Talented town lads hitting all the right notes

Droitwich lad Jack Solloway performs.

Blue Monday win the W-Factor competition.

First published in Local

A GROUP of talent Droitwich Spa musicians are hitting all the right notes when it comes to being noticed in the jazz world.

Jack Solloway and his friends Dan Gallant, Luke Pilot and Ben Burkes met through Droitwich Spa High School’s blues band.

Now, five years later, their Blue Monday Jazz Quartet is one of the most exciting young bands around.

They’re gearing up to play at this month’s International Upton Jazz Festival – on the same bill as jazz legends Chris Barber, Dan Block and Pete Allen.

Jack, 18, says they’ve come a long way from jam sessions in their lunch hour.

“Dan, our pianist, moved to Droitwich from the Shetland Islands five years ago,” he said.

“I’d been playing sax for a couple of years and we met by chance through the school’s blues band when we were 13.

“We started jamming and played for about three years before asking Luke, who plays drums, and Ben, on bass, to join. It was the start of Blue Monday, and we haven’t looked back.”

Dan and Jack had already been bitten by the jazz bug when Luke and Ben arrived.

“They were new to the genre,” said Jack. “And this allowed us to develop our own style, an amalgamation of blues, jazz and funk.

“Before the band, I’d played solo at Upton through the Best of Young Jazz project.

“Two years ago, Dan joined me for the festival. And last year, we performed together for the first time as Blue Monday.”

The lads recently cut their first CD – at The Old Smithy studio in Kempsey – have tracks on iTunes, YouTube and MySpace, enjoy airplay on radio stations across the Midlands and won the musicians category of Wychavon District Council’s W-Factor competition.

In April, they played at the pre-opening of Worcester’s new library, The Hive, and this Sunday will be live at the Three Counties Show. Pershore Jazz Festival follows in August.

“2012 is proving to be a really big year for us, and we’re loving every minute,” he added.

The 27th International Upton Jazz Festival takes place from June 22 - 24.

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