Alan Barnes


Alan Barnes was born in Altrincham, Cheshire on 23rd July 1959. He took up the clarinet at the age of 12, and alto saxophone at 15.

1977-80 Alan studied saxophone, clarinet, flute and arranging at Leeds College of Music.

In 1980 he moved to London, playing with the Midnight Follies Orchestra and the following year was with the Pasadena Roof Orchestra, touring Europe until 1983. In that year he left to join the hard bop band of Tommy Chase where he attracted considerable attention on the UK jazz scene for the first time.

He left Chase in 1986 to co-lead The Jazz Renegades with rock drummer Steve White travelling as far afield as Japan and recording four well received albums.

In 1988, in a chance encounter on a plane, Humphrey Lyttleton invited Alan to join his band, replacing Bruce Turner who was leaving after 18 years.

1987-97, he also ran the Pizza Express Modern Jazz Sextet with young modernists Gerard Prescencer and Dave O’Higgins.

Since leaving Humph in 1993, Alan has concentrated on his freelance career:

As a sideman, he broadcast regularly over a ten-year period with the BBC Big Band, Radio Orchestra and Concert Orchestra and has toured and recorded with big band leaders, Dick Walter, Kenny Baker, Bob Wilber, Mike Westbrook, Don Weller, Stan Tracey and John Dankworth.

Other bands he has toured and recorded with include the Tina May Trio, Bill LeSage's Genetically Modified Quintet, Spike Robinson's Tenor Madness, Pete York (in Germany),Clare Teale, Clark Tracey and David Newton’s “Bootleg Eric” and a sextet with Don Weller playing the music of Cannonball Adderley. Alan has also toured the U.K. with Warren Vache, Scott Hamilton, Ken Peplowski and Freddie Hubbard.

Alan has long associations with pianist David Newton, going back to their college days, and with blistering be-bop trumpeter Bruce Adams, with whom he has co-led a quintet since the early nineties.

Alan has been featured on many jazz recordings from his first record date as

co-leader in 1985 with Tommy Whittle, including releases on the Miles Music, Concord, Specific, Nagel Hayer and Zephyr labels.

He has appeared as a session musician on albums by Selina Jones, Bjork, Bryan Ferry, Michel LeGrande, Van Morrison, Clare Teale, Westlife and Jamie Cullum and can be found on film and television soundtracks including “Chicago” and jingles such as the Tetley Bitter series of advertisements which featured his solo baritone.

Alan has appeared regularly for five years as a member of the Laurie Holloway Orchestra on TV’s Michael Parkinson Show.

In 2000 Alan toured America for Three months with Warren Vache’s eleven-piece band- a project for which he had written most of the arrangements.

In 2001 he featured on baritone at the Blue Note Clubs in New York and Tokyo with the Charlie Watts Tentet and gave solo performances in South Africa.

Over the years, Alan has won many British Jazz Awards in the alto, baritone, clarinet and arranging categories. In 2001 and 2006 he received the prestigious BBC Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year award and in 2003 was made a fellow of the Leeds College of Music.

2003 was also the year that saw the inception of Alan’s own record label Woodville Records. He has produced over 40 CDs including ones playing with Scott Hamilton, Warren Vache, Ken Peplowski, Harry Allen, David Newton, Bruce Adams and, Martin Taylor. He has also produced recordings of his contemporaries such as Jim Hart, Simon Spillett and Enrico Tomasso.

Compositions and commissions include “The Sherlock Holmes Suite”, “The Swanage Suite”, The Marbella Suite”, settings of E.E. Cummings and other poets for Norma Winstone and jazz sextet and along with Andy Panayi, a series of big band pieces depicting British jazz greats. He has also collaberated with Alan Plater, on two series of jazz songs “Songs For Unsung Heroes” and “Seven Ages of Jazz” and a musical “Looking for Buddy” which was presented at the Octagon Theatre Bolton and Live Space Gateshead.

Alan also often comperes jazz events and has appeared in this role for the last 10 years at the Scarborough jazz festival. He also has had long associations at the Swanage, Appleby and Titley Festivals.

Latest projects include The Liquorice-stick All-sorts with Jim Hart on vibes and Paul Clavis on drums, an all-star octet playing the music of Duke Ellington, duo recording with Martin Taylor and David Newton, an album of Art Pepper’s music, Arnie Somegyi’s “Scenes in The City” featuring the music of Charles Mingus, new arrangements of Johnny Mandel songs to feature Anita Wardell and a new quintet with Tony Kofi.

Alan also recently featured on the Bryan Ferry “ Jazz Age” recording and Great Gatsby soundtrack. He has recently been touring with Paloma Faith and the Guy Barker Orchestra, as well as fulfilling his own busy freelance schedule.


Visit Alan Barnes' personal website.


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