Sam is a professional musician who lives in Manchester, UK. He graduated from Newcastle College with a 2:1 degree in Jazz, Popular and Commercial Music in 2003. Over the past 15 years he has become known as one of Manchester’s most versatile, hard-working and reliable drummers.
Sam’s journey in to the music industry began when he moved back to Manchester after studying in 2003. After recognition on the jazz scene from attending and hosting many jam nights he joined Whiskycats and performed hundreds of gigs with them from 2004-2010. The band toured the UK, selling out venues such as Manchester Academy 1, Ronnie Scott’s, Cargo and Barfly (London) amongst many others. Whiskycats performed on the Main Stage at Kendal Calling Festival and Fruitstock Festival, plus appeared on the BBC introducing Stage at Leeds Festival in 2006. The band became so popular that they got the chance to share the bill with many famous acts including Artic Monkeys, Gilles Peterson and Jessie J.
After Whiskycats disbanded Sam was snapped up for 2 different tours. The first was a UK tour with Brit Award winner Finley Quaye., where he would play standout shows at The Rainbow Club in Birmingham, Band on The Wall in Manchester and the Jazz Cafe in Camden.
The second was a UK and European tour with Jesca Hoop, an American artist living in the UK. The music was more stripped down and gentle, blending elements of Folk, Americana and Jazz.
With Jesca Hoop, Sam was able to travel to France, Ireland and The Netherlands, giving him his first experience of touring abroad performing in places such as Galway, Dublin, Cork, Paris and Amsterdam.
Festivals with Jesca included ‘Walk The Line’ and ‘In The Great Wide open’ (both in Netherlands) plus an appearance on the BBC6 Introducing stage at Glastonbury in 2010. He also got the chance to perform with Guy Garvey from Elbow, who was guesting on one of Jesca’s songs at The Deaf Institute in Manchester.
After the tours, Sam came back to Manchester and immersed himself in some new projects. The first was with Kirk McElhinney, a songwriter whose material was based around Blues and Folk, citing John Martyn and Bert Jansch as his influences. Highlights from this project were appearances at Band on The Wall in Manchester and the Main Stage at Solfest in Cumbria.
It was playing with Kirk that led Sam to perform with Jazz/World music legend Nitin Sawhney in 2012 for part of his ‘Aftershock’ project. Sawhney’s vision was to hand-pick then collaborate with some of the best young musicians from around the Northwest and then play a gig with the select few in Manchester. Other musicians involved with the project included Arun Ghosh and Matt Halsall (Gondwana Records). Sam was the drummer selected for this accolade.
The Gypsies of Bohemia are a Gypsy jazz band based in Manchester that put their own unique twist on modern classics. The band gigs relentlessly around the UK, with a lot of their work actually coming from private bookings. The Gypsies have now become a UK festival favourite performing at festivals such as Beatherder, Latitude, BoomTown, Shambala, Festival No6, Balter, Kendal Calling, Secret Garden Party, Green Man, Body n Soul, Womad and The Manchester Jazz Festival just to name a few! The band has become ever more popular and has played sold out shows all over the UK, resulting in them being asked to join the booking agencies Diplomats of Sound.
The other ongoing project is with singer songwriter Matthew Whitaker, the front man from Whiskycats, Gypsies of Bohemia and Henge. Again, this project has taken Sam to venues and festivals all across the UK. Matthew's solo material demands a more classical approach to music and also blends elements of jazz and folk with thought provoking lyrics.
Sam’s most recent project is with psych-rock-ravers Henge. The band has now been performing for 2 years and has taken the festival circuit by storm. Appearances include Kendal Calling, Shambala, Beatherder, BoomTown, Moovin, Solfest, Blue Dot, Cloudspotting, OneTribe, BangFace and Offcut.
The band has already played sold out shows in Manchester, Leeds and London and has toured Europe twice including shows in Belgium, Netherlands, France and Luxembourg. As well as performing at Ghent festival in Belgium in July 2016. They have recently signed an EP deal with independent label ‘Love Love Records’ based in Colchester.
Whilst all this has been going on, Sam still takes the time to play jazz and has appeared many times in the UK with different set ups including:
Matt Owens Ensemble (Aviator's Ball Tour)
John Ellis Trio (Jazz North Tour of Cumbria)
Andy Stamatakis Brown Trio
Ed Kainyek Quintet
David Fishel Trio (Liverpool Jazz Club House band)
Most recently Sam performed at the 2017 Manchester Jazz Festival Commission with Cottonopolis, a 12 piece ensemble boasting 2 drummers, led by Andy Stamatakis Brown. Keep an eye out for dates in the future!
Sam has also made many ‘Dep’ appearances, most notably performing in shows with Manchester legends Honeyfeet , Electro-Dub outfit Age of Glass, songstress Kirsty Almeida and Liverpool based jazzers The Blind Monk Trio and Marley Chingus.
As the year comes to a close, Henge have a 5 week Australian Tour planned as well as gigs in London, Manchester, Devon and Brighton. They have already been booked to play a host of gigs and festivals next year. There's also plenty in the diary for Gypsies of Bohemia too, so watch this space!