“The band is impressively hip…with a variety of rich melodies, vibrant harmonies and infectious grooves… The optimism of the music shines through like a shaft of sunlight on a winter’s day.” – London Jazz News
John Donaldson – piano,
Jason Yarde – alto sax,
Greg Heath – tenor sax/flute,
Simon Thorpe – bass,
Tristan Banks – drums
Graham Flowers or Quentin Collins – trumpet.
This high energy sextet, with African and Jazz influences, was formed in late 2016, to perform the music of two titans of Jazz – Bheki Mseleku and McCoy Tyner. It was an ambition born of love and experience; Simon and John toured with Bheki while Jason worked with McCoy. These associations bring an authority and authenticity to the group’s music as well as having a strong influence on their original material.
Since the bands inception it has released its critically acclaimed debut album McCoy and Mseleku and has played to enthusiastic audiences at club and festival appearances including Love Supreme, Scarborough, and Herts festivals as well as concert recordings for BBC Radio 3’s Jazz Now and in session for Radio 3’s J-Z.
JOHN DONALDSON piano
Pianist John Donaldson began playing jazz as part of the Cambridge Modern Jazz Club’s house rhythm section in the 1970’s alongside Chucho Merchan and Nic France. After moving to California he worked with locals including Eddie Henderson, John Handy, Jeff Ballard, Donny McCaslin, Larry Grenadier and Red Holloway to name a few. Back in England he’s worked with Art Themen, Alan Barnes, Norma Winstone, Don Weller, Art Farmer, Steve Grossman, Eric Alexander. He’s also won the best pianist slot at the British Jazz Awards.
SIMON THORPE double bass
Bassist Simon Thorpe worked in Bheki Mseleku’s band and has become one the most popular bass player in the country having worked with numerous artists including Stacey Kent, Bobby Wellins, Alan Barnes and Amy Winehouse. He leads his own 30-40’s swing band Jivin Miss Daisy and the electronic improv group Improphonics.
TRISTAN BANKS drums
Tristan Banks has become one of the most sought after young drummers on the scene playing kit and percussion. He has studied Afro-Brazilian styles extensively and besides working with many top jazz players he has also worked with artists covering a wide field of musical genres including Roy Ayers, Dave Valentin, Idris Mohammed, David Gilmour, Marcos Valle, Da Lata and Carleen Anderson.
Gretsch Drums, Zildjian Cymbals and Sticks, Remo Heads, Protection Racket Cases
GREG HEATH tenor/soprano saxophones, flute
Graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music under the tutorage of Australian woodwind legend Don Burrows and brass virtuoso James Morrision, New Zealand born tenor saxophonist Greg Heath has been resident in the UK since 1986 and has worked with a wide range of jazz and popular musicians, including Dr John, Jimmy Cliff, Omar Hakim, Rachael Z, Nile Rogers, Mica Paris, Maceo Parker, Van Morrison and Joan Armatrading.
He too is also a composer and has extensive experience writing for film, television and interactive media as well as leading his own quartet with an album release Fact & Fiction.
JASON YARDE alto/baritone saxophones
Jason Yarde enjoys an international career both as a saxophonist and composer. He has worked with some of the great names in jazz including McCoy Tyner, Andrew Hill and Jack DeJohnette. His flugelhorn concerto All Souls Seek Joy was premiered by Hugh Masekela and the London Symphony Orchestra in 2007 and his BBC Proms compositional debut, Rhythm and Other Fascinations for piano trio and the BBC Concert Orchestra, won the inaugural BASCA award for contemporary Jazz Composition in 2009.
GRAEME FLOWERS trumpet/flugelhorn
Graduate of the London College of Music 2000. The list of artists in which Flowers has collaborated, recorded or toured with is enviable: The James Taylor Quartet, The Brand New Heavies, Lisa Stansfield, Workshy, Dina Carroll, Kyle Eastwood, Quincy Jones, Shakira, Moloko, Duran Duran, James Morrison, Joey Negro, Brenda Russell, Just Jack, Hard-Fi, Jamie Cullum, Craig David, Tony Hadley, ABC, Go West, Charlotte Church, Lemar, Michael Bublé, Will Young, King Salsa, Rhian Benson, Lulu, Emma Bunton, Jools Holland, Cathy Dennis, Melanie C, Kelly Clarkson, Midge Ure, Jamelia, Mica Paris, Ronan Keating, The BBC Big Band, Cubana Bop, Manu Katché, Dominic Miller, Snowboy and Matt Bianco.
In addition, Graeme is a member of the Funk/Soul band Down To The Bone, Latin/Funk/Soul band Saravah Soul, Funk band Most Wanted, the freelance horn section The London Horns and the musical project Motimba.
QUENTIN COLLINS trumpet/flugelhorn
Brought up around the sounds of jazz by a music-loving father, Quentin had seen many of the greats by a young age, including Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton & Dave Brubeck. This had a profound influence upon his decision to become a professional musician.
In 20 years as a professional, Quentin has established himself as one of the UK’s top Jazz/Commercial trumpeters, having performed, toured and recorded with a plethora of internationally renowned artists across many genres. These include Fred Wesley, Gregory Porter, Mark Ronson, Kyle Eastwood, Omar, Basement Jaxx, Roy Ayers, Alicia Keys, Dennis Rollins and Mulatu Astatke.
Quentin released his debut solo album, ‘If Not Now, Then When?’, on SunlightSquare Records in 2007. It received much critical acclaim.
Quentin currently co-leads QC/BA, a Hammond-organ quartet with tenor sax titan Brandon Allen. QC/BA released their latest album, ‘Beauty in Quiet Places’, in September 2015 on Ubuntu Music.