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The purpose of this site is to tell you about my music, research and teaching practice. My hope is to make it a hub for musicians, audiences and students to use and contribute to in order to create more gigs and develop more support.

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The Northern School of Jazz


Northern School of Jazz New Year Jazz Course January 11th- March 15th 2014 

Why not start the New Year as you mean to go on with an inspirational, motivating and enjoyable jazz course that sets you up to improve your playing in 2014? The next NSJ Saturday Studio runs for 10 weeks from 11th January  - 15th March 2014 at Blueprint Studios in Salford. Classes run from 11am- 5.30pm.

The overview of the course is as follows: 

11-12pm Aural training with the instrument
This class develops a deep understanding of jazz music aurally through listening, singing and playing. Jazz harmony and theory are learned through sound and directly absorbed into the body via the voice and through the instrument. 

12-1pm Technique for improvisation 
Progressively, we will learn diatonic major and minor scales, chord families, triads, intervals, arpeggios, motifs and patterns, and relate them to the ear-training program, the transcription and the learning of repertoire. Rhythm studies will improve technical facility and enable you to make more dynamic improvisations. 

1-2pm Group transcription
As a group, each week we will transcribe a melody or part of an improvised solo and use elements of it to create new material. This part of the process is especially important for improvisation and we encourage students to transcribe for themselves at home. 


2.30-3.30pm Jazz Improvisation 1 
Jazz Improvisation 1 focuses on memorising basic jazz repertoire and using the knowledge and skills from classes above to work on improvisation. The  process starts with extemporisation and rhythmic variation, then progresses to simple harmonic improvisation. 

3.30-4.30 Jazz Improvisation 2 
Jazz Improvisation 2 focuses on memorising more sophisticated repertoire and includes more theory and analysis as the basis for improvised lines. This class is appropriate for any player who wants to work in more detail on jazz ‘language’ , understanding chord changes in context, and developing a stronger voice as an improviser. 

4.30-5.30 Jam Session 
The jam sessions enables you to try out new ideas and to improve your performance skills in a relaxed, informal and supportive atmosphere. Repertoire can also be refreshed, ensemble skills developed in this session and it provides a satisfying finale to the day. 

The costs are:
£10 (1hr) for individual workshops, £25 for morning or afternoon sessions (3hrs) and £35 for all day (6hrs). You are welcome to mix and match classes or to book for less than ten weeks as long as fees are paid in advance. 

Please see the new website: for more information or phone me on:

0794 130 1799.

"Harlequin" by The Jazz Department

Our new album has arrived: '

The Jazz Department is a new band, set up to play a diverse range of jazz-based music: originals, standards, pops and soul tunes and everything in between. Based in the North, it’s members hail from Manchester, Leeds and Bradford and five of them were once part of the same jazz department, hence the name. The album is intended to showcase the talents of all of the players and to create a gentle, space filled and light atmosphere where the music can breathe. There are two originals, Harlequin and Wishful Thinking, both written by me, which add a harmonic and dynamic contrast to the standards,  interspersed with a classic Bacharach pop tune - The Look of Love, beautifully sung by Josie Smith, who manages to both echo the sweetness of the original and to make it her own. The album starts, unusually, with a ballad:  But Beautiful which sets the tone of the album and features the lyrical and inventive piano playing of Mark Donlon, whose solos are particularly memorable.  John Dyson is featured throughout on tenor and alto, with a particularly expressive pure and warm tenor sound on the ballads and a creative fluency on the alto- especially on Like Someone in Love and Stella By Starlight. Max Sterling on double bass and Steve Hanley on drums are excellent accompanists and soloists; consummate listeners who respond sensitively to every soloist’s rhythmic and melodic nuance with supportive and interesting musical responses. 

It has been a pleasure in every way to work with the musicians featured here both in the studio and outside.  I hope that the enjoyment is evident in the  music and that you can share it.  The album costs £10+ postage and is available from us. Please use the contact form to order one. The launch will take place in December: watch this space for more details. 

Emily Remembered Tour

We are just back from our nine date tour with Emily Remembered that took in London, Leeds, the Wirral, Wiltshire, Somerset, Devon, Cornwall and Somerset. There were appreciative audiences throughout and lots of interest in the Emily Remembered CD. Highlights for me included a lovely church gig at the Teignmouth Jazz Festival on the afternoon of the 19th November, with an enthusiastic and knowledgeable crowd and a fine acoustic, and the last gig at St Ives. Sarah P joined us for the duo gigs and developed some more poetry and jazz numbers including Dust, which was wholly improvised, and Penwith Strolling which we performed at the St Ives jazz club - celebrating the local scenery to one of my tunes. Winston Clifford and Alison Raynor also joined us two gigs at the Beaver Inn at Appledore and St Ives, and Buster Birch joined us at the Vortex in London. Another highlight was Winston scat-singing several choruses of All the Things You Are at the Cornwall gigs which was quite amazing. Thanks to everyone who came down to see us and bought CD's; to all of the promoters who are often working for free and tirelessly all year round to keep jazz live;  and also to all of the friends of Deirdre and Sarah who put us up and generally looked after us. It's great to play every night - something which seems to be getting more and more difficult to achieve. Thanks also to Jazz Services for Touring Support.