Giants of Jazz

This is a whistlestop tour through the last 100 years of Jazz, Starting in the early roots with The Original Dixieland Jazz Band, following on through the golden age of swing with music by Benny Goodman, Count Basie and Duke Ellington.

Freddie Gavita (trumpet)

Pete Long (Saxes)

Alex Garnett (Saxes)

James Pearson (Piano/MD)

Sam Burgess (Bass)

Chris Higginbottom (Drums)

Special Thanks to Ronnie Scott’s All-Stars

Filmed at:

Ronnie Scott's London

I call it the citadel of jazz in London.  A determined duo (Ronnie Scott and Pete King) realised their dream of bringing the New York jazz scene to Soho!  It moved from Gerrard Street (1959) to Frith Street in 1965 – only a short walk from the “old place”.  The club is home to the world’s giants of jazz – and enviable, illustrious list of the who’s who in jazz.

Artistic Dirtector's Note

Leave your cloaks and tiaras behind you tonight as we bring the festival to a close with our jazz indulgence, from the world’s Citadel of Jazz – RONNIE SCOTT’s in Soho, London.  A phenomenal line-up! Ronnie Scott’s ALL STARS will take us round the world with music of the world’s jazz giants … Goodman, Ellington, Basie, Parker, Gillespie, to Miles Davies and Herbie Hancock… + my personal request for a special feature of Oscar Peterson.  Enjoy the slick, groovy vibe with whatever takes your fancy.  Not promoting alcohol intake in any way, but I know that I will be enjoying this evening with an equally decadent bottle of Brunello di Montalcino…


I hope you have all enjoyed #3Palaces2020.  Please stay with us and help us support our artistic community.  We shall certainly be here for you. 


Here’s to the Arts; and, more importantly, to a world that heals soon…


- Dr Michelle Castelletti, Artistic Director, Three Palaces Festival

Programme Notes

This is a whistlestop tour through the last 100 years of Jazz, Starting in the early roots with The Original Dixieland Jazz Band, following on through the golden age of swing with music by Benny Goodman, Count Basie and Duke Ellington. Then we end up in the cellar bars and clubs of New York as we play some Bebop, after Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. James Pearson will play some virtuoso piano music that was played in Ronnie's by Oscar Peterson and Dave Brubeck and then the band will move forward to the music of Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock. There should be something for everybody in this eclectic and fun program.

Club Quintet

The Ronnie Scott’s Club Quintet have been considered the house band of the club for the better part of 2 decades and is comprised of world class musicians whom are Artistic Directors of the club, run the Late Late Shows, and have collaborated with the likes of-. BBC Concert Orchestra, Paul McCartney, Wynton Marsalis, Buddy Guy, Joss Stone, Jeff Beck, Georgie Fame, Carleen Anderson and countless other stars in the world of jazz.

The Ronnie Scott’s Club Quintet has been touring U.K. extensively for the last few years and have performed at all of the greatest theatres performing their show’s “The Ronnie Scott’s Story”, “1959: The Year that Shaped Jazz” and “The Great American Songbook”. Combining world-class live jazz, narration, rare archive photos and video footage, the Club Quintet represent the music and history of London’s world-famous venue Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club.

“The music was spot on, meandering between frenetic, brassy bebop and slower, more refined cool jazz, intertwined with the intriguing story of Ronnie Scott’s and the man behind it.” -Great Yorkshire Fringe-

“The players ability was breathtaking and with precision control. An extremely pleasant evening.” -The Latest-

Freddie Gavita

A fearless improviser and virtuoso trumpeter, Freddie is one of the UK jazz scene’s brightest lights having just won the 2017 British Jazz Award for best trumpet.


His debut album “Transient” was very well received with a four star review in the Guardian as well as glowing reports from the online jazz community. The band has just completed a 12 date UK tour playing music from Transient


Freddie Gavita is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music and the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, he rose to prominence through the John Dankworth Orchestra, and has been a member of the Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Orchestra since 2007.


Career highlights include appearing as soloist with the BBC Big Band, three performances at the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, and bringing Roger Michell’s 2013 film “Le Week-end” to life with his inimitable muted trumpet stylings.


Freddie has played with, among others, Peter Erskine, Joe Locke, John Hendricks, Kenny Wheeler, Stan Sulzmann, Tim Garland, Jon Faddis, Kurt Elling, Gregory Porter, Curtis Stigers, Paloma Faith, Jess Glynne, Seth McFarlane and Dionne Warwick.


“Bebop for the 21st Century” - Patrick Hadfield, London Jazz


“A talented trumpet prodigy” - John Walters, the Guardian

Pete Long

Pete’s career began fairly inauspiciously at the age of 18 deep within the bowels of the Nat West bank in Marble Arch putting bank statements into envelopes. An unfortunate incident involving a picture of a lady and a horse being accidentally sent to the Convent of the Sacred Heart along with their financial records led to a re-think and a few days later, Pete had enrolled at the Royal London College Of Music. After a couple of years of hard study, ruthless self-denial and curry, Pete was out on the road with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, and during his time there, got to play all five saxophone parts, the solo flute part, the bass guitar, and on one rather messy occasion, the fourth trumpet. Having the unusual inclination to play modern jazz on the rather “old-fashioned” Clarinet led to several works for Clarinet and big band being commissioned during his stay, and established a tradition of Clarinet solos in NYJO which has plagued the saxophone section ever since.

   After the apprenticeship had been served, fame and endless riches were only around the corner in the form of the John Simons Rhumba Showband on the QE2, and Pete’s orange frilly flamenco shirtsleeves and sassy sombrero became one of the familiar sights in the bars, clubs and clinics around the ports of the Caribbean Sea. At this time, Pete acquired the knack of bandleading, assembling ad-hoc ensembles on the ship for various passenger and crew functions. Serious playing work followed on the return to Blighty, as the award winning Sax Quartet “Itchy Fingers” had a job going on Alto Sax. Pete passed the audition, and toured Brazil, Venezuela, North Africa, Russia and Europe during his three year stay there, working with, amongst others, Dizzy Gillespie, John Scofield, Chick Corea and Supersax.

   Due to an inspired bit of orchestral management by “a friend”, The bulk of Pete’s work for the next six years has been in and around the West End theatres, where his versatility on many different woodwind instruments has stood him in good stead, most notably on the notorious Clarinet solo in the closing sequences of the hit show “Oliver”. During this time, Pete developed an interest in the Oboe, and after a rigorous six-hour a day practice schedule for several months, no calls at all came flooding in, and the oboe went forlornly back under the bed. Some time later, a call came to play a session doubling baritone sax and oboe. That session was for “Handbags and Gladrags” for the hit welsh beat combo “Stereophonics” and the single held a chart position in Europe for the next eighteen months, becoming the single best selling recording in the UK for 2002, a sales figure no doubt boosted by its use as the theme for the comedy series “The Office”.

A five-year stint playing and arranging for with Jools Holland’s Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, saw Pete working with Tom Jones, Norah Jones, Solomon Burke, Dr. John, Lulu, Georgie Fame and Lionel Richie, to name but a few, and producing arrangements for John Cale, Texas, Sir Paul McCartney, Candi Staton, Marti Pellow and Chrissy Hynde. Pete is also the first musician in Europe to use the Tubax commercially, on a Ringo Starr track, and much more recently with The Guillemots.

Over the last couple of years, pete’s career has divided into three distinct streams- as an educator, working in masterclasses and as soloist with young musicians all over Britain, from the furthest point of West Wales to the orchestra at the Royal Academy. In conjunction with this work, Pete has helped develop a new series of student woodwind instruments with a leading UK Manufacturer. As a jazz soloist, Pete has appeared with resident trios in the provinces, and has often been caught at Ronnie Scott’s, in London’s West End.  It is however, as a bandleader and orchestrator that Pete spends most of his time currently, with work being divided between a position as musical supervisor at the Sands Venue, Gainsborough, and directing the Big Band at Ronnie Scott’s. In the course of this work, Pete has provided musicians and arrangements for Claire Sweeney, Jane MacDonald, Humphrey Lytlleton, Sir John Dankworth,  the entire cast of Emmerdale (!) and a host of others.

In what is laughingly called his spare time, he makes Airfix planes in his garden shed.

Alex Garnett

Born 1970 into a family of musicians and given formal classical lessons from a relatively young age, Alex was soon to be influenced by his father's own career in the music business, jazz and the Saxophone. Following him to gigs and listening to the many famous musicians that would come to "jam" or get their Instruments serviced at the family house in London, the Saxophone eventually became a passion and a compulsion.

Alex has now been living and working professionally as a musician since 1995 enjoying a varied musical career as a jazz artist and session musician covering a variety of stylistic settings. Garnett feels honoured to be amongst the very few headlining UK jazz musicians of the current Ronnie Scotts "All Stars" pool.

Alex has become a regular sideman choice for American artists touring Europe, and has himself performed in over 30 countries worldwide appearing at such prestigious venues as the Blue Note, the Lincoln centre, Birdland, Porgy and Bess, Room full of Blues and the Sage as well as playing at Umbria Jazz, Cork, Rochester NY, Barcelona, Montreux, and Oslo Jazz Festival, Zermatt Unplugged and the North Sea Jazz Fest, to name but a few.

He has clocked many hours of performance with varied artists that include Seth McFarlane, Ruby Turner, Sam Moore, Jimmy Page, Pee Wee Ellis, John Hendricks, Van Morrison, Mike Gibbs, Wynton Marsalis, Kurt Elling, Humphrey Lyttleton, Doris Troy, Jack Parnell, Scott Hamilton, Carlene Anderson, Houston Person, Jools Holland, Buddy Greco, Sir john Dankworth, Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones and Michele Legrande.

His personal musical influences include Al Hibbler, Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon, Joe Henderson and Harold Land, Gato Barbieri amongst many.

In April 2011 Alex released his debut quartet CD and toured extensively as a leader showcasing all original compositions and receiving rave reviews, including 4 stars from John Fordham. Twice voted amongst the top ten Jazz albums list for 2011 ( Jazzwise ), his second album as a leader in 2015 on the illustrious Whirlwind label received similar attention gaining Alex a first place nomination in the British jazz awards 2016.

James Person

James Pearson is a pianist, composer and creative tour de force. He is the Artistic Director at Ronnie Scotts Jazz Club where his trio is the backbone behind the house band the Ronnie Scott's Allstars. In addition to regular shows in the UK his trio plays throughout the world. Most recently they were the only UK band to play on the prestigious ‘Jazz Cruise’ in Florida. Amongst the many people James has worked with are: Dame Cleo Laine, Petula Clark, Halle Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, The John Wilson Orchestra, Elvin Jones, Wynton Marsalis, Joss Stone, Dave Stewart, Buddy Greco, Ray Davies, Polly Gibbons, Mica Paris, Nigel Kennedy, Robbie Williams, Rufus Wainwright, Gregory Porter, Imelda May, Jeff Beck, Paul McCartney, Imelda May and Van Morrison

Outstanding – The Observer


The harmony of Messiaen mixed with the rhythmic pulse of George Shearing. Pearson is in shattering form – The Sunday Times

Sam Burgess

Sam Burgess is a bassist, instrumental composer and producer. Originally attending the BMus degree course at the Guildhall School of Music for four years, Sam has made a career out of performing and recording - playing electric and double basses.


Sam recently collaborated with Gabrielle (Dreams, Out Of Reach etc), and has one song ("Won’t Back Down") on her new album, Under My Skin.


Currently focusing on writing library music, Sam’s jazz album ‘Cyan Skies’ was released to commercial platforms in April 2019 and has two more imminent releases plus four more library music album commissions in 2020/21. Sam has a portfolio of hundreds of recorded instrumental songs, of various styles.


Sam has been a member of the Ronnie Scott’s house band and the James Pearson trio for 14 years, is a member of Nigel Kennedy’s Voodoo Children band and has recorded on many films and TV tracks including Hannibal, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them and Pete’s Dragon. Sam also wrote and recorded all the Trinity School of music bass books/CDs.


Sam has recorded and played with many artists including Van Morrison, both of Robbie Williams’ swing albums, Jamie Cullum at the Royal Albert Hall for the Queens Birthday, the Divine Comedy, the Pet Shop Boys, Sheridan Smith, Gabrielle, Lulu, Wynton Marsellis, Christina Aguilera, Rick Astley, Lisa Stansfield, Skye, Gregory Porter, Imelda May, Tony Momrelle, Andrea Bocelli, A-Ha, Pavarotti, Marty Pellow, Bob James, Carleen Anderson, Guy Chambers, the Pop idol TV and tour, Will Young, Joe Lock, Guy Barker, Gareth Williams, Claire Martin, Clare Teal, Patti Austin and Westlife among a extensive range of credits. His ability to step into any band has seen him in demand in a diverse range of projects playing both upright bass and electric bass.

Chris Higginbottom

Drummer Chris Higginbottom has been playing professionally for over 20 years. Graduating from the Royal Academy of Music in London with First Class honours, he moved to New York in 2002 and spent 8 years there honing his craft performing with the likes of Seamus Blake, Aaron Parks, and Will Vinson, and for two years played with the legendary jazz singer Mark Murphy. He also toured throughout the US with singer/songwriter Brendan James for several years, playing on his debut album “the Day is Brave”.

Returning to London, Chris became the house drummer at Ronnie Scott’s jazz club in Soho in 2012, and more recently has, with the Ronnie Scott’s All Stars, been regularly touring UK Theatres, and at recurring international gigs including “Zermatt Unplugged” (Switzerland) and “the Jazz Cruise” (Caribbean). Alongside this, Chris has also been a member of the Kyle Eastwood band since 2015, playing on his last 2 albums, “In Transit” and “Cinematic”, and regularly touring internationally with this group.

Chris has performed all over the world including the Blue Note clubs in Tokyo and Beijing, Birdland in New York, the House of Blues in Chicago, The Roxy in LA, Montreal Jazz Festival, Marciac Jazz Festival and countless others.

A composer and band leader himself, Chris has released two albums as a leader - 'One' (New York, 2005, Basho records), and ‘Where Land Ends’ (London, 2013, F-IRE records). Chris has also performed/recorded with such diverse talent as Van Morrison, Roy Ayers, the BBC Big Band, Westlife, Marti Pellow, Georgie Fame, Carleen Anderson, the James Taylor Quartet, Lisa Stansfield, Gabrielle, and Omar.

Web Links

Disclaimer: All the necessary precautions to safeguard our artists and crew were taken during the filming of this project. 'Giants of Jazz' is produced by Festivals Malta. The Three Palaces Festival is sponsored by Kinnie, Hertz, MAPFRE MSV Life and the Ministry for National Heritage, The Arts and Local Government.


15 November 2020




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