JHJO Singers @ 7Arts

On the afternoon of the 31st May 2015 two musical worlds are due to collide. I’m re-awaking the Jazz Orchestra from it’s endless slumber for a special one-off-never-to-be-repeated show. Me and sixteen of the very best jazz and session musicians in Yorkshire will join forces with a plethora of unique vocal talents from the Leeds indie rock/folk/pop scene to make beautiful music together.

I’ll be announcing these awesome acts below and via twitter and facebook over the next few weeks so keep your eyes peeled. It’ll also be another chance to hear the Jazz Yorkshire commissioned “Yorkshire Suite” performed again.

For now get the date in your diary.

Make sure you follow the Jazz Orchestra on Facebook for updates and news.




Grant Fennel (Cottonwoolf)

Simon Wainwright (Hope and Social)

Jasmine Kennedy

David Henshaw (Dancing Years)

Dan Lucas (Boss Caine)

Sam Thornton (Louis Louis Louis, King Zepha)

Simon Fletcher (Handmadehands)

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Good things come in threes!

I know it’s been a while but I’ve been busy so don’t get on my back about it ok! Anyway I’ve got bundles of news for you. You’re gonna love it and instantly forgive me for my absence.

If you’re not into jazz take yourself straight down to the bottom of the page where you can read about three chord rock and music with bigger kahunas.

New Jazz records label called…….

…errr New Jazz Records….For somebody who’s supposed to be a creative I’ve not done very well on that one. That’s right folks, I’ve started a jazz record label. All you could possibly need to know is over at the website below. The first release is on Monday so get you and your granny signed up to the mailing list/twitter/facebook page quick smart so I can badger you every once in a blue moon.




Darlington Jazz Club

I’m off up the road as far north as north goes…….well…..Darlington. On December 14th 2014 I’m directing the fantastic Durham Alumni Big Band. Led by Shaun Elland the band are playing a selection of my charts (including the recently commissioned Yorkshire Suite) in The Forum Music Centre at 18:00. I hope to see some of you there.

Eddie Harvey Award

I’m delighted that my composition “Sleep” has been selected as one of the three finalists for the Eddie Harvey Award for Jazz Arrangement. The awards night takes place on 6th November at the Polish Jazz Cafe in Hammersmith where the winner will be announced. NYJO will be playing all the finalists pieces plus some of Eddies arrangements. Further info here.

Sadly I can’t make it down as I’m once again donning my blue jacket and taking up arms with the rest of the tired, weary too-old-for-this-sh*t gang, Hope and Social. Come join us out on tour in November if you hate jazz.


Until next time jazz lovers. Peace and love,


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What has Jazz Yorkshire ever done for us?

The internet has been full of talk of the art councils funding cuts to Jazz Services in their recent NPO announcements. This somewhat overshadowed the celebration of the end of an organisation that suffered a similar fate.Jazz Yorkshire Suite

Last month¬†marked a final hurrah for Jazz Yorkshire. Seven Arts, in Leeds’ Chapel Allerton, home of Seven Jazz, gave host to a day of jazz from a plethora of Yorkshires finest jazz talents……and me ūüėČ

It was a fitting tribute to the work the organisation has done in this area over the last 10 years with performances from the young up to the not so young. I had been commissioned to write a suite of music for the occasion, four movements for graded big band celebrating all that is Yorkshire. The result was “The Yorkshire Suite” which was performed by the Doncaster Youth
Jazz Orchestra.


My relationship with Jazz Yorkshire began when I applied for one of their funding schemes………and was unsuccessful. Perhaps not the most positive start to a relationship. Nevertheless, it lead to a coffee and lunch with then director Nigel Slee. After some kind words of support and encouragement I left the meeting with a renewed confidence in my writing. I’ve found prolonged periods of composition to be a lonely and isolating experience at times and once the “….but is it any good?” demon rears its head it can be hard to shake. It turns out Nigels homemade pizza is the antidote for this. Ultimately this meeting lead me to write, record and release the album “The Causeway Suite” part funded by Jazz Yorkshire and Leeds College of Music which went on to win a BASCA British Composers award and two Jazz Yorkshire awards. It kick started my career in writing, gave me a profile and opened doors to an infinite amount of opportunities.

This is just one small example of how organisations like Jazz Yorkshire can have a positive impact on an artist. Over their 10 years, they will have helped countless musicians in a similar way to find their feet. It’s in small unquantifiable gestures such as a coffee, a kind email, the shake of a hand and what they lead on to that can be the most valuable thing to artists.

For me, I wanted to say a huge thank you to Jazz Yorkshire and all who have sailed in her for what they have done for me. The spirit of their work lives on through Jazz North, Nor Vol and Northern Jazz News¬†and I’m sure these organisations will continue to support Jazz “up north”.

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The idiots guide to recording a big band

Over the course of 2013 I’ll be getting the James Hamilton Jazz Orchestra together for one off day sessions to record…….stuff……some of which has been written some of which has definitely not. I’ll be blogging about the process as we go through the ups and downs of writing for, organising and recording a jazz orchestra. Sounds like a dull read? You might be right, but this, in all it’s¬†mediocre¬†glory, is my life.

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