Play Jazz! workshop: Free and open improvisation

Saturday 2 November 2019, 2-6pm at Sage Gateshead

Guest Tutors: John Garner and Simon Roth

Theme: Approaches to free and open improvisation: We will be exploring techniques and concepts for melodic, rhythmic and harmonic development in improvisation and ensemble playing, with a particular focus on the compositional core of spontaneous creation.


Violinist, composer and producer John Garner has worked with a huge variety of artists across a broad spectrum of genres, including Chris Potter, The Last Skeptik, Sway Dasafo, John Williams (guitarist), Othon
Mataragas, Stewart Copeland, AZEDIA and Joey Negro. Much in demand in the world of small-group jazz, John has performed with Chris Potter, Liam Noble, Kate Williams, Georgia Mancio, Gareth Lockrane, Mike Outram, Alex Hutton, Asaf Sirkis and Jim Rattigan, among others.

A graduate of The Royal College of Music and Guildhall School of Music & Drama, formally trained in classical, jazz and South Indian music, John defies categorisation and is continually seeking new avenues of artistic expression, not least with his own groups Charkie Parlour, EMANATA, Mainly Two & The Guastalla Quartet. He is also the co-director, alongside violinist Marie Schreer, of Turquoise Coconut, an independent record label with a colourfully eclectic output, as well as a senior lecturer at Leeds College of Music.

Simon Roth is a musician whose work straddles the contemporary and traditional. He grew up in a house of musicians wedged between an old forest, the M25 and the Metropolitan line, immersed in Big Band Jazz, Free Improv, Classical music, Klezmer, 1960s Pop and a well worn tape of the Metropolitan Police Big Band performing *The A Team Theme Tune*, which was the sound of adventure in the form of press rolls and brass swells. Since then, he has performed across Europe, North and South America and Asia. UK Performance highlights include Ronnie Scott’s International Piano Trio Festival, South Bank Centre, Kings Place Festival and opening the EFG London Jazz Festival. Other festival appearances include Lattitude, Green Man, Shambala and Wilderness.

Simon has written for and led groups such as Mayday Project, Stories and Land of If and collaborated with Mercury-nominated folk singer Sam Lee, experimental punk band Magnus Loom and multi-award winning vocalist Lauren Kinsella. As a drummer, he was a longstanding member of Elliot Galvin’s trio and Ghanaian inspired band Vula Viel. In 2017, he toured the UK with legendary US saxophonist Chris Potter as part of ten-piece chamber ensemble Inner City Ensemble, premiering Potter’s original music. His music has been performed at the BBC Proms and broadcast widely on national radio and he has appeared on critically acclaimed recordings by Elliot Galvin Trio, Engines Orchestra, Vula Viel, Lauren Kinsella’s Thought-Fox,
Resolute and Raph Clarkson’s Dissolute Society and Fran & Flora.

About Play Jazz!

On the first Saturday of each month (except January and August) we run four-hour workshops in association with Sage Gateshead. Each one is different, and is usually facilitated by a different tutor. The Play Jazz! workshops are intended to appeal to a wide range of musicians including those who

  • play other styles of music but are new to jazz
  • play written music but want to learn to improvise
  • have not played for a while and want to refresh their skills
  • want to meet and play with other jazz musicians.

Suitable for all instrumentalists and improvising vocalists. Minimum age 16.

Each four-hour workshop costs £25 (or £22.50 for Jazz.Coop members). Ticket sales are handled by the Sage. You can book online here
or by phoning the Sage ticket office 0191 443 4661
or by visiting the Sage in person

If you’ve got any questions please email