About Richard Iles
Welcome to my webpage!
I`ve been very very lucky to have played with some great musicians over the years and i continue to put together my own bands together featuring my favourite musicians. You can read what i have been up to over the years here.
Although getting gigs is tough i continue to compose for my latest group MICROSCOPIC as well as my larger ensemble RICHARD ILES` MINIATURE BRASS EMPORIUM. Also i am currently involved with PRESTWICH DELUXE which is a pretty straight ahead group.
I hope you enjoy listening and watching the clips and hopefully one day you might see the bands live!
I began playing trumpet at the age of 11 after getting the “bug” to play jazz after hearing my dad`s big band records, I became a member of Midland Youth Jazz Orchestra and various other local bands that further enthused my love of jazz. At the age of 18 I attended Leeds College of Music for 3 years where I studied trumpet with Don Bateman and was also lucky enough to benefit from the experience of drummer and composer Tony Faulkner and Jazz trumpet player and director of the Leeds jazz course – Dick Hawdon. I had a wonderful time at college but it wasn`t until a few years later that I really began to assimilate all the things that I had learnt at college.
After leaving college I became a professional musician “jobbing” around many different types of music, alongside this I continued my love of jazz by forming my own band and writing music for it. This was a much harder task outside of college but it was something that I was determined to pursue. After many changes of line-up I eventually settled with Mike Walker on guitar, Eryl Roberts on drums, Nikki Iles on piano and Gary Culshaw on bass with myself contributing most of the tunes and arrangements. The name of the band was Emanon and I never really liked the name, even though I chose it. As I was living in Yorkshire at the time most of the gigs we did were in the Yorkshire area and occasionally we wandered over the border into Manchester to play The Band On The Wall in Manchester. Later saxophonist Iain Dixon joined the band and it all felt complete for a while as we embarked on a national tour part-funded by Jazz Sevices. I will always be grateful to those musicians for playing my music and giving invaluable feedback. I learnt an awful lot at that time about how to structure and develop tunes.
It was about this time that I was invited along with all the other members of Emanon to take part in a new project called The Creative Jazz Orchestra. Our first project was a rehearsal with Mike Gibbs performing the music from his CD Big Music – It went from there to include opportunities to tour with:
Kenny Wheeler, Vince Mendoza, Anthony Braxton, Bill Frisell, Peter Erskine, John Taylor, Michael Formanek, Edward Vesala, Barry Guy, Django Bates, June Tabor and many others. This was a great band to be involved in thanks to its creative director- Nick Purnell .
The Creative Jazz Orchestra lasted until the late 90`s and the final project that I did (I think) was a brass project directed by drummer – Peter Erskine. I particularly enjoyed this project and later on I would form my own brass – based ensemble.
It was in 1997 that I got together with a wonderful saxophone player and composer Andy Schofield and formed a jazz orchestra called the…
Richard Iles / Andy Schofield Jazz Orchestra, this was born out of our love of the music of Thad Jones/ Mel Lewis Orchestra and although we played exclusively our own tunes, we were trying to emulate the spirit and performance of that band. Once again we went on a short jazz services tour and performed many gigs besides.
At this point I found myself in a position to make a CD which I funded myself and with lots of help from Andy Schofield and Iain Dixon in putting it together and production. From Here To There was a cd containing all my tunes and musical experiences from the previous years wrapped up on one disc. Although it hasn`t outsold Michael Jacksons Thriller, I am very proud of it.
After the cd was finished I put together a new band called The Richard Iles Group featuring Mike again on guitar, Richard Wetherall on Piano and Keyboards, John Ellis on Organ, Pete Turner on Bass and Eryl Roberts on drums. This was a band exploring the approach of Miles Davis 70`s bands playing my own tunes, we played many nights at Matt n Phreds in Manchester, but the nature of the music made it difficult for other jazz venues to take it. (It was pretty loud!) However I did manage to record one pretty amazing night at The Band On The Wall.
At the same time as this I put together Miniature Brass Emporium as the Jazz Orchestra had come to an end and I wanted to carry writing for a larger ensemble. This is a band I run to this day and although we haven`t done that many gigs we have recorded for BBC`S Jazz on 3 from the Manchester Jazz Festival.
In 2008 I was invited to play with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and after that 1st concert I was invited back to play on many occasions until 2011. During that time I got to perform with Gary Burton, Joe Lovano, Arild Anderson, and John Scofield. It was a tremendous band and I thoroughly enjoyed my experience with them.
Alongside all this …. I teach for Bolton Music Service, musically direct one of the big bands at Chethams School Of Music and I teach jazz trumpet at Birmingham Conservatoire on the jazz course.
(hope that wasn`t to boring)