Rob Leake grew up in the North-East and began gigging in and around Newcastle after leaving school. In 1995 he left to go to college at Leeds College of Music. The next 3 years provided a great period of study and playing that ultimately lead to a move to London. Here, Rob landed gigs with Polar Bear, Oreille and extensive work on the salsa scene. The influence of this period was formative. A visit to Hastings brought him into contact with the legendary saxophonist Trevor Watts. Following extensive rehearsals and study with Trevor, Rob toured Europe and the USA with the Celebration Band: a continuation of’ Moire Music’ featuring 4 saxophones and a heavy ‘World music’ component.
Rob is now based in Hastings and enjoys a varied life of playing, teaching and family. Rob’s music is firmly rooted in jazz, but reflects his passion for ‘World’ influences such as Latin and Funk. Rob’s debut album, ’Present Time’, was finished in 2010 and is all of the above. It features Liane Carroll, Pete Wareham, James McMillan, Terry Pack, Nick Peck and Jim Whyte. Currently, I am part of The Paul Busby Big Band, The Hastings Horns, Chacon y su Timba among others.
On drums making his Debut at this venue we have Jim Whyte. Born in Dumbarton, Scotland in 1970, Jim Whyte’s musical interest never got fully underway until his Secondary School days, where he first indulged his passion for composition and songwriting. As a student of the Scottish jazz vibraphone and tenor sax player Jimmy Feighn, Jim began performing at the age of 16, as a tuned percussionist with the Clydebank Burgh Band; a championship Scottish brass band at the time.
In 1989 he began a degree course in music at Salford University. It was during this time that Jim decided to move away from orchestral percussion and concentrate on drum-kit.
Jim spent 5 years as a drummer on the jazz scene in Manchester, alongside contemporaries such as Dave Hassell, Steve Brown, Steve Gilbert and Luke Flowers (Cinematic Orchestra). And played with many of the top jazz musicians in the area, such as; Mike Gorman, Mike Outram, John Ellis, Andy Schofield, Les Chisnall, Steve Berry, Stuart McCallum, flugal horn player Richard Isles and legendary guitarist Mike Walker.
In 1996 he moved to London, and was awarded a scholarship to attend the post-grad jazz course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. It was here that he had the opportunity to perform with great jazz musicians such as Kenny Wheeler, Carla Bley, John Taylor, and James Williams.
In 1998 Jim formed his own hybrid jazz/folk/rock quintet, which has featured legendary British jazz musicians such as saxophonists Stan Sulzman and Julian Seigal, Partisans bassist Thad Kelly, vituosic guitarist Mike Outram, Eryl Roberts on drums and percussion, and Jim on drums, piano, guitar and vocals.
In 2006 on the Scottish scene in Glasgow, Jim formed his latest quintet ‘Sonic Butterfly’ and recorded the debut album with some of the finest young musicians on the Scottish jazz scene, including guitarist Kevin Mackenzie and saxophonist John Burgess. During all this time, Jim was also very active as a singer/songwriter, writing mostly for guitar and voice and began performing them on the Glasgow singer/songwriter scene, as a way of developing his own sound on drums and in composition, and to which he still performs at present.
Jim lives In Brighton, East Sussex, and is currently involved in a number of musical projects, eg: the alternative jazz trio ‘Full Circle’, Afro/Jazz group ‘The London Bridge Ensemble, Brighton based Indie band ‘The Miserable Rich’, electro/folk/rock group ‘Oddfellows Casino’, the reformed 1970’s prog rock band ‘Marsupilami’, his own Scots/Russian collaborated project ‘Under the Saltire’,and also works on the Brighton music scene, as an in-demand jazz drummer and session musician, among various other projects, including his own group ‘Sonic Butterfly’.
In his career so far Jim has played and performed with many great jazz and musical names including; Scottish jazz saxophone legend Bobby Wellins, pianist Nikki Iles, saxophonist Dave O’Higgins, American saxophonist Frank Perowski, Scottish jazz piano legend Brian Kellock, pianist Liam Noble, Pete Wareham (Acoustic Ladyland), Keith Emerson (ELP), Dame Evelyn Glennie, jazz singer Anita Wardell, legendary saxophonist Julian Arguelles, trombonist Mark Bassey, Guy Garvey (Elbow), Martin Slattery (The Hours) Australian singer Trudy Kerr, saxophonist Geoff Simpkins,The Ryan Quigley Big Band, guitarist Stuart McCallum (Cinematic Orchestra), Andrew Philips and Marcus O’Dair (Grasscut), 1970’s Prog Rock band Marsupilami, as well as the great James Brown’s band, including performances on radio, television and at some of the finest venues and festivals across the country and around the world.
Jim currently plays on vintage Slingerland drums, and uses Zyldjian, Sabian and Istanbul cymbals, and Vic Firth sticks.
Returning to Brighton Blue Note, on double bass we have Terry Pack – with a career that spans the decades he has played with a multitude of bands across the world. He is also a profilic composer – check his latest album “Palimpsest” featuring an all star cast of UK talent.
I’ll be on the guitar and am really looking forward to playing in this combo! It’s at Doug Ellingford’s bar “The Brighton Blue Note” under the Greenhouse Effect, 63 Church Rd, Hove, BN3 2BD. Band starts at 11pm til late, free entry all night! Bar open until 4am.