Clark Tracey Sextet

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Clark Tracey Sextet

3 December @ 8:00 pm - 11:00 pm

Clark Tracey Sextet

At Crookes Social Club, 8-11 pm

Clark Tracey: drums
Mark Armstrong: trumpet
Tom Ridout: sax
Daniel Higham: trombone
Will Barry: piano
James Owston: bass

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Following a great gig at Crookes in 2018 with his quintet, Clark Tracey returns to Sheffield with another line-up featuring some of the most gifted young jazz musicians. Aside from Clark, a six-time winner of Best Drums in the British Jazz Awards, Tom Ridout and James Owston were both past finalists in the BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year competition while pianist Will Barry, who has played in Sheffield with Jasper Hoiby’s and Alex Hitchcock’s bands, won the Musicians’ Company Jazz Young Musician award in 2017. From his own experience of over 40 years in jazz, Clark leads them through bebop to post-bop, a highly accessible journey that swings all the way.

Clark Tracey has been a favourite with Sheffield Jazz audiences for many years. His music is rooted in the bebop and hard bop traditions and he has led a number of groups in the classic quintet format of saxophone/trumpet/piano/bass/drums. Clark has played alongside some of the most important artists in jazz at home and abroad – with Americans such as Johnny Griffin, Pharaoh Sanders, John Hicks, George Cables, Bud Shank, Red Rodney, and Scott Hamilton and British musicians including Ronnie Scott, John Surman, Alan Skidmore, Kenny Wheeler, Alan Barnes, Don Weller and Tommy Smith. He has recorded 15 albums as a leader and has been awarded “Best Drums” title six times in the British Jazz Awards, most recently in 2018. Clark continues to play an “Art Blakey” role by filling his bands with promising young players, thereby affording them the all-important exposure to audiences they so richly deserve. Pianists Zoe Rahman and Kit Downes plus Empirical vibraphonist Lewis Wright are just three of the musicians to have passed through the ranks of Tracey’s UK version of the Jazz Messengers. This band follows in that tradition in nurturing and promoting some of our best young jazz talent. Clark’s most recent album with the quintet version of this band, ‘No Doubt’ was released in 2018.

‘Another superb album from a band that sound like they have certainly got it together in the recording studio, but who should really be heard live’ – Review of ‘No Doubt’ by Nick Lea, Jazz Views

“Clark Tracey, an increasingly important catalyst in the development of young musicians, presented his latest quintet in the context of an evening entitled Bebop & Beyond. Often overlooked in these days of modal and ambient jazz, bebop retains its freshness and urgency and the quintet handled it with great assurance, both in terms of adhering to the tight arrangements and in solos which demonstrated a high degree of technique and invention. A solid programme included ‘Hot House’, ‘Groovin’ High’, ‘Anthropology’ and ‘A Night in Tunisia’, giving all the members opportunity to show their capabilities, and on ‘Minority’ trumpeter Alexandra Ridout’s clear tone and the expressive alto of Sean Payne brought to mind the definitive 1953 rendition by Clifford Brown and composer Gigi Gryce. All the time Clark drove the rhythm section in customary fashion, eliciting solid contributions from pianist Elliott Sansom and bassist James Owston, who showed a prodigious mastery of his instrument. A group of youngsters well worth looking out for”Jazzwise, February 2018

Mark Armstrong

Mark Armstrong took a degree in Music at Oxford University and gained a postgraduate award in Jazz at the Guildhall School of Music. A frequent member of Clark Tracey’s bands over the years Mark also played regularly with Stan Tracey’s bands, including Stan’s big band when it performed at the BBC Proms in 2009. He has also featured on albums by both as well as Mike Garrick’s Big Band and NYJO.  Mark is also an educator, composer and arranger who also plays regularly as a member of the Ronnie Scott Jazz Orchestra and in his own quartet which released the album ‘Coastbound’ in 2010.

“….Armstrong, whose solos evoke the best work of the young Freddie Hubbard, characterised by a gloriously burnished tone and a relaxed intensity…” – Richard Williams The Blue Moment (reviewing Stan Tracey’s final album The Flying Pig)

Tom Ridout

Saxophonist Tom Ridout is a graduate from the Royal Academy of Music. He was a finalist in the 2016 BBC Young Jazz Musician Award, winner of the Lancaster Jazz Festival Youth Jazz Commission 2018 and a recent member of NYJO.  He is an in demand saxophonist who has performed with a range of bands and musicians including various Clark Tracey ensembles, Patchwork Jazz Orchestra, Gregory Porter, Nikki Iles, Gwilym Simcock and Dave Holland. He is a prolific composer who fronts his own bands playing his original compositions. In 2018 Tom released his debut album “No Excuses” which features a 13 piece band including traditional jazz instrumentation with a string quartet and brass trio.

“fiery, focussed soloing by impressive tenor saxophonist Tom Ridout”Selwyn Harris, Jazzwise)

Will Barry is a pianist, drummer and percussionist from London who graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in 2016 and was winner of the Musicians’ Company Jazz Young Musician Award in 2017.  He is part of numerous projects internationally, most prominently with Phronesis bassist Jasper Høiby’s group ‘Fellow Creatures’, one of the bands with whom he has previously appeared in Sheffield, along with Alex Hitchcok’s bands.

“With his deft touch and finely honed musicality Will’s playing is a joy to hear. “…sensitive and fluid – a beautiful sound”… – Chucho Valdés

Daniel Higham has been playing the trombone since the age of 8 and has been involved in NYJO’s organisation ever since, A fast-rising talent on the instrument Daniel was awarded a scholarship to study jazz at the Royal Academy of Music after completing 4 years in the junior jazz department with Gareth Lockrane and Simon Colam. In January 2020 his own quartet made their debut playing compositions by the iconic bebop pianist Bud Powell.

Bassist James Owston, studied Jazz at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire where he was tutored by Arnie Somogyi, Mark Hodgson, Percy Pursglove and Mike Williams amongst others, as well as getting to perform with musicians such as Jeff Williams, Steve Cardenas and Julian Arguelles. In 2017 he joined the Clark Tracey Quintet and appeared on the band’s most recent album. James was a finalist on the 2018 BBC Young Jazz Musician contest. As well as being an active sideman, James leads his own groups, notably ‘The James Owston Mingus Quintet’ that focuses on the compositions and style of the great Charles Mingus, a strong influence for James as a bass player and composer.

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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


3 December
8:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Event Category:


Sheffield Jazz


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