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AMY ROBERTS &

RICHARD EXALL

1. Are you looking forward to playing at The AJC?

 

AR: Yes, we’re really excited to be performing for you!

 

2. What can The AJC's audience look forward to on 24th March 2015?

 

AR: We’ll be playing a range of jazz including traditional, mainstream, swing, latin and jump-jive…. We certainly hope there’s something for everyone. Richard is a brilliant arranger and has produced versions of The Minute Waltz (Chopin) and some Earl Bostic favourites, among others.

 

RE: We have diverse influences which we like to explore musically. The most important thing for us is melody and rhythm, both of which you find in all good music whatever the style. So we intend to perform music that people have probably heard before, but not necessarily in a jazz context.

 

3. You have spent the last few years performing and touring with Chris Barber, one of the biggest and most famous names in the world of Jazz.  That must have been a great band to be a part of?

 

AR: It was certainly character building!

 

RE: After more than 10 years with Chris Barber, I’ve learned that single-minded tenacity and a great deal of luck can get you a long way!

 

4. You have now formed a partnership with Richard Exall to tour the country performing together.  What made you both come to that decision?

 

AR: Richard and I met when I joined the Barber Band in 2011, and instantly found that we were thinking in a similar musical direction. I really wanted to get into the more latin style of jazz with my flute, and he’s had a lot of experience in that area having toured worldwide with Latin and Cuban bands. We found that the different combination of instruments between us could be really exciting to experiment with. He also makes an excellent roast dinner!!

 

RE: After struggling for many years not being able to get much recognition in the jazz world, and then being an anonymous side-man for Chris Barber, I’ve realised that associating myself with someone who naturally attracts much attention is a positive move.

 

5. Apart from The Ashtead Jazz Club, obviously, do you have a favourite venue that you have performed at?  What makes it so special?

 

AR: That’s a tricky one! We’ve been lucky to perform in some beautiful places. The concert halls in Dussledorf and Cologne in Germany are rather special as they have such fantastic acoustics and there’s always a wonderful atmosphere there.

 

RE: I always enjoy playing in more intimate environments. I prefer small jazz clubs and music rooms where you can feed off the enthusiasm of the audience. Large concert halls are impressive, but often leave me feeling detached from the crowd. The old jazz club Dr Jazz in Lubec was wonderful. It was in a concrete bunker built by the Nazis for the U-bots in world war 2. It was smelly, cramped, damp and very hot. But what a great atmosphere for playing and listening to jazz. Unfortunately it’s been knocked down now.

 

6. Who do you feel are the biggest influences on your playing?

 

AR: Earl Bostic, Paul Desmond, Benny Goodman and Herbie Mann among others.

 

RE:  Cannonball Adderley, Paquito D’Rivera, Michael Brecker, Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, Eddie Lockjaw Davis, Benny Goodman, Tony Coe, Peanuts Hucko, Buster Bailey, Buddy DeFranco, Barney Biggard, Earl Bostic, Louis Jordan, Charlie Ventura, Sam Butera…. The list goes on!

 

7. Do you have any particular artists you are enjoying listening to at the moment?

 

AR: Billy Joel, Tower of Power and Pink.

 

RE: Tom Jones and Ian Dury.

 

8. Away from jazz, do you play/listen to any other styles of music?

 

AR: I like an eclectic mix of music including classical music and some of the current pop music, like Ed Sheeran and Bruno Mars.


RE: I enjoy most types of music, and have been lucky enough to have been involved in almost all forms over music from classical orchestras through to Eastern European folk music, Rock n Roll, 

Afro-latin and pop music.

 

9. Moving away from music, what else do you enjoy doing with your time?

 

AR: I’ve been horse mad since the age of 5, and spent my childhood and teens taking part in Pony Club and local Riding Club events in Cornwall. Having had a break from it since going to off to Music College, I’m now back in the saddle and part loan a pony who I ride about 3 times a week. She certainly keeps me on my toes!

 

RE: I’m currently learning to fly, which has been a life-long ambition. I also enjoy going to the gym, watching science and nature programs, and reading the National Geographic.