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Jucamaya

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Biography of Jucamaya

The contemporary jazz quintet Jucamaya centres round the musical collaboration between saxophonist Ian Hill and pianist Graham Dent. Both have been gigging on the midlands jazz scene for many years. Working together frequently as a duo they developed a colourful musical rapport, allowing them both to benefit from the additional freedom and creative interaction inherent in that format. The collaboration has also inspired Graham to write some original compositions which exploit Ian’s mature, lyrical style. The melodies are memorable, stylish and in tune with the jazz tradition and nearly always have a strong rhythmic element. It was a natural step to perform them in Jucamaya.

Jucamaya has been in existence for several years in various forms, but the current line-up brings together the optimum ingredients to make the music fly. Trombonist Richard Baker is a relative newcomer to the band. He is a fine improviser and his extra voice in the arrangements has brought a completely new dimension to the band’s repertoire. The rhythm section is completed by Tom Bull on double bass and Steve Laffy (or sometimes Nick Millward) on drums both of whom are popular experienced musicians on the jazz scene. They both have a special ear for detail which, when coupled with Graham’s expressive piano, provides the perfect foundation for the band.

Jucamaya regularly performs at jazz venues, mainly in the midlands. In 2007 they played at the Coventry Jazz Festival and in Sept 2008 they played at Symphony Hall, Birmingham as part of the Rush Hour Blues Programme, and here they received a warm reception. There is a distinctive latin edge to much of the band’s material, but Jucamaya can also swing as well as any other band. Audiences are in no doubt about the enthusiasm and commitment of all five musicians.

A major milestone was reached in 2008 with the release of the quintet’s first album Thinking of Joe. The album is dedicated to remembering Joe Zawinul who sadly died the day before the recording session. It features Graham’s original compositions, one of which was written specifically with the style of Weather Report in mind.

Jucamaya's second album, Curious Terrain, was released in Sept 2009 and features more compositions by Graham and three jazz standards, ranging from the energetic to the introspective.

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