"We highly rate Will Barnes as one of the most impressive guitarists and best musicians around"
“A good choice of material and [his] playing is really strong!”
Dr Martin Taylor MBE
“He’s a hugely gifted technician, a fact confirmed by his excellent live appearances”
“This is one player who really does combine a raft of tasty guitar styles and throws them at you with a mix of speed, power and passion”
“A musician who displays a confidence and maturity beyond his years with the technical expertise to match”
“Audiences visibly marvelled at the musicianship”
In this new quartet, Will is joined by gifted musicians Clovis Phillips, Jack Gonsalez and James Batten – a tight collective of highly-experienced jazz instrumentalists. Their carefully-selected sets typically consist of timeless laid-back swing tunes, punctuated by sharply-focused fiery passages that delight. Their sound is fresh, consistently breathing new life into some classic works, alongside Will’s memorable compositions that leave audiences wanting more.
Will Barnes - Guitar
A consummate guitarist, Will’s technical brilliance is matched with an innate and versatile musicality. At home with reggae collectives, gypsy jazz virtuosos or heavy metal riff merchants, Will’s playing always shines with its formidable prowess yet deft touch, and his infectious ability to whip up a fervour. He can effortlessly and delicately put his hand to the most technical solo guitar pieces, or rip it up with super-funky soul inspired groove. His versatility and virtuosity combine to produce solos with unpredictable excitement, as he draws from his rich palate of influences.
To date Will has performed with the likes of Gary Potter, Frank Vignola, Dan Cassidy, Alan Barnes and John Etheridge. Having toured extensively with Classical/Jazz crossover group “Gypsy Fire” will has performed sell-out shows at some of the UK’s top theatres, clubs and festivals including Ronnie Scotts, 606 Club, Royal Albert Hall, Brecon Jazz Festival, Cheltenham Jazz Festival and the International Gypsy Guitar Festival. Will also regularly performs throughout Europe, both with his own ensembles and as a sought-after session guitarist.
Will’s playing is always in high demand, and in this quartet he explores his love of guitarists such as Grant Green and Wes Montgomery, but expect moments of fire among the chilled out groove!
Three albums that have influenced Will’s playing include:
Clovis Phillips is a player who displays a deep understanding of harmony, rhythm, and melody. A congruous player with a knack for delivering exactly what is required. However, don’t be fooled into thinking taste is all that’s on offer, he has the chops to stand toe-to-toe with the most accomplished of soloists. Having started out on cello 26 years ago at just 6 years old, an early education sitting in on folk sessions and learning Beatles records note for note developed a keen ear that would later see him through an MA in Music at Goldsmiths. As well as jazz bass, Clovis is a multi-instrumentalist and producer who runs a successful studio in Mid Wales and has worked with the likes of Jeb Loy Nichols, Michael Weston King, Gail Davies and Jerry deCicca.
Clovis and Will both grew up in Mid Wales and although aware of each other’s work, it wasn’t until the pair were booked on a European tour that their paths truly crossed. Their friendship was forged on the road, playing for Jeb Loy Nichols in The Westwood Allstars and they have remained collaborators ever since.
His eclectic influences range from Ry Cooder and The Mighty Sparrow to Miles Davis and beyond. If you don’t believe me, check out his top jazz inspired LP picks below:
Clovis Phillips - Bass
Jack Gonsalez - Piano
With a family background in classical music and 12 years studying piano, at just 21 years old Jack Gonsalez can already boast performances in the UK and overseas including the Brisbane Jazz Club, Australia. This is testament to the young man’s impressive sense of musicality, harmony and feel. Jack states influences as Oscar Peterson, Herbie Hancock and Red Garland which speaks volumes when you consider this is a player who pays homage to the swing and feel of the original masters but with a harmonic leaning that keeps his sound fresh and modern. Jack is currently furthering his education with a BA Honours in Music through Open University whilst holding down a job in a health food shop where, by pure chance, he crossed paths with bassist Clovis Phillips… as they say “you are what you eat”!
Get to know Jack a little better by listening to three of his favourite jazz records:
James is a successful designer and musician originally from Newport (South Wales) but now residing in the heart of the Welsh marches. Growing up surrounded by an eclectic mix of musical and artistic influences from his parents, it wasn’t long before the urge to create took hold. Despite his first instrument being the piano, James soon picked up a pair of sticks and at the age of 10 his journey into jazz drumming began. He’s a sought-after session musician who has performed with a cleft of successful bands, ranging in styles from dub reggae to big-band, and just about everything in-between. His energetic style breathes fire into arrangements with a raft of explosive chops juxtaposed against moments of sparse minimalism. He certainly has the talent to impress and the maturity to deliver only when the time is right.
It was whilst playing on a session produced by Will that the two of them first met and although in position as pianist/vocalist at the time, James’ adamant claims of being more of a jazz drummer than a pianist resonated with Will. The two crossed paths again after an initiation from Clovis who had worked with James in various live settings.
Some of James’s broad range of musical influences include the highly rhythmic works of GoGo Penguin, Snarky Puppy, and Shubh Saran. Find yourself a strong coffee, a dark room and have a listen to some of James’ favourite albums:
James Batten - Drums
Rob Williams Guitars
Will Barnes is proud to endorse Rob Williams guitars and plays an AT17CE. Rob Williams Guitars will be launching this model alongside a 16-inch version this spring and Will is pleased to announce he will be promoting these incredible instruments over the coming years. Watch this space!
Rob Williams is rightly recognised as one of the leading electric guitar and bass makers in the UK, he is also one of the few worldwide who still builds each instrument by hand. One man, one workshop and no automated CNC technology. Rob Williams has been building guitars and basses since 1984. His career began with John Diggins at Jaydee Custom Guitars in Birmingham. From there he went to the USA, teaming up with renowned luthier Hideo Kamimoto as a warranty repair technician for most of the major US brands, including Gibson, Fender and Ovation.
Friday 21st October
Will Barnes Quartet Live at the Bank Vault, Aberystwyth
More information to be announced soon