Tutors are chosen for their skills in teaching and inspiring adult players. Our 2019 Tutors were Karen Sharp, Pete Billington, Andy Crowdy, Thomas L’Etienne, Denny Ilett and Jonny Bruce. All have worked together extensively on the road in lots of different bands and know each other well creating a solid teaching team. Annie Parker did some improvisation workshops and other tutors will be brought in for instrument specific sessions. In the past Briane Green, Charlie Stratford, Lawrie Wright and Will Street have helped us – we will confirm closer to the workshop as we will need to cater for the instruments coming.

Karen Sharp

Karen started her career touring with Humphrey Lyttelton’s band after she graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music. Inspired to play the tenor sax by two giants of improvisation – Dexter Gordon and Sonny Rollins, Karen has won the tenor saxophone category of the British Jazz Awards on numerous occasions. She tours regularly with her quartet which features Nikki Iles, Dave Green and Steve Brown and she plays with numerous larger ensembles including Robert Fowler’s Gerry Mulligan Concert Jazz Band and Steve Waterman’s Big Band. For more information see www.karensharp.co.uk

Andy Crowdy

Andy is one of the UK’s top bass players, who is equally at home on the guitar and also plays a bit of piano, trombone and drums. He studied an MMus in composition under William Mathias before heading off into the world of light entertainment and jazz. Andy joined Lillian Boutte’s band in 2004, touring all over the world with her, playing venues large and small from New Orleans Jazz Festival to Marlow Jazz Club. He has accompanied leading Gypsy Jazz musicians such as Angelo DeBarre and Fapy Lafertin, as well as being a long standing member of John Etheridge’s Sweet Chorus and Christian Garrick’s Spirit of Stephane. Over the last years Moscow Drug Club has been taking up a lot of his time, as well as performing with saxophonist Art Themen. Andy occasionally plays at Nettlebed Folk Club accompanying Bruce Gomersall on guitar and has played at numerous folk festivals with various artists. The Led Zep Project was born of his and Denny Ilett’s shared passion for playing the music of Led Zeppelin. Andy has been teaching in schools, colleges and workshops all his musical career and is our workshop’s lead tutor.

Jonny Bruce

Jonny trained classically with Paul Mayes and Andy Everton, and received further tuition in jazz from Steve Waterman. His command over the instrument has made him a very versatile musician. He emerged onto the UK jazz scene as a member of the Dave Stapleton Quintet (Edition Records). It was through recording and touring with this band that Jonny gained his early professional musical experiences. Now based in Bristol, Jonny has become one of the most in demand musicians in the South West. Aside from his current projects, he is regularly working as a guest soloist and session player, both live and in the studio.

Denny Ilett

Denny learnt his guitar playing the old fashioned way – by playing and touring internationally with some of New Orleans’ finest including Lillian Boutte and band members of the Meters, Dr John and the Harry Connick Jnr Big Band. His Big Band has performed at Ronnie Scott’s backing Pee Wee Ellis and Fred Wesley – both key members of James Brown’s backing band the JBs – and more recently with Bobby Shew. He regularly writes for Guitarist Magazine, and has taught workshops internationally and in the UK, notably the Bath International Guitar Festival.

Thomas L’Etienne

Thomas honed his Clarinet and Saxophone playing in New Orleans amongst the masters. He worked many years in Lillian Boutté’s band playing and as band leader performing at most major jazz festivals in Europe, the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be heard on numerous recordings along with such greats as Edward Frank, the genius of the piano from New Orleans, who became Thomas’ mentor, Lloyd Lambert, Smokey Johnson, Doctor John, Jeanette Kimball or Humphrey Lyttleton.
Thomas has become a genuine representative of today‘s New Orleans Music and is well respected among the musicians in New Orleans. While his clarinet style shows unmistakable traces of the great Creole masters, such as Barney Bigard, Albert Nicholas and Jimmie Noone, his saxophone playing is not only influenced by Ben Webster, Charlie Parker, Gene Ammons and “Lockjaw“ Davies, but also by the New Orleans Rhythm&Blues tenors Lee Allen and David Lastie. In recent years Thomas discovered his love for traditional Martinique music and especially for Brazilian choro music which inspired him to form his current band Creole Clarinets.

Pete Billington

Pete began his musical education learning the piano and viola, later teaching himself to play guitar and double bass. He studied Classical piano at university where he gave the British premiere of Maurice Ohana’s piano concerto before going on to a Jazz Postgrad at the Royal Academy of Music. He has played and recorded with many of the UK’s top artists, including Alan Barnes, Jamie Cullum, Peter King, Tina May, Jim Mullen, Mark Nightingale, Clark Tracey, Don Weller, Bobby Wellins and Kenny Wheeler. In recent years Pete has toured the US, Asia and Europe with veteran rock vocalist Colin Blunstone, and backed a wide range of artists including Rick Astley, Paul Young, Alison Moyet, Michael Ball and Martin Fry’s ABC.