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.
Luke Tomlinson is a young and budding drummer on the rise on the UK music scene. Originally hailing from Derby in the East Midlands, Luke began playing drums at the age of 6 and was working professionally by the time he was 13.
After studying with some of the UK’s finest musicians, such as Matt Skelton, Gareth Lockrane, and Martin France, Luke eventually made the move to London in 2015 to study Jazz Performance at the Royal Academy of Music.
He has, since then, begun to firmly establish himself on the London jazz scene as “a highly-charged, creative and swinging drummer” (Gareth Lockrane) with world-renowned jazz vibraphonist Joe Locke describing him as “an excellent drummer… it was a lot of fun playing with him”.
Luke currently plays regularly with jazz artists such as Claire Martin OBE, Emma Smith (Jazz Now – BBC Radio 3), Ray Gelato (Sir Paul McCartney, Robbie Williams and HM The Queen) and Claire Teal (BBC Radio 2).
Alongside his jazz career, Luke also has a strong foot-hold in the pop industry, playing regularly with promising, up and coming artists such as Peter Ibbetson (George Fitzgerald), NYM (Paloma Faith), Caleb Hawley and his own funk/EDM-inspired group, Said Skeleton. Most recently, Luke is now the drummer for the National Youth Jazz Orchestra and can be seen playing at prestigious venues such as The Hideaway and Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club.“