Alan Barnes & Dave Newton

Alan Barnes and David Newton have been playing duets together for over 37 years. These multi award-winners cover a vast repertoire from Louis Armstrong to Chick Corea and play with an empathy that can only come with long experience. The emphasis, as always, is on swinging, accessibility and interplay.

Alan Barnes - saxophones and clarinet

David Newton - piano

Ribble Valley Jazz & Blues is delighted to have Alan Barnes and David Newton open the 2018 Ribble Valley Jazz Festival. 

No surprise that these two very popular and immensely talented UK musicians have headed up numerous UK jazz festivals, and are making welcome returns to a Ribble Valley stage, albeit making a debut at Clitheroe’s popular new venue, Holme’s Mill.  Alan & Dave have been playing duets together for over many years. As multi award-winners they both cover a vast repertoire from Louis Armstrong to Chick Corea and play with an empathy that can only come with long experience. The emphasis, as always, is on swinging, accessibility and interplay.  Not only that, it is notable that their performances are very accessible, and extremely engaging.   Possibly the best festival opening gig in 8 years.

Playing in support are the young Burton-in-Kendal band, Muskrat Ramble, who appeared at Lancaster Jazz Festival 2017, and who will “ … bring the swing to anything!”

Both Alan Barnes & Dave Newton have appeared previously at Ribble Valley Jazz Festivals, so this is a very welcome return.

Alan Barnes is a prolific international performer, composer, arranger, bandleader and touring soloist, best known for his work on clarinet, alto and baritone sax, where he combines a formidable virtuosity with a musical expression and collaborative spirit that have few peers.  His range and brilliance have made him a “first call” for studio and live work since his precocious arrival on the scene more than thirty years ago.

His recorded catalogue is immense.  He has made over thirty albums as leader and co-leader alone, and the list of his session and side-man work includes Bjork, Bryan Ferry, Michel LeGrande, Clare Teale, Westlife, Jools Holland and Jamie Cullum. He has toured and played residencies with such diverse and demanding figures as Ruby Braff, Freddie Hubbard, Scott Hamilton, Warren Vache, Ken Peplowski, Harry Allen and Conte Candoli.

In British jazz, the young Barnes was recognised – and hired – by the established greats of the time:  Stan Tracy, John Dankworth, Kenny Baker, Bob Wilber, and Humphrey Lyttelton.  But he is equally respected for his longstanding and fruitful collaborations with contemporaries such as David Newton, Bruce Adams, and Martin Taylor.

Alan Barnes’s unique musicianship, indefatigable touring, and warm rapport with audiences have made him uniquely popular in British jazz.  He has received over 25 British Jazz Awards, in 2014 and 2017 for clarinet, and has twice been made BBC Jazz Musician of the Year.

Dave Newton had a musical upbringing with the piano trio sound of Peterson, Tatum or Garner an ever-present feature in the Newton household. Graduating from Leeds College of Music in 1979 he freelanced around Yorkshire, becoming resident musician at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough for two and a half years.  After four years on the Edinburgh jazz scene, his old college roommate, Alan Barnes, persuaded a move to London where he teamed up with Alan Barnes, guitarist Martin Taylor and saxophonist Don Weller.

His recording career had begun in 1985 with Buddy De Franco and Martin Taylor, and a solo album was released in ’88. David Newton and Alan Barnes teamed up again in 1997 making four CDs on the Concord label. By 2003, Newton has set up Brightnewday Records with Mike Daymond, a vehicle for his own music and later on, for other artists later.

Newton's reputation as an exquisite accompanist for vocalists spread rapidly.  By '95 he was working regularly with Carol Kidd, Marion Montgomery, Tina May, Annie Ross, Claire Martin and Stacey Kent, with whom he spent ten years recording and travelling globally. He was also composing music on his own CDs, and for Martin Taylor, Alan Barnes, Tina May and Claire Martin. In 2003, after a twenty year gap, David Newton was reunited with playwright Alan Ayckbourn for whom he wrote music for two new productions, 'Sugar Daddies' and 'Drowning on Dry Land'. David Newton was made a Fellow of Leeds College of Music in 2003, and has been voted best Jazz Pianist in the British Jazz Awards for the thirteenth time in 2014.

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