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Jazz Night: Alan Barnes

Monday 19 June 2017

Two giants of British Jazz will feature this week at The Bedford Arms. Alto Saxophonist Alan Barnes & Tenor Saxophonist Frank Griffith. Not only are these two masters of their instruments, they are also great raconteurs so don't miss out on an entertaining evening of Jazz! Completing the Quintet will be none other than Graham Harvey on Piano, Arnie Somogyi on Bass & Mark Hale on Drums.

From 1977-80 Alan Barnes studied saxophone, clarinet, flute and arranging at Leeds College of Music. In 1980 he moved to London, playing with the Midnight Follies Orchestra and the following year was with the Pasadena Roof Orchestra, touring Europe until 1983. In that year he left to join the hard bop band of Tommy Chase where he attracted considerable attention on the UK jazz scene for the first time.

He left Chase in 1986 to co-lead The Jazz Renegades with rock drummer Steve White travelling as far afield as Japan and recording four well received albums. In 1988, in a chance encounter on a plane, Humphrey Lyttleton invited Alan to join his band, replacing Bruce Turner who was leaving after 18 years.

From 1987-97, he also ran the Pizza Express Modern Jazz Sextet with young modernists Gerard Prescencer and Dave O’Higgins. Since leaving Humph in 1993, Alan has concentrated on his freelance career: As a sideman, he broadcast regularly over a ten-year period with the BBC Big Band, Radio Orchestra and Concert Orchestra and has toured and recorded with big band leaders, Dick Walter, Kenny Baker, Bob Wilber, Mike Westbrook, Don Weller, Stan Tracey and John Dankworth.

Alan has been featured on many jazz recordings from his first record date as co-leader in 1985 with Tommy Whittle, including releases on the Miles Music, Concord, Specific, Nagel Hayer and Zephyr labels. He has appeared as a session musician on albums by Selina Jones, Bjork, Bryan Ferry, Michel LeGrande, Van Morrison, Clare Teale, Westlife and Jamie Cullum and can be found on film and television soundtracks including “Chicago” and jingles such as the Tetley Bitter series of advertisements which featured his solo baritone. Alan has appeared regularly for five years as a member of the Laurie Holloway Orchestra on TV’s Michael Parkinson Show.


Born in Eugene, Oregon in 1959, Frank Griffith lived in New York City from 1980-1995. While there he worked with Ron Carter, Jon Hendricks and Jack McDuff and played lead alto with the Glenn Miller Orchestra for a nationwide tour in 1984.

Frank moved to London in 1996 – his band, The Frank Griffith Nonet performs frequently in the London area including annually at the Ealing Jazz Festival since 2000.

Currently, Frank is a Music Lecturer and Director of Performance at Brunel University, and taught annually at the Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops from 1996-2006.

Frank’s debut big band CD Holland Park Non-Stop was released in 2011 on the Hepjazz label and features vocalist Tina May as well as a host of top flight London based soloists like trumpeters, Steve Fishwick and Freddie Gavita, trombonist, Adrian Fry, saxophonists, Sam Mayne, Matt Wates and Karen Sharp and award winning pianist, John Turville 

Music commences at 8.30pm with suggested contributions of £5 per listener to pay the musicians a fair fee for their performance.

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