Roz Harding is a creative saxophonist. Her passion for expressive improvisation and a love of experimenting shines through her performances. It is no secret that Roz adores the alto sax and favours it. For her it speaks the strongest from the saxophone family and she feels the most connection with, as if her mood can just be projected through it. The alto works well for Roz and audiences enjoy her ability to communicate.
Roz's playing has been described as 'emotionally charged, rhythmic, lyrical, melancholic, fiery'.
'inspirational' and 'immense' - Jazzwise
'a player who can tell a story that captivates and brings us back for more' - GB
'impressive control and imagination' - MK'a truly personal approach' - GB
Roz is a graduate from Middlesex University where she studied the saxophone with leading British saxophonist Mark Lockheart. Roz has worked within the South West music scene for many years enjoying a variety of roles as a musician. Currently Roz is the alto sax tutor and Musical Director for Jazz Project and the Jazz Ambassadors at Exeter College plus small band and saxophone coach for the Devon Youth Jazz Orchestra. Roz can currently be found playing sax in the Mike Westbrook Big Band and Billy Bottle and The Multiple and her new project launched in 2013 - WAVE...
Enjoy the raucous flurries alongside soft lyricism from this truly expressive player.
My inspiration and continuing discoveries:
'I love the range of sounds the saxophone can produce, as if I can just project my mood through it. The freedom improvisation provides allows the opportunity for unlimited expression.
inspiration from experiences, imagination and emotions then
transforming them into music is both thrilling and nourishing. I am
still very much figuring out how my emotions ignite music but they truly
are the driving force as to why I play. They are my first port of call
and initial reaction to everything. I find I need to connect with the
musical content, it needs to feel genuine & authentic for me to
deliver meaningful improvisation and contributions. I don't know any
other way to work. When listening back to recordings I am often
surprised to hear myself sounding like a saxophone! I literally thought I
was delivering words, thoughts and how I was feeling about it all - not
toots and honks! I enjoy telling stories and having hidden messages and
descriptions behind my sounds.
What I am sure of, is I play the saxophone to express emotions that I cannot speak. I am no wordsmith. And I play to be heard by you in the continuing hope that you will whole-heartedly feel something too'.
Project WAVE is the beginning of my discoveries, capturing emotions in improvised and composed music with fellow musicians equally interested in music being more. Here's to the next WAVE...
Jazzwise review of the Mike Westbrook Big Band at Hannah's Seale Hayne, Devon.
Kennedy Ellington turned 113 in April, as Mike Westbrook fulfilled his
ambition to perform 'On Duke's Birthday' on the great man's anniversary
with a big band of alumni old and new.
Saturday's concert of music - 'inspired by Ellington and Strayhorn' - allowed for tunes as diverse as 'Lush Life', Chris McGregor's 'Manje' and Roland Kirk's 'We Free Kings'. If much was expected of old friends like Lou Gare, Dave Holdsworth and altoist Stan Willis, more was delivered. But it was the way lesser known figures rose to the occasion that most impressed. With young altoist Roz Harding inspirational on 'Jones' and in her duet with Dave Holdsworth on 'We Free Kings', and tenor player Gary Bayley powerful and authoritative on 'Johnny Come Lately', this was big band jazz at it's most transcendent.
Sunday's concert was better yet, as Westbrook drew something still more special from his musicians. 'On Duke's Birthday' is a rich confection that holds together it's different elements - from jazz, rock and art music - like a perfect souffle. It's distant echoes of Eisler and Messiaen were a reminder of the breadth of styles that have informed great composers like Ellington, and Westbrook. Harding and Bayley were immense once more, as were Stan Willis and Lou Gare but others shone too. Trumpeter Mike Brewer and trombonist Sam Smith played as if lives depended on them, while bassist Marcus Vergette and drummer Coach York were distinctive and assured in their support. With partner Kate in fine voice as ever, this is surely a band for all seasons.
Jazz cannot trade on past glories and big bands on their leaders' reputations. At times, this band sounded as if it were channeling Mike's wonderful 1960's Concert Band - it was that good! Musical intelligence. A genuine originality. How come London get's Wynton Marsalis and the JALCO and Devon the Mike Westbrook Big Band? I know where I'd rather be.'
Duncan Heining - Jazzwise
Review of the Mike Westbrook West Country Big Band launch from Smith's Academy Informer - A quarterly journal with information about all Westbrook projects, tours and recordings www.westbrookjazz.co.uk
'Kicking off the proceedings was Jones, a jumping blues by Duke Ellington and Clark Terry. The rhythm section of Marcus Vergette and Coach York, with Lewis Riley on organ, established a solid groove, to which the horns added the jaunty theme. Featured soloist was Roz Harding on alto sax: a new face at Smith's Academy, but a player who is building a reputation in the South West . If her entry, holding a long minor third note over a major chord, said 'this is a blues' and her ending on an emphatic tonic said 'this is the end', the journey between these points, taking the scenic route, displayed impressive control and imagination.'
'Back to the jazz for Bebop de Rigeur, another piece from Citadel/Room 315 which still sounds fresh after nearly 40 years. Solo responsibilities were given to Roz Harding who more than held her own against the full force of the ensemble.'
Review of 'Sketch' - A jazz quintet and trio project co-lead by Roz, focused on original compositions 2010-11.
'Sketch is one of the best new bands I have heard for some time. I particularly like the way their music is put together. With three composers in the group they are evidently as concerned with form and structure as with freedom of expression.The result is lyrical, rhythmically charged music, underpinned with intelligent writing.'