Meet the Jazzmen
KEITH BALL - Vocals
Keith Ball was born in 1961 in Ilford, England. The son of legendary jazz musician Kenny Ball, he grew up with a wealth of influences, including swing and jazz, and from a young age music played a huge part in his young life.
Keith's vocals are influenced by some of the greatest musicians and singers of our time. The likes of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatra and Jack Jones spring to mind when listening to his vocals.
Taking the lead from his father, Keith started playing from a young age, first taking up drums and then trumpet followed by the piano. Since then he's played in a variety of lineups and big bands covering a broad spectrum of music. From his humble days as a session musician, Keith has now mastered his craft and added to his repertoire singing a variety of hits from the Rat Pack days.
BEN CUMMINGS - Trumpet & Vocals
Ben Cummings has established a formidable reputation as one of Britain’s finest trumpet players. He enjoys a highly successful career as a full time musician having played with Jacqui Dankworth, Jamie Cullum, Bad Manners, the Humphrey Lyttelton Band, the Pasadena Roof Orchestra. His influences include Chet Baker, Clark Terry and Bob Brookmeyer. He also has his own Big Beat Band.
Ben has been described as a demon horn player, he’s surprised many bands he’s played in with his clever trumpet escapades, into which he puts his heart and soul. Ben fills the now familiar supporting trumpet role to Kenny Ball.
JULIAN STRINGLE - Clarinet & Vocals
Julian was a child prodigy reed player. He was educated at the Latymer Music School and the London College of Music where he studied Clarinet with Wilf Keeley and Composition with William Lloyd Webber.
He has played on concert, club, festival and broadcast dates with his own band and with:- Peanuts Hucko, Wild Bill Davidson, George Chisholm, Don Lusher, Kenny Baker, Cleo Lane & Sir John Dankworth. He has recorded with John Parricelli, Digby Fairweather, Danny Moss, Sam Brown, Roy Williams, Jim Mullen, Marc Almond, Tommy Whittle, George Melly, Joe Brown, Chas & Dave, The Grid and the Spice Girls! He has appeared at Wembley Arena with Meatloaf!
Julian has recently joined the band since the departure of Andy Cooper after 45 years with the Jazzmen. Julian also stars the Digby Fairweather Half Dozen, backing Paul Jones and leading The Dream Band, his own exciting and melodic Latin-influenced jazz funk quintet.
Julian plays Clarinet, Alto & Tenor Saxes and Sings - but the Clarinet is his passion and he is now recognised as one of the most stylish performers on the instrument in Europe.
JOHN BENNETT - Trombone
John, a founder member of the band, was born in East London 'within the sound of Bow Bells'. He started out in jazz at an early age as a self-taught boogie woogie pianist, and regularly picked the lock of the school piano with his nail file in order to give lunch-hour recitals to his fellow pupils. This was severely frowned upon by the educational authorities of the day, though it did earn John a lasting place in his schools underground hall of fame. Later on he took up trombone, and while stationed in London on National Service with the army, John spent his off-duty evenings sitting in with bands at various jazz clubs in the Soho area. He went professional with the Terry Lightfoot band in 1956, and there met Kenny Ball who was also to join that band eighteen months later.
HUGH LEDIGO - Piano
Born at the beginning of the Swing era, Hughs original love was classical music, but his brothers success as a jazz-band-leader lured him across the tracks at a tender age. His musical tastes still embrace Bach and Debussy, Bix and Duke. After years of jazz and nightclubs, Hugh became MD for London's prestigious Showboat Theatre-Restaurant before joining the famous Pasadena Roof Orchestra. After belatedly completing his formal training with the concert pianist Eileen John, Hugh joined the ranks of Kenny Ball's Jazzmen in November 1987. He is equally at home playing Dixieland through to Be-Bop and beyond, and classical music - but only behind locked doors!
BILL COLEMAN - Double Bass
Born in Leicestershire and, after leaving college, began to play jazz and has continued to play professionally ever since, nationally and internationally, starting with engagements with the legendary American drummer Kenny Clarke. For some time he has been frequently engaged backing many major jazz stars, such as a tour with American guitarist Mundell Lowe. He has featured as resident bassist on several jazz festivals, promotes jazz events and assists, whenever possible, in funding jazz projects. Bill also writes compositions for groups from trios to orchestras.
In other spheres, he was Helen Shapiro's musical director and pianist for many years, toured with Kike Dee plus spells with such as Sir Harry Secombe, The Barron Knights etc.
NICK MILLWARD - Drums & Vocals
Born in Birmingham Nick was given his first drum kit at the age of 5 and was soon to be inspired by the likes of Gene Krupa, Ed Thigpen, Dennis Chambers and in particular the drummer he has styled himself on, Buddy Rich. Before joining Kenny in 1999, he toured the world with many other bands, starting with an American rock cover band. Nick turned professional when he became a member of the Pete Allen Jazzband, with whom he played for 5 years. He was later with Terry Lightfoot, then the First Class Sounds band featuring Digby Fairweather. In addition to all this, he also runs his own trio or quartet which allows him to display his vocal talents.