"Intimate concerts in which Mike duets with musicians of the highest calibre from the world of jazz"

Mike's SpeakEasy Nights began more than a decade ago at Ilminster Arts Centre.  Latterly there have also been regular sessions at Dorchester Arts and from time to time (by request) at other venues.  The formula has proved very popular with audiences.... and highly enjoyable for the musicians! 


SpeakEasy Nights have featured many top musicians including (but not limited to!) Enrico Tomasso, Steve Graham, Ben Cummings (Trumpet), John Wurr, Mike Snelling, Pete Allen (Clarinet), Jim Fryer (Trombone), Spats Langham, Martin Wheatley (Banjo, Guitar), Mike Piggott, Chris Garrick (Violin).


Trevor Whiting

Wed 19 Feb - Dorchester Arts

Trevor is one of the most in demand reed players on the British Jazz scene.  He combines masterful, spontaneous improvisation with a rich sound that makes his lyrical playing both exciting and beautiful.  He is equally secure playing classic jazz, blues, mainstream jazz and ballads.  He is a self-taught musician who switched to the clarinet from the tenor horn on hearing the distinctive sound of Sidney Bechet as a teenager.

Trevor has toured the UK and Europe with the Chris Barber band.  He was in Clare Teal’s band and featured on her early recordings.  He also works with the Bateman Brothers band, whose recent album won the British Jazz Album of the Year award, and has enjoyed working and recording with visiting Americans including Al Casey, Art Hodes, Wild Bill Davison, Scott Hamilton, George Masso, Rande Sandke, Marty Gross, Greg Abate and Duke Heitger.

Tonight the duo will play the music of Sidney Bechet, Benny Goodman and their contemporaries.

Emma Fisk

Fri 3 Apr - Sherborne Cheap St Church

Emma Fisk is a UK based jazz violinist, specialising in Hot Club/ Gypsy Jazz, Classic Jazz and Swing styles. She has received critical acclaim both for her spirited gypsy jazz performances, and her interpretations of early jazz violin master, Joe Venuti's music. 

Emma's current projects include her Gypsy Jazz quartet 'Hot Club du Nord' and a Joe Venuti and Eddie Lang inspired duo with guitarist James Birkett.  She appears at festivals and jazz clubs with many of the top UK and international players including for example Keith Nichols, Jeff Barnhart, Remi Harris, Spats Langham, Martin Wheatley, Enrico Tomasso. She was highly ranked in the 2018 British Jazz awards and her engaging personality adds to her appeal.

"a violinist with a dark rich tone, a love for melody, and a way of swinging without being syrupy"
                                    Michael Steinman, Jazz Lives

Mike Denham solo

Fri 8 May - Ilminster Arts Centre

Responding to requests for another solo performance at Ilminster, Mike will play a programme celebrating the unlikely but hugely influential role of the Rent Party in 20th century jazz piano.

The 1920s rent party was a hot bed for the development of solo piano styles including blues, stride and boogie woogie.  Hundreds of long-forgotten pianists competed for engagements (and public recognition) at these informal events.  A few of them made the big time.  Fats Waller, Earl Hines and Jimmy Yancey cut their teeth at rent parties in New York and Chicago.  

Mike will play some of their well-known solo pieces, and some more obscure (but fascinating!) items in the style of Cripple Clarence Lofton, Art Hodes and others.  It was, of course, the era of prohibition and high-profile gangsters, which will no doubt provide a wealth of material for Mike's acclaimed anecdotes! 

© 2018 by Mike  Denham.