Joe Downard

Electric Bass//Double Bass

Welcome to my website. Here you can keep up to date with current gigs and new music releases. Enjoy!

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A protégé of the great Herbie Flowers, now one of London’s busiest cross-disciplinary bass players.”

 

I am a professional bassist living in London. Originally from Brighton, I made the move to up London to focus on applying my abilities in both Double bass and electric bass and after 5 years, I have seen great success and am now one of the most in demand bassist in the city.

I began learning the electric bass at the age of 12 through the teachings of the great British bassist Herbie Flowers. Through his guidance I joined the school big band and choir and began to perform regularly in concerts for the school. Whilst still at school I was granted a full scholarship for the Dartington Summer school programme that had me collaborate with other young musicians and seasoned professionals that focused on composition and improvisation. 

After my school studies I was given an unconditional place at the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford, where I spent four years and gained my diplomas and a 2:1 BA Hons in music performance. In the last two years of my degree, I was introduced to the National Youth Jazz Orchestra (NYJO) as I was very interested in Jazz and NYJO gave a great opportunity to play in a big band as well as learning from the great bandleaders. I spent 3 years training with the 2nd band that rehearsed every week in London and in my 4th year I was given the main chair for the gigging band. I since then spent 3 years as the chair holder for the band and have just stepped down from the chair after a very successful term as the chair holder. The band has toured the majority of England and has also done collaborative projects with the German Youth Jazz Big Band and similar ensembles in Milan.  

For the last 5 years I have been the leading chair holder for the national youth jazz orchestra (NYJO). With an almost full time schedule my time with the band saw me record 2 studio albums, tour the UK and Europe extensively and perform with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Centre, Gregory Porter and some of the top UK instrumentalists such as Tim Garland, Julian Joseph, Mark Nightingale, Julian Siegal to name a few. Highlight venues have been:

  • The barbican
  • Sage Gateshead, 
  • Royal Albert Hall
  • Hackney Empire 
  • Ronnie Scott’s

 

 

 

     

    I am now currently part of many groups based in London who are all looking forward to touring this year with album releases scheduled for later in the year. 

    ‘Waaju’: a band inspired by the rhythms and harmony of west Africa with a particular emphasis on the area of Mali. 

    Alex Hitchcock Quintet: A modern jazz quintet who are looking forward to a UK tour in April 2018 promoting the compositions of Alex and the new recording to be released this year.

    Phil Meadows Group: Parliamentary jazz winner leads a band featuring electronics and live band. We are also looking forward to a UK tour later this year, as well as an album release. 

    I have also recently played with the London Symphony Orchestra, Irelands national Orchestra the RTE and the Liverpool Harmonic.

    Over the past 5 years I have also been the bass player for Marti Pellow. This included his ‘Hope Tour’ of the UK in 2014 as well as shows with the Philharmonic Orchestra, Liverpool Philharmonic and Dublin RTÉ (radio orchestra) in 2015. 

     

    As a band leader I have my own quartet that plays regularly across London and most notably we were featured at the Ronnie Scott’s Late show twice last year with more shows this year to follow. 

    As I continue to be a presence on the London and UK jazz scene I am also a regular in studios recording for artists and I am currently producing my own music for film and TV.