BBC Radio 3 Jazz Now interview

I was kindly invited to be interviewed on Radio 3’s Jazz Now programme a few weeks back. Emma Smith asked me some questions about influences, my album with Michael Kanan and our forthcoming tour, as well as playing a few tracks. You can listen to the whole show, which also features a broadcast of a Mark Turner Quartet gig and an interview with Ambrose Akinmusire, but it requires a login and is only available for a limited time. (I’m at 1.02:36) Or you can listen to my interview segment on YouTube here.


September tour dates with Michael Kanan

Very happy to be welcoming Michael Kanan to the UK for the album release tour of our album, Golden Earrings. We’re playing eight gigs across a week in September. Hope you can join us! The dates are:

7th: Café Jazz, Cardiff
8th: The Verdict, Brighton*
9th: Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, Maidenhead*
10th: Seven Jazz, Leeds (afternoon)
10th: Toulouse Lautrec, Kennington, London (evening)*
11th: Ronnie Scott’s Late Late Show, London*
12th: Anteros Arts Foundation, Norwich
13th: The Vortex, Dalston, London – ALBUM LAUNCH

We are doing a mixture of duo and quartet gigs. All dates feature me on alto saxophone and Michael Kanan on piano. Dates marked * also feature Dario Di Lecce (double bass) and Steve Brown (drums).

With thanks to Arts Council England and Norfolk County Council Arts Project Fund.

Sam Braysher Trio + Kit Downes/Sam Lasserson/Colin Stranahan @ The Vortex

I’m really looking forward to playing a set at the Vortex Jazz Club in Dalston this Tuesday 1st August, opening for incredible pianist and fellow Norfolk boy Kit Downes. Can’t wait to hear Kit’s set – he’ll be joined by Sam Lasserson on bass and Colin Stranahan, who’s over from New York, on drums. I’m playing with Conor Chaplin and James Maddren and we’ll be playing our take on this beautiful Richard Rodgers song and this v v hip Dexter Gordon number, amongst other things. More info about the gig here.



Very happy to say that my debut album, Golden Earrings, is being released on Fresh Sound New Talent Records on September 1st 2017. It’s a duo with the amazing New York pianist, Michael Kanan, and features compositions by the likes of Nat ‘King’ Cole, Duke Ellington, Jerome Kern, Victor Young, Irving Berlin, plus one original of mine. Michael will also be coming over to the UK for an album release tour in September, with an album launch gig at the Vortex Jazz Club on 13th September. More info to follow on all the gigs and how to buy/preorder the album etc, but here’s a short promo video for the album:

Hampton Hawes: Raise Up Off Me


Born in 1928, Hampton Hawes was a pianist from Los Angeles who played with Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus, Wardell Gray and Art Pepper. I just finished reading his autobiography, Raise Up Off Me, written with Don Asher, himself a jazz pianist as well as an author. I’d rate it as perhaps my favourite book about jazz: it’s written in an honest, conversational tone and features stories about Miles, Monk and Billie Holliday, as well as serious discussions about race alongside entertaining stuff on his time abroad with the army during the Korean War.

Hawes struggled with heroin addiction (as seems to have been almost the norm for West Coast jazz musicians in the 1950s), and was sent to prison for narcotics offences at the height of his career in the late ’50s. But, incredibly, he received a presidential pardon from John F. Kennedy after serving half of his 10 year sentence.

Some musicians have an identifiably West Coast Sound: Chet Baker, Gerry Mulligan, Art Pepper (another troubled jazz musician who wrote a searingly honest account of a life of jazz and addiction) and Bud Shank spring to mind. I don’t think this can be said of Hawes: his lines are pure bebop (at least in his earlier work – he experimented with fusion later on but I am less familiar with that stuff), and he acknowledged Bird as his primary influence, with the gospel music of his youth (his father was a pastor) also informing his sound.

Here’s Hampton playing the blues with Red Mitchell and Chuck Thompson.

Gig photos

Some nice pictures from a few recent gigs:

This photo of Guillem Arnedo’s band was taken by Eros Alvarez with a film camera at El Refugio Jazz Club in Alicante.Guillem Arnedo band & Celeste Alías at El Refugio Jazz Club, 24032017

This one is by Tom Saunders, who regularly takes photos at Dereham Jazz Club, where I played a set of Richards Rodgers songs.dereham jazz tom saunders


With Jorge Rossy/Phelan Burgoyne Quintet at the Vortex. (Photo from Facebook – not actually sure who took it.)jorge vortex


Phelan Burgoyne Quintet ft. Jorge Rossy

Very much looking forward to playing some gigs this month with an international quintet put together by young London drummer Phelan Burgoyne and featuring the great Jorge Rossy on vibraphone. Best known as a drummer (and particularly for his role  in Brad Mehldau’s trio from the mid ’90s to the mid ’00s), Jorge has, in more recent years, concentrated on the vibraphone. Continue reading “Phelan Burgoyne Quintet ft. Jorge Rossy”



Bud Powell’s solo on Celia, the pianist’s own composition named for his daughter, is one of the great bebop performances. A real one-chorus-wonder, it appears on the album Jazz Giant, which comprises two trio sessions: one recorded in 1949 with Ray Brown and Max Roach, and one from 1950 with Roach and Curley Russell. Continue reading “Celia”