Jazz at Progress | Jean Toussaint Quartet | Sold out

Friday 9 Febuary 2024 | Progress Theatre, Reading | 7: 30pm | £19.00 (£17.00 concessions, £10 under 16) plus maximum 5% booking fee.

Jean Toussaint saxes
Peter Billington on a real piano
Paul Jefferies double bass
Simon Price drums

Jean Toussaint Quartet

Jean Toussaint, born in the West Indies, raised on Saint Thomas Island (of the famous jazz tune) and in New York, a brilliant world-famous tenor and soprano saxophonist who came to fame as a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers 1982-1986. Toussaint moved to London in 1987 when he was invited to be artist-in-residence at the Guildhall School of Music.  In 2015/16 Toussaint devised a project dedicated to his mentor Blakey. The project was entitled “Roots & Herbs: The Blakey Project” and featured an all-star line-up of British jazz musicians with Julian Joseph, Byron Wallen, Dennis Rollins, Jason Rebello and Shane Forbes. The group toured the UK extensively throughout 2015/2016. In the International Stars Line Up for Jazz FM Awards he was ‘Instrumentalist Of The Year 2019’.

See this video of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers on tour in Germany in 1984, with a great intro of band members by Art Blakey followed by his drum intro of the first of two short tunes. Jean Toussaint solos in the two tunes are at 4.28 and 13.40 – view it here

Pete Billington, who will be playing a real piano, is a jazz pianist (and multi-instrumentalist) of immense repute. Fluid, articulate and perennially inventive, he is first-call pianist for many top level jazz stars and he also records and tours with some of the world’s great pop and rock players. He also teaches jazz piano and improvisation classes at Brunel University London.

Paul Jefferies is an accomplished bassist, promoter and teacher from Oxfordshire. He has made a name for himself as an active and successful promoter of music and musicians. He and his wife run the Little Live Music Company which creates live jazz music events and pop-up jazz clubs in Oxfordshire and surrounding counties.

Simon Price on drums with his Blakey-ish backbeat and propulsive drumming cannot fail to impress. He is the drummer of choice for many bands in the Thames Valley and Reading area and resident drummer and co-organiser with Stuart Henderson of the monthly jazz at the Retreat Pub in Reading.