Category Archives: Jazz

Andrew Small Is Bringing You The Smoothest Sounds With New Album ‘What Happens Now?’


After spending most of his professional career playing live and working in the studio with artists such as Kylie Minouge, Il Divo and Massive Attack, Jazz drummer and writer Andrew Small is breaking into the spotlight, with “Crisps and Chocolate” in hand.

Andrew has been a well respected session player, and after doing multiple shows in front of audiences who are there for the main acts, he now is breaking into the jazz fusion scene and has managed to get a committed ensemble together including saxophone players Steve Cole and Euge Groove.

So if this Jazz, funk fusion sounds like the exact thing for you, be sure to check him out:



Twitter:  @andrewsmalldrum

Instagram:  andrewsmalldrums


Crack Of Dawn Set To Release Brand New Album ‘Spotlight’

Welcoming back to the stage, Crack of Dawn! 

After years away from the ‘Spotlight’, this group of highly talented and skilled musicians have recorded and are set to release their latest album, which promises not to disappoint.

The collective minds of musicians Alvin Jones, Greg Gooding, Carl Harvey, Michael Dunston and Trevor Daley have joined forces once again to bring fans a bit of funk back into your lives.

Even Though they are drawing style from their early days, Crack of Dawn are also using new era funk and pop, each member providing musical experiences they have had throughout the years. Little nods to artists such as Bruno Mars, Earth, Wind and Fire and Parliament Funkadelic are heard throughout, even though Crack of Dawn still keep it fresh and make it their own.

With a eclectic mix of tracks this new addition to the world of Crack of Dawn is a great and worthy piece that fans and music listeners everywhere will love.



Belle Chen: For Any And All Music Lovers


As a guy who’s spent most of his music life listening to Green Day, Metallica and other punk and metal bands, I wouldn’t have expected to have seen a brand new, completely unique and overall harmonious performance by Pianist Belle Chen.

On the 18th of October, I went to go see Belle Chen, a Pianist who was playing her brand new album ‘Mademoiselle’ live, at the Senate House in London. This event was part of the Bloomsbury festival, which welcomes a wide range of different acts and performance pieces. I was immediately intrigued by Belle Chen’s eclectic mix in the description. Drawing from Classical, Electro as well as aspects of Jazz, this was an appealing and exciting collaboration of genres.

Ranging from, beautiful, delicate and emotional piano playing, to heavy, darkened and thought provoking sounds and sights(with the help of an interpretive dancer).

The night started with a small composition as an opener, to which Belle would talk about the night ahead later on after the piece was finished. She explained that she would take us as the audience on a journey, to which there were 3 parts. Throughout, there would be the use of instruments and tools such as a loop pedal and sound art which diversified the overall show giving it more colour and vibrancy.

There was one piece that was mesmerising to witness, which was Claude Debussy’s ‘Claire De Lune’, a famous composition which is associated with Moonlight, and after listening to that, walking out to a crisp London night was the perfect environment for the music that would define the evening.

Twitter: @bellepianist
Instagram: @bellepianist

Multi-Talented Lawrence Preston Is Back, With New Single ‘Something For You’


Lawrence Preston has returned to top form with his funk-soul roots, with brand new track ‘Something For You’.

Lawrence Preston has always been a formidable player in the funk-soul scene, with original hit ‘Driving Me Away’, which was actually one of the first songs he wrote in the early 90’s. As well as this, his previous album release, ‘And Now, Lawrence Preston’, which was released in 1997.

Lawrence first began his musical journey at an early age, where he would watch and take part of his parents gospel group ‘The Sensational Travelers’, he would then at the age of 5 years old, he would be hired to front another family group, known as the ‘Fantastic Four’. 

Throughout his professional career, he has managed to gain strengths and talents in a number of varied areas, becoming a bass player for many touring bands and artists such as Dorothy Morrison. While he had honed his craft throughout the years, he soon found himself motivated to write and record his own original material, which led to him gaining skills in being a producer, writer and performer.

Now with the release of new track, Lawrence is ready to take on the world, and restore a little bit of funk back into your day.





Lapp X: Melow Sounds for Everyone and Anyone

Luke Papini, a story telling-singer, is making his way to the top with this new outlook on songwriting, that could change everything.

Based in London, Luke Papini aka Lapp X, has been honing his craft and developing as a storytelling-singer. A new way to portray emotion, feeling and thoughts. Luke has recorded a number of songs and has also got a degree in music, which he studied in Liverpool.

Luke, previous to this new venture was part of a Liverpool band named ‘Wild Rossa And The ‘88’. Which he then separated from, which he refers to as ‘doing a Zayn’ and is now attempting to go solo, while finding players and new musicians along the way. With sounds intertwined from the likes of Frank Ocean and Van Morrison, however providing 70’s disco Pop styled instrumentation.

I feel that today’s mainstream music lacks lyrical emphasisLuke explains. One of Luke’s main influences are stories, one in particular which is the main source of inspiration for his new songSunny’, is Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger. He has taken elements of the novel, life lessons and emotions and written them into the song.

Be sure to check the song out!




Natalie Kocab & Michaela Polakova have moved me…

Natalie Kocab & Michaela Polakova are new to me, but god have they made an impression. Not only does their latest release have the Ex-Verve guitarist Nick McCabe lending his talents to the pair but its a dark, etherial masterpiece. Move Nick Cave Natalie and Michaela are taking over!

The new album ‘Ellis Island’ really stands out as not just a great album but as a work of art. Ever tracks stand apart from the last moving though Cocteau Twins to The National, the pairs sound hits on al the right notes taking influence from some greats.

‘Ellis Island’ is out now on Warner Music, Listen below:

Follow Natalie Kocab & Michaela Polakova:




‘Short Sharp Scratch’ from Alt-Grunge to Post Pop!

So, Once you’ve played in a band that is alt-grunge, with a couple of funk styled riffs, where do you go!? Well it wasn’t hard for Jak Chantler to find where his passion would take him next.

Jak Chantler is the lead composer, producer and performer in ‘Short Sharp Scratch’, a funk based, soulful synth pop project that has just released their first track titled ‘Shell suit’. 

This song is an interesting yet superb entry into the local soft synth and Alt-Pop world, but Jak has stated that future releases differ and that they will feature new ideas a creative direction, “the first release is soulful synth pop taking influence from chic and Chaka Chan. However, future releases will be different”. 

Jak grew up in Folkestone, but studied in Guilford. He then formed ‘Kingskin’, who won best Unsigned Artist, awarded by Kerrang. Jak, now has been experimenting with different sounds and has this as a solo project, in which Chantler aims to create era-defying, positive tunes.




Connie Constance: A New Generation of Songwriter?

The young, 21 year old R&B songstress Connie Constance is making waves in the UK music scene with her beautiful blend of poetry, punk and jazz all stemming from unique points of inspiration. Perhaps this is how the new generation of songwriters work?

Whilst she may sound nothing like The Spice Girls, Connie cites them as one of her main influences, perhaps not in terms of the music, but more due to their personalities as women: “they were totally owning being a female in the nineties, and became so influential to younger people.”

Despite this, Connie also focuses on poetry as a starting point for her songs.  She says “I had somewhere to release, and sometimes I would base the whole song off my poems. I really want to encourage kids to write down how they feel or express how they feel somehow.”

Connie even uses her mad dreams as material for writing original songs. She describes how one particular dream inspired her latest single ‘Clouds’: “At one point I was flying and when I was moving my hand I could feel the wind going through them, it was crazy. It was like ‘Woah what is going on in my mind’ so when I woke up I just put it straight down, but you don’t forget them.”


Find out more about the Manchester Jazz act Mercury who are totally re-shaping jazz with their unique sound.

Acclaimed contemporary jazz act, Mercury, gear up for the release of their new album Sea Speak along with an exciting tour across the North of England.

 Watch album teaser for Sea Speak here on Youtube:


Formed out of a bunch of music students from RNCN, Mercury performed their first gig at the Manchester Jazz Festival back in 2012. Here they were discovered by a group of organisers at the legendary Kings Place in London, who were so impressed by the group’s sound that they invited them to play at King’s Place itself, propelling the band into a new level of recognition.

How did you get your initial start in music?

We all studied at University. But I think I can speak for everyone if I say that learning to be a musician is a life long thing. I started at about 6 – its the best time to start. But we all started playing together whilst at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. The genesis of this band was actually as a warm up for Robert Glasper when he performed at the college.

What would your ultimate aim in the industry be?

All any jazz musician really wants to be respected by their peers as a player of good music. With Mercury its always been about having that clear reference to the music we love outside of Jazz. So hopefully, we can bring people who listen to other genres, who might hear a little of their favourite sounds in what we do, into the fold a little bit as far as Jazz music goes.

How long have you been writing your own music?

12 years

Who are your top 3 influences and why?

Speaking personally, when I’m writing tunes for this band I always try and think about texture and how we can use the instruments in an interesting way to create that. The true genius of that for me is Ravel. Then there’s the energy and freedom of Jimi Hendrix (and Chris Potter). The other big influence has been a trumpeter, Mathias Eick. Hearing him play actually kicked off the sound of this band for me.

Is there anything you would like people to know about your current release?

It’s our second album, but its the first one with a 5 piece line up, so we’ve added Fender Rhodes.

Where are you based and what’s your local scene like? Any favourite venues?

We’re all based in Manchester. Manchester’s always had an amazingly diverse independent music scene, obviously. There’s some really different and world class Jazz going on in the city at the moment. It’s a great scene to be part of, because everyone is pushing forwards and keeping each other on their toes.

Who else can you recommend from your local scene for people to have a listen to?

Well, there’s so much to check out from Manchester. All the guys in Mercury have some fascinating projects going on outside of our band. So Thomas Dibb is really closely involved as a player and songwriter with Lauren Housley; she’s writing some great country/blues influenced pop and has a fantastic live band. Richard Jones, our keyboard player is a member of Beats and Pieces big band who keep going from strength to strength. Johnny Hunter has two incarnations of his quartet, one very hard bop and one very free which are both excellent. And check out Gavin Barras’s album “Day of Reckoning”.

Give our readers a roundup of where they can find you online and hear more of your music.

We’re on Twitter @MercuryMancs and We also have our website You can get our first album Mercury:[LP] on iTunes and Spotify but also CD’s on BandCamp. And the new album Sea Speak is available now on our Tour, on BandCamp and soon on iTunes.


Get to Know: Neil C Young


  1. How did you get your initial start in music?

I first got into music when i was around 4 years of age, there was a piano in the house and so i messed around on that and then sang and played any/every instrument available at school. My Dad was the person who enabled me and still inspires me to create and play.

  1. What would be your ultimate aim in the industry?

To be able continue and develop the way I create and play music and to be able to play in as many different countires and learn as many different types of music from around the world and let them influence my music.

  1. How long have you been writing your own music?

Since as long as I can remember, I either start writing something that then turns into a huge practice or, I start practicing something unrelated and then end up writing something new from that! This can also take place on a gig, in the middle of something a line or a little chord sequence spring out of nowhere and thats a new thing to work on later that night or the next day, (cliche alert***) it just keeps on giving!?!?

  1. Who are your top three influences and why?

My dad – always made and performed music, always enthused and encouraging about music and its big picture values and its ability to bring people together along with its individual theraputic powers.

My Mum – see above

Gary Boyle – Old guitar teacher who unknowingly is a mentor. Relentless in the quest to get better at expressing himself and getting better musically and instrumentally.

  1. Is there anything you would like people to know about your current release?

Its a trio album (guitar, bass and drums) in contrast to the last one which was for 2 kits, 4 horns, bass and guitar. I using some established forms such as Gospel and Latin music but it also is a development of the serial techniques that I have been working on over the past few years and a conscious move away from the harmonic and melodic writing that i had been using before. Bit by bit I’m finding something new.

  1. Where are you based and what’s your local scene like? Any favourite venues?

I’m based in the north of England but get around a fair bit. Favourite venues that I’ve played at recently would be Strays in Newark, The Stonewell Tavern in Lancaster and The Blue PIano, Birmngham.

  1. Who else can you recommend from your local scene for people to have a listen to?

The local scene could be split between Colne, Lancashire on one side of the hill and the North/West Yorkshire side of same large hill. In terms of Jazz, in Colne there’s a cracking trio of Dan Arnold (guitar), Jonathan Towers (Bass) and Ben Gonzalez (drum kit -who incidentally features on the new album). On the Yorkshire side, there’s the vocalist Rebecca Joy, and whole load of guitarist led by Adrian Ingram, Darren Dutson-Bromley, Steve Hemsworth, Sam Dunn..I could go on but the best place to find out is the Huddersfield Jazz Guitar Society. You’ll find em on Facebook…

  1. Give our readers a round up of where they can find you online and hear more of your music.

    The music is available via the usual on line sites, spotify etc. and you can find me at or on twitter @neilcyoung or there is a facebook page – neilcyoungtrio come by and say something to us!