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Guildhall Big Band

A celebration of Art Blakey

Black and white image of Jean Toussaint holding saxophone

Guildhall Big Band pays tribute to drummer and bandleader Art Blakey in this season-closing concert, directed by Matt Skelton and featuring saxophonist Jean Toussaint who worked with Blakey himself.

One of the all-time jazz greats, and the driving force during the bebop era, playing with Monk, Bird, and Dizzy, Art Blakey possessed a huge amount of big band experience, having played in the groups of Fletcher Henderson, Lucky Millinder and Billy Eckstine in the forties. 

Few figures in jazz left a legacy as wide and deep as Art Blakey, from his playing to his associations. His powerful, thunderous playing was legendary, as was his dedication to performance even during periods when jazz's popularity was waning.

Guildhall Big Band are honoured to be working with legendary saxophonist Jean Toussaint, a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers from 1982, for this special celebration, featuring arrangements by Scott Stroman.

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Milton Court Concert Hall