Brighton is buzzing. ‘The Verdict’ had a great atmosphere and it was full of people. I liked the lighting and remember the pictures of Miles Davis and Charlie Parker on the walls. There are pictures of jazz albums on the tables. The beer is good. I shook hands with Dennis, then went downstairs.

I really enjoyed the whole band: they played smooth jazz. Karen was a good saxophone player. Karen talked to me in the interval; she was nice. She asked me if I had played any percussion, and invited me to play with them sometime. Her advice to young sax players was: “Have fun! The main thing is the music”

I enjoyed the up tempo tracks, and the drum and double bass solos. The piano playing went well with the saxophone.’

During the interval I interviewed Karen

Who has been your main influence?
Stan Getz.. I like all sorts of players but I often like to come back to him. I also listen to other musicians. I love Bill Evans and Miles..

Who has inspired you?
The musicians I work with.. Anyone who works hard and is focused.

Who is your favourite saxophone player?
I like lots of players of different instruments but Stan Getz and Sonny Rollins (tenor). Pepper Adams and of course Mulligan (Bari).

And trumpet player?

When did you start to play saxophone?
In my late 20’s… When I was young I played clarinet and piano.

Where did you meet your band?
In Manchester, I listened to Nikki and Dave there.. I studied in Manchester Royal Northern. I studied music composition.

What is your favourite track?
This is a really hard question.. but if I need to choose..all the tracks off Sonny Rollins Album, The Bridge.

Where did you record your new album?
I recorded it last summer, in a new studio in London. We chose it because it had a beautiful piano.

What would be your advice to a new sax player/musician?
My main advice would be to keep it fun and not take yourself too seriously. Have fun and play with other people.

By Elliott Duffield

(Photo credit: Mike Strutt)