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nicola farnon

nicola farnonOne of last year's undoubted successes at the Wiltshire Jazz Festival was Nicola Farnon. Many of 2012's festival goers asked for her and her band to return: we have obliged.

Maybe the audience liked the fact that Nicola is home grown, having been brought up in Market Lavington on the Salisbury Plain, although she is now 'exiled' in Sheffield.

Perhaps it was because the combination of blond hair, double bass and catchy and melodic lyrics put everyone in a good mood. Or it could be – indeed it is – because Nicola and her band are just very good professional jazz musicians who know exactly how to engage with an audience. And, of course, all the other elements are part of the allure as well.

Nicola is something rare: a swinging singer and double bass player, widely recognised as one of the classiest and most accomplished jazz/swing vocalists in the UK. She won the ringing endorsement of the late great Humphrey Lyttleton who said of her: “She's a remarkable performer on stage, a fine singer and an outstandingly swinging and propulsive bass player with an outgoing personality to match...I declare that she is a class act who should be on every jazz festival in the land….A sure fire hit!”

Nicola combines an exacting career as a jazz singer with her role as a mother of two young girls, performing at jazz festivals with the likes of Digby Fairweather, Jim Mullen, Bruce Adams and Alan Barnes, Tony Kofi, the wonderful Michael Garrick Jazz Britannia, Georgie Fame, Alan Price, Clare Teal, Dame Cleo Laine and Sir John Dankworth. Other members of the quartet are:

Piero Tucci (pianist and saxophones)
Canadian born Piero has recently emigrated to England. A phenomenally gifted musician he has been a major figure on the Toronto music scene as music director, keyboardist, saxophonist, accordionist and arranger in many jazz and R&B bands. He has played with and backed a diverse range of musicians that include Digby Fairweather, Jim Mullen, Bruce Adams, Alan Barnes, The Drifters and 5th Dimension and has opened for James Brown. “Piero Tucci is a jazzer's dream, as unpretentiously skillful on keys as he is on sax.” Sandman magazine.

Chris Walker (guitar)
Chris lectured for many years on guitar at Leeds College of Music where he was renowned for his fine craftsmanship and technique. He has played alongside top names including John Etheridge, Alan Barnes, Stan Robinson and Jim Hall. He currently runs a popular jazz club in Sheffield and continues to appear at major jazz festivals up and down the country.

Phil Johnson (drums)
Phil started his career with The Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra with which he toured extensively in the UK - and America and Poland. He has since backed many jazz artists including Bobby Shew, Alan Barnes, John Etheridge, Don Lusher, Barbara Thompson and Kenny Baker. A phenomenally popular and busy drummer, Phil plays regularly with The Squadronnaires, The Memphis Belle Swing Orchestra, The Nelson Riddle Orchestra UK and The Kings of Swing Orchestra.