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The Chris Walker Swingtet was formed in 1987 following a one-off Sunday lunchtime session for the Southampton Jazz Society. It gave the band the opportunity to explore and play many of the famous and much loved tunes from the swing era of the 1930s and 40s. The basic 5 piece line up of Clarinet/Sax, Guitar, Piano, Bass and Drums is a well established one and the band is happy that they are well received at so many and varied functions.

Equally at home providing dance music in the Country's leading hotels and Cruise liners as they are appearing in their own right or backing top National (and International) jazz stars at Festivals and in pubs and clubs, the Swingtet (which can appear as a 4, the regular 5 or even 6 piece to suit your requirements (and budget)) pride themselves as being particularly "user-friendly" and can easily be just the band for you.

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Chris Walker

 

Chris took up playing clarinet at the age of 15, having been a member of the school recorder band since he was 11. After leaving school he played regularly around the London jazz scene, as a member of The Freddy Shaw Jazzmen, before becoming a professional musician with The London City Stompers and, later, with the Mike Daniels Big Band and Colin Kingwell’s Jazz Bandits. Chris moved to Hampshire in 1969 and, since then, he has worked with most of the local and National jazz personalities, was a member of The Real Ale & Thunder Band for 18 years, and has run his own highly successful 5-piece ‘Swingtet’ for the last 30 years. Whilst with the Real Ale & Thunder Band, Chris was, in 1987, the musical director for an historic BBC “Songs of Praise” from The Maltings in Farnham and, between 1980 and today; he has produced a weekly series of music and information based jazz programmes for the BBC and other local radio all across the South.  

In addition to managing and fronting ‘The Chris Walker Swingtet’, Chris has, for Messrs P&O Cruises, co-ordinated Jazz Themes aboard 9 highly appraised cruises on board  Canberra and Oriana,  Aurora  and Artemis. He also acts as jazz advisor to Portsmouth City Council for their Jazz Day every summer on  Southsea  Sea  front, helped set up the original concept for the Chichester Real Ale & Jazz Festival, and now, annually arranges and hosts the jazz programme for the Reading Real Ale & Jazz Festival and the Lyme Regis Jazz Festival every July.  

Chris' weekly jazz programme can be heard on Castledown Radio at 7.00pm every Sunday. He can also be heard, every Thursday at 9pm,  presenting the Jazz hour on Express FM 93.7 -  live at www.expressfm.com  , on Fridays on Skyline radio at 7pm www.skylinecommunityradio.co.uk/ and, on Sundays, at 1pm (repeated on Tuesdays at 9pm) on Forest FM - 92.3 - live at www.forestfm.co.uk The Programme is also broadcast on Sunday evenings at 7.00pm on Castledown radio www.castledownradio.info/ 

He also produces and presents a complete jazz diary for the area which can be found on the Internet at www.jazzdates.co.uk  

Les Brown

Les was bitten by the jazz bug at the age of 15 and soon bought his first guitar. After playing around the London jazz scene he worked regularly in West End Theatres and Hotels alternating with many seaside summer seasons. Les 'retired' to Bournemouth in 1985 and has continued to play both jazz and commercial music in addition to music teaching.

Greg Painter

A founder member of the band, Greg has appeared regularly around the Hampshire scene since 1952 and spent many years playing solo piano at the Leigh Hotel in Eastleigh. Over the years he has worked with a variety of local bands including some two years as a member of Nat Gonella's Georgians. Greg lists his pianistic influences across a very wide spectrum - best summed up as "Anyone who can play properly!". When not with the band Greg is instrumental in encouraging young players through his regular jam sessions for the Southampton Jazz Society.

Brian Mursell

Brian is a “Caulkhead” (from The Isle Of Wight) but has spent most of his working life as a professional musician based in Bournemouth. Some years ago he was offered the job as bass player in the prestigious Alex Welsh Band but turned it down. He did, however make two fine LP’s with Alex’s pianist Fred Hunt. Another duet of which Brian is most proud took place at a Concert in Blandford when he played a selection with American Tenor Saxophonist Bud Freeman. Through being first call bassist for both the Southampton Jazz Society and The Blandford Jazz Circle, Brian has backed most of the visiting National & International jazz stars. Brian has played on 4 world cruises and it is this vast experience that makes him the ideal bass player for the Swingtet.

John Bell

John was born in Nottingham in 1948. In his teens he was lucky enough to accompany visiting bands such as The Nashville Teens, The Walker Brothers and P.J. Proby in his role as the “local drummer”. He moved to London in 1966 to study the clarinet at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and paid his way as a session drummer. After completing his studies he moved to Hampshire and began a continued association with Tim Colwell’s Jazz Friends, The Real Ale and Thunder Band and various groups organised by Ray D’Inverno.  Jazz Friends and The Ray D’Inverno Trio won the Dunkerque International Jazz Festival in the early eighties and, as part of their “prize”, played on the same set as the Duke Ellington Orchestra and the Count Basie Band. John is now a consultant in primary music education to Trinity/Guildhall and Her Majesties Inspectorate. His main drumming influences are Jack De Johnnette and  Steve Gadd, although he appreciates all styles that are played well.