Karen, a multiple award winner and prominent artist on the jazz scene will be appearing with her long established line-up of Nikki Iles and Dave Green and exciting new drummer Luke Tomlinson – world class musicians who also happen to be great friends. Together they create a unique sound that is warm, spontaneous and exciting, incorporating free flowing improvisation with almost telepathic ensemble playing. They will be performing music from their long awaited second album, ‘The Sun, the Moon and You’ which includes familiar, lesser-known and original tunes showcasing the unique spirit of a band with a shared passion for strong melodies, group interplay and respect for the jazz tradition.
Karen Sharp – Saxophones
Nikki Iles – Piano
Dave Green – Bass
Luke Tomlinson – Drums
After graduating in composition at the Royal Northern College of Music, Karen discovered a love of jazz and was inspired to play the tenor sax by two giants of improvisation -Dexter Gordon and Sonny Rollins.
On relocating to London in 2000, Karen’s career took off when she was asked to join Humphrey Lyttelton’s band with whom she toured the UK and Europe for four years. During this period Karen also worked hard to establish her own band, recording the first of five albums under her own name and touring at festivals and jazz clubs. She has also toured and recorded extensively as a ‘side man’ with some wonderful musicians that include Tina May, Nikki Iles, Esther Miller, Jeremy Pelt, Alan Barnes, John Dankworth and Jacquie Dankworth. During this time Karen began appearing as a soloist working alongside musicians such as Ken Peplowski, Howard Alden, Scott Hamilton, Warren Vache and Harry Allen. Highlights of this period include the Ginza Festival in Tokyo, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival and the Singapore International Jazz Festival.
A busy and popular musician with an accessible yet distinctive style, Karen has won the tenor saxophone category of the British Jazz Awards on numerous occasions. She tours regularly with her quartet which features Nikki Iles, Dave Green and Steve Brown and she plays with numerous larger ensembles including Robert Fowler’s ‘Gerry Mulligan Concert Jazz Band’, Steve Waterman’s Big Band and the Stan Tracey Big Band.More recently Karen was delighted to be part of the ‘Guy Barker Big Band’, performing at the BBC proms in 2015 and 2017. Recent recording projects include the ‘Barnes/O’Higgins – The Sax Section’, a project for five saxophones, Alan Barnes’ ‘A Christmas Carol’, and her latest quartet album, ‘The Sun, The Moon and You’ released in 2018. In 2019 Karen was featured in February’s ‘Downbeat’ where she talks about her new album and her career to date.
Nikki Iles, pianist and composer, was a founder member of the innovative Creative Jazz Orchestra – working with Anthony Braxton, Mike Gibbs, Vince Mendoza and Mark-Anthony Turnage. Her busy freelance career has found her playing with Peter Erskine (CJO), Kenny Wheeler, Art Farmer, Julian Arguelles, Stan Sulzmann, Norma Winstone, Tony Coe, Tina May and Rufus Reid. Her music has been commissioned and performed by influential ensembles such as The London Sinfionetta, The Creative Jazz Orchestra, the London Philharmonic’s ‘Renga’ ensemble and Tim Garland’s Underground Orchestra.
Nikki has received an IAJE award in America for her services to Jazz and her profile as a performer has been duly recognised here with a British Jazz Award. In addition Nikki was nominated this year for a Parliamentary Jazz Award and two composition fellowships.
Born in London in 1942, Dave started on tea-chest bass in local skiffle groups before buying his first double bass at fifteen. Local gigs followed, often with neighbour Charlie Watts and trumpeter Brian Jones.
Turning professional in 1963 he worked with Keith Ingham, multi instrumentalist Pete Shade, the Don Rendell Quintet and Benny Goodman. In 1965 Dave joined Humphrey Lyttelton, remaining with the band for eighteen years, but managing to combine the work with playing with Stan Tracey and accompanying many visiting American jazzmen such as Zoot Sims, Sonnny Rollins, Ben Webser, AL Cohn and Benny Carter.
For the last fifteen years Dave has been part of the Scott Hamilton Quartet and he continues to work with Alan Barnes, Henry Lowther, Gareth Williams amongst many others.