The Best In British Jazz

Alan Barnes

1977-80 Alan studied saxophone, woodwinds and arranging at the 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 Alan was asked to fill the chair recently vacated by Bruce Turner in the Humphrey Lyttleton band where he stayed until 1992. 1987-97 he also found time to lead the Pizza Express Modern Jazz Sextet with Gerard Prescencer and Dave O'Higgins. Since leaving the Lyttleton band, Alan has concentrated on his freelance career.

Alan has enjoyed a prolific career as a sideman, playing and recording for many bands. He broadcast regularly over a ten-year period with the BBC Big Band and Radio Orchestra and has toured and recorded with big band leaders, Dick Walter, Kenny Baker, Bob Wilber, Don Weller, Stan Tracey, Mike Westbrook and John Dankworth. Other bands he has toured and recorded with include the Tina May Trio, Bill LeSage's Genetically Modified Quintet, Spike Robinson's Tenor Madness, Clare Teale, and a sextet with Don Weller playing the music of Cannonball Adderley. Alan has also toured the U.K. with Freddie Hubbard. Alan has long associations with pianist David Newton, going back to their college days, and with blistering be-bop trumpeter Bruce Adams, with whom he has co-led a quintet since the early nineties.

Alan has been featured on many jazz recordings from his first record date as co-leader in 1985 with Tommy Whittle and as leader of his own quartet in 1987 right up to recent record dates with Scott Hamilton, Warren Vache and Harry Allen. He has appeared on the Concord, Fret, Miles Music, Nagel Hayer and Specific labels with various projects.

Alan has recorded a large number of sessions with pianist Brian Lemon on the Zephyr label. Amongst these sessions are duet, quintet, sextet and octet sessions with Warren Vache, Tony Coe, KenPeplowski, Gerrard Prescencer and Mark Nightingale.

Alan has performed as a member of Clark Tracey's "Tribute to Art Blakey" and was featured on the David Newton/Clark Tracey recording Bootleg Eric. He has also appeared as a session musician on albums by Selina Jones, Bjork, Van Morrison, Bryan Ferry, Clare Teal, Jamie Cullum and Westlife and can also be found on film and television soundtracks including "Chicago" and jingles such as the Tetley Bitter series of adverts featuring his solo baritone. Alan has appeared regularly as a member of the Laurie Holloway orchestra on television's Michael Parkinson show and Strictly Come Dancing.

In 1999 Alan toured America and Europe with Bryan Ferry's band, returning to the U.S.A. in early 2000 to record and tour for ten weeks with Warren Vache's eleven-piece band - a project for which he had written most of the arrangements. He returned to Kansas City in 2001 to perform as a guest soloist at the Topeka jazz Festival. That November he featured on Baritone and clarinet at the Blue Note Clubs in New York and Tokyo with the Charlie Watts Tentet and followed this with a stay in South Africa as a solo artist.

Over the years Alan has won many British Jazz awards in alto, baritone, clarinet and arranging categories. In 2001 and 2006 Alan received the prestigious BBC Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year award and in November 2003 was made a fellow of the Leeds College of Music

2003 also saw the inception of Alan's own record label Woodville Records.

Compositions and commissions include "The Sherlock Holmes Suite", two series of jazz songs written with playwright Alan Plater - "Songs for Unsung Heroes" and "The Seven Ages of Jazz", "The Mabella Suite", and settings of E.E. Cummings and other poets arranged for Jazz octet. Latest projects include a clarinet led trio with Jim Hart on vibes and Paul Clavis on drums and an all star octet playing the music of Duke Ellington.

Latest Releases

Lowest Common Denominator

Alan Barnes & Gilad Atzmon

Lowest Common Denominator

Brand new collaboratoin between Alan and Gilad Atzmon

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Mark Nightingale - The Sound of Jay & Kai

Mark Nightingale

The Sound of Jay & Kai

Nightingale and White pay tribute to the rich legacy of JJ Johnson and Kai Winding

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