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The monthly Tea Break is a series of short, fun items in What's New Magazine that also gives jazz musicians an opportunity to update us with what they are doing.


Nick Costley-White - June 2017



Nick Costley-White


Here is a video of Nick playing Billy Strayhorn / Duke Ellington's Isfahan at The Vortex in 2015
with Calum Gourlay (bass) and Dave Hamblett (drums).




Guitarist Nick Costley-White graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2011 with a first class Honours degree, The Dixie Ticklersthe highest mark in his year and was awarded the Yamaha Scholarship for Outstanding Jazz Musicians.

Since then he has been a part of several UK tours and performances across Europe, Australia and South America with world renowned jazz musicians such as Gareth Lockrane, Stan Sulzmann, Jeff Williams and composer John Warren (ECM). At various times he has played professionally with some of the UK's finest musicians including Martin Speake, Tom Challenger, Paul Clarvis, Tim Giles, Ivo Neame, Tommy Andrews, Jon Scott, Dave Hamblett and Josh Arcoleo.

Nick has performed on several live broadcasts including Radio 3's "In Tune" with the Martin Speake Trio and Radio London with the Dixie Ticklers. This range of bands illustrates the variety of Nick's playing from contemporary jazz to the vintage New Orleans music of the Dixie Ticklers, on whose 2011 release Standing Pat Nick is featured. The band has since toured extensively internationally and continues to gig regularly in London.

The Dixie Ticklers.




Here are the Dixie Ticklers with Nick on guitar playing New Orleans Bump at The Jazz Nursery
during the 2014 EFG London Jazz Festival.




As well as leading his own Quartet and teaching, Nick has been a part of many successful musical projects as a contributing musician. He is featured on 8 studio albums, including A New Start by UK sax veteran Pete Hurt, (2nd place in the 2016 Jazz awards New Release category) and Fini Bearman’s Burn the Boat (2nd in JazzWise “Best Albums of 2016”). He will be releasing his debut album as a leader in 2018 and in his Tea Break he tells us about the recent recording sessions.

Since coming together in 2013, the Nick Costley-White Quartet has performed all over the UK and includes highly respected musicians who will be found playing with many other of the UK's top bands. Matt Robinson is the pianist, Conor Chaplin the bassist and Dave Hamblett is featured on drums. Performance highlights include a sellout performance at the 2015 London Jazz Festival which was reviewed for Jazzwise magazine who said: “Guitarist, Nick Costley-White has a flair for melody and he crafted some beautiful lines”.


Nick plays a brief solo version of the Standard Tea For Two (even though he chooses coffee for our Tea Break).




Hi  Nick, tea or coffee?

Coffee please.

Milk and sugar?


So, you’ve got a debut album in the pipeline. How’s that going? Who else is on it and what can we expect? Has it got a title yet?

Nick Costley-White


It's gone really well so far, we did two days at Eastcote studios a few weeks ago and it was a really fantastic experience. I'd never led a session before and this was also by far the most improvising I'd done in a studio context compared to my other work as a sideman. This was all a great learning experience and I'm really excited about how the album will come out.

The record features my long standing quartet of Matt Robinson on piano, Conor Chaplin on double bass and Dave Hamblett on drums. We've played together a huge amount both in my group and in several other bands. They're all exceptional players who were on absolutely peak form for these two days of recording. There are also a couple of tunes with Sam Rapley on bass clarinet, another fantastic musician I was really excited to have onboard.


Hob Nob, Custard Cream, Garibaldi or digestive biscuit?

Chocolate digestive please.


Nick Costley-White at the Vortex


How are the Quartet gigs going, you played the Vortex in March and other gigs in April, how did they go. What else is coming up?

The Vortex was a lot of fun, and we also had a brilliant time playing recently at the Con Cellar Bar in Camden. The Con is definitely a second home for a lot of musicians of my generation, we did our first gig as a quartet there almost three years ago and I'm really pleased the nights there are continuing to be such a success. It's an integral part of the scene we should all support!




The Nick Costley-White Quartet play Swing State Wig Wam at the RamJam Club in Kingston earlier this year.





Have you gigs lined up with other bands?

I'm really excited to be doing the first gig with Mike Chillingworth's new quartet at the Con on the 9th June. Mike is an unbelievable saxophonist and improviser and I've always had great admiration for his playing and writing. The quartet is completed by James Maddren on drums and Calum Gourlay on double bass. All three of these guys are musicians I was dreaming about playing with when I started at music college.


If you could sit in with a Quartet of past, now departed musicians, who would you choose?

Miles Davis rhythm section from the '60s with Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams and Ron Carter. This band is probably my favourite within jazz and it's music that I've come back to over and over again. The spontaneity and interaction of this group is one of the most joyous things in jazz, and most of all it swings so beautifully. The Quintet featured several saxophonists, most notably Wayne Shorter and George Coleman, but my personal favourite is the very short lived line up with Sam Rivers, which is captured on Live in Tokyo.


What number would you get them to play?

If I Were a Bell, or All of Me. Anything where they did the open turnaround at the end of each solo and Herbie and Ron just get to expand more and more on the harmony whilst Tony just loses his s##t in the background.


Listen to If I Were A Bell from the 1964 Miles In Tokyo album with Miles Davis (trumpet), Sam Rivers (tenor saxophone),
Herbie Hancock (piano), Ron Carter (double bass), Tony Williams (drums).





Who else have you heard recently that we should listen out for?

Well I'm sure any guys on the London scene you'll be interviewing soon enough (I'd recommend listening to Miguel Gorodi's Nonet and Sam Braysher's duo album with Michael Kanan). Outside of that I've enjoyed Lucas Pino's "No Net" nonet and Luigi Grasso's album Ca Marche featuring his virtusosic, Bud Powell inspired brother, Pasquale on guitar.


Lucas Pino's "No Net" Nonet playing I Can't Remember When I Didn't Love You live at
Smalls in Greenwich Village in February 2016.





Pasquale Grasso plays Body And Soul with Yvonnick Prene on chromatic harmonica
from the 2015 album Pasquale Grasso guitar Merci Toots.





Another biscuit?

All set thanks


Nick Costley-White duets with pianist Matt Robinson on Nick's composition Dumbo
at The Vortex Jazz Club in Dalston, London in 2014.





Nick Costley-White


Click here for Nick's website.


Click here for more Tea Breaks


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