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
August 18th : Dick Pearce
September 29th : TBC
October 27th : TBC
November 24th : Amy Robers / Richard Exall
December 15th : Jim Mullen / Zoe Francis
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.
Advance booking is advisable as events are usually very busy. Please use the contact form to reserve your seats now.
All tickets are £12 (£8 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 :
Robert Fowler (Tenor Sax)
Robert Fowler is a rarity amongst the younger generation of British players in that he honed his instrumental skills in very much the same way, as a member for ten years of The Pasadena Roof Orchestra. This band is recognised as probably the leading exponent of dance band era music, having toured the world, recorded 19 albums and appeared on television and radio numerous times in Britain and Europe.
Robert followed his time with the PRO with stints with Chris Dean’s Syd Lawrence Orchestra (re-creating the music of Glenn Miller), appearances with the BBC Big Band and Humphrey Lyttelton’s band, and two years touring with Bryan Ferry’s Roxy Music. Having well and truly paid his dues, Robert is now pursuing a solo career, although he continues his various assignments under other band leaders too.
The first thing anyone notices about his tenor saxophone playing is the tone. It’s broad, warm and juicy, a perfect fit for his calm, measured phrasing.”
Dave Gelly, The Observer
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
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