The current line-up of Perfect Stranger is:
Chris Sansom: conductor, part-time fretless bass
Photo: Steven Cropper
Chris left university in 1973 as an aspiring “Classical Composer”, while at the same time retaining his youthful interest in rock and jazz, which found its way into many of his works.
The string quartet he wrote as a student, with sections based on drum solos by Art Blakey, was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in 1979 in a performance by the young Arditti Quartet. Around this time he got to know the conductor Elgar (Gary) Howarth, who encouraged his forays into the world of brass. This led to two other broadcast works: the Concerto for trumpet and brass band — the middle movement of which is in memoriam Duke Ellington, with snatches of Mood Indigo floating in and out of the texture — which Håkan Hardenberger played with the Grimethorpe Colliery Band under Howarth in 1986 (orchestral version recently completed); and his largest work, Invisible Cities, for trumpet, trombone and orchestra (including a drum kit), performed in 1989 by Hardenberger and Christian Lindberg with Howarth conducting the BBC Philharmonic. Hardenberger and Lindberg also gave several performances of Son of the Bebop Variations for trumpet, trombone and pre-recorded sound (1992). This was one of several spin-offs from Bebop for brass quintet (1986), of which Fine Arts Brass gave the first accurate performance in 1998.
Many other more or less jazz and/or rock related works remain unperformed, including Music for an Imaginary Ballet for jazz/rock sextet and orchestra (composed in 1976), Variations on a Theme of George Harrison for septet (1975) and Return of the Son of the Bebop Variations for chamber orchestra with drumkit (2012).
Most importantly here though, he composed Life & Times and other pieces for Perfect Stranger in 1974, which you can read about here.
Meanwhile Chris worked for many years in education as a media resources officer, from which he gained skills in computing which he has subsequently put to musical use.
Chris also plays bass in the band PsychoYogi.
On Invisible Cities:
‘... landscapes in which the ear can wander ...’ — Paul Griffiths, The Times
‘... rarely short of ear-catching ideas ... new realm of beauty ...’ — David Fanning, The Independent
Adam Bishop: saxes, bass clarinet, flute
Photo: Drift Studios
Born in England, Adam was raised in Canberra, Australia. He studied Jazz Performance at the Canberra School of Music finishing there in 1995. His studies have also included time in New York with Ralph Alessi, Mark Turner, Mark Helias and Barry Harris. He arrived in London in early 1998 and quickly became involved with many of the finest musicians in London.
Along with saxophone, Adam is proficient on the clarinet, bass clarinet and flute.
As well as leading his own quartet playing the music of Tad Dameron, Bud Powell, John Lewis and Harold Land, Adam has performed and recorded with: Josephine Davies’ Enso, Tomorrow’s Warriors, Polar Bear, Jazz Jamaica All Stars, Larry Bartley Septet, Duffy, Bukky Leo’s Black Egypt, Frank Sinatra Jr, The Syd Lawrence Orchestra, The John Wilson Orchestra, Kate Williams Septet, Jazz Xchange, Stefano Kalonaris, Roberto Pla’s Latin Jazz Ensemble, the London Jazz Orchestra, Synergy, NYJO, The Rat Pack Orchestra and the RTE Concert Orchestra and Big Band.
Adam is also active in the West End show scene having performed in The Rat Pack, Guys And Dolls, White Christmas, Jersey Boys, Hairspray, Mrs Henderson Presents, La Clique and Annie.
His album Sanctuary was released in early 2007 on Bishwan Music.
‘A gorgeously lyrical saxophonist’ — Chris May, Allaboutjazz
‘One to watch’— Chris Parker, Vortex Review
‘A high quality debut album that speaks of even better things to come.’ — 24Dash
Mick Foster: saxes, flute
Photo: Steven Cropper
Mick is a saxophonist, woodwind player and composer who is known as one of the UK’s foremost exponents of the baritone saxophone. He studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London and has since worked extensively in the fields of jazz, commercial and classical music. He has played with many ensembles such as the big bands of John Dankworth, Stan Sulzmann and Mike Garrick, Ginger Baker’s Air Force, Swing Out Sister, The Syd Lawrence Orchestra, The London Philharmonic Orchestra, English National Opera and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
Mick has recently been recording and touring with Alan Barnes + 11 and Jim Rattigan’s ensemble Pavillon, and is currently a member of The Humphrey Lyttelton Band, the Back to Basie Orchestra and the London Jazz Orchestra. Other notable jazz musicians that Mick has worked with include Dame Cleo Laine, Jacqui Dankworth, Trudy Kerr, Mark Lockheart, Guy Barker, Laura Jurd and Digby Fairweather. Mick has recorded three albums under his own name and is in demand as a session musician, having played for many film and TV soundtracks including Prometheus, Vice, Don’t Look Up and Downton Abbey.
As a composer Mick has written for various ensembles which include the London Jazz Orchestra, Quartz Saxophone Quartet, Docklands Sinfonia and Onyx Brass as well as his own jazz groups. His music has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and he has pieces published by Saxtet Publications; some are included on both the ABRSM and Trinity College exams syllabuses.
Mick is active as an educator; he currently teaches at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and Goldsmiths College; he is also a tutor for the National Youth Jazz Collective.
Shanti Jayasinha: trumpet, flugelhorn
Photo: Gary Franklin
Shanti is a versatile multi-instrumentalist and composer who plays all sorts of music – Jazz, Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, and other world music from Eastern Europe, Africa, India and China. His main instruments are trumpet and ‘cello.
His career started in London playing jazz with the likes of Jason Rebello, Tim Garland and Courtney Pine, African music with Congolese band Somo Somo, as well as in Reggae and Calypso bands. He played Salsa with Roberto Pla and Brazilian music with Mônica Vasconcelos.
Through his work with the Grand Union Orchestra he also learned about Indian (Hindustani) music, Turkish, Chinese, Indonesian and Ghanaian styles. He joined Gregori Schechter’s Klezmer Festival Band and worked with him for several years, playing concerts around the UK and in the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London.
He met Alex Wilson in the Roberto Pla band and joined his new project in 1998, recording on his first 5 CDs and touring with him, even supporting the Afro-Cuban Allstars on tour in Europe.
Shanti met folk accordion player Karen Tweed in the late ’90s and recorded on her album May Monday, also getting to know folk musicians from Finland, Sweden, Ireland and Scotland. He was invited to join Salsa Celtica in 2009 and has been with them ever since, recording on several albums and appearing all over the world.
More recently he has been playing both cello and trumpet with Mulatu Astatke, inventor of Ethiojazz, touring Europe, UK and appearing at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, and with Carnatic Violinist Jyotsna Srikanth, both in the UK and in India.
Teaching brings Shanti great joy and he is on the staff at CYM in London, has composed for the ABRSM jazz grades, and runs workshops and projects for the Grand Union Orchestra.
Tom Green: trombone
Photo: Steven Cropper
Winner of the 2013 Dankworth Prize for Jazz Composition and 2017 Eddie Harvey Arranger’s Award, Tom is a trombonist, composer and arranger described as “a new rising star in the British jazz scene” by Nigel Williams (Jazz FM). A graduate of the Royal Academy of Music jazz course, Tom plays regularly in the UK at venues including Ronnie Scott’s, the Vortex and 606 club, as well as on national and international tours. His current main project is the Tom Green Septet, who released their debut album Skyline in February 2015 to unanimous critical acclaim. Their second album Tipping Point was released in April 2020.
Tom has directed his own groups and big bands on national tours, including an 18-date Septet album launch tour across the UK, from Inverness in Scotland to St Ives in Cornwall. He has performed internationally at the Casa del Jazz in Rome, La Mortella on the island of Ischia in Italy, the Budapest Jazz Club, and Langnau Jazz Nights festival in Switzerland. His quintet were invited to Tunisia by the Jazz Club of Tunis to teach for a week-long programme alongside musicians from the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra in New York, culminating in a performance for International Jazz Day 2014.
His wide range of musical experience also includes directing, writing, arranging and performing music with big bands, orchestras, chamber, salsa, soul, funk, jazz and progressive rock groups both locally and nationally, as well as tours with professional shows across Europe, on both trombone and keyboards.
Tom is a director of the record label Spark! alongside drummer JJ Wheeler. Spark! was set up as an outlet for the most exciting music pouring out of the latest generation of emerging jazz and creative music artists. Alongside releasing and distributing music, the label provides support and infrastructure to talented musicians, enabling sustainable growth and career development while granting 100% artistic freedom and retention of their rights. The label now has 8 releases by artists including Sam Watts, Tom Millar, Lorraine Baker, and Patchwork Jazz Orchestra.
Alcyona Mick: keyboards
Photo: Drift Studios
Alcyona is a pianist working at the forefront of the London jazz scene and has been performing internationally for many years. She is a member of the London Jazz Orchestra, Tori Freestone/Alcyona Mick Duo, Bachar Zarkan ensemble, Eddie Parker’s Debussy Mirrored ensemble, Josephine Davies’ Orenda trio, Brigitte Beraha Lucid dreamers, Randolph Matthews band, Merit Ariane Ensemble, Noel Langley’s Edentide ensemble, John Warren Nonet, Paul Clarvis/Stuart Hall trio, Samy Bishai quartet. She has worked with Anglo/Egyptian singer Natacha Atlas for many years, performing worldwide. She has played on TRT music series in Istanbul with many Turkish artists, and performed with a wide array of other musicians including Yazz Ahmed, Ingrid and Christine Jensen/Whirlwind big band, Nikki Iles big band, Alec Dankworth/Cleo Laine band, Mircan Kaya, Jerry Dammers Spatial aka Orchestra, Ibrahim Maalouf, Macadi Nahhas, Zoe Rahman and many more.
As a composer she has a Master’s in Composing music for film from the National Film and Television school. She has written and produced music for many independent short films, documentaries, animation and silent cinema. She has released four albums: Around the Sun (Audio-b) under her own name, Blink (Loop) and Twice (Babel) with Blink and cellist Vincent Courtois, and Criss Cross with saxophonist Tori Freestone (Whirlwind Recordings). She also writes for the London Jazz Orchestra and an electronica project with violinist Samy Bishai.
Awards include best film soundtrack at the Anima Mundi festival Brazil, and the UK Promoter’s Choice jazz award.
‘world class ingenuity’ — the Guardian
‘Alcyona Mick is an unusual powerhouse of a talent’ — MOJO
Rob Millett: percussion
Photo: Gary Franklin
Since training at the Royal College of Music in the 1980s, Rob has always reached beyond the traditional, embracing new instruments and genres whenever the opportunities present themselves.
He has worked with many of the country’s leading orchestras, early music groups and in London’s West End, spending several years playing timpani with English Touring Opera, drums and percussion with the New Shakespeare Company at Regent’s Park, tuned and electronic percussion with contemporary classical ensemble ICEBREAKER and for the last twenty-five years, just about anything you can hit with a stick for Rambert Dance Company, composing, arranging, playing piano, harmonium, musical saw, electronics and stepping in as Musical Director for them when required. He regularly works at Shakespeare’s Globe theatre, the National Theatre and as a deputy for west end shows like The Lion King.
In the jazz world he has toured and recorded with the Homemade Orchestra, the Avalon Trio, MooV and for many years with acclaimed saxophonist Tony Woods, engineering and co-producing the two most recent Tony Woods Project albums Wind Shadows and Hidden Fires at his studio in West London.
Following an approach from the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2014, he has specialised on the cimbalom. Initially largely self taught, he has studied with virtuoso Marcel Comendant in the Czech Republic. He has recorded cimbalom parts at London’s Abbey Road, Air Lyndhurst, Maida Vale and also Vada Studio in Warwickshire, and contributed to the BBC radio productions War and Peace and The Master and Margarita, the Chichester Festival Theatre production of Fiddler on the Roof, the Shakespeare’s Globe collaboration with the British Film Institute Play On! Shakespeare in Silent Film, and four tracks for Paul McCartney’s Egypt Station. In 2018 he performed his first Háry János — Kodaly’s orchestral suite with heavily featured cimbalom.
Eddy White: guitars
Photo: Drift Studios
Eddy took up music in 1996, starting with the piano. He played in many bands around the age of 15, notably the Hampshire Youth Jazz Orchestra. It was around this time that he started to develop an interest in jazz, and nowadays his musical stylings and influences are broad and diverse. In 2009, Eddy graduated from the University of Southampton with a BA (Hons) degree in Music, an institution he would later teach for as a jazz guitar specialist.
In 2013 and 2014 Eddy was the guitarist for the theatre tour of New Jersey Nights; performing all over the UK in high-end theatres to sell-out audiences. Since 2016 Eddy has toured Germany and Austria, performing in the hit show Sinatra and Friends. He has also performed in the show Ultimate Bublé and was the guitarist for US country and pop singer-songwriter, Jenn Bostic, for her 2018 UK tour.
Eddy released his debut album Woven Skies with his project, The Eddy White Sextet, featuring some top UK jazz musicians. The album features all original compositions, of eclectic and diverse stylings. As of 2022, Eddy has started performing with the esteemed acid-jazz band the James Taylor Quartet, both across the UK and internationally.
‘Eddy White is an unbelievable guitarist. As an artist that performs a variety of genres, I needed to find someone who could play Blues, Pop, Jazz, Soul and Country. He plays with both passion and excellence. The best guitarist I’ve worked with in the UK.‘ — Jenn Bostic
‘His unassuming personality and professionalism are rare characteristics from such an exceptional player. We have lists of players for all chairs and ones considered the go-to players in the industry, but he has become our luxury item. Always happy to hear him play, always happy to hire him!’ — George Daniel Long, The Definitive Rat Pack/Sinatra and Friends
‘Eddy is a great inventive player. He’s studied the guitarists who complement our sound and he tears into the tunes with style and passion. The audience loves him.’ — James Taylor, JTQ
Paul Michael: basses
Photo: Drift Studios
Originally from London, Paul has been playing electric and upright bass since the age of 14 in a range of different styles from jazz to rock and world music. He studied at the prestigious Trinity College of Music and graduated in 2009. He is a regular on the London jazz scene and has toured extensively through Europe.
He has performed at iconic venues such as Ronnie Scotts with Julian Joseph, Vortex jazz club, Royal Albert Hall, many music festivals across Europe and live sessions including BBC6 Music and Jazz F.M. He has worked in London’s West End in the pit and at theatres across the country including Chichester Festival Theatre with Lance Ellington. He has also performed at the Royal Opera House featuring with world renowned dancer Carlos Acosta’s Tocororo.
He is currently working with Byron Wallen in the Four Corners project (nominated for parlimentary jazz awards ‘Best live band’ and ‘Best Album’) and the Gayan Gamelan Ensemble playing the music of Kraftwerk and Boards of Canada, Emily Saunders, Nick Walters ‘Paradox Ensemble’, Lorraine Baker’s ‘Eden’ and with pianist Rebecca Nash with albums scheduled for release in each.
Paul is also an experienced teacher and ensemble leader running workshops for the Wigmore Hall, Royal Opera House, Leeds Collage of Music and in schools across the country.
Dave Manington: basses
Photo: Steven Cropper
Bassist and composer Dave Manington is one of the mainstays of the London jazz scene, a founder member of the Loop Collective, he has played with many of the pre-eminent jazz musicians in the UK and Europe. He’s also in demand for a broad range of different ensembles, playing with musicians from everywhere from South America to the Balkans, but especially with his contemporaries, many of whom he has worked with since moving to London to study at the Guildhall. Many collaborations and projects have been spawned from these connections.
Dave's debut quartet album Headrush was released on Loop Records in 2008 to critical acclaim. Riff Raff is his main ongoing project, releasing two albums so far: Hullabaloo in 2013 and Challenger Deep in 2018. This dynamic ensemble of top musicians has developed organically over the last decade and features the highly acclaimed vocalist Brigitte Beraha, pianist Ivo Neame, saxophonist Tomas Challenger, guitarist Rob Updegraff and drummer Tim Giles. The starting point for the music is collective improvisation but compositionally it draws on as wide a range of styles as possible. Folk, electronic music and contemporary classical influences are added to the mix with complex jazz harmonies and rhythms. Dave is also a founder member of the much respected e17 jazz collective.
Dave has accumulated extensive studio experience recording albums and sessions as a sideman for jazz, pop and singer-songwriters, as well as appearing on film and TV sessions. His music has been heard on Radio 3 as well as several European jazz radio programs, internet radio stations and on television. He’s played all around the world and appeared in many major international festivals. He was nominated for an Ivor Novello Award for Jazz Composition in 2021, and was nominated for a Worshipful Company of Musicians jazz medal award in 2006.
Jonas Golland: drums
Photo: Abi Warren
Jonas is a keen improviser who learned drums by ear at an early age with a particular interest in prog rock, theatre, contemporary classical and jazz. Composing and producing imaginative music to a high standard has driven him since long before 2007 with extensive use of sequencers and making video soundtracks. Drumming credits include Sharon Jackson, Tiger Lillies, The Wailers and Jowe Head.
During his BMus(Hons) studies at BIMM/Tech Music Schools with a specialty in drumming, and in commissions that followed, Jonas produced original compositions from briefs including one for the Robotics department at Imperial College. He's produced and played on albums for Jowe Head, Gardyloo Spew and produced, composed and played bass, guitars, keyboards, drums and percussion on Anthony Sobati's album The Healing. Since composing and assistant producing comedy jazz band I am Meat's self-titled album, Jonas toured with the Tiger Lillies as the drummer, percussionist, backing vocalist and actor for 5 years. So the theatre skills he'd won awards for in high school and extensively used in his early twenties paid off.
Throughout lockdowns Jonas recorded session drums at his home studio for Ceri James, Claus Buehler, and in 2019 wrote and produced the album Poverty Keeps It All Together under the name Private Plebs, later becoming a band in which he is lead singer. Lead vocals experience includes work with Joe Bickerstaff, Toby Nowell and Pete Maas. He's on percussion, vocal and occasional synth duties with Dawn of the Squid.
As a video editor he recently had a commission from Graham Duncan Elder. In February 2023 he completed a Level 2 qualification in video production.
Jonas works as a drummer, composer, occasional video editor and tutor from his own studio in Tottenham, and teaches music at David Game College in Tower Hill, London.
Saxes and flute
Trumpet & flugelhorn
Mike De Souza