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The Ben Holder Trio


led by (classically trained) jazz violinist Ben Holder with Jez Cook (guitar) and Paul Jefferies (bass)

Sunday 2nd September 2018     

5:30pm: St Michaels and All Angels Church, Adbaston, ST20 0QE

Tickets £10  and in advance via email:  or phone  01785-850967


Notes on the artists

The Ben Holder Trio is a stellar line-up of incredible musicians, blending a breathtaking mix of traditional jazz and swing with gypsy jazz and even a few of Ben's own infectious originals. The group is one of the most exciting outfits to emerge in recent years. Led by the fiery enthusiasm of 28-year-old Ben Holder who wows on violin, the trio is strengthened by the phenomenal Jez Cook on guitar and the suave talent of Paul Jefferies. The Ben Holder Trio masterfully blends old jazz favourites with more select, recent material and leaves audiences up and down the country speechless.

The evening's programme will provide a subtle nod to Ben's classical beginnings with Vittorio Monti and Brahms, but for the most part stay true to his love of jazz and swing. Expect standards from the likes of Gershwin and Fats Waller and gypsy influences of Reinhardt and Grappelli.






At only twenty eight years old, Ben Holder is one of the most gifted and exciting young jazz violinists in the UK. Born in Birmingham and raised in Burton on Trent, Ben was taught classically from the age of six. With his natural affinity becoming clear, he moved on to specialised tutoring in his pre-teen years and later studied at the Birmingham Conservatoire.


Ben quickly progressed through and completed his classical grades and by the age of thirteen found himself looking for new, varying repertoire. During this time, after being handed a mix-tape, Ben began listening to Jazz – classic masters such as Benny Goodman and Oscar Peterson and of course the great jazz violinists including Grappelli, Joe Venuti and the awe-inspiring Stuff Smith. Alongside his early studies and later at college he embarked on a detailed analysis of these musicians techniques and the way in which they merged this most classical of instruments into the jazz idiom. Through listening to these consummate jazz players Ben found a new and exciting opportunity to deepen his already well-developed technical skills, as well as the chance to turn his hand to improvisation – and what a pairing this has turned out to be.


Ben 's innate sense of swing rhythm (something which often eludes classical players) also stems from these introductory listening sessions and his various awards bear testimony to his abilities. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Ben has avoided the experimental and avant-garde in favour of his true love: jazz with melody and swing. With a plethora of popular recordings and nationwide appearances, Ben brings excitement, flair and unbelievable musicianship to every single performance. He is a first call jazz violinist for many of the country's top bands and studios.


Ben is now a professional jazz violinist who plays throughout the U.K, Europe and further afield with his varying line-ups. Aside from playing, Ben spends time in his studio at home developing new arrangements of jazz standards and writing his own original music. Ben's profile is building and he has the pleasure of playing many wonderful venues, ranging from London's The 606 and The Hideaway to the very prestigious Preservation Hall in New Orleans (the home of jazz!)


Ben's musical abilities combined with his infectious personality make him stand out from others in his field and his regular audiences have come to expect a night of sheer entertainment – and, of course, incredible music. Ben loves to interact with those around him, share stories and play melodic, energetic songs.


The evening's programme will provide a subtle nod to Ben's classical beginnings with repertoire from Vittorio Monti and Brahms, but for the most part stay true to his love of jazz and swing. Expect standards from the likes of Gershwin and Fats Waller and elements of gypsy influence from Reinhardt and Grappelli, all played with excitement, energy and demonstrating top-notch musicianship.



Jez Cook is a highly-respected guitarist based in Oxfordshire, England. He is the first-choice guitarist for Ben in his varying line-ups, as he is for many other musicians and bandleaders throughout the U.K. Jez is also a guitar teacher and is passionate about sharing his extensive musical knowledge, technique and passion for the guitar.


If you are looking for a musician to provide great rhythm, melodic solos and a huge knowledge of songs then Jez Cook is most definitely the right musician. He is a thoughtful, mature player and his subtle musical confidence is a delight to the ears.


Jez was born in 1962 and is well known as a Gypsy Jazz guitarist, appearing at the Edinburgh Festival and twice at the Django Reinhardt Festival at Samois-sur-Seine in France. Jez Cook is the guitarist's guitarist and an exceptional player. He works regularly with John Etheridge and Gary Potter, two of the most virtuosic players on the scene who both demand Jez's services when they go out on the road. Jez himself is no slouch on the instrument, managing to sound fantastic whether he is playing a Scofield/ MacLaughlin-inspired solo or hinting at Hot Club de Paris. Jez is a regular sideman with many of the top UK players and something of a fixture at jazz clubs and festivals up and down the UK – a fantastic player.

Jez has had a varied musical career, which includes a period of playing guitar with Europe's top Elvis impersonator! His skill-set is so well-developed and broad that he really can turn his hand to anything. As a musician, Jez is of the opinion that variety is very much the spice of life and takes great pleasure in welcoming the chance to play as much different repertoire as possible. This comes in very handy when supporting a musician as prone to speed and variety as Ben.

At home in styles as various as Hot Club, contemporary jazz and fusion, Jez has been employed by everyone from George Harrison to Jools Holland and many more. During twenty years of playing, he has performed with numerous artists, including John Etheridge, Graham Collier, Lillian Boutte, Diz Disley, Gary Potter, Jim Mullen, The Kimbara Brothers, Tziganarama, and Ian Cruickshank’s Gypsy Jazz. Beyond his jazz work, Jez has recorded and gigged with Flamenco star Rafael, further testament to his spectacular yet tasteful solos.




Paul Jefferies is an accomplished bassist and teacher based in Oxfordshire, England and alongside being a professional jazz performer, teaches students of all levels from beginner to very accomplished players. He was one of the founders of the successful Oxford Jazz Festival and currently operates Burton-on-Trent’s ‘Jazz on Tap’, Moreton-in- Marsh and Witney jazz clubs and has made a name for himself as an active and successful promoter of music and musicians.

Paul describes how he became a musician: “My interest in music was sparked when my parents marched me into choir practice one day at the tender age of seven. I fell in love with the beauty of harmony and melody from that first moment. A year later I discovered guitars and pop and with the help of a few ‘tune a day’ books I picked up playing both six string and bass guitars. At 18 I gave it all up in pursuit of a business career – my only connection with music in those fallow years was a burgeoning hi-fi hobby which led me to jazz which I quickly obsessed on. I was a jazz vinyl junkie and it wasn’t until 12 years ago that a quirk of fate led me to acquire a lovely Ibanez bass guitar. A month later I was persuaded to jam with a friend and you’ve guessed it, I was hooked again. So bass guitar upgraded, a few blues bands later and I’m realising that if I’m going to play any of that jazz music that purrs out of the mono-block amps, I’ll need to get a double bass. It’s taken me ten years to begin to start playing with comfort but those years of pain have introduced me to some fantastic musicians most of whom have been kind and offered lots of advice. So now armed with a nice collection of classical grades, thousands of jazz gigs, a shed load of practise and ever decreasingly sore fingers, I’m now proud to be part of some very, very fine ensembles and to be performing with some of the UK’s top names.”


Known for a superb sense of time and musicality, Paul Jefferies is an inventive and lyrical bassist with a warm, dark yet clear tone and he appears regularly with a wide range of ensembles. Paul has also performed with some of the leading names in jazz including Art Themen, Tina May, Juliet Kelly, Simon Spillett, Nicolas Meier, Steve Waterman and Roger Beaujolais.

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