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Iestyn Jones iamge

Photo courtesy of Iestyn Jones


Iestyn Jones is the sound of electric bass. Born in Carmarthen in 1986, the twenty-two year old Welshman is beginning to make a telling impact on the music scene.

In the land of his great, great grandfather who in true Welsh tradition wrote and composed hymns, Iestyn was introduced to the trumpet when he was only seven years old.

‘I pretty much knew then that music was my main interest,’ he says. ‘I was involved in all the school orchestras and always played in school productions. I also became a member of the County and Three Counties Orchestras, the, when I was sixteen I was accepted into the Youth Jazz Orchestra of Wales and the National Youth Brass Band of Wales.’

But why the change to playing bass?Iestyn Jones image

‘Before the bass I was playing lead instruments. I took up the clarinet and piano, and then switched from the trumpet to the euphonium, but I was always thinking more of the groove side of pieces and I couldn’t really control the groove with a lead instrument. I knew that the bass always played a dominant role in controlling the groove in music and I wanted to be part of that.’

Photo courtesy of Iestyn Jones



By the time he was eighteen, Iestyn had passed Grade 8 in euphonium and bass guitar, and had already been a member of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra and National Youth Brass band for two years. It seemed natural to apply for a place at the Royal Welsh College of Music, and after the usual rigorous auditions, he was granted a place in 2004. In 2008 he left the College with a First Class Honours degree in Music.

During his time at the College, Dudley Phillips was Iestyn’s main personal tutor: ‘He is an excellent tutor and was a great help for me throughout college.’

Iestyn’s wider musical activities have added colour and depth to his playing. He was part of the first ever musical production of Quadrophenia, The Who’s 1973 rock opera based on the Mod culture, written by Pete Townshend and turned into a film in 1979. At one time there had been talk about turning it into a stage show to replace the hit show Tommy, but it had turned out to be too technically challenging for The Who to perform live at that time. Iestyn says of the production in which he was involved: ‘It was led under the musical direction of John O’Hara, the musical director for Jethro Tull. I met Pete Townshend after one of the shows and he was very complimentary of the whole production. Hopefully the show will be touring sometime in 2009.’Iestyn Jones image


There has also been television work including the show ‘Bandit’, the Faenol Festival, the Dolgellau Festival, a Music Video for channel S4C, and a place in the orchestra for the ‘Bryn Terfel Scholarship’ performances. Iestyn has also performed with his own trio on S4C, worked with Catrin Finch and done session work for various Radio Wales shows including being part of the House band for the soul programme ‘The Beat’.

Photo courtesy of Iestyn Jones


What about recording work?

‘I played on Catrin Finch’s new album over the summer of 2008 – the album is still to be released – and on numerous ‘Fflur Dafydd’ albums, some of which were in the top ten Welsh charts. There have been albums with other artists on various labels, but some of these were only day sessions and I am unsure of the outcomes of those albums.’

Iestyn was one of the winners of the 2008 Yamaha/Classic FM Scholarships. The Scholarships were awarded to six students nominated by their Colleges as outstanding jazz musicians. At the end of 2008, an album was released with compositions by each of the winners and presented with Jazzwise Magazine's December/January issue, but you can also hear Iestyn’s playing on his Myspace website by clicking here.

Writing for Word magazine, David Hepworth discussed what has become known as the ‘Herbie Flowers Argument’ which asks: how remarkable is Lou Reed’s ‘Walk On The Wild Side’ without the string bass part of Herbie Flowers? The bass player’s name may not be main name receiving the credit for a number, but that doesn’t mean his contribution isn’t every bit as crucial as the person whose name sits there.

Iestyn Jones is an easy name to remember – look out for it.


© Iestyn Jones and Ian Maund 2008-2014

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