Simon Purcell - Piano
Since the mid 1980s, Simon has performed both as leader and sideman, appearing with amongst others – Red Rodney, Kenny Wheeler, Eddie Henderson, Stan Sulzman, Jean Toussaint and Julian Arguelles. His current band “Red Circle” features Julian Siegel, Chris Batchelor, Steve Watts and Gene Calderazzo.
Despite his experience as a performer, Simon is best known as an educator and was recently appointed International Chair in Improvisation at the Guildhall School of Music in London. Formerly Head of Jazz at Trinity-Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance from 2005-2017 and member of the Pop and Jazz Steering Group for the Association of European Conservatoires from 2009-2018. Simon has taught and mentored several generations of Britain’s finest jazz musicians. Between 1987 and 2005, he was professor of jazz piano and improvisation at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and was appointed Head of Jazz at Trinity College of Music in September 2005, meanwhile, co-directing the Glamorgan Jazz Summer School (formerly the Barry Summer School). In between times he has acted as a consultant to Birmingham Conservatoire, been educational director of the National Jazz Youth jazz Orchestra of Scotland and in 2006, received the award for Jazz Educationalist of the Year from the Parliamentary Jazz Committee.
Simon Purcell joined the Executive of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra in September 2009, mainly to advise on behalf of the Music Higher Education Sector and to establish the NYJO Musical Policy Committee. In addition, he is a trustee of the Countess of Munster Trust, supporting young musicians in Higher Education. Simon’s educational research was published in 2001 (Staff Development through Creative Co-Mentoring Partnerships), 2003 (Musical Patchwork: Teacher Research Within a Conservatoire), and 2005 (Teacher Research Within a Conservatoire – a condensed version of the former, published by Ashgate). His current research interest is “The 4 Ps”, an approach to developing the play state within improvisation through balancing musical product, process and the inner person. During the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s, combining a career as performer and educator, Simon hosted many jam sessions at the London’s Bass Clef Club, supported many American artists such as Bill Frissell, Turk Mauro, Mark Helias, Kenny Barron and Dave Liebman, as well as establishing himself and performing with Red Rodney, Eddie Henderson, Kenny Wheeler etc.
In 1991 Simon appeared on Cleveland Watkiss’s Polydor release Green Chimneys, followed two years later by “Women Have Standards” with Anita Wardell in 1993. However, the busy life as a teacher has meant that most of Simon’s musical projects have never been recorded, notably a quartet with saxophonist Mike Williams, Dave Wickins and Ricardo Dos Santos (1995 – 2000), a trio with Phil Allen and Steve Watts (1987 – 1995), a project with vocalist, Christine Tobin (1991-1995) and his Octet that toured Scotland in 1998. There was never enough time, although Simon is now determined to promote his most recent project Red Circle with Julian Siegel, Chris Batchelor, Gene Calderazzo and Steve Watts and occasional collaboration with vocalist Liane Carroll.
Craig Crofton - Saxophone
Craig Crofton is an Anglo/ American sax and flute player who has lived in the UK for over 20 years and built up a great reputation for the power and ‘visceral excitement’ in his playing. A protégé of Marcus Printup (Lincoln Center Orchestra) he has come to develop a unique sound of his own that stands out in his many musical involvements. Craig has featured with artists like Kasabian, Lack of Afro, Haggis Horns, Nittin Sawney, This is The Kit , Mr Benn, Chris Monkey and he is at the forefront of popular Bristol bands Phantom Ensemble, Baila la Cumbia , Dockside Latin Orchestra , Radio Banska and Dub From Atlantis to name a few. Craig has also shared the stage with jazz greats including Wynton Marselis ,Maceo Parker , Dr Lonnie Smith, John Faddis , Pee Wee Ellis and has featured on BBC Radio 4 “Loose Ends” and worked at world renowned venues like Ronnie Scotts and The Blue Note in New York City. As an educator Craig has been teaching for over 2 decades with much of that time as assistant director of the highly acclaimed BlowoutSax School in Bath . Craig has helped many of his students into world famous music programs including Trinity, Royal Academy, Royal Welsh, Leeds School of music and Chethams School of Music. As these young musician have come out of further studies they have turned into working professional musicians in their own right! Craig is highly sought after for educational workshops and continues to encourage and promote the jazz genre to young people.
Martin Kolarides - Guitar
Riaan Vosloo - Double Bass
Dr. Riaan Vosloo has extensive experience in multiple musical roles in many varied musical projects. Riaan was a founding member of the band Nostalgia 77, a band he continues to work with. Riaan was also co-founder of the label Impossible Ark records. He has credits on a host of album and commercial projects working as a bass player, arranger, composer and producer. Riaan graduated from Leeds College of music (BA) and the Royal Academy of music (MA). He completed his doctorate at Royal at Birmingham Conservatoire. As well as continuing involvement in the music industry, Riaan is active in a wide range of teaching and research activities. Riaan is module leader for the Research Methods module at BIMM, (British and Irish Modern Music Institute), and also teaches the Cultural Perspectives and Analytical Perspectives modules there. As well as this role, Riaan is an experienced workshop leader and an established tutor for the annual Falmouth Rapport Jazz Summer School.