Cover star Rollins rolls up for jazz festival

Dennis Rollins
Dennis Rollins

The cover star of the 5th Ribble Valley Jazz Festival, virtuoso trombonist Dennis Rollins, brings his energy, talent and dynamic ‘Velocity Trio’ to The Grand, Clitheroe, on Sunday afternoon.

Having previously recorded with a host of prominent musicians and bands including Jamiroquai, Tom Jones, Sting and Roy Ayers, Dennis is no stranger to the UK jazz scene and has been heralded “an innovator of modern jazz with a power trio of rare instrumentation”, alongside organist Ross Stanley and drummer Pedro Segundo.

The Grand can expect to see a constantly varied set: “It can be unusual to see compositions that feature low brass as lead,” said Dennis. “Think Larry Young meets Pink Floyd meets Bette Midler!”

The trombone-led trio is not the first of Dennis’ various successful projects. Raised in Yorkshire, he joined The Doncaster Youth Jazz Orchestra aged 14 before moving to London in 1987 to perform with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra – who also perform at the festival on Saturday night.

“It was fantastic to be part of a group that’s seen as being top of their game”, he reflected. “I was able to improve on my sight-reading and my improvisation, and moving to London helped me to develop social skills, life skills.”

In 1995 he formed Dee Roe, his first funk-inflected jazz band with which he performed at jazz venues across London, before launching the quintet Dennis Rollins’ BadBone and Co. in 2000 and Boneyard, an ensemble featuring 10 trombones, a sousaphone and drums, in 2005.

Dennis will also host a trombone workshop before the concert for players of all ages and abilities, with one piece rehearsed as part of the tutorial and performed on stage with The Velocity Trio in the main gig!

“It’s so important to listen”, said Dennis, offering some advice to budding young jazz musicians. Listen to a wide range of collectives and find out what resonates and copy, copy, copy. You have access to so much information on the internet – that’s how you become a great musician.”

l Dennis Rollins plays The Grand this Sunday, May 4th (doors 2-15 pm).

Tickets for both the concert and the pre-concert workshop are available now. Visit thegrandvenue.co.uk or call 01200421599 for more information.