Nikki Iles Jazz Orchestra

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Nikki Iles Jazz Orchestra

8 October @ 8:00 pm - 11:00 pm

Nikki Iles Jazz Orchestra

At Crookes Social Club, 8-11 pm

Julian Siegel: tenor sax, bass clarinet
Tori Freestone: tenor sax, flute; Karen Sharp: baritone & tenor sax, clarinet; Paul Jones: alto sax, flute; Gareth Lochrane: flute, alto flute; Andy Schofield: alto & soprano sax, flute; Trumpets: Henry Lowther, Tom Walsh, Nick Smart, James Copus; Trombones: Gordon Campbell, Richard Henry, Harry Maund, Ollie Martin; Mike Walker: guitar; Steve Watts: bass; Ian Thomas: drums;
Nikki Iles: conductor/piano

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Another big band treat at Crookes Social Club! Award-winning pianist, composer and educator Nikki Iles’ Jazz Orchestra marks a new chapter in a long and distinguished career in British Jazz. Featuring commissions from over the years, new orchestrations of her own small band tunes and new compositions, the superb band she has assembled will showcase the depth and range of her writing and arranging. Expect great jazz from top-drawer musicians highlighting Nikki’s distinctive creative voice.

Over the last few years Bedfordshire born Nikki Iles has progressed into the front rank of British jazz musicians. At eleven she won a Junior scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music, studying piano and clarinet. Later, when the piano had taken over as Nikki’s principal instrument and with her interest in jazz deepening, she went to study at The Leeds College of Music, after which she settled in Yorkshire before eventually moving back to London.

The first platform for her composing was the group Emanon, led by trumpeter Richard Iles, which also included guitarist Mike Walker and saxophonist Iain Dixon. In addition to Emanon, they were all members of the Creative Jazz Orchestra, working with Vince Mendoza, Anthony Braxton, Mike Gibbs, Kenny Wheeler and Mark Anthony Turnage. Nikki also began playing with several London-based bands including the Steve Arguelles group, Mick Hutton’s Straight Face, Stan Sulzmann’s Quartet and Tina May. Throughout her time in the north Nikki also maintained an important musical relationship with the bass-player Steve Berry which beginning as a trio with Sheffield drummer, Pete Fairclough. In 1996, Nikki won the John Dankworth Special Award at the BT British Jazz Awards and that same year recorded albums with Stan Sulzmann, Tina May and Martin Speake which were the beginning of three important ongoing musical relationships.

Nikki then moved to London and took up a senior lecturership at Middlesex University. As a composer she had commissions from the Creative Jazz Orchestra for the ‘Printmakers Suite’ (1994), celebrating the role of women in jazz; several from New Perspectives, in particular ‘In All My Holy Mountain’ with poet Roger Garfitt; a piece for the London Sinfonietta Ellington Celebrations (1999), for Tim Garland’s Northern Underground Band (2006) and a commission from The National Youth Jazz Orchestra, performed at the Proms (2012). Yet another collaboration found her working with the American dancer/choreographer Mimi Cichanowicz and also alongside Rufus Reid and Tim Garland with the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s contemporary group ‘Renga’.

Nikki’s busy performance schedule has not prevented her from developing a parallel career as a widely respected teacher and she has acted as a tutor at numerous workshops and summer schools around the world whilst maintaining active links with The Royal Academy of Music and Middlesex University. Her education work was recognised through her nominations at the 2007 and 2009 Parliamentary Jazz Awards for Services to Jazz Education. She has published several books of jazz piano music and is a key member of the team at The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. She is also a member of the National Youth Jazz collective team, committed to working with young people who are passionate about jazz.

Playing highlights in recent years have included The Julian Arguelles Octet, The Kenny Wheeler Big Band, Tony Coe and Tina May, ‘Renga’ with Rufus Reid, the Anglo/Canadian Quartet with Martin Speake, Anthony Michelli and Duncan Hopkins, a trio with Jeff Williams and the Stan Sulzmann Big Band in the tribute to Kenny Wheeler at the London Jazz Festival. Following the success of her trio CD, ‘Hush’, recorded  in New York with Rufus Reid and Jeff Williams, she has recorded with Norma Winstone and Kenny Wheeler and the London Vocal Project, ‘Mirrors’; released the long awaited Printmakers CD ‘Westerly’ with Norma Winstone, Mark Lockheart, Mike Walker, Steve Watts and James Maddren; ‘Stardust‘ with long–time friend, saxophonist, Stan Sulzmann and most recently ‘Lush Life’ with Stan and Dave Holland.

“Iles is one of the most refreshing figures to have emerged in the UK in recent times with a liquid sound and supple, obliquely resolved phrasing as an improviser”…. The Guardian

“Iles is a skilful improviser and at London’s Vortex on the opening show of a 14 date tour, displayed the rhythmic surprises, shape shifting phrases, playful dialogue with partners and a mix of ruggedness and reflection that at times make her comparable with the great John Taylor”… The Guardian

“An intriguingly varied and very original programme and one which marked Iles as an arranger of considerable talent and as a gifted composer”… The Times

“Nikki Iles is a pianist of extraordinary imagination who thrives on fugitive melodies”…The Observer

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Ticket Prices

Full – £17
Over 60s, disabled and unemployed – £15
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


8 October
8:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Event Category:


Sheffield Jazz


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