Bird Migration: Charlie Parker Centenary Big Band

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Bird Migration: Charlie Parker Centenary Big Band

12 November @ 8:00 pm - 11:00 pm

Bird Migration:
Charlie Parker Centenary Big Band

This gig has now sold out. If you are interested in return tickets please email 

At Crookes Social Club, 8-11 pm

John O’Gallagher, Zhenya Strigalev,
Alex Garnett, Josephine Davies: saxophones
Robbie Robson, Steve Fishwick, Josh Short: trumpets
Richard Henry, Malcolm Earl-Smith, Matt Seddon: trombones
Hans Koller: piano, Calum Gourlay: bass, Tim Giles: drums


A 13-piece ensemble exploring and celebrating the musical ideas of Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker. Bird Migration is an innovative, cross-genre project from critically acclaimed composer and multi-instrumentalist Hans Koller, Head of Jazz at Trinity Laban Conservatoire. The project features a stellar group of top jazz musicians who have experience in diverse musical worlds, are characterised by a willingness to experiment and are committed to open improvising as well as being a disciplined part of an overall, innovative sound. Expect a rich soundscape reflecting Parker’s revolutionary jazz innovations as well as his interest in contemporary classical composers.

This project is a development of Hans’ critically acclaimed 2016 Jazz Lines commission ‘Twelve Re-inventions for George Russell’ premiered at the CBSO in Birmingham and recorded for Radio 3. Bird Migration further develops the compositional methods used that helped bring together the different worlds of contemporary jazz and contemporary classical music inspired by Parker’s interest in Stravinsky, Varèse and others. The central theme is one of connection with the jazz tradition and a musical re-imagination of Parker’s close relationships with his peers; Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Tadd Dameron, Fats Navarro and others.

Hans Koller came to England to Middlesex University where he majored in composition, then to the School of Oriental and African Studies where he obtained a masters in Ethnomusicology. He started playing in bands with Stan Sulzman and Chrs Cheek and went on to form his own group, ‘Neverland’ with Dave Whitford, Rob Townsend and Stuart Laurence. The group was augmented into a nine-piece for his début album ‘Magic Mountain’ (1997) which established him as one of the leading new UK jazz composers. He won awards for compositions, commissions by major festivals and in 2001 released ‘Lovers and Strangers’, an album featuring harpist Helen Tunstall, singer Christine Tobin and percussionist Corrina Sylvester. His next album ‘New Memorie’ was hailed as “the most expansive, expressive and exciting new jazz orchestral sound to have emerged in this country since the late-lamented Loose Tubes” by John Fordham, The Guardian.

Hans has written for Steve Lacy (‘London Ear’); worked in large groups with Evan Parker, Kenny Wheeler and Bob Brookmeyer; performed and recorded with the NDR Bigband (‘Scenic Routes’); played in groups led by Mike Gibbs, with Steve Swallow, Bill Frisell and Adam Nussbaum; with Phil Woods, Dave Liebman, and the HR and WDR Big Bands. He also started a small band with Jeff Williams and Percy Pursglove, recorded with saxophonists François Théberge and Gerd Dudek and formed a formidable creative partnership with NYC altoist John O’Gallagher. Koller’s most ambitious work, his 2016 triple vinyl release ‘Retrospection’, brought together over 30 of the world’s leading jazz musicians, including Steve Swallow, Jakob Bro and the NDR Bigband.

“An exuberant and remarkable talent, Koller’s music is full of surprises.” Ian Carr, Rough Guide to Jazz, 3rd ed.

“A force to be reckoned with on the British scene … his approach to the interplay of the historical and the contemporary is as open-minded as it is creative…” Michael Tucker, Jazz Journal

John O’Gallagher; A graduate of the Berklee College of Music John O’Gallagher is one of the most compelling alto saxophonists and composers working today, known for an innovative style which pushes the boundaries of jazz while rooted in it’s tradition. On their first meeting, Hans Koller and John O’Gallagher were memorably described by John Fordham in The Guardian as “two heavy weight theoreticians fizzing with jazz heat”. They went on to work regularly in performances and recordings, collaborating in a commission from Jazzlines for the renowned Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. John is known for his projects as a leader and as a sought after sideman having worked with artist such as Joe Henderson, Maria Schnieder, Kenny Wheeler, Billy Hart, Jeff Williams, Tom Rainey, Chris Cheek and Ralph Alessi. “a player with crisp articulation and intriguing ideas”– Jazz Times

Alex Garnett is one of the leading saxophonists in the UK being instantly recognizable by his dark, husky sound. A versatile musician Alex has enjoyed success as both a performer, composer, arranger and session saxophonist. He’s a regular sideman of choice for many visiting bands and musicians when touring in Europe and has performed with varied and diverse artists across the spectrum, such as Sir John Dankworth, Wynton Marsalis, Peter King, Van Morrison, Evan Parker, Gareth Lockrane, Phil Robson, Michael Janisch and The Rolling Stones

A graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, Russian-born alto saxophonist Zhenya Strigalev has always been known for his intense and memorable playing with a unique sound on his saxophone. He has worked with musicians such as Eric Harland, Ambrose Akinmusire, Tim Lefebvre, Aaron Parks, Larry Grenadier and Liam Noble. Zhenya has released several albums on the Whirlwind label with an impressive cast of international musicians while his 2019 album featured a partnership with Argentinian guitarist Frederico Dannemann.

Saxophonist Josephine Davies is best known for her highly-rated trio Satori whose three albums have all received critical acclaim and whose Sheffield Jazz gigs, at Crookes in 2018 and online in 2020, were very enjoyable. Winner of Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year in the 2019 Parliamentary Jazz Awards her most recent appearance at Crookes was as a member of the Whirlwind Jazz Orchestra whose gig in Autumn 2019 was a highlight of that season and featured one of Josephine’s compositions.

Robbie Robson studied Jazz at Leeds College of Music, the Guildhall School of Music and was runner up in the Perrier Young Jazz Musician award in 2000. He is a member of the London Jazz Orchestra, The Loop Collective, Gareth Lockrane’s Big Band and Frank Griffith’s Nonet. His own band Dog Soup has released an album on Loop records and Robbie has formed a trio, Clamour, with fellow Loop members Dave Manington and Paul Clarvis. He has recorded with Julian Arguelles and Bill Frisell and has worked with Tony Bennett, Jamie Cullum, Phil Woods and JTQ.

Steve Fishwick cites Art Farmer, Miles Davis and Woody Shaw among his favourite players, but his style is very much his own. Since leaving the Royal Academy of Music where he studied Steve has played with most leading UK jazz musicians and many of the international musicians and leads many projects, often with Welsh saxophonist Osian Roberts with whom he recorded an album with legendary American pianist Cedar Walton. Their first CD ‘When Night Falls’ was nominated for a British Jazz Award and Steve has now released seven CDs on the Hard Bop Records label.

Trombonist Malcolm Earl-Smith is a versatile performer as well as a distinctive voice on the UK Jazz scene. After studying at the Guildhall School of music, he joined the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, occupying the lead trombone chair for two years. He has since performed with a variety of artists including Nat Gonella, Digby Fairweather, John Dankworth, Henry Lowther, Martin Speake and Liam Noble. He has also worked with soul artists Ronnie Spector and Martha Reeves and has twice toured with Bryan Ferry, featuring on two of his albums

Richard Henry is a specialist bass trombonist and multi instrumentalist. He is a much in-demand player for live and recorded projects in pop, jazz, theatre, film, classical and contemporary music having worked with artists including; Joni Mitchell, Peter Gabriel, Hermeto Pascoal, Carla Bley, Stephen Warbeck, George Michael, Little Mix and Shirley Bassey. He is Professor of Trombone at Trinity Laban Conservatoire, Bass Trombone in the London Jazz Orchestra, Musician at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and Member of the Chineke Orchestra.

Glasgow born, London-based double bassist and composer Calum Gourlay is known for his deep warm tone, controlled execution as both a supporter and improviser and rock-solid time and pulse. He was the first bassist selected for the first Tommy Smith Youth Jazz Orchestra, as well as other ensembles. Calum has become a mainstay on the London jazz scene, performing with the Kit Downes Trio, Tommy Smith Group, Will Vinson, The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, Kurt Elling, Martin Speake and Sheila Jordan and writes for his own big band which has a monthly residency at the Vortex in London.

Tim Giles has played with top musicians ranging from American greats such as Art Farmer and Charles McPhearson to international improvising musicians such as Peter Brotzmann, Ingrid Jensen and Ben Goldberg and many players of the UK jazz scene such as Kenny Wheeler, Norma Winstone and Bobby Wellins. His current regular projects include Stan Sulzmann’s Neon Orchestra, Iain Ballamy’s Constellation, Ed Jones Quartet, Tori Freestone Trio and George Crowley’s Trio. He also co-leads experimental electronics trio Leverton Fox, improv/folk-influenced Twelves, Impermanence Trio and Gameshow with Matthew Bourne.

Video Links

No video links are available but to whet your appetite here’s a great Charlie Parker tune from the album ‘Retrospection One’ that Hans made with Steve Swallow, another innovative big band project.
And here’s an arrangement of the Parker classic ‘Quasimodo’ that Hans wrote for guitarist Bill Frisell;

Ticket Prices

Full – £16
Over 60s, disabled, unemployed – £14
Student with NUS card – £9
15 – 17 year olds – £4
Under 15s – Free

For now we are continuing to restrict numbers and use reserved seating. So we encourage you to book seats online in advance, to secure the seat you want and avoid missing out and to make life easier and safer for our Door Team.  It will be possible to pay for entry at the door (preferably by contactless payment) if seats are available.

Advance tickets available from


12 November
8:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Event Category:


Sheffield Jazz


Crookes Social Club
Mulehouse Road, Sheffield, S10 1TD + Google Map
0114 266 0114