Gig Details

Friday 12 October. 19:15 – 22:00.

At Crucible Studio (in collaboration with Music in the Round)

Full £17, Concessions £13.50, Students with NUS card £8, and under 16s £3. Advance tickets available from Crucible box office: 0114 249 6000 and

Jean Toussaint: tenor saxophone; Byron Wallen: trumpet; Dennis Rollins: trombone; Andrew McCormack: piano; Daniel Casimir: bass; Mark Mondesir: drums

The return of a very special band led by former Jazz Messenger Jean Toussaint. Grammy-winning saxophonist Jean Toussaint first came to prominence when he joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers in 1982, after studying at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. Since moving to London in 1987, he has released ten critically-acclaimed CDs as a leader. Tonight he presents his 11th album, ‘Brother Raymond’, as part of a UK tour with a truly all-star sextet.

 To commemorate, the twenty-fifth year of, the passing of the great Art Blakey in 2015 Toussaint organised a project which (borrowed from the Messengers Blue Note record of the same name) he called “Roots and Herbs/The Blakey Project” which was hugely successful when it visited the Crucible Studio in Autumn 2015. Tonight’s sextet has almost identical personnel (Andrew McCormack replacing Julian Joseph) and an equally, if not more, enjoyable concert can be confidently expected.

The music of Brother Raymond builds on the legacy of Blakey but above all confirms Toussaint’s place as an accomplished composer at the forefront of modern jazz. Stand-out tracks include the opening ‘Amabo’, an African groove dedicated to Barack Obama. The title track draws upon the influences of Toussaint’s favourite composers, “Duke” Ellington and Wayne Shorter.

“Art used to say “it doesn’t matter how complex you want to play as long as you swing and play from the heart” then he’d cite the great John Coltrane as an example. I owe it all to the great Art Blakey and I’ll be a Jazz Messenger for life.” …Jean Toussaint

Born in the Caribbean, Grammy-winning jazz saxophone giant Jean Toussaint started his musical career in a calypso band before studying jazz at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. He began his international career as a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers in 1982. After four and a half years in the band alongside Terence Blanchard, Donald Harrison, Lonnie Plaxico and Mulgrew Miller, he settled in London, quickly becoming a key figure in British jazz. Toussaint has maintained a considerable presence as bandleader in Europe having recorded 10 albums as a leader. As a sideman, Toussaint has worked with McCoy Tyner, Max Roach, Cedar Walton, Gil Evans and Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts.

Invited to teach for three months at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama Toussaint came to London in 1987 and still uses the capital as his base. In addition to his work at the GSMD and private teaching, for which he has many students, Toussaint is a member of the teaching staff at the Birmingham Conservatoire, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and occasionally the Royal Academy of Music. The bulk of Toussaint’s work is however as a performer.

The last few years he has played the North Sea Jazz festival Holland, Montreux Jazz festival Switzerland, Clermont-Ferrand, Vienne, Toulouse and Paris Jazz festivals, Bologna Jazz festival, San Sebastian Jazz festival, Berlin Jazz festival, Cork, Dublin and Sligo Jazz festivals, London and several other jazz festivals around England and Scotland, and jazz clubs and concerts halls all over Europe.