The Musicians

Nick Gill (piano and vocal refrains) has been a professional jazz musician since 1992, playing on numerous occasions with the top classic jazz musicians in the UK including Keith Nichols and “Spats” Langham. Nick has evolved a uniquely original, relaxed style, which captures the beguiling essence of pre-war jazz. His latest CD "Crooners" showcases his subtle melodic song writing, original interpretations of rags and stride piano pieces, and his strong left-handed sense of swing.

Mike Wills

(clarinet/sax) is one of the country's most respected jazz reed players amongst scholars of the art form. Able to play free-wheeling hot clarinet solos, he switches deftly to soulful saxophone a la Colman Hawkins and Lester Young.

 

Andy Crisp (Snare drum and washboard) is a veteran of many vintage jazz bands in Oxfordshire and can create more swing with his (home-made) washboard and minimal drum kit than the average Swing Big Band. He offers the perfect flexible accompaniment to Nick Gill’s stride piano.

Ian Joachim(tuba and string bass) is proficient on both string bass and tuba, providing a supple rocking pulse to the band's rhythm section. Described by the great Keith Nichols as "a remarkably accurate player", Ian's acute sense of pitching and ability to find the right notes even on pieces he has never heard before can be explained by his other profession - that of piano tuner!

"Nick - thank you for such wonderful entertainment yesterday. We have had so many comments about your fabulous playing. Hope you weren't too knackered when you got to Cheltenham!

Best wishes,

Isobel."

 

Holly Taylor - a delightful singer who has trained in musical theatre, and studied the demanding and beguiling techniques of pre-war jazz with a particular emphasis on the songs of Irving Berlin and the Gershwins.  Over the last few years she has developed her sense of swing by performing with the band at numerous public and private events. She is currently training as an actor and her performances with Oxford Classic Jazz are met with great acclaim from young and old alike.

Nick Ward(vintage percussion) is a scholar of authentic classic jazz drumming, providing great depth of colour and tone with his delightful array of symbols, bells, temple blocks and drums. More than anyone, Nick reminds us that drumming was once a subtle and musical art form. a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It's easy.

Susan Greenway (Tenor and Soprano Sax) was trained in the RAF but transfered her skills firstly to playing in big bands and then to the more intimate setting of small band jazz. She is now a free lance jazz musician playing with amazing strength, accuracy, sensitivity and skill. With her strong commitment to the joyous classic jazz styles, we are fortunate to be able to involve her in Oxford Classic Jazz.

Andy Woon

(cornet) is similarly a musician of great taste and understanding. Originally trained in the military he has devoted himself for many years to the difficult task of mastering the Bixian cornet style along with inflections of Louis Armstrong. Andy is often called upon to play with top classic jazz outfits and his soft but rhythmic cornet phrasing wonderfully captures the subtle spirit of the Jazz Age.

Ray Butt(saxophone and clarinet) has been playing his genteel style of easy-on-the-ear saxophone in jazz bands over many years. Also a great promoter of jazz in general, he was the first to spot the potential star quality of Jamie Cullum.

Heather Birt

(bass and violin) is a classically trained violin player who has also specialised in playing jazz bass with a propulsive slapping technique. She also gives a sensitive treatment on the violin to classic jazz songs and the wistful rags of Scott Joplin and his contemporaries.

"I just wanted to say 'Thank You' to you and your band members for the splendid performance at my daughter's wedding. It makes so much difference when there's upbeat music, performed superlatively..." (email from satisfied customer).

Stephen Ashworth (saxophone) plays his 1920s C-melody saxophone with great sensitivity and melodic invention. He has in recent times been contributing regularly at Oxford Classic Jazz gigs and concerts, and has achieved a heartfelt tone on his period instruments which tugs at the heart-strings of the most unmoveable listeners.

Caroline Watsham -

"The Musical Saw Lady"

from time to time joins the band, with her remarkable saw. Her haunting strains are performed on a genuine instrument made especially for musical purposes which she inherited from her father, an actor who also wielded the melodious blade.

 "Hello Nick, Just to say very many thanks for another fine show you put on for us last Saturday. I have heard nothing but praise for the performances of all concerned..." Peter Tinker