A Summer Evening of Jazz



Starts: 26/07/2024 7:30 pm Ends: 10:30 pm

“With great power comes great responsibility”

• Chris Bowden is a British alto saxophonist, composer and arranger, working across a variety of genres from acoustic jazz to hip hop and drum and bass. As well as his solo releases he has contributed to music by 4Hero, The Herbaliser and the Heritage Orchestra among others. He is currently active with The Tomorrow Band and Scorched Earth.

Originally from Birmingham, UK, he began his professional career with The K-Creative in the early 90s acid jazz boom and also worked with Palm Skin Productions, Jessica Lauren and Jhelisa Anderson. His first solo album, Time Capsule (released by Soul Jazz in 1996) is a sprawling trip through funk and latin-infused jazz, a core quartet (sax, keys, bass and drums) augmented with strings, percussion and wordless backing vocals.

Bowden was then invited to work with 4Hero, developing an organic, jazz & soul-influenced take on drum and bass for the album Two Pages (1998). He played live with them and collaborated on a single, Hero. During this period Bowden also performed and MDd with James Mason on his Rhythm Of Life tour, and Doug Carn with a set compiled from his Black Jazz Records catalogue.

Following extensive work with The Herbaliser and a contribution to the legendary Xen Cuts compilation, Bowden’s second solo album Slightly Askew – gaining five star reviews
and performed and broadcast live on BBC Radio to open the London Jazz Festival – was released by Ninja Tune in 2002, further expanding on the blueprint of Time Capsule. The album became associated with the “future jazz” movement and led to to three BBC Jazz Award nominations and sell-out performances at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival, London’s Jazz Cafe and Cargo. In 2004-5 he joined The Heritage Orchestra, a group of over 40 musicians which added several of his compositions to its repertoire and played at London’s Barbican Centre, the Montreaux Jazz Festival and the Big Chill Festival.

Following his densely orchestrated solo albums and work with the Heritage Orchestra, a period of “revelatory self-discovery” and a contribution to a Serge Gainsbourg tribute album, he formed The Tomorrow Band, a trio of just sax, bass and drums. They’ve released two albums on Rehab Records: 3 To Get Ready (2007) and 2 To Get Set (2008), both of which focus on jazz standards rather than original compositions. He’s also part of Mike Gates’s Scorched Earth project, mixing jazz with folk-inspired guitar and vocals on the album Resistance to the passage of sound.


• James Owston (BBC Young Jazz Musician 2018) – Double bass

“Owston played with a skill and maturity beyond his years, his tone big and resonant, his time keeping immaculate and his solos highly dexterous and consistently engaging.” The Jazz Man.

James Owston is a Birmingham based double bassist and a highly active member of the UK Jazz scene.

In 2018 James performed at the Queen Elizabeth Hall as a Finalist in the BBC Young Jazz Musician Award.

In 2019 James made his debut as a Composer which has led to collaborations with across the UK and America.


• James (Jim) Bashford – Drums
Jim Bashford, a veteran of the local scene, is a drummer and composer who resides in Birmingham UK.
He is a faculty member at the Birmingham Conservatoire Jazz Course; a course in which he studied back in 2004 under drum tutors such as the great Tony Levin, Gene Calderazzo, Jeff Williams and Malcolm Garrett!

Jim has been a great mentor to many young musicians coming out of the Birmingham scene for many years and has developed and evolved his style alongside many legends including Drew Gress, Jean Toussaint and Hilmar Jensen.

• Toby Boalch – Keys
Birmingham-based pianist Toby Boalch is a familiar face on the scene, having appeared as a sideman with such local heroes as Percy Purseglove, Mike Williams, Chris Bowden and Jonathan Silk, as well as performing and touring with jazz luminaries Jean Toussaint, Mark Nightingale, Andy Panayi and Gene Calderazzo. As a bandleader and composer, Toby recorded and toured with his his sextet in 2013 (featuring Chris Maddock, John Fleming, Richard Foote, Jonathan Silk and Nick Jurd) resulting in his first album ‘State of Play’. In 2019 Toby toured his quartet (featuring Brigitte Beraha, Euan Palmer and Nick Jurd), and is now planning the recording of his second album.

We are thrilled to welcome this quartet back to the Blue Piano….some of the finest players currently on the scene.

Join us…