​Projects


​Al Swainger Q*tet

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Mix Chick Corea with Radiohead in a blender then use the resulting cocktail to write film music and you might get something a little like this...

The Al Swainger Q*tet is a four piece jazz ensemble featuring extensive use of modern technology to take the artform in a unique and daring new direction.

​​​The repertoire for their first outing is currently based around the compositions of Chick Corea but reimagined for a new 21st century ​ear. ​A ​melodic soundscape of latin, fusion & ambience guaranteed to surprise and delight.​

​“..the birth of a new layer of fusion... live sound design and live soundscape composition...beautifully and artfully intermixed with straight ahead jazz and improvisational mastery” - Julian Pinn

​​Al Swainger - Bass, FX & Ableton / Jon Clark - Drums

Tom Berge - Keys / Joe Northwood - Sax & FX


​Snow Giants

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Snow Giants is an improvised trio making heavy use of fx pedals, direct tones and a wide range of musical influences to give ourselves as much sonic freedom as possible in creating new music. Between us we share a lot of love and experience of rock, jazz, world music, prog rock, fusion, pop and who knows what else. This project is about letting all of that pour out as the mood takes us and seeing what happens. Sometimes this results in down & dirty funk and at others soaring ambient soundscapes but can as easily be anything in between – it’s always exciting finding out what will happen on the day!

​We released our first album 'UN' in 2015 and ​recorded material for a second in Feb 2018.

​Mike Outram - Guitar / Al Swainger - Bass / 05Ric - Drums


​​Grice

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​"Art Rock singer, songwriter and guitarist. Grice writes emotional, dark and deeply personal songs and delivers sonic missiles aimed at the heart. His style of shimmering musical alchemy and the restless and challenging cocktail of electro-acoustic glitch, art-rock and avant-pop synthesis he produces has lead to collaborations with high profile musicians including Richard Barbieri (Japan, Rain Tree Crow, Porcupine Tree), Steve Jansen (Japan), Hossam Ramzy (Peter Gabriel), BJ Cole and Raphael Ravenscroft amongst others."

​I've worked regularly with Grice since 2012, both live and in the studio, and appear on the album 'Alexandrine' a​s well as the ​'Grey of Granite Stone' EP.  ​


​​Digby Fairweather's Half Dozen

​​​​I've worked with Digby since 2011 when I joined the band for a tour with soul legend P.P. Arnold. Since then I've stayed on to work regularly with the Half Dozen as a more traditional jazz band in it's own right, as well as regular collaborations with Paul Jones (The Blues Band, Manfred Mann), appearing at jazz festivals and clubs nationally and internationally.

​The group's aim is simple; to play great music, and entertain their audience! "That was good enough for Louis Armstrong" says Digby " - and it's good enough for us too!"

In 2015 the Half Dozen celebrated its twentieth year with a major national tour and two new albums. "I suppose we see ourselves as 'keepers of the flame' for all the classic jazz traditions celebrated by our distinguished forefathers" says Digby " - and after twenty years of preparation and performance I have a superb band of stars ready to carry the banner forward!".


​Annika Skoogh Quartet

​​​​Annika is an accomplished and adventurous jazz singer and she has picked a fine band for this modern jazz project. Her quartet of highly accomplished musicians are Matt Carter (keys), Al Swainger (electric bass) and Coach York (drums) and they provide the perfect anchor for her assured and soulful vocals. Their music​ consists of original compositions, innovative and fresh interpretations of timeless jazz standards and material by other composers, boldly re-imagined for the modern audience in their own unique way. Together the group produce a passionate and an exciting sound.

Album due for release in the ​summer of 2018.


​​​King Kong Trio

​A new project focusing on ​latin traditional music and jazz hybrids led by percussionist Jon Clark and featuring Tom Berge on keys. After playing to a packed audience for our debut gig at the Fringe in Bristol more appearances are planned for the new year.

Website : ​King Kong Trio


​Swing Machine Jazz Orchestra

​SMJO brings together some of the UK's finest jazz musicians under the leadership of saxophonist  Edward Leaker.

​I've been with the band since it was formed in 2010 and the audience response has been staggering with a string of sell out concerts each year since then.

As well as performing many concerts in their own right, SMJO have featured a number of guest artists including Clare Teal, Claire martin, Jason Rebello, Pee Wee Ellis, Mike Lovatt, Noel Langley and Duncan Lamont Snr.

The band’s repertoire consists of big band favourites as played by the likes of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Thad Jones, Buddy Rich and Sammy Nestico as well modern pop arrangements and latin jazz that will get you dancing in the aisles!

The musicians’ collective experience is truly exceptional. Between them they have performed for some of the top musical groups in the country including: Piccadilly Dance Orchestra, Strictly Come Dancing Live Band, National Youth Jazz Orchestra (NYJO), Rat Pack National Touring Shows, BBC Big Band, RPO, LSO, Syd Lawrence Orchestra and literally hundreds of smaller bands.


​Blue Vanguard Jazz Club

​The Blue Vanguard is a monthly jazz club dedicated to bringing the best the circuit has to offer to our home town of Exeter.

Collectively run and supported by the house trio (Craig Milverton – Keys, Al Swainger – Bass & Coach York – Drums) the club has run successfully since September 2011 and has a loyal following. 

Past guests include Peter King, John Parricelli, Simon Spillett, Karen Sharp, Tina May, Gareth Lockraine, Mike Outram, Phil Robson, Bruce Adams, Alan Barnes, Iain Ballamy, Stan Sulzman, Jim Mullen, Steve Fishwick, Alison Neale, Roger Beaujolais, Greg Abate, Gilad Atzmon, Alex Garnett, Lee Gibson, Jim Hart, Ant Law, Dean Masser, Art Themen and many, many more...


​Gary Bamford Trio

​The fifth album from Gary Bamford is a trio affair, featuring Gary on keyboards, with long time friend and collaborator Rob Brian (Peter Gabriel, Goldfrapp, Jason Rebello, Simple Minds, Siouxsie Sioux, Michel Polnareff, Jim Mullen, Andy Partridge, Hugh Cornwell, Modern English, Innes Sibun) on drums, and new friend and pedals wizard Al Swainger (Pointless Beauty, Digby Fairweather, Snow Giants, Grice, The Art Trip, Annika Skoogh Quartet, Paul Jones, P.P. Arnold) on basses. In keeping with Gary's previous four releases, the material is original, and in keeping with Gary's usual form, the album bears little resemblance in style to his previous one. God, Love and Myths is largely groove based and was almost entirely recorded live, with a few edits here and there, and some necessary overdubs. There are elements of jazz, jazz-funk, funk-rock, free jazz, and drum and bass, and although keys/drums/bass are at the core of this record, fans of electronica and fat synth bass lines won't come away disappointed.

Album released ​Dec 18th 2017.


​Kick Ass Brass

Kick Ass Brass is a Soul/Funk band with a steaming hot horn section right out in front and the amazing vocal talents of Shakatak's Jacqui Hicks!

The band is made up of 5 of the top jazz/soul/funk instrumentalists in the UK: Julian Stringle (Alto Sax), Richard Exall (Tenor Sax), Amy Roberts (Baritone Sax), Ben Cummings (Trumpet) and Ian Bateman (Trombone). Add to that the A1 rhythmn section of Craig Milverton (Keyboards), Dominic Ashworth (Guitars), Al Swainger (Bass) and Nick Millward (Drums/Vocals) and you're on a winner. The band can also be augmented with extra percussion and backing singers.

The band plays much of the Tower of Power repertoire and many of the great soul classics. All the top bands that feature brass are covered: Candy Dulfer, James Brown, Maceo Parker and Earth Wind & Fire to name a few. Hear all those timeless classics Move On Up, Mustang Sally, Mr Pitiful and such with a funky brass section! 


​Ben Cummings' Tribute to the Gerry Mulligan Quartet

"While arranging for Kenton, Mulligan began performing on off-nights at The Haig, a small jazz club on Wilshire Boulevard at Kenmore Street. During the Monday night jam sessions, a young trumpeter named Chet Baker began sitting in with Mulligan. Around that time, vibraphonist Red Norvo's trio began headlining at The Haig, thus leaving no need to keep the grand piano that had been brought in for Erroll Garner's stay at the club. Faced with a dilemma of what to do for a rhythm section, Mulligan decided to build on earlier experiments and perform as a pianoless quartet with Baker on trumpet..."

​Accurately recreating the original recordings some of the most popular, yet rarely performed music ever recorded. The quartet is distinctive for sticking to  its 'piano-less' lineup and features Ben Cummings - Trumpet / Amy Roberts - Baritone Sax / Al Swainger - Double Bass / Nick Millward - Drums


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