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Performance  ssbsts.jpg (11268 bytes) Stuart Johnson.

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(Audio player and gigs further down this page.)

Principal instruments soprano & tenor saxophones. Doubling bass clarinet, other saxophones, occasional flute and an original WX7 wind synth. Stuart considers himself a soprano saxophone specialist, having switched from clarinet on acquiring his first horn  in 1970 (a 1920's Selmer 26 for £15!). Struggling with that for years taught him most of what he knows about intonation.

That said, most of his commercial work is on tenor, for the usual reasons. The home page indicates the kinds of things he does. A solid reader, dependable section player and adventurous soloist, with a reputation for turning up in good time at the right gig with the right clothes and general absence of attitude......

Aside from journeyman deps, Stuart's present work includes:

  • Tangent. Function/Corporate Hospitality. Within the traditions of 20th century popular music, ensembles arranged to meet most budgets and circumstances. Jazz, soul, funk, pop, & sensitive background music for weddings, civil partnership ceremonies, conferences, product launches, parties and special occasions. (Click link at start of this paragraph for more information).
  • Chameleon.  1982-2015. Archive information only.
  • Northumbria Saxophone Quartet. Archive information only   Playing repertoire encompassing everything from funk to opera, township jive, chamber music and commissioned work.
  • Gerry Richardson's Big Idea. Fantastic nine-piece soul-jazz band led by Hammond organ virtuoso & long-time Sting collaborator. Great gig review from 'The Independent', April 2010,  here.  Band website here.
  • The James Taylor Project. 2008 -10. Archive information only. A trio with guitar-vocalist Brian Dales interpreting the work of the great singer-songwriter James Taylor and his principal collaborators.(Click link at start of this paragraph for more information).

Chameleon 2006. The Quartet:Tim Franks, Drums;  Avril Greenhow Parker, Piano; Stuart Johnson, Reeds; Joel Allison, Bass.

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Chameleon 2007. The Sextet: Avril Greenhow Parker, Piano; Tim Franks, Drums; Pete Martin, Trumpet; Stuart Johnson, Reeds; Dave Turner, Bass; Mark Townson, Guitar.

Chameleon archive

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Left: At The Sage Gateshead with NSQ, December 2004.

Centre: At Hospitalfield, Arbroath, with Gerry Richardson's Big Idea, March 2005.

Right: At Zeffirelli's, Ambleside, with Chameleon, February 2006.

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Performance archive.

Photography:Jonathan Pearson

Public performance archive. Private functions excluded from this listing. 

2015 onwards.

All performance information now distributed via mailing lists.  P

2014

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014. Bayvox Community Choir/Tangent.  Christmas concert. The Victoria, Whitley Road, Whitley Bay, North Tyneside. 6.30pm.

Saturday, December 6th, 2014. Trefor Owen Quartet.  Zeffirelli's. Ambleside, Cumbria, 8.30pm. Trefor

Friday, November 28th, 2014. Tangent.  George & Dragon, Clifton, Cumbria, 8.30pm.

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014/ Dydd Mawrth 25 Tachwedd. Trefor Owen Quartet. North Wales Jazz Society. British Legion, Llay, nr Wrexham, N. Wales. 8.30pm. Trefor.we

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014. Trefor Owen Quartet.  Kendal Jazz Club, Hawkshead Brewery, Staveley, Cumbria. 8pm. Review here.

Sunday, August 31st, 2014. Tangent Bertram's Restaurant, Woodland Spa, Burnley, Lancashire. 7pm. 

Saturday, August 16th, 2014. Chameleon. Zeffirelli's, Ambleside, Cumbria. 8.30pm

Thursday, August 14th, 2014.  Chameleon. Number 39 Hopstar Brewery Tap, for Darwen Music Projects, Darwen, Lancashire. 9.00pm.

Friday, May 9th, 2014Chameleon. The Bold Hotel, Lord St., Southport, Merseyside. 8pm. Part of Southport Jazz Festival 2014.

Saturday, March 8th, 2014. Compass Quartet , feat.  Willy Fluss, guitar & Neil Harland, bass.  Zeffirelli's, Ambleside, Cumbria. 8.30pm . 

Saturday, January 11th, 2014. Compass Trio, feat.  Willy Fluss, guitar Zeffirelli's, Ambleside, Cumbria. 8.30pm

2013

Thursday, December 19th, 2013. Tangent. Cabaret evening backing Ray Solaire, vocalist & ventriloquist. Zeffirelli's, Ambleside, Cumbria. 8.30pm

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013. Bayvox Community Choir/Tangent.  Christmas concert. The Victoria, Whitley Road, Whitley Bay, North Tyneside. 6.30pm.

Saturday, December 14th, 2013. Tangent. Trio, feat. Neil Harland, bass. Zeffirelli's,  Ambleside, Cumbria. 8.30pm

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013. Tangent. Charity dinner; Michelle Jurd Memorial Trust.  Netherwood Hotel, Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria. 7pm

Saturday, November 16th, 2013. Chameleon. Zeffirelli's, Ambleside, Cumbria. 8.30pm.

Saturday, October 12th, 2013. Compass Trio, feat.  Willy Fluss, guitar Zeffirelli's, Ambleside, Cumbria. 8.30pm

Friday, October 11th, 2013. Compass Trio, feat. Willy Fluss, guitar,  Bertram's Restaurant, Woodland Spa, Burnley, Lancashire. 9pm.

Saturday, September 28th, 2013. Tangent. Bertram's Restaurant, Woodland Spa, Burnley, Lancashire. 9pm. 

Saturday, August 24th, 2013. Compass Trio feat Willy Fluss, guitar. Bertram's Restaurant, Woodland Spa, Burnley, Lancashire. 9pm

Friday, August 23rd, 2013. Gerry Richardson's Big Idea. Drystone Stage, Solfest, Aspatria, Cumbria.  9.30pm.

Saturday, August 17th, 2013. Tangent. Bertram's Restaurant, Woodland Spa, Burnley, Lancashire. 9pm.

Saturday, August 10th, 2013. Gary Boyle-Stuart Johnson- John Sandham Trio. Bertram's Restaurant, Woodland Spa, Burnley, Lancashire. 9pm.

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013. Trefor Owen Quartet. Zeffirelli's, Ambleside, Cumbria. 8.30pm

Friday, July 26th, 2013. Compass Trio, feat. Willy Fluss, guitarBertram's Restaurant, Woodland Spa, Burnley, Lancashire. 9pm.

Saturday, June 29th, 2013.  Chameleon. Zeffirelli's, Ambleside, Cumbria. 8.30pm. Rescheduled from March 23rd's snowbound cancellation.

Saturday, June 1st, 2013. Chameleon. Jazz by Moonlight, Heath Hall, Heath Common, Wakefield, W. Yorkshire.  7.30pm. Headliner; Snake Davis Band.

Saturday, May 25th, 2013. Tangent; 'Everything you ever wanted to know about jazz ... and some things you didn't!'  Kirkmahoe Concerts 'One Day In May',           Kirkton Church, Nr Dumfries, Scotland. 3.00pm. Part of Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival 2013. 

Friday, May 10th, 2013. Chameleon;  The Coronation, Southport, Merseyside. 9.00pm. Part of Southport Jazz Festival 2013.

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013/Dydd Mawrth 9 Ebrill. Gary Boyle Quartet; North Wales Jazz Society, Royal British Legion, Llay, Nr. Wrexham, N.Wales. 8.30pmtoday.

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013. Tangent; 'Everything you ever wanted to know about jazz...and some things you didn't!'.  Riverside Lodge, Morpeth, Northumberland, 7.30pm.

Saturday, January 19th, 2013. Compass Trio, feat Willy Fluss, guitar. Zeffirelli's, Ambleside, Cumbria. 8.30pm

Sunday, January 6th, 2013. Tangent (Duo). Wedding Fair, Netherwood Hotel, Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria. 11.00am - 4.00pm.

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013. Bruce Reid Trio. The Shireburn Arms, Hurst Green, Lancashire. 1.00pm

2012 Chameleon's 30th birthday year.

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012.  Bayvox Community Choir/Tangent.  Christmas concert. The Victoria, Whitley Road, Whitley Bay, North Tyneside. 6.30pm.

Monday, December 10th, 2012. Gerry Richardson's Big Idea; 'So Many Reasons'; new album launch. The Sage Gateshead, 8.00pm. Concert footage.

Saturday, November 17th, 2012. Chameleon. Zeffirelli's, Ambleside, Cumbria. 8.30pm

Saturday, October 13th, 2012. Trefor Owen Quartet. Zeffirelli's, Ambleside, Cumbria, 8.30pm.

Thursday, August 9th, 2012. Chameleon. Number 39 Hopstar Brewery Tap, Darwen, Lancashire. 9.00pm. Part of Darwen Jazz & Blues Festival 2012.

Sunday, August 5th, 2012. Brian Acton Trio. The Shireburn Arms, Hurst Green, Lancashire. 1.00pm.

Saturday, August 4th, 2012. Chameleon. Zeffirelli's, Ambleside, Cumbria. 8.30pm (New date for February 4th's cancelled performance, below).

Saturday, June 30th, 2012. Trefor Owen Quartet. Zeffirelli's, Ambleside, Cumbria. 8.30pm.

Saturday, June 2nd, 2012. Chameleon. Kirkmahoe Concerts; 'One Day in June'  Kirkton Village Hall, Nr Dumfries, Scotland. 3.00pm. Part of Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival 2012 

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012/Dydd Mawrth 29 Mai. Trefor Owen Quartet. North Wales Jazz Society  Royal British Legion, Llay, Wrexham, N. Wales. 8.30pm.

Friday, May 11th, 2012. Chameleon. On The Fringe at The Shakespeare  Southport, Merseyside. 9.00pm.  Part of  Southport Jazz Festival 2012

Wednesday, March 28th,  2012. Chameleon.  Town Hall, Bishop Auckland, Co. Durham. 8.00pm.

Saturday, February 4th, 2012. Chameleon. Zeffirelli's, Ambleside, Cumbria. 8.30pm. Cancelled due to severe winter weather. Rescheduled for Summer 2012. Please check back.

Sunday, January 8th, 2012. Tangent (Duo). Wedding Fair, Netherwood Hotel, Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria. 10.00am - 4.00pm.

2011

Saturday, December 31st, 2011. Tangent (Duo). Netherwood Hotel, Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria. 6.00pm-9.00pm. Part of New Year's Eve event; books up fast.

Sunday, November 13th, 2011. Tangent (Duo)Wedding Fair, Rheged, Penrith, Cumbria. 10.00am - 4.00pm.

Sunday, November 6th, 2011. Chameleon. Splinter@The Bridge, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. 8.00pm. Review here

Saturday, October 15th, 2011. Chameleon. Lancaster Music Festival. Funk Stage at The Gregson. 7.00pm-9.00pm.

Saturday, October 1st, 2011. Chameleon. Zeffirelli's, Ambleside, Cumbria. 8.45pm.

Saturday, August 20th, 2011. Trefor Owen Quartet.  Zeffirelli's,  Ambleside, Cumbria. 8.45pm.

Thursday,  May 5th, 2011. Chameleon.  The Black Horse, Darwen, Lancashire. 9.00pm.  As the name suggests, Chameleon plays jazz with a funky edge inspired by the likes of Herbie Hancock and much more besides. This will be the group's third visit to The Black Horse and on the previous two occasions they have brought the house down. Sit back & enjoy. Venue publicity

Friday, April 29th, 2011.Chameleon . Ribble Valley Jazz Festival. The Rose & Crown, Clitheroe, Lancashire. 6.00pm

Sunday, April 17th, 2011. Chameleon. The Dalton Rooms  Lancaster, Lancashire. 8.30pm. They were so good last time they were here we had to invite them back Venue website

Saturday, April 16th, 2011. Chameleon. Zeffirelli's, Ambleside, Cumbria. 8.30pm (tbc)

Saturday, February 12th, 2011. Chameleon.  Zeffirelli's, Ambleside, Cumbria. 8.30pm.

2010

Sunday, December 19th, 2010. Chameleon. The Dalton Rooms, Lancaster, Lancashire. 8.00pm

Saturday, November 20th, 2010. Tangent.  The Netherwood Hotel, Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria, 7.30pm. Charity event incl. the Pipes & Drums of the Gurkha Regiment. 

Thursday, November 18th, 2010. Gerry Richardson's Big Idea. The Corner House, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 8.00pm. Review here

Saturday, November 6th, 2010. Chameleon. Zeffirelli's, Ambleside, Cumbria, 8.30pm.

Saturday, October 30th, 2010. Chameleon. Lanercost Cricket Pavilion, Lanercost, Cumbria. 8pm . 

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010. Gerry Richardson's Big Idea feat. Sting. Invitation-only concert on Tyneside.  Set list here.

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010. Chameleon.  The Barony Church, Dalswinton, Dumfriesshire. 7.30pm. (Trio). Programme & ticket details  here Review here

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010. Chameleon. Darwen Jazz & Blues Festival. The Bridgewater, Darwen, Lancashire 4.00pm.

 Saturday, August 21st, 2010. Chameleon.  Zeffirelli's, Ambleside, Cumbria, 8.30pm.

 Saturday, May 8th, 2010. Chameleon.  Zeffirelli's, Ambleside, Cumbria, 8.15pm.

 Sunday, March 28th, 2010. Tangent. Wedding Fair; Netherwood Hotel, Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria. Various times 1130-1600 (Duo).

 Saturday, March 27th, 2010. Gerry Richardson's Big Idea. Gateshead International Jazz Festival. 10pm.  National press review here.

 Sunday, March 21st, 2010. Chameleon. The Sparrowhawk, Burnley, Lancashire. Cancelled due to venue closure.

 Saturday, February 20th, 2010. La Machine.  'Les Resonateurs: Fanfire' ; Blackpool, Lancashire. Showzam '10 Festival, Heat The Streets  4pm-8pm. More info:

 Thursday, February 4th, 2010. Chameleon. The Black Horse, Darwen, Lancashire. 9pm. 

 2009

 Saturday, December 19th, 2009. Chameleon.  Zeffirelli's, Ambleside, Cumbria. 8.15pm.

 Thursday, December 17th, 2009. The Sage Gateshead's 5th Birthday Celebration, with Andy Sheppard & Choir, 5pm.

 Sunday, December 6th, 2009. Chameleon. The Sparrowhawk, Burnley, Lancashire, 1pm.

 Tuesday, December 1st, 2009. Tangent. Pizza Express, Carlisle, Cumbria. 7.30pm (Duo)

 Tuesday, November 24th, 2009. Chameleon.The Puzzle, Sowerby Bridge, W. Yorkshire. 8.30pm.

 Friday, October 30th, 2009. Chameleon.  The Aspinall Arms, Mitton, Lancashire. 9pm.

 Saturday, October 10th, 2009. The James Taylor Project.  The Acoustic Tea Room, Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria. 8.30pm.

 Sunday, August 30th, 2009. Tangent .  The Eagle at Barrow, Nr. Clitheroe, Lancashire. 2.30pm. (Trio)

 Saturday, August 8th, 2009. Chameleon. Zeffirelli's, Ambleside, Cumbria, 8.15pm.

 Saturday, July 25th, 2009. Gerry Richardson's Big Idea.  Manchester Jazz Festival. 1200 noon.  Roly Veitch Trio. Zeffirelli's, Ambleside, Cumbria. 8.15pm

 Sunday, July 19th, 2009. Chameleon. The Sparrowhawk, Burnley, Lancashire,  1pm.

 Tuesday, July 7th, 2009. Tangent. Pizza Express, Carlisle. Cumbria. 7.30pm (Duo)

 Saturday, May 9th, 2009. Gerry Richardson's Big Idea. Zeffirelli's, Ambleside,. Cumbria, 8.15pm.

 Friday, May 1st, 2009. Gerry Richardson's Big Idea. Community Theatre, Saltburn, North Yorkshire, 7.30pm.

 Thursday, April 2nd, 2009. Chameleon. The Black Horse, Darwen, Lancashire. 9pm.

 Thursday, February 5th, 2009.  Gerry Richardson's Big Idea.  The Corner House. Newcastle.  8pm. Recent reviews & images here and here

 Saturday, January 31st, 2009. The James Taylor Project. Lanercost Cricket Pavilion, Lanercost, Cumbria. 8pm.

 2008 (part).

 Sunday, December 14th, 2008. Chameleon. The Sparrowhawk, Burnley, Lancashire, 1pm.

 Saturday, December 13th, 2008. Chameleon.  Zeffirelli's, Ambleside, Cumbria, 8.15pm.

 Friday, December 12th, 2008. Chameleon. The Swan & Royal, Clitheroe, Lancashire., 8pm.  Ribble Valley Jazz & Blues.

 Monday, November 10th, 2008.  Gerry Richardson's Big Idea. Newcastle College, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 7.30pm .

 Sunday, November 9th, 2008. Alistair Anderson Band.  The Sage Gateshead, 7.30pm. Folkworks' 20th birthday celebrations.

 Saturday, November 1st, 2008. The James Taylor Project. Community Theatre, Saltburn, North Yorkshire, 7.30pm.

 Friday, October 31st, 2008. The James Taylor Project.  Zeffirelli's, Ambleside, Cumbria, 8.15pm.

 Thursday, October 23rd, 2008. Gerry Richardson's Big Idea.  Georgian Theatre, Stockton-on-Tees,  7.30pm.

 Friday, October 17th, 2008. Tangent, with Stan Foster. Kirkstile Inn, Loweswater, Cumbria, 8pm.

 Saturday, September 27th, 2008. Gerry Richardson's Big Idea. Zeffirelli's, Ambleside, Cumbria, 8pm.

 Friday,  September 5th, Saturday, September 6th, Sunday, September 7th, 2008. La Machine: Les Mecaniques Savants. Liverpool City Centre. Google  for   features, reviews & images.

Times: Friday 5th September; 11.30am – 12.30pm, 6.30pm – 9pm. Saturday 6th September;11.30am – 12.30pm, 3pm – 5pm, 6pm – 9pm.Sunday 7th September; 2.30pm – 4pm, 7.30pm – 10pm

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008. Chameleon feat. Andy Watson . (Sextet). Zeffirelli's, Ambleside, Cumbria, 8.15pm  The guitarists' guitarist returns to the band for one night only after a twenty-year break!

Public performances only. Private functions excluded from this listing.

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James Taylor Project rehearsal, December 2007.

Listen:

At present, the audio player below contains archive material - mostly analogue jazz-based recordings from the eighties & nineties - and some current sample standards from Tangent function duo, together with tracks from the expanded cabaret/dance version of the band featuring vocals.  If it's the first time you've visited, once you've clicked a track it takes a few seconds for the music to start streaming. These are quite big files, so if you haven't got broadband or cable, the stream might skip or falter occasionally.   Current tracks are (in no particular order);

Chameleon: Contemporary Jazz/Funk/Ambient.

  • Chameleon; 'Mean It', 1989.  (Andy Watson). Written by great English guitarist Andy Watson, this was recorded live by Sveriges Riksradio (Swedish State Radio) in November 1989 at Umea Jazz Festival. The MC tells you who's playing. In Swedish, of course.

  • Chameleon; 'Back Door', 1995. (Stuart Johnson). A slightly lo-fi live-in-studio version of a piece inspired by and dedicated to the great British trio Back Door (Ron Aspery [1943-2003], Tony Hicks [1948-2006], and Colin Hodgkinson) whose legendary gigs at the Lion Inn on the North Yorkshire Moors in the early seventies were a formative influence on Stuart. Features Bob Peacock, an old associate of Ron's, on piano, Adrian Rea, Hicksy's brother-in-law, on drums, and Aidan Lawrence, bass guitar. Produced by Damian Blackwell, the lo-fi is entirely due to the only surviving copy of this session being on a cheap ferric cassette tape.

  • Chameleon; 'Four-Way Street', 1996. (Isaac Guillory). A trio this time; Race Newton, keyboards, Stuart - on wind synthesiser - and percussionist Paul Smith, with additional guitar from producer Mike Frankland. Race worked for many years with his fellow American, guitarist Isaac Guillory (1947-2000), and this is a tune they played together regularly. Not quite like this.

  • Chameleon; 'MDD'', 1996. (Stuart Johnson). Kind of Ambient. More simple harmony. More trio as above. More harmon-mute wind synth. Some baritone sax. MDD? Miles Dewey Davis.

  • Chameleon; 'Looks Like Meringue', 1991. (John Scofield). Unearthed in May 2007 along with several other live-to-stereo recordings from tour dates in  Belfast, Norwich, Newcastle & St. Helier. More to follow when the necessary digitisation has been done. Features Paul Brown (Guitar), Aidan Lawrence (Bass), Adrian Rea (Drums), Race Newton (Keyboards) & Stuart Johnson (Wind Synthesiser), with sound engineering from Colin Wilson at  Compact Audio. We think this one is from Live Theatre, Newcastle, on November 17th, 1991.

  • Chameleon; 'Fine Lines', 1991. (Andy Watson). Another one of Andy's great tunes, although he doesn't play on this recording. Also from May 2007's archaeological dig featuring the same line up and instrumentation as above from, we think, the same gig.

  • Chameleon; 'Fine Lines (1)', 1991. (Andy Watson). Another version of the above, recorded in Belfast on November 13th, 1991.
  • Chameleon; 'Yesterdays' 1995 we think. (Jerome Kern) & 'Autumn Leaves'  (Joseph Kosma/Johnny Mercer). Two standards, found during a loft clearance in November 2009. A trio; Bob Peacock, Piano; Keith Peberdy, Bass Guitar & Stuart Johnson, Soprano Saxophone.  

  • Chameleon; 'Willow Weep For Me', 1996. (Ann Ronell). Another standard. Just a duo; Stuart Johnson & Race Newton

  • Without question, Race Newton (1927-2003) is the single musician who has most affected my life. His great piano playing, prodigious intelligence, wisdom and joyous sense of humour touched all who knew him. Every moment spent with him was a lesson in how to live a decent life. He was the best company you could possibly have, and a remarkable human being. We all miss him every day.

Tangent: Cocktail Jazz Duo; Function/Dance Band with Vocalist; Background Music.

  • Tangent; 'Gentle Rain', 2007. (Luis Bonfa). Cocktail jazz from the duo......

  • Tangent; 'Alone Together', 2007. (Howard Dietz & Arthur Schwarz)....and more.

  • Tangent; 'I Loves You Porgy', 2007. (George Gershwin).....and more.

  • Many thanks to studiomeister Dave Turner for these three first-take recordings.

  • Tangent + Brian Dales; 'How Sweet It Is', 2008. (Holland-Dozier-Holland). Junior Walker's Motown masterpiece, although this version is pretty much James Taylor's cover. Watch out for  James Taylor Project  recordings here & extracts from the band's DVD recorded in concert in November 2008. Coming soon.

  • Tangent + Brian Dales; 'Chasing Cars', 2008. (Snow Patrol). Contemporary indie classic.

  • Tangent + Brian Dales; 'Save The Last Dance For Me', 2008. (Doc Pomus & Mort Shuman) An interpretation of Michael Buble's latin version of The Drifters/Ben E. King perennial.

  • Tangent + Brian Dales; 'Home', 2008. (Michael Buble) Fine ballad written by the great young Canadian vocalist.

  • Tangent + Brian Dales; 'Beyond The Sea', 2008. (Charles Trenet). Classic swing tune from the repertoire of everyone from Sinatra to Aznavour.

  • Tangent + Brian Dales; 'Just The Two Of Us', 2008. (Bill Withers). The evergreen seventies' soul anthem.

  • Tangent + Brian Dales; 'Fields Of Gold', 2008. (Sting). Minus live Northumbrian pipes, alas - but they can be arranged!

  • Thanks to our old friend Mike Frankland for his production on these seven tracks.

Stuart Johnson: Soundtrack.

  • Stuart Johnson; 'Ice & Fire', 1997. (Stuart Johnson). A piece for bass clarinet and sequencers, produced by Mike Frankland, and written for Dodgy Clutch Theatre Company's ambitious 'Street of the Moon', staged over five nights on boats and floating stages on the River Tees, England, in August 1997 as part of Stockton Riverside International Festival's Tenth Anniversary celebrations.

  • Big Band; Voice of the North. Another neglected tape recovered in November 2009. These are the first four digitisations of a recording made by The Voice of the North Jazz Orchestra at Harrogate International Festival, England, on July 31st, 1998. MD & solo tenor saxophone Tommy Smith, with Mark Nightingale (trombone) and Bruce Adams (trumpet) as the other guest soloists. This concert, and subsequent ones, were originally intended to present three of Duke Ellington's great suites in their entirety; 'Such Sweet Thunder', 'The Queen's Suite', and 'The Far East Suite'. Realising that this would take well over three hours and destroy everyone's chops, the eventual performances presented substantial sections of all three works, and still destroyed everyone's chops. Stuart plays baritone saxophone & bass clarinet throughout.
  • VOTN-Ellington; 'Depk', from' The Far East Suite'. Stuart takes the odd and tricky theme on baritone with Richard Ingham, clarinet.
  • VOTN-Ellington; 'Tourist Point of View', from 'The Far East Suite' . Great tenor solo from Tommy Smith.
  • VOTN-Ellington; 'Le Sucrier Velours', from 'The Queen's Suite'.  Classic Ellington textures & voicings for reeds. Unmistakeable.
  • VOTN-Ellington; 'Madness in Great Ones', from 'Such Sweet Thunder'. In which Bruce Adams gives Cat Anderson, the Ellington band's high-note specialist, a run for his money.
Further big band tracks from a substantial rediscovered archive currently being prepared, including more from the Ellington concert and some pieces with Andy Sheppard.

Gerry Richardson's Big Idea. Title track from the album 'So Many Reasons',   released December 2012.

Move cursor over titles to scroll up and down, then single-click to play.

Nothing to do with any of the above, save that here is another big influence - not just on me but on pretty much everyone who tries to play this music. I only ever got to hear the band live twice - this was the second time, in October 1978 at Newcastle City Hall, England; the 'Night Passage' tour. The first occasion was the previous year on the 'Heavy Weather' tour. Heavy and happy days!  Peter Erskine, Jaco Pastorius, Wayne Shorter & Joe Zawinul ;

 The incomparable Weather Report.

You can watch a superb concert video shot in Germany just a few days before here. A unique band at the height of its powers. Timeless; though maybe not the tank top and flares........

And whilst we're here, two more guiding lights.................................

Frank Zappa at the same venue in Newcastle a few months later, February 1979.

And a youthful Pat Metheny in a tent. Bracknell Jazz Festival, England, July 1980.