Tad Newtons Jazzfriends

Established itself as one of the most respected and entertaining outfits on the British jazz scene, with their adventurous and eclectic repertoire gaining plaudits wherever they perform. Tad Newton’s Jazzfriends have headlined at Upton On Severn Jazz Festival, Birmingham Jazz Festival, Bromyard Music Festival, Fest-Jazz in Brittany France, Wellingborough Jazz Festival, Wantage Jazz Club, Keswick Jazz Festival, Debenham Festival, and recently made five highly successful appearances at The Spice Of Life Jazz Club, one of London’s top jazz venues….and invited back in October 2019!


Gary Wood (trumpet/flugelhorn/vocals)
Gary started playing cornet at the age of 8 with his local brass band, however it wasn't until he left school that he took a real interest in music. He quickly developed a taste for jazz and joined his first band in October 1986. Soon Gary was performing with many local bands and by 1990 appeared at jazz festivals in the UK and Europe. He has worked with bands in a variety of Jazz and latin styles and has performed alongside many top UK jazz names such as Alan Barnes, John Dankworth and Roy Williams. Gary has been a member of Tad Newton’s Jazz Friends since 2001.

Tad Newton
Tad formed his band, Tad Newton’s Jazzfriends, in the latter part of 1983 and believes his current outfit is the most inventive, exciting and creative yet. The band tag of “Basin Street to Basie and Beyond” sums up the approach perfectly. The Jazzfriends are able to pay tribute to all the great sounds of the jazz spectrum from the classic jazz of the 1920s through to the best contemporary sounds of jazz today. The Jazzfriends are equally at home with New Orleans street sounds and Miles Davis, one of the few bands in Britain to encompass such an impressive range. This adaptability makes The Jazzfriends ideal for festivals, clubs and parties of every kind! Trombonist Tad’s main influences have been Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and all the jazz greats. Tad and The Jazzfriends have enjoyed many highlights, notably being voted band of the festival at Guernsey Jazz Festival and playing with international jazz stars such as Greg Abate, Al Casey, Cynthia Sayer and Yank Lawson from America and British luminaries like Roy Williams, Simon Spillett, Janus Carmello, Terry Lightfoot, Alan Barnes, Phil Mason, Joy Parke, Allison Neale, Brian Dee, Craig Milverton, Ian Bateman and Russian sax star Oleg Kireyev. In addition Tad has been the organisational force behind long running jazz venues such as Sunday Jazz at The Walnut Tree in Blisworth, Jazz at The Castle Wellingborough, Jazz at the Bedford (Golf Club), and numerous festivals and jazz specials throughout the Midlands.

Mike Wills (clarinet/tenor sax/alto sax/soprano sax)
Mike Wills plays clarinet and all the saxes. From the 1970s onwards he has played with bands of a wide variety of styles, and appeared at Jazz Festivals in France, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Denmark and Spain, as well as in the UK such as Birmingham, Brecon, Bude, Isle of Bute, Keswick, Swanage and Upton-upon-Severn. Musicians he has worked with include, from the USA, Bud Freeman, Ray Alexander, Joe Muryani, Lillian Boute, Scott Hamilton, Bob Wilber and Greg Abate and from the UK Humphrey Lyttleton, Roy Williams, Tommy Whittle, Duncan Lamont, Digby Fairweather, Acker Bilk, Kenny Ball, George Melly, Alan Barnes, Mark Nightingale, Dave Newton, Simon Spillett, Karen Sharp and many others. Unexpected highlights of his career include appearing (in very small print) on the same bill as Miles Davis, a session with US actress and occasional singer Stephanie Powers, an (almost inaudible) appearance on a Shirley Bassey CD.

Tomas Pedersen

Tomas started playing double-bass in 1971 when he started studying classical bass in Denmark. After only one year of hard practice he joined the Danish Radio Youth Symphony Orchestra. At this point his interest in Jazz grew and he began playing in Jazz Clubs all over Denmark and Scandinavia with leading Danish bands. In 1977 he went to sea playing onboard cruise ships – travelling all over the world, playing shows, jazz and light classical music. At this time Tomas had the opportunity to accompany several several great Jazz artists such as Mel Thorme, Joe Williams, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Red Rodney and Ira Sullivan. Tomas moved to England in 1991 and soon got busy playing a great variety of music from Big Band, Traditional Jazz, Swing, Mainstream, Pop, Rock to Blues and Soul. In his time in England Tomas has fortunate enough to work with many great British Jazz musicians such as Bill LeSage, Allan Barnes Roger Nobes, Bobby Ore, Jim Douglas, Keith Smith, Martin Litton, Trevor Whiting, Bobby Worth, Jimmy Hastings and many more. Tomas has been associated with Tad Newton’s Jazz Friends since 1996.

Alan Haughton

Alan studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he was a prizewinner, and where he performed both solo and concerto concerts in the Dukes Hall, studying with Leslie England and Max Pirani. He has held various teaching posts and was Deputy Head at Hazeldene School, Bedford for many years. He also taught jazz and classical piano at Bedford High School. He now just concentrates on performing. Alan is an established composer/performer and has had over sixty albums published by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, Kevin Mayhew Publishers and Oxford University Press. In addition to his classical work he has been musical director for Annie Get Your Gun, Cabaret, No, No,Nanette and Blood Brothers.He is an established jazz pianist having worked with John Dankworth, the Terry Lightfoot Band, The Pasadena Roof Orchestra, Three Men on Third, Tad Newton's Jazz Friends, Richard Exall, Amy Roberts, Roy Williams, Alan Barnes, Denise Gordon, Simon Spillett, Greg Abate,Tina May to name but a few, as well as running his own band.

Ronnie Fenn

Ronnie’s eclectic life as a drummer began as a teenager in the heady days of the ‘60’s with life on the road in pop, soul, rock and roll and skiffle bands. This took him to Europe on a regular basis and on several occasions even to Dubai. Ronnie has played for many famous stars on the entertainment scene. In recent years Ronnie has been creating an enviable reputation on the British jazz scene. His huge and good natured experience has made Ronnie the ideal drummer for the Jazzfriends' where his intimate knowledge of the rhythmic intricacy of the many jazz styles superbly enhance the Jazzfriends' performances. Ronnie’s main drumming influences have been Buddy Rich, Art Blakey, Sonny Payne, Cozy Cole and anyone who “swings”.
When not playing drums, Ronnie enjoys a peaceful life on his narrow boat on the Grand Union Canal!

A special concert dedicated to the great jazz influences, composers and players featured with jazz luminaries such as Louis Armstrong, Kid Ory, Earl Hines, Duke Ellington,Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Johnny Hodges, Lester Young.

“I really enjoyed working with the band, which is uniformly excellent”  Simon Spillett
“These guys really swing.. a great band” Greg Abate  (USA jazz star)
“Wow!! What a band” Roy Williams (International jazz star)
“Thanks for the gig on Friday .. I really enjoyed playing with the band----inspirational!”  Susan Greenway (sax star from Texas Jazz Conservatoire)
“A pleasure to see and hear your band on Sunday….a first class show” Alan G. Wilson (jazz promoter, Lansdowne Jazz Club, Luton)
“Well played music, covering accepted traditional titles into some more swing stuff, all were very fine musicians”  (Just Jazz Magazine, reviewing Upton Jazz Festival)
“The best performance in my eyes was Tad Newton’s Jazzfriends  at  “The Lord  Clifden”- (Birmingham Jazz Festival  Review)
“I really enjoyed your session. I love your band and am looking forward to having you back next year” Pat Holly (Worcester Jazz Club])
“Thanks for a memorable lunchtime jazz session- your band is sounding extremely good!” -  John Shaw (Gayton Jazz Appreciation Society)
“Thoroughly enjoyed your set, especially the superb variety in the programme-a warm hour!”   Terry Roper [musician]. Upton Festival.
“Congratulations on a tremendous gig…it was a pleasure to be there!”- Richard Eaton (Sunday Times journalist) Spice of Life Jazz Club 2017.
“Tad Newton’s Jazzfriends were a huge success. The audiences loved their gloriously eclectic repertoire, their tight arrangements and, most importantly their infectious sense of enjoyment in what they were doing on and off stage. Without doubt they will be asked back” Trevor Stent (Vice President Fest-Jazz, France. July2018)…voted 2nd most popular band at the Festival!



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12:30 PM

Tad Newton's Jazzfriends Christmas Special

Tad Newtons Jazzfriends

Walnut Tree