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Felix Weldon

Drummer Felix Weldon was born in Dulwich, South London in the spring of 1985 and grew up in and around Brixton. When his father, the renowned jazz pianist Nick Weldon moved to Kentish Town in North London in the mid 1990s Felix eventually moved in with him.

“I naturally ended up frequenting many of London's jazz venues with my father,” says Felix, “and on one occasion at the old Vortex in Stoke Newington, I saw him perform with top U.K drummer Mark Fletcher, playing with Trudy Kerr's Band. This event changed my life forever. I was so mesmerised by what I saw Mark do both technically and musically that I couldn't help but be drawn in by its heady gravity. I was twelve years old”.

Around that time Felix acquired a beginner's drum kit. He also became firm friends with the very musician who had sparked his new obsession, Mark Fletcher. “I began to practice daily. I was kept up at night obsessively running through rhythmic patterns in my head, and would awake the next day thinking only of one thing – drums”.

As well as attending all of his fathers gig's with Mark, Felix also started to get invited to many of Mark’s other gigs. “With such a wide musical vocabulary, and with me so readily huddled beneath Mark’s wing", Felix continues, “my playing improved rapidly. Only six months after getting my first drum kit, it was time for an upgrade to a beautiful Premier XPK kit and my first 'professional' public appearance - a piano/drums duo in the basement of the then Barracuda restaurant in Stoke Newington with my dad. It was a dark, candle-lit affair with a handful of couples dotted around in the coves. A small and appreciative audience, we serenaded them with our notes and received a free meal for our efforts and afterwards, with an encouraging smile, I was handed a five pound note by the manager. For me, there was no looking back”.

As the years went by, Felix left school to concentrate on music, which he did with gusto and dedication, sometimes pulling eight-hour practice sessions. He would practice all day, everyday: “And if I was lucky enough to play a gig at night, which was happening with increasing regularity, I would return home after the gig, set my kit up again and continue my studies. Luckily my family and neighbours were, shall we say, ‘accommodating’. My father and I were playing together constantly at home and were building a strong musical understanding of one another which survives to this day”.

Felix and his father embarked on a musical project named 'My Spell' with singer Wendy Foam Jesus and in 2002 released an album under the same name with Dick Pearce and Dave Jones (click here for a taste) . "That album is a strong representation of that period... pure intensity", Felix observes. It is still available on itunes.

Pat Crumly Tribute gigEventually when drummer and percussionist Paul Clarvis left the Nick Weldon Trio, Felix joined his father and Andy Cleyndert on the bandstand regularly at such venues as the 606 Club in Fulham. He also started getting calls to dep for his mentor Mark Fletcher.

It was in this period that he started playing for, amongst others, Ian Shaw, Dick Pearce and the late, great saxophonist Pat Crumly. “My father had also played for Pat who sadly passed away in the fall of 2008".

2008 - Pat Crumly Tribute gig at the 606 Club.
L:R - Nick Weldon (piano), Tim Wells (bass), Dave Lewis (saxophone), Felix Weldon (drums).
Photograph © Felix Weldon.


"To play with such noted, advanced and encouraging musicians was a dream come true and was of course just the nourishment I needed. I was blessed with the opportunity to travel and play around the British Isles, Europe and at home in London. My most notable performances have probably been in London at Ronnie Scott's Club and the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. I still have a few recordings of some such nights knocking around somewhere”.

Felix has had the good fortune to play with many musicians on the British scene, including Jeff Clyne,Felix Weldon Jazz Party Steve Waterman, John Dankworth, Alec Dankworth, Jacqui Dankworth, Malcolm Edmonstone, Dave Cliff, Andy McCormack, Dave Lewis, Alan Barnes, Richard Shepherd, Dil Datz, Dave O'Higgins and many others.

'Jazz Party' : from left to right:
John Dankworth, Nick Pugh, Malcolm Edmonstone,
Jacqui Dankworth, Felix Weldon, Richard Shepherd.
Photograph © Felix Weldon.


In 2006, Felix fell in love with a Danish girl and decided to move to Denmark so he took a break from music and focussed on other things. “My dad always said I'd forget all about music as soon as I had the love of a good woman, and that was the case, in a way, for a while. But soon enough, the old urges reared their heads again and I was moved to save up and buy myself a drum kit - and a house to put it in”.

Felix decided to return to the U.K. in late January 2009. “Since then I have been tirelessly endeavouring to re-establish myself on the U.K scene. So far it has been fruitful and I have also had the opportunity to branch out not only into other styles of music, but also to try my hand at other instruments - I am a keen amateur guitarist”.

Felix recently had the pleasure of singing at London’s Royal Festival Hall with the great Sir Bobby McFerrin. “I am also playing Cajon, in Spanish this translates as ‘big box’, a percussion instrument, and singing in a folk trio called Alchemy featuring myself, Graham Russ - lead vocal and guitar and fellow jazzer Peter Truin on ‘colour’ guitar, soprano sax and backing vocals. We are currently playing regularly around the country and are going on tour to Sardinia and France for a month in August”. (For more info on that band check out www.alchemymusic.co.uk ). “I am also doing a more cerebral jazz project which is in the embryonic stages at the moment. This features Nick Weldon on double bass, Peter Truin on tenor sax and the great Milton Mermikides on guitar. We are working through a mass of collective, original material and will soon begin gigging and there is talk of an album eventually. Watch this space”!

“One of the things I love most about this profession”, says Felix, “is that you never know who might call - or when. For me, to live is to make music. Luckily, I'm not alone in that sentiment! It took my break in Denmark to realise that music is where my heart lies and without it, I'm, well, just unhappy! But it isn't just the music. It's the musicians. When I left, it rather felt like leaving a family, and now I have returned, with my tail between my legs and hoping for re-acceptance”.

Like Elvin Jones, one of Felix’s biggest musical influences and inspirations, Felix wants to go on playing. “Elvin was gigging until the very end of his life – that is what I would like to achieve.”

As 2011 kicks off, Felix has been playing in support of singer Verona Chard whose album Fever was CD of the Month for November 2010 on UK Jazz Radio. Click here for Verona's website.

Copyright © Felix Weldon and Sandy Brown Jazz 2009 - 2015

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