I started out playing traditional jazz, and have gradually added a love of other aspects of the music ranging though bebop to contemporary jazz and beyond. I have wide tastes and have also enjoyed exploring other sounds, starting with the Flavel Bambi Septet ,which brewed up an eclectic mix of Arabic, Armenian, Klezmer, and North African sounds long before anyone came up with the term “World Music”. I have played in a wide variety of settings over the years, and in too many different bands to list any but the most notable here.
I was a founder member of Billy Jenkins’ Voice of God Collective, and recorded five albums with him. Memorable gigs included the Weisen Jazz Festival in Austria and music for silent movies at the Camden Jazz Festival. With Billy, though, every gig is a memorable one, and an education in itself.
Helen & The Horns comprised Helen McCookerbook on guitar and vocals, and three horns. Helen’s melodic and quirky songs were complemented by great brass arrangements. We recorded three Peel sessions, several singles and a self-released album.
The Happy End were a 20 piece socialist big band. Highlights included a tour of Canadian jazz festivals, including playing to 5000+ people in Montreal, and performing our No Parasan! Spanish Civil War suite at the Purcell Room, (broadcast on Radio 4), with surviving members of the International Brigade in the audience.
Hogcallin’ are an 8 piece band playing repertoire by Charles Mingus.
I have been a member of the Bollywood Brass Band for 25 years. We have recorded five albums (two were nominated for the Songlines World Music Awards; Carnatic Connection was one of Songlines’ top 10 albums of 2016). Notable gigs have included the Oslo Opera House, Venice St Mark’s Square (during carnival), the Purcell Room, the Royal Albert Hall (in the Blue Peter Prom), in a mountain meadow in the Dolomites, WOMAD, and festivals in Finland, Budapest, Sardinia, and dozens of other countries.
Other bands I currently play with are described in more detail elsewhere on this site, and there is more to come!