Brand new show starts Friday 4 September!

Throughout May, June and July I broadcast a live jazz show every Friday night called "Orpington Virtual Jazz Club". Recordings of the shows are available to view at my YouTube channel, which you can reach HERE.

From September I'll be broadcasting my new show every Friday night live on YouTube.

Sign up with your email address to join my Virtual Jazz Club and every Friday evening, one hour before the start of the show, you will receive an email which contains the invitation link. 

 

Entry is FREE but donations can be made at www.paypal.me/busterbirch

which will be split with the guests.

Invitations are sent by email at 7:00pm each Friday
and the show starts at 8:00pm
Watch this trailer video to see the unveiling of my new logo!
Fri 4 September

8:00pm ​

show #01 with John Etheridge

John Etheridge rightly enjoys a glowing reputation throughout the jazz world and beyond and has been described by Pat Metheny as, "One of the best guitarists in the world". He is a prodigiously gifted and creative player whose approach to music can only be described as 'eclectic' as he refuses to accommodate or even acknowledge artificial musical boundaries. His range is well illustrated by his years of touring and recording with the iconic Stephane Grappelli while simultaneously doing likewise with the legendary jazz-fusion group, The Soft Machine. John is equally at home on acoustic and electric guitar and his willingness to engage with so many styles is matched by his ability to excel in any of them. He has played with John Williams, Yehudi Menuhin, Dizzie Gillespie, Herb Ellis, Mundell Lowe, Nigel Kennedy, Pat Metheny, Birelli Lagrene, Barney Kessel, Vic Juris and countless others. John's ability as an outstanding composer is sometimes overlooked but he is often under pressure from audiences to feature more of his own material.

John's promise was evident even during his earliest days of playing and he received recognition and encouragement from both Jimi Hendrix, whose comment was "You're great", and Eric Clapton, who told him after a gig, "You're not a great blues player but you're a great guitarist." 

After graduating in the History of Art in 1970 from Essex University and returning to London, John started to get seriously noticed when working in the various bands such as ex-Curved Air violinist Darryl Way's Wolf, an early jazz/rock outfit with whom he recorded three albums. His 1975 leap into the front rank came when he was contacted by The Soft Machine after they had been given his number by the departing Allan Holdsworth. The Soft Machine enjoyed legendary status as Europe's premier jazz-fusion exponents and John made a real impression as part of the band. This stage of his playing career is celebrated in the 2006 released DVD 'Guitar Legends’. Less than a year after joining The Soft Machine, the great Diz Disley suggested that he would be Diz's ideal successor to play alongside the stellar jazz violinist and ex-sparring partner of Django Rheinhardt, Stephane Grappelli. He spent the next 6 years touring the world in collaboration with Grappelli in what he describes as one of his happiest times in music; he certainly refers to this period with great affection. John played on a number of recordings with Stephane including two which featured the peerless classical violinist, Yehudi Menuhin.

Through the eighties and nineties, John could be found honing his craft and extending his range even further with collaborations with the likes of Vic Juris and Dick Heckstall-Smith. John was also working frequently with Elton Dean as the Elton Dean/John Etheridge Quartet. The great Manouche guitarist, Birelli Lagrene was another touring partner in what was a gypsy jazz feast for their audiences. John's theme of working with the cream of violinists was to continue when he played with Didier Lockwood, featuring on his first album, New World, as part of an all-star line-up including Gordon Beck (piano), Tony Williams (drums) and Niels-Henning Ørsted-Pedersen (bass). From 1993 John toured extensively with Nigel Kennedy and was featured on the 1996 album 'Kafka'. 1994 saw John joining his long-time friend and ex-Police guitarist Andy Summers for a world tour and they released the album 'Invisible Threads' as a duo. "I never wanted to be a star, just a highly respected musician like John Etheridge" Sting (The Guardian 1981) Then there is 'The Zappatistas', an exhilarating eight-piece line-up playing the music of the irreplaceable Frank Zappa with John excelling in the great man's role and co-leading the band. In July 2006, John began touring a great new programme in a duo set-up with John Williams, the most celebrated classical guitarist of this generation. John Williams had always retained a desire to explore further the enticing combination of classical and steel-string guitar and got back in contact with John to realise this ambition. The coming together of these two great players is a genuine musical milestone, not just in their performance but also in their instruments. 

A measure of the universal respect for John's accomplishment and skill was his nomination as one of just three finalists for the highly prestigious award for the 2006 Jazz Musician of the Year, presented on May 10th at the Parliamentary Jazz Awards ceremony at the House of Commons. In 2007 Williams and Etheridge undertook a months tour of the USA ,which was followed in 2008 by a tour of Australia and New Zealand.

For more info see www.johnetheridge.com

Fri 4 September

8:00pm 

show #02 with Simon Spillett

Described by the late Humphrey Lyttelton as "formidable," Simon Spillett is a British jazz saxophonist who leads his own quartet featuring John Critchinson (piano), Alec Dankworth (bass) and Clark Tracey (drums). He has won several awards for his music, including the tenor saxophone category of the British Jazz Awards (2011), Jazz Journal magazine's Critic's Choice CD of the Year (2009) Rising Star in the BBC Jazz Awards (2007) and most recently the Services to British Jazz Award in the 2016 British Jazz Awards. Other celebrated jazz leaders and bands with whom he has worked have included Sir John Dankworth, Stan Tracey, Peter King and The Ronnie Scott's Jazz Orchestra. He has recorded three albums, Introducing Simon Spillett(Woodville Records, 2007), Sienna Red (Woodville Records, 2008) and Square One (Gearbox Records, 2013), all of which have received highly favourable reviews in both the specialist and national press. His festival, concert and club appearances across the UK have included sold-out gigs at Ronnie Scott's and the Brecon Jazz Festival and he has broadcast on BBC Radio 3's Jazz-Line Up with his own band.

In 2016, Simon was appointed to the board of patrons of The Jazz Centre UK, alongside Sir Michael Parkinson, Dame Cleo Laine, Jools Holland and Van Morrison. 

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