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The Alan Barnes Octet- Jazz Portraits


Bruce Adams trumpet, flugel horn 

Mark Nightingale trombone

Alan Barnes alto sax and clarinet

Robert Fowler tenor sax and clarinet

Karen Sharp baritone sax and clarinet

David Newton piano

Simon Thorpe bass

Clark Tracey drums


This long established octet has always been a show-case for Alan’s arranging and composing skills. His compositions include “The Sherlock Holmes Suite” “A Jazz Christmas Carol” as well as two collaborations with playwright Alan Plater “Songs For Unsung Heroes” and “ The Seven Ages Of Jazz”.


This new suite of compositions takes its cue from Duke Ellington’s practise of presenting a separate portrait of each member of the band, written to their strengths and trying to capture their essence as musicians. 


The contrasting pieces are:

“Le Rossignol” for Mark Nightingale, “Escapology” for Simon Thorpe, “The Barrister” for Bruce Adams, “Nostalgic” for Robert Fowler and “The Newt Steps Out’ for David Newton. ‘Mick’s Waltz” and “Mr C.T.” are self explanatory and there is even a self portrait asking the question “Is There Anybody There?”


These pieces are booked-ended with other original pieces but in the style of various jazz greats: “Tavares” for Horace Silver and “Sweet-Pea” for Billy Strayhorn, “Bop’s Your Uncle” for the be-bop pioneers and a roaring blues, “The Count and the Duke”.


The music is swinging and accessible, although serious in intent and, as always, is presented with humour, peppered with anecdotes.

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