Jay Phelps’ music is a journey through an array of many styles and temperaments, with a strong sense of what is contemporary in Jazz today. Trumpeter Phelps, (co-founder of Empirical) has spent the last two years on a spiritual journey travelling the world, writing, and has incorporated these influences along with the new addition of his vocals, into his music. ‘Free as the Birds’, Phelps’ newly released album, uses this theme of travel as its main reference point, and tonight’s performance by this fresh and exciting band will feature material from this highly anticipated release. Joining Phelps on trumpet and vocals are fellow JPQ members, Rick Simpson on piano, Mark Lewandowski on bass and Moses Boyd on drums.
Jay Phelps is a Vancouver-born Canadian with an instantly recognisable warm and projecting tone. He was tutored by the city’s top Jazz and Classical trumpeters and distinguished himself early on as the youngest band-leader in the Vancouver International Jazz Festival’s history. In 1999 aged 17, Jay moved to London and was offered work by Gary Crosby with Jazz Jamaica in 2002 and the opportunity to be a ‘Tomorrow’s Warrior’. Citing Louis Armstrong, Fats Navarro, Clifford Brown and Miles Davis as his early influences, Jay went on to create and co-lead the UK Jazz sensation Empirical. They spent two years touring major festivals and events with their self-titled debut album, while garnering worldwide media attention that UK Jazz musicians hadn’t enjoyed for years.
Jay has performed and recorded with a veritable who’s who of international Jazz and famed artists. As well as being a late night host and performer at London’s top music venues, Phelps regularly tours nationally and internationally with his own bands (JPQ, Projections: Of Miles, Jay’s Jitter Jive).
“… Phelps exhibits much of Wynton Marsalis’ fluency and vocalised tone”- John Fordham: The Guardian
“Assured, clever, fluent with a lovely soft-edged tone, he is already a player you could easily recognise after hearing him just once.” – Dave Gelly: The Observer