Cool-Down Cabaret: Guy Barker

Guy Barker & Friends
Tuesday 12th May 10.00pm

Guy Barker’s career has moved through several distinct phases, travelling along a linear course from jazz soloist and sideman, through bandleader, composer and latterly one of the most in-demand arrangers in Europe, while at the same time shooting off into fascinating tangents, with forays into theatre and movies. The late Anthony Minghella, a long-time admirer, asked Guy to arrange music  for two of his films, The Talented Mr Ripley and The No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. He said of Guy: “Guy Barker is that rare thing – a brilliant soloist, a born leader and a generous accompanist. He can play so your heart breaks or your head swivels.”

A staggeringly accomplished musician with an affinity for all styles of music, Guy’s distinctive trumpet sound can be heard across a wide range of genres. In the instrumental jazz field, he has worked with Gil Evans, Ornette Coleman, Quincy Jones, Wynton Marsalis, Nat Adderley, Hermeto Pascal, Joe Henderson, Carla Bley, John Dankworth, Stan Tracey, Billy Cobham and many others. The world of the Great American Song Book led him to tour with Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Lena Horne, Liza Minnelli, and Mel Tormé. Guy has also recorded eight solo albums, two of which were nominated for the Mercury Music Prize.

During the eighties and nineties London’s studio scene was buzzing. As a result, Guy, like many British jazz musicians, found himself playing sessions for the country’s top rock and pop performers. The list is a who’s who of hit-makers and includes Paul Weller, Sting, Van Morrison, Elvis Costello, Phil Collins, Grace Jones, Peter Gabriel, and George Michael.

Since 2008 he has been the Musical Director and arranger for the annual Jazz Voice concert at the Barbican, which opens the London Jazz Festival. This involves arrangements for a 42-piece orchestra and collaborating and arranging for renowned singers, including Kurt Elling, Jamie Cullum, Gregory Porter, Paloma Faith, Melody Gardot, Ian Shaw, Patti Austin, Lizz Wright, Kandace Springs, as well as many up-and coming vocalists. He performs a similar function at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival every year and Guy has formed long-lasting working relationships with many of the singers from both events.

He worked with Kurt Elling on a jazz radio play, The Big Blind, which was performed at New York’s Lincoln Centre in 2019. Two more concertos are in development plus there is a big band collaboration with Kansas Smitty’s House Band in prospect and a long-cherished project that will see the Soho Symphony turned into a film.

With Special Guests :

Giacomo Smith

Giacomo Smith was born in Italy and raised in upstate New York. He is the leader of the Kansas Smitty’s House Band performing on both clarinet and alto saxophone and composes extensively for their releases. As a soloist he has performed at Jazz at Lincoln Centre as part of the Wynton Marsalis big band, performed at the Royal Albert Hall with the Guy Barker Big Band and the Barbican Centre with the Lincoln Centre Jazz Orchestra. He is also a proud educator as both a member of the faculty at Django In June in Massachusetts and a workshop leader for the Abram Wilson Foundation.

Charlie Wood

Charlie Wood is a singer/songwriter and keyboardist whose work incorporates elements of jazz, blues, traditional R&B and popular music.
Born and raised in Memphis, Charlie headed to New Orleans, spending formative years soaking up the music and culture of the Big Easy and playing keys with local favourites like Charmaine Neville.  He returned to Memphis in his early twenties to join the band of legendary blues guitarist Albert King, with whom he toured the US and Europe.
Having established a musical reputation for himself, Charlie took up a long-standing residency with his Hammond organ trio at King’s Palace on Beale Street.  The gig became known to touring musicians and locals alike, attracting impromptu sit-ins from B.B. King, Georgie Fame, Joey DeFrancesco, George Coleman, Mulgrew Miller, Alvin Batiste, and many others.
In October 2014, Wood became the 136th recipient of a Brass Note on Beale Street, the Memphis equivalent of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  Other recipients include such musical luminaries as Elvis Presley, Al Green, and Isaac Hayes.
Wood is an accomplished and prolific singer/songwriter.  His original song “Promised Land” won the 2016 U.S.A. Songwriting Competition, Jazz category.
Notable performances have included the London Jazz Festival’s “Jazz Voice” at the Royal Festival Hall, BBC Radio 2’s “Friday Night Is Music Night” at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Radio 2’s “Jools Holland Show,” and numerous other concerts throughout the UK and Europe.

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