THE cracking season put together by Huddersfield Jazz continues with the arrival on June 7 of top-line performer Pete Churchill.
And if the presence of the Pete Churchill Trio were not enough to pack the Lawrence Batley Theatre’s Syngenta Cellar – and surely it is – there will be a bonus in the presence of Scottish saxophonist Bobby Wellins.
The combination is one that has already proved a big hit.
Wellins worked with the trio on its CD The Bad and the Beautiful, which won much applause from reviewers and fans alike.
The album was recorded after Pete’s wife, the jazz pianist Nikki Iles, booked studio time for him as a surprise birthday present.
Pete Churchill, on piano and vocals, leads a trio which features Steve Watts on bass and Dave Wickins on drums.
Pete was born in London in 1961 and though he went to school in the UK he then went to Ottawa in Canada to study music at Carleton University. He returned to London for a post-graduate year in composition and arranging at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
For the last 20 years Pete has been a professor of jazz studies at the Guildhall, where his harmony classes have become legendary and where he directs and writes for the vocal ensemble.
He is also a member of the faculty at the Royal Academy of Music, where he teaches jazz composition.
He has recently concluded a long spell as a senior lecturer in jazz studies at Middlesex University where, among other things, he ran the large gospel choir.
Although he is well known as a teacher Pete also manages a busy freelance career both as a writer and as a performer, being equally well known as a jazz-pianist and a singer.
Wellins always seemed destined for a career in music. His father, of Russian and Polish extraction, was a saxophonist and clarinet player and his mother a singer.
Wellins’s father started him on lessons on alto sax when he was 12.