Monkey’s Uncle

Al, Gary & Jesse (Chris Pope Sketch)

Monkey’s Uncle are a 5 piece band performing original modern jazz combining elements of swing, latin & funk with modern jazz / rock harmony & groove. Originally we enjoyed exploring new music together between 2004 – 2009. The Global financial crisis that began in 2007 seemed to pretty much wipe out public enthusiasm for music other than the familiar over the following few years, so with our imaginations seemingly no longer required we parted ways. Not deliberately, it just sort of happened, we ran out of gigs and out of steam.

Until now.

Somehow, collectively, it seemed time to regroup and start again.

George Cooper (Chris Pope Sketch)

Al Swainger – Bass

Al is an upright & electric bassist and composer. To call his tastes eclectic would be an understatement. Currently working with Digby Fairweather’s Half Dozen, The Annika Skoogh Quartet, Grice, Snow Giants and his own experimental composition project Pointless Beauty, he covers ground from traditional jazz to modern, art & progressive rock to fully improvised soundsculpture. Along with Jesse Al was responsible for roughly half of the initial gigging repertoire for the band.

Jesse Molins – Guitar

Jesse has developed a sophisticated style studying and working throughout the Southwest, London & Bristol. A naturally emotive composer Jesse makes a major contribution to the signature Monkey’s Uncle sound and provided roughly half of the initial gigging repertoire for the band. Currently a member of the Dave Hankin Big Band and Mike Westbrook Big Band he also runs his own Quartet as well as being heavily in demand for touring productions.

George Cooper – Keys

George is a vibrant, exciting young jazz pianist, composer and arranger who has already cemented his reputation within the music industry, working in Hollywood with composer Hans Zimmer, orchestrating jazz for Nigel Kennedy and the London Philharmonic and as well as playing alongside some of the most highly acclaimed Jazz stars in the UK and Europe. As a composer he has written music for several award-winning films as well as his own George Cooper Trio.

Ottone Caretta – Sax

Otto has a natural affinity for the saxophone. He plays lyrically and emotionally and seemingly without effort. An essential part of Monkey’s Uncle from the beginning Otto’s contribution is always exactly what is required – no more and no less. Having studied with Maurizio Caldura, Robert Bonisolo, Steve Lacy, Dave Liebman and Joe Lovano over the years this should perhaps not be a surprise. Since moving to Oxford in 2006 he has worked regularly with local big bands such as Cutting Edge , Blakes Heaven, and Big Colours. He is currently teaching and plays in-and-around Oxford and London with Thixotropy, My Groove Your Move, and Funk Bake.

Gary Evans – Drums

Gary began gigging hard from an early age. Working his way through function bands, big bands, pop groups, cruise ships and theatre pits he has also studied at the Musicians Institute in London. His sheer versatility has made him a regular collaborator on innumerable projects and guarantees him a position as one of the busiest musicians in the area.


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