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Trinity Laban welcomes new staff to the Jazz Department

Wed 26 September 2018

Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance has welcomed 16 new members of teaching staff to the Jazz Department from September 2018, including celebrated vocalist Cleveland Watkiss MBE, journalist and broadcaster Kevin LeGendre and renowned trombonist Winston Rollins.

Head of Jazz Hans Koller said – “I’m absolutely thrilled to be able to welcome so many brilliant new members to our jazz family at Trinity Laban, to help write and improvise the next chapter.”  

While grounded in tradition, the vibrant Jazz Department at Trinity Laban is constantly looking forward and inviting students to draw from a wide range of influences. Recent graduates such as Moses Boyd, Nubya Garcia and Femi Koleoso are now among the most in-demand names in a bright young UK jazz scene.

Introducing the new Jazz Department teaching staff at Trinity Laban – 

Tom Challenger – Jazz Composition                        

Tom Challenger is a saxophonist and composer whose influences include traditional street music from around the world. He leads the collective improvisation group Brass Mask and performs with critically-acclaimed electro-improv outfit Ma, jazz quartet Dice Factory and organ/saxophone duo ‘Wedding Music’ with Kit Downes. Listen:

Kit Downes – Piano                                                        

Pianist, organist and composer Kit Downes performs as a soloist and in various collaborations with cellist Lucy Railton, composer Shiva Feshareki, and saxophonist Tom Challenger. His most recent release is Obsidian (ECM, 2018), a collection of solo organ works. Listen:

Calum Gourlay – Bass

Calum Gourlay is a bassist and composer known for his warm tone, rock solid time and pulse, and his controlled execution as a supporter and improviser. He leads and writes for the Calum Gourlay Big Band which has a monthly residency at The Vortex and also performs with the Kit Downes Trio, The Tommy Smith Group, Will Vinson and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra. Listen:

Bruno Heinen – Piano, Jazz Composition              

Contemporary improvising pianist Bruno Heinen has released six albums under his own name on the forward-facing Babel Label. He frequently hosts the Late Late show at Ronnie Scott’s and has a long-standing musical partnership with outstanding Palestinian singer, composer and broadcaster Reem Kelani with whom he has performed internationally in concert halls, festivals and live broadcasts. Listen:

Richard Henry – Trombone

Richard Henry has worked as a freelance musician for over 25 years, recording on hundreds of film and pop soundtracks, most notably those by British film composer Stephen Warbeck and on several James Bond films. He has recorded and performed with Joni Mitchell, Peter Gabriel, George Michael, Dame Shirley Bassey and Michael Bublé. Richard currently plays with the Back To Basie Big Band, the newly-founded Chineke Orchestra and is a long-standing member of the London Jazz Orchestra. Listen: 

Lauren Kinsella – Voice                                                

Lauren Kinsella is a vocalist and composer working in the area of improvisation and the exploration of physical movement’s correlation with sound. Awarded UK Vocalist of the year at the JazzFM Awards 2016, she performs throughout the UK and Europe as a soloist, a bandleader, and within several cross-arts projects including Snowpoet with multi-instrumentalist Chris Hyson. She is the featured vocalist in several recent projects including French saxophonist Julian Pontvianne’s Abhra, Irish composer Ian Wilson’s I Burn for You and Laura Jurd’s Human Spirit. Lauren also performs in Monster Music Improv, a musical and visual theatre show for children. Listen:

Kevin LeGendre – Jazz History

Kevin LeGendre is a journalist and broadcaster with a special interest in black music. He is deputy editor of Echoes and contributes to a wide range of publications including Jazzwise, MusicWeek, a and Vibrations. Kevin also appears as a commentator and critic on radio programmes such as BBC Radio 3’s Jazz On 3 and BBC Radio 4’s Front Row. He presented Now’s The Time, a weekly two-hour jazz programme on BBC London from 2000-2002. The ethos of the show was to reflect contemporary improvised music in its entirety and this inclusive, ecumenical approach to jazz – thinking beyond categories – has also been a decisive rule of thumb in Kevin’s work in the media to date.

James Maddren – Drums

James Maddren is a drummer and composer and is currently one of the UK’s (and increasingly mainland Europe’s) first-call young drummers. He enjoys listening to and performing all kinds of music and has shared the stage with many artists and ensembles, including Gwilym Simcock, the Kit Downes Trio, Jacob Collier, the Marc Copland/Stan Sulzman Quartet, the Mark McKnight Organ Quartet, and Alex Garnett’s Bunch of Five, among others. Listen:

Trevor Mires – Trombone

Trevor Mires has been at the forefront of the London music scene for the last 10 years. He currently works as trombonist/arranger for Sir Tom Jones, tours and records with former Oasis frontman Noel Gallagher and has been playing and writing with legendary jazz funk group Incognito for the last seven years. He has performed and recorded with a host of celebrated artists from across the jazz and pop world including the Randy Brecker Big Band, Jamiroquai, Mark Ronson, George Benson, Chaka Khan, Oscar Peterson, Radiohead, Pat Metheny and David Sanborn. Trevor also writes for his own projects, including cult band Plumstead Radical Club and his new Jazz quintet. Listen:

Ryan Quigley – Trumpet

Ryan Quigley is an award-winning jazz and lead trumpet player and an in-demand studio musician, composer and arranger. He has toured and recorded with Quincy Jones, Aretha Franklin, George Michael, Michael Bublé, Tom Jones and Randy Brecker, among others. Listen:

Hannes Riepler – Guitar                                               

Hannes Riepler is an energetic and inventive guitar player, spirited composer and host of the renowned Vortex Downstairs Jazz Night jam session. His music is rooted in jazz tradition, contemporary and melodic, but always immediate and hot. His quintet thrillingly swings in New York Downtown style. Listen:

Winston Rollins – Trinity Laban Big Band              

Winston Rollins is a trombone player, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, arranger and producer. He has played in bands such as The Brand New Heavies, Incognito, Aswad and Jamiroquai, is currently a member of Jools Holland’s Rhythm and Blues Orchestra and records and produces at his own studio, RedRoom Studios in Chiswick. He is noted for his unique personality and presence onstage. Listen:

Asaf Sirkis – Drums, Rhythm Tuition                       

Asaf Sirkis is a drummer and composer whose diverse influences include Weather Report, Olivier Messiaen, The Beatles, Yes and the Mahavishnu Orchestra along with Klezmer and Yemenite rhythms. He has played with some of Israel’s jazz and world music luminaries such as Harold Rubin and Albert Beger and in 2000 founded the Orient House Ensemble with Gilad Atzmon. He now collaborates with reeds player and composer Tim Garland and leads the Sirkis/Bialas International Quartet with Polish singer Sylwia Bialas. Listen:

Byron Wallen – Trumpet, Jazz Composition

Byron Wallen is a trumpet player and composer whose study of cognitive psychology has aided his transition towards conceptualising music as a medium for healing. He raises awareness and invokes change by unlocking boundaries through the nature and science of sound. Byron is an acclaimed writer and producer whose original scores have been commissioned by the Science Museum, PRS, BBC, Jerwood Foundation and Arts Council England. Listen:

Tom Walsh – Trumpet

Tom Walsh is a trumpet player and composer who has played for TV with the X Factor Big Band; West End shows – Wicked, Sinatra: Live On Stage and Dream Girls; and orchestras – Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, RPO, English National Ballet Orchestra and the English Session Orchestra. In pop and commercial music Tom has played and recorded with the likes of Van Morrison, Blur, Mark Knopfler, Jessie J, Gary Barlow and Shirley Bassey. In 2014 Tom co-produced and played a series of concerts with Al Jarreau at Ronnie Scott’s. Listen:

Cleveland Watkiss MBE – Voice                                

Cleveland Watkiss MBE is a vocalist, actor and composer who performs with his group VocalSuite, as a soloist and with his new quartet, CWQ. His award wins include Vocalist of the Year at Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2017 and Guardian Jazz Awards Best Vocalist. Cleveland has performed with many diverse artists from around the world such as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Dusseldorf Symphony Orchestra, Wynton Marsalis, Bob Dylan, Art Blakey, Stevie Wonder, Courtney Pine and the Kenny Wheeler Big Band. More recently, he was cast as the starring role in Julian Joseph’s two ground-breaking Jazz operas, ‘Bridgetower’ and ‘Shadowball’, to considerable acclaim. Listen: