza Express International Band, the Kings of Jazz, Clarinet Maestros (with Julian Stringle & Ken Peplowski) across the UK, Europe and beyond.

In 1997, he joined Digby Fairweather's Half Dozen (releasing a CD '12 Feet off the Ground' in 1999) and from 2002-2007 was the backing unit for the late George Melly, recording 3 acclaimed CD's and including 4 month long residencies at Ronnie Scotts.

The year 2003 saw him on the front cover of Jazz Journal International with a feature article and his CD, 'It's a Jazz Life', was CD of the month in The Observer.

In 2005 his trio CD 'Three Flow' was reviewed by Richard Palmer (Biographer for Oscar Peterson's 'A Jazz Odessey') and was his choice for CD of the year for Jazz Journal International. For 4 years from 2003-2007 he put on his own 'Hayne Barton Jazz Festival', where he featured the cream of British Jazz Talent from across the entire jazz spectrum including support for artistes from the Southwest.

As well as being involved with Digby Fairweather's projects, he has many of his own groups. His latest show 'A Tribute To Oscar Peterson' with his Quartet paying homage to Craig's greatest inspiration (CD' Live At The Lights'). 'ZZ Bop', a more contemporary Quartet featuring American Bassist Tom Hill (CD 'Josies Bosie'). 'Organsolar' a Hammond based Quartet featuring Top Tenor man, Ian Ellis (CD 'Live At Hayne Barton'), and the Dale/Milverton Quartet with Plymouth based Tough Tenor man, Martin Dale (CD 'From Hand To Mouth').

Visit Craig's website for more

Al Swainger - Bass

Al Double Bass

Bassist Al Swainger relocated to Bristol in 2016 but continues to support the Blue Vanguard club as part of the house trio's monthly gigs. He is also a composer, improviser, producer, digital artist and FX enthusiast. His eclectic tastes have led to making music in a wide variety of genres over the years with literally hundreds of musicians. Covering ground from traditional to modern jazz, pop to progressive rock and world music to fully improvised soundsculpture, Al is always keen to explore new musical territory.

Notable recording projects as a band leader include The Art Trip : the Music of Art Pepper (featuring Alan Barnes), Biophosmos : The Music of Chick Corea and several albums (including After & Before and Outer Planets I & II) with Al Swainger's Pointless Beauty featuring his own compositions, covering a wider range of styles from latin to ambient to prog rock. A new album 'Hearts Full of Grace' is currently in production for release early 2022 featuring Gary Alesbook, Ant Law, George Cooper & Jon Clark.

As well as his own projects Al continues to perform live regularly with the Michele Drees Tap Project, WhailTale, Digby Fairweather's Half Dozen, Kick Ass Brass and The Blue Vanguard House Trio.

Visit alswainger.com for more info


Coach York - Drums

House drummer Coach York started playing at school in various prog rock bands, moving on to Art College and discovering funk and jazz. The Northampton scene where he grew up was heavy with R'n'B and trad jazz bands which was a useful training ground. He then served a long apprenticeship grinding up and down the country with some reasonably well-known soul bands. The late seventies and early eighties saw the explosion of the 2-Tone scene in Coventry where he joined the Ska/Reggae band The Army, later The Resistance, sharing studios and promotion with the Specials, Selecter and Bad Manners, with modest success, and recorded a critically-acclaimed album with former members of the Goth band Bauhaus.

Modern jazz has always been a passion, and over the years he has worked extensively with most of the top names on the British Jazz scene, accompanying people like Peter King, Jim Mullen, Bill Le Sage, Don Rendell, Alan Barnes, Iain Ballamy, Mike Outram, Simon Spillett, Roger Beaujolais, Jean Toussaint and many others, along with visiting US musicians like Jimmy Witherspoon, Slim Gaillard and more recently Greg Abate and Benn Clatworthy.

He works regularly with the Craig Milverton Trio, the hard-grooving Organology, and can often be found backing the well-known vocalists Louise Parker, Maggie Reeday and Annika Skoogh, or accompanying the fine sax player Martin Dale.  Also found with Steve Buckley, sax player and penny whistler from Loose Tubes, playing his compositions, and with whom he's had some great moments of free improvisation with Sam Richards and Pat Butterly. He's also the regular drummer in the Mike Westbrook Big Band, which has spawned the Very Small Brass Band featuring Dave Holdsworth on sousaphone.

He has also recently started playing with Jelly Roll - a dynamic blues trio featuring the legendary Julian Piper on guitar and vocals and Craig Milverton on the Viscount organ.

Visit Coach's website for more

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