The South Devon Big Band
The South Devon Big Band was formed after the musicians took part in a one-day workshop led by Neil Maya. Most of the original attendees at the workshop are still part of the band today. A small committee, consisting of Charlie Lowe, John Vernon, Brian Cooper, and Gail and Tez Hastings, and Neil Smythe was formed and rehearsals began at the beginning of 2013.
The 20 piece band is made up of musicians from the South West of England and our rehearsal home is based at Dartington. As well as being part of this band a lot of the musicians play in other smaller ensembles. Some of which are mentioned below.
One of the aims of the South Devon Big Band is to help young jazz players and with the help of a kind donation from Totnes Rotary Club we have been able to offer subscription free membership for the younger players in the band.
Neil Maya (CTABRSM LRSM)
Neil studied clarinet and piano at the Royal College of Music junior department up to the age of eighteen. He then continued to play music on a frequent basis including playing principal clarinet with the Bedfordshire Youth Orchestra. Neil then embarked on a career of teaching and performing and has can be heard throughout the South West playing with his own jazz quartet The Neil Maya Quartet
as well as the Drat Pack
playing swing, soul Motown and more, Lushlife
playing background jazz at functions and Solar
playing funk. As well as live performance Neil teaches clarinet and saxophone privately as well as at Ivybridge Community College. He also runs a number of groups and takes workshops as well as arranges and composes.
Bev Knowlden, Felicity Vernon, Lindis Lane (Alto)
Brian Cooper, Gail Hastings, Neil Smythe (Tenor)
Tessa Lannin (Baritone)
Ian Morrell (Bass)
John Vinton (Drums)
Phil Jesson (Guitar)
Tez Hastings (Piano)