So Duncan how long have you been playing the Saxophone for?
I started when I was at secondary school at the age of 15. Which means I’ve been playing for around 15 years now.
How did you get into jazz?
Well I wanted to study music at A level but needed a secondary instrument to do so. My main instrument at the time was piano which id been playing since the age of 8 and my music teacher was a saxophonist so he said he would give me lessons. I joined the school big band as soon as I started my sax lessons and intently warmed to jazz music.
Did you do any grade exams on the sax or the piano?
Yes I did! I completed all of the ABRSM classical grades from 1-8 on the piano by the age of 18. On the sax I did grade 8 in both classical and in jazz actually on the same day with the same examiner at the age of 18.
Did you study jazz anywhere after college and who were your favorite teachers?
Yes I went on to study at the prestigious Trinity College of Music based in London and after the 4-year course I came out with a BMUS (hons) In jazz performance. I was very fortunate to have some really great teachers that are well respected in the jazz community worldwide. My first ever sax teacher when I was 16 was Mornington Lockett who taught me the fundamentals in jazz improvisation and repertoire. Then whilst at trinity I had Russell Van Den Berg for my whole 4 years who helped me develop my own sound and approach towards music.
Who are your 10 favorite jazz musicians of all time?
Walter Smith III
What kind of bookings do you tend to get with Silver Stage Jazz?
Mainly drink receptions at weddings, private party’s and corporate events
What are 15 of your favorite tunes to play with Silver Stage Jazz at a wedding or corporate function?
The tunes that always seem to go down well at weddings or corporate events are:
Fly Me To The Moon
The Pink Panther
Girl from Ipenema
Body and Soul
Take the A Train
My Funny Valentine
Come Fly With Me
Do you take song requests at weddings private parties and corporate functions?
Yes we certainly do! We all have a huge repertoire and can play pretty much any jazz standard you can think of. Preferably give us some notice before a gig if there are any specific tunes you want us to play but there’s a good chance you could ask us on the day and we’d know it.
What different kinds of jazz can you play at an event?
All sorts really. We’ve got a vast range of material for sets of:
Back ground jazz
Jazzed up pop tunes
Jazzed up Christmas tunes
What is the standard kind of jazz that most people request for drink receptions?
At a drinks reception background atmospheric jazz works really well. As it creates a warm and sophisticated atmosphere that guests can still easy talk over and mingle.
Can you Taylor a set to any occasion?
We Sure Can. We’ve been asked to do pop tunes in a jazzy style before such as Happy by Pharrel and Valerie by Amy Winehouse. We do Jazz versions of television theme tunes such as the Flintstones and the Simpsons, Also we’ve done sets of jazzed up Christmas carols for winter corporate events so don’t be shy to ask if we can do something no matter how crazy you may think it sounds.
Do you ever play in jazz clubs in London?
Oh yes! I Play regularly at Ronnie Scotts Jazz club as well as the Hideaway, 606 Jazz Club, The Vortex, The Bulls Head, Pizza express jazz club (Dean Street).
What is your favorite jazz gig you’ve ever done?
Well I’d have to say Vancouver Jazz Festival with the great jazz singer Ola Onabule. It was the first time I’ve ever been to Canada, which was part of a 10 day tour around Canada. There were thousands of people in the audience and it was a really iconic venue that I’ve always wanted to play at.