|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
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.
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
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 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.
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.
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 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.