David Mowat composer, band leader, trumpeter, part Swiss, part English, played in street bands when Gail Thompson gave him some early gigs. In Bristol from 1989 he played in Keith Tippett’s Seedbed Jazz Workshop Orchestra, local bands (including Kevin Figes, Pete Rosser, Tony Orrell, FNAAZ) then set up The Timshel Quintet with singer Sammy Hurden, saxophonist Harrison Smith and drummer Brian Abrahams before going to Nepal for international development work. Returning in 1999 he co-founded the East Bristol Jazz Club, gigged in Europe with Bollywood Brass Band, wrote and produced a community musical ‘King Cotton’ (featuring harpist Johnny Mars and trombonist Dennis Rollins), collaborating with Alphonse Touna (Helele) in a ‘text book example of how to combine schools with professional musicians’ (Venue mag). A founder member of The Klezmernauts in the 1990s he’s developed klezmer in the Chai For Two Ensemble with Knud Stuwe, now blossomed into Chai For All chaiforall.com. He’s developing a specialism in music and spoken word performances which take British Empire themes.
Pasquale Votino arrived in Bristol from Italy in 2011 where he obtained a classic diploma in double bass at Conservatorio Nicola Sala in Benevento. His maestro was Rino Zurzolo and he took workshops with Jerry Bergonzi, Buster Williams, Benny Golson and Enrico Pierannuzzi. His edgy swinging and committed playing was honed from four years playing on ocean liners, making him the hottest bass player in town, often seen with James Morton and Andy Sheppard and used regularly at The Fringe. Pasquale is less often seen with BEJE these days.
Anders Olinder With a Swedish mother and Syrian father Anders is pianist, keyboardist and organist. His lists his Influences as being Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder, McCoy Tyner and Larry Goldings. He is in contant demand and has performed and recorded in the UK and abroad with various jazz and soul-artists, including Tony Remy, Tony Kofi, Cameron Pierre, Glenn Hughes, PP Arnold, PeeWee Ellis, and Peter Gabriel. ‘Organist Anders Olinder gets that classic, percussive B3 Hammond sound exactly right’ (The Guardian,of a Tony Kofi gig).
Julien Alenda was born in Normandy, France in 1985. He started learning clarinet at 8, but soon moved to alto saxophone and started to play jazz in local clubs. After graduating from the conservatoire in Toulouse in 2008, he spent one year in San Diego, US where he had the great opportunity to study with alto sax master Charles McPherson. In 2009, he played and recorded original songs in Brazil with local musicians. His travel experience continued the following year, aboard a cruise ship where he played in the jazz band, before moving to Bristol in 2012. His playing is influenced by his love for Cannonball Adderley, Kenny Garrett and Dexter Gordon among others. In November 2019 Julien moved to Toulouse: he’s quite a player to lose! (sorry).
Paolo Adamo was born in Gubbio (Umbria, Italy) in 1992. He received his first drum kit aged five and quickly learned the grooves of drummer Phil Collins. He has been playing professionally since he was fourteen all around the country, and playing in Festivals in Europe, taking part in the Mouscron ‘Jazz Puzzle’ in Belgium for six consecutive years. He reckons his style is more influenced now by Steve Smith, Vinnie Colajuta, Mark Guiliana. His BEJE band mates hear Tony Williams in his playing. In Bristol since 2012 he’s busy in several other bands e.g Mankala, Arketta, The Veneer, Arta Arden, Whiteflag, Ibou Tall and the Jazz Mates. He’s currently gigging a lot with John Law (2019-20).
Knud Stuwe Guitarist and composer, not on the inaugural gig but available for BEJE, Knud is from Hamburg and has an MA in Music for Film TV and Theatre. For over ten years part of the successful duo ‘Chai For Two’ with David, Knud is much in demand as a versatile guitarist with singers, African musicians (Baraka), theatre (Instant Wit) and he worked a few years ago with libretist Karen Hayes on a chamber opera. He studied jazz guitar with Mike Walker in Manchester and is particularly fond of Monk. His band, Mr Dowland’s Midnight includes Simon Leach on oudh and saxophonist Jake McMurchie. More recently he formed Nabra with Ali El Mubarak also on oudh; in 2019 they played the Eisteddfod. More recently still he played formed Eastern Strings with renowned Israeli bassist Daphna Sadeh and feature regularly at the Cambridge Jazz Festival. http://www.knudstuwe.com
Federico Leonori is currently the regular bassist. He has a Masters in double bass from Santa Cecilia Conservatory in R
ome, graduating under bassist Daniele Roccatto and is an extremely versatile player, be it freeform in ‘Flexitime’ with Richard Leigh Harris on piano (Oxjam) and Mowat trumpet, or trad/mainstream with the ever-popular Peanut Shuffle Club. His inspiration is Charles Mingus but he’s also studied with John Abercrombie, Uri Caine, Cameron Brown, Eddie Gomez & Dave Liebman . Along with Pasquale he is much in demand but has found time to set up the Bristol Academy of Creative Music in 2019 with saxophonist Greg Sterland. http://www.federicoleonori.com/
Len Aruliah on alto and sporano and contributing compositions is currently the main saxophonist, sharing the front line with David Mowat. Born in the UK, Len Aruliah grew up in Vancouver, Canada, where he studied saxophone with Julia Nolan, David Branter, and Stan Karp, and arranging with Fred Stride. He has a Bachelor of Music degree in classical saxophone from the University of British Columbia School of Music. In 1993, he studied at the Banff Centre for the Arts Jazz Workshop, working with faculty members Hugh Fraser, Kenny Wheeler, Pat LaBarbera, and Don Thompson.
An accomplished jazz performer and improviser, Len has worked extensively for many years with guitarist Jared Burrows in numerous groups, including his own quartet, quintet, and sextet. In 2007, he released the album Full Circle, featuring a jazz quartet playing his original compositions, and in 2017 released new quintet album No Complications. Other UK credits apart from BEJE include the Hackney Colliery Band, Paul Weinreb’s Quintet and Tarantula, the 4Seasons Band, the River City Stompers, the Hot Orange Big Band, the Charles Condy Quartet, and his own groups .http://www.lenaruliah.com/
Ana Gomez (centre) on piano has been playing with BEJE more frequently than Anders since 2017. Her clarity and elegance of melodic line and sympathetic accompaniment has made her an excellent fit. She writes “In 2007 I moved to Granada to study classical piano performance at the “Royal Conservatoire of Higher Musical Studies Victoria Eugenia” in the city of Granada (South Spain), where I obtained my bachelor degree with excellent marks in 2012. I also continued broadening my studies in jazz music at EMMAT (“Escuela Municipal de Música Alhaurín de la Torre), where I was taught Jazz piano and saxophone, jazz combo and modern harmony by some of the top musicians of the jazz scene in South Spain. I also attended several courses and seminars in relation to jazz and contemporary music with Aaron Goldberg, Jeff Ballard, Mariano Díaz, Javier Galiana, Julián Sánchez, and Adolfo Delgado amongst others.” Ana is much in demand in Bristol and further afiled besides playing with BEJE.