Durham University Big Band

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Last Show: Saturday 3 rd February 2018

PizzaExpress Jazz Club (Soho)

The multi-award winning Durham University Big Band has been giving musicians and audiences alike the chance to experience big band and jazz music since 1998. The band has received BBC 6 Music radio play for their EP ‘Voyage’, as well as international air time. The band enjoys performing an eclectic range of music at some of the most prestigious UK jazz clubs including Matt & Phreds, Manchester, The Jazz Bar, Edinburgh and PizzaExpress Jazz Club, Soho. As well as this they have worked with UK jazz professionals such as Pete Churchill, Ben Cotrell and Callum Au among many others. Past band members have gone on to study at Trinity College - London, Royal Academy of Music, National Youth Jazz Orchestra, and Leeds College of Music.

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The band consists of a mix of Durham University students, selected from a thorough auditions process across the whole student body. The diverse range of interests and degrees at the table leads to a highly creative musical environment that thrives to continuously challenge and push the sound that the traditional big band ensemble can produce. They have done this with measurable success.

Along with their enjoyment of traditional big band swing, the band has a passion for new and cutting edge big band music. Kenny Wheeler, Outi Tarkianen and Reuben Fowler are just a few musicians who have fuelled this passion, resulting in vibrant and contrasting set lists that have entertained many an audience and won the band multiple awards at the annual ‘Great North Big Band Festival’. To encourage new music creation, the band set up their national ‘Durham Distillery Composition Prize’ in 2014, offering young composers the chance to get their work performed by the band at Pizza Express. The prize resulted in two brilliant winning entries, ‘Homage’ by JJ. Wheeler and ‘On Sugarloaf Mountain’ by Owen Dawson.

Along with the success of the prize and the band’s expansive repertoire, a series of the band’s musical directors have put their own skills to use. Chris Jones (Musical Director 2014/15) was a pioneer in encouraging in house arranging, resulting in many successful and well received pieces to add to the band’s material, including arrangements of classic J.Dilla and Fatima Hip-Hop tracks. Daniel Garel’s (Musical Director 2015/16) stunning arrangement of ‘Already There’ by Taylor McFerrin - which has received international radio play - and Matthew Jacobs’ (Musical Director 2016/17) arrangements of ‘Tonight’ and ‘Let It Ride’ are but a few examples of the musical ingenuity the band has in its ranks. These, as well as the pieces mentioned above, can be heard on the band’s Bandcamp page.

Band Lineup

Daniel Garel (alto 1)
Sander Priston (alto 2)
Zach Fox (tenor 1)
Laura Buckingham (tenor 2)
Matt Shaw (baritone)
Louis Clayden (trumpet 1)
Alex Flanders (trumpet 2)
Honor Hornsby (trumpet 3)
Matt Clark (trumpet 4)
Patrick Morris (trombone 1)
Jordan Wiseman (trombone 2)
Tommy Wise (trombone 3)
Danny Booth (piano)
Dylan Purches (bass)
Tom Burgess (guitar)
Tristan Bacon (drums)
Evie Hill and Rob Singleton (voice)