Jazz at Progress | The John Horler Trio: A Portrait  of Bill Evans | Tickets on sale soon

Friday 16 May 2025 | Progress Theatre, Reading | 7: 30pm | £19.00 (£17.00 concessions, £10 under 16) plus maximum 5% booking fee.

John Horler piano
Alec Dankworth bass
Ronnie Jones drums

John Horler makes a welcome return to Jazz at Progress with his Portrait of Bill Evans. Accompanied by his long-time associate Alec Dankworth on bass and Ronnie Jones on drums, John will bring his ‘moonlight’ touch and imaginative flair for swinging improvisation to pay tribute to Bill Evans and his groundbreaking trio

John is a highly respected pianist and composer who has earned a formidable reputation on the British jazz scene over many years. Growing up in a musical family his gifts emerged at an early age and by the age of sixteen he was studying clarinet and piano at the Royal Academy of Music – an institution where, at that time in the mid-1960s, jazz was neither studied nor valued. John’s abilities were eventually fully acknowledged in later years when he was made an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music (ARAM) for his services to music

Perhaps best known for his 26-year stint as accompanist to Dame Cleo Laine, John’s impeccable credentials include playing in the big bands of Sir John Dankworth and Maynard Ferguson and supporting scores of visiting guest stars from America, most memorably a week-long gig with Chet Baker at The Canteen. He has worked with legends of the British scene such as Ronnie Ross, Peter King, Kenny Wheeler, Tommy Whittle, Tony Coe, Simon Spillett and Alan Barnes, and broadcast and recorded extensively,  including a number of highly acclaimed albums by his own trio

In his biographical notes, John writes:

For me music, and especially jazz, is about togetherness, about individual input being merged with others to make a whole piece of music.

I was not enthusiastic about the piano as a jazz instrument until I heard Bill Evans. He absorbed the music of the European composers Debussy, Ravel and even Brahms, which he welded into his own very special jazz language. I embraced that almost immediately and even today he is s till the most influential figure in my playing; not in a copying sense I hope, but in an inspirational way.

This is a priceless opportunity to see one of Britain’s most acclaimed jazz pianists playing the music he loves – not to be missed. As the saying goes, ‘Everybody Digs Bill Evans’.

‘John Horler is a quiet, dedicated, gently humorous man, the kind of musician whose work steals up on you. His piano playing, almost placid on the surface, is full of unexpected turns and hidden surprises.’ – Dave Gelly The Observer

Listen to John Horler & Tony Coe on ‘A Piece for Poppy’ from their album Dancing in the Dark recorded at the 2007 Appleby Jazz Festival https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8t0Ahp0Zv8.