Few instruments epitomize jazz more than the tenor saxophone and on Tuesday (February 11) two of its leading exponents from the North West of England, Mike Hall and Mike Hope, are set to begin the North Wales Jazz 2014 programme of concerts at the Royal British Legion, Llay, near Wrexham.
A thoroughly entertaining evening is in store as their quintet, Gordon Meets Getz, pays tribute to two of the all time great players, Dexter Gordon and Stan Getz.
The concert will showcase two different approaches to the same instrument featuring Dexter Gordon compositions like Cheesecake and Fried Bananas, classic Stan Getz numbers including The Girl From Ipanema and One Note Samba, and many well-loved jazz standards.
Turning professional in 1993 Mike Hall began his musical career with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra which led to work with composer and pianist Michael Garrick with whom he toured Malaysia and made several recordings and broadcasts.
More recently he has appeared at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club with the Echoes of Ellington Orchestra, performed a gala concert at the World Saxophone Congress in Slovenia and subsequent UK tour with Andy Scott’s Sax Assault, and a series of dates with his own quartet.
He regularly freelances with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Halle Orchestras, and now heads Jazz Studies at the Royal Northern College of Music where he teaches jazz improvisation, theory, history, and saxophone along with directing the RNCM Big Band and Jazz Collective.
Along the way Mike has had the opportunity to work with some of the most respected names in jazz, including American musicians Bob Mintzer, Wayne Shorter, Bob Brookmeyer, Brian Blade and many more.
Mike Hope is a renowned saxophonist who studied music at Leeds University and won a year’s placement to study at the University of North Texas.
In 1996 he won the Northern Young Jazz Musician of the Year competition and went on to form his own band as a leader, Mike Hope’s Jazzmahoot.
At about this time he began working the northern big band circuit and, following a tour with Louis Hoover, played his first few dates with the Syd Lawrence Orchestra which led to four years work on the show The Rat Pack, one of the highlights of this time being an Olivier Awards ceremony at which he accompanied Kevin Spacey singing I’ve Got a Crush On You to Judi Dench.
In more recent years Mike has worked with Matt Monroe Junior, John Wilson and the Halle Orchestra, Jack Sheldon, Julian Joseph, Phil Woods and Julian Arguelles, and in 2006 he joined the Syd Lawrence Orchestra as first tenor.
On keyboards, Dan Whieldon is earning a reputation as one of the finest pianists in the North West.
A graduate of the Birmingham Conservatoire, he has been first choice to accompany many well-known jazz musicians including Alan Barnes, Bobby Wellins, Art Themen, Jiggs Whigham and more.
In July 2008, Dan was the winner of the Nottingham National Jazz Piano competition, where his prizes were a Bluthner piano, a recording session, and some concerts which included the 606 and Vortex clubs in London.
The line-up for the Mike Hall/Mike Hope Quintet is completed by
Frank Grime (bass) and Eryl Roberts (drums).
The performance starts at 8.30pm and admission is £6.50, concessions £5.50, school children £3. Further information is available from North Wales Jazz
on 01745 812260 and at www.northwalesjazz.org.uk.