April 19, 2018
Amy Roberts and Richard Exall came to The Blue Vanguard Jazz Club 29th March 2018 for the gig with Craig Milverton, before the gig they chat about their life and work.
Featuring Coach York on drums and Al Swainger on bass.
Amy, from near Penzance, West Cornwall, is a multi award-winning flautist, clarinettist and saxophonist now based in Northamptonshire.
Voted winner of the Miscellaneous Category in the 2015 British Jazz Awards, and the Rising Star Category in the British Jazz Awards in both 2009 and 2011, Amy has earned an enviable reputation throughout not only the UK but also abroad.
She has worked in prestigious venues and festivals all over the UK and across Europe and has become known on the jazz circuit as a charismatic performer. Amy currently leads several bands which feature some of the most exciting musicians on the jazz scene. She also regularly makes guest appearances with other highly acclaimed ensembles and internationally celebrated orchestras.
In 2007 she was offered a place to study classical saxophone at the prestigious Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. In July 2011 she graduated with a First Class Honours Degree, and was awarded a high mark of 89% in her final recital held in the RNCM Concert Hall. She studied saxophone with Rob Buckland performed with the RNCM Big Band under the direction of Mike Hall. Amy was featured with the RNCM Big Band performing the Artie Shaw Clarinet Concerto in December 2010. During her final year of study, she was awarded the Martyn Edwards Bursary which was a scholarship for outstanding jazz performance. She was also selected as the only woodwind student to perform in the finals of the RNCM Gold Medal Competition, the highest level competition at the college.
She has been involved in jazz education as part of the Best Of Young Jazz Project from 2009 to 2015 as a mentor for young people in the Worcestershire area. During the scheme Amy worked alongside phenomenal bass player and educator Steve Berry, to inspire and teach the students taking part in the BoYJAcademy. She has also been involved in educating young saxophonists in Anglesey during their Summer Residential Course in 2011 and 2012 run by the Local Education Authority.
Amy was honoured to be featured and used as a 'cover girl' in the Autumn 2011 Clarinet and Saxophone Society Magazine, after being interviewed by upcoming writer and musician William Upton. She has since been a featured artist in JazzWise, PhoneBox, Lady, Just Jazz Magazines and various newspapers, as well as taking part in interviews on several regional BBC radio stations, PlayjazzUK, Harrow Radio and RadioNeneValley.
In January 2011 she became the first female musician in history to join the Big Chris Barber Band and spent four years touring with them throughout some of the most highly regarded concert venues in Europe. Some highlights of being in the band include a 3 day stint at DunluceCastle in Northern Ireland as the support act for Van Morrison and his band, and playing live for TV in Stuttgart, Germany. At the end of 2014 she left the Barber band to focus on her own career.
As a freelance musician Amy’s performances have included concerts with the Pasadena Roof Orchestra, Matthew Herbert Big Band, Pete Long's Echos of Ellington, Keith Nichols Blue Devils Orchestra and Harry Strutters Hot Rhythm Orchestra. With the London Swing Orchestra Amy has performed all over the UK as well as in Monaco, Greece and Switzerland.
She has been lucky enough to play alongside highly regarded musicians including Alan Barnes, Bruce Adams, Remi Harris, Roy Willliams, Greg Abate, Mike Hall, Enrico Tomasso, Jeff Barnhart (USA), Chris Farlow, John Crocker, Andy Fairweather Low, and many more.
In 2016 she was part of a special band put together to support the incredible talent Alex Vargas, an R&B Soul singer from Los Angeles, USA during his trip to the UK. She’s also part of powerhouse trombonist Ian Bateman’s soul and funk group “Kick Ass Brass” on baritone sax and piccolo.
Amy's current projects include the ‘Magnificent 7 Jazz Band’, ‘The Hallam/Roberts Jazz Five’ and the ‘Richard Exall/Amy Roberts Quintet’.
Richard studied clarinet at the Royal College of Music with international soloist Michael Collins. Self-taught on saxophone, he formed his own jazz quartet and big band while still at college and quickly became a familiar figure on the London jazz scene, playing with a wide range of bands and artists from the National Youth Jazz Orchestra to the Ink Spots.
After leaving college Richard juggled a career in the classical and jazz worlds, playing with the London Symphonietta among others, and finding regular work in the West End. Joining forces with American trombone player Rob Killips, Richard was a founder member of the jazz quintet 'Root Position', which soon established itself as one of Europe’s best young jazz groups by winning awards at both the Getxo and Leverkusen international Jazz Festivals, and regularly performing at Pizza Express Jazz Club (Dean St), Blackheath Concert Halls and throughout the UK.
In the 1997 Richard toured the United States and Europe with Jesus Alemany’s renowned band Cubanismo, in which he had the honour of being the only non-Cuban member. He was also a regular musician with Orchestra La Clave, Robin Jones’ King Salsa, Viramundo, Roberto Pla and Tumbaito. Richard worked alongside many of the great names in the latin music world including Carlos Del Puerto, Mario Rivera, Orlando Watussi, Tito Allen, Alfredo Rodriguez and Tata Guines.