Ben Crosland began playing the drums at the age of thirteen, taking up the guitar a year later: he was much influenced by the fertile British pop music scene of the '60's. At school, he studied with a remarkable teacher called Victor Brook ( Bach in German!). Brook taught Crosland to read music on the guitar, even though he, Brook, did not play the instrument, and inspired Crosland by writing out, for example, guitar accompaniments for Handel Flute Sonatas in chord symbols.
During the late '60's, Crosland began, in his listening, to bridge the gap between rock and jazz, focusing on such artists as Blood Sweat and Tears, Chicago Transit Authority and Jose Feliciano, as well as developing an interest in the contemporary British jazz scene: at that time, rock blues and jazz were very close, with artists such as Jack Bruce John Mayall and Chris Spedding working and recording regularly with musicians such as Art Themen Henry Lowther Alan Skidmore and Dick Heckstall-Smith. Crosland's first jazz-playing experience occurred in 1969 when he began to attend the regular sessions organised by Rod Marshall at his pub,the Anchor Inn in Brighouse,Yorkshire. Crosland joined the Anchor Big Band on guitar and worked in the band for several months, performing in a concert featuring Harold Mc.Nair,the internationally known alto saxophonist and flautist,as guest soloist.
Crosland had begun song-writing in his 'teens and in 1972, he wrote a collection of songs for an exhibition staged at Woburn Abbey for the Huddersfield-based inventor, Wilfred Makepiece Lunn (of B.B.C. Television 'Vision On' fame).At Cambridge University, Crosland combined his studies with continued involvement in contemporary rock, folk and jazz : Roger Dean was at that time a fellow student at Corpus Christi College. During the '70's, Crosland began to develop his interest in composition and wrote several pieces which were performed in concert by the classical guitarist,James Mc.Bride.
In the early '80's, Crosland took up the electric bass and turned seriously to jazz. He studied with Jeff Clyne, one of Britain's finest bass players, for several years at the Wavendon Summer Jazz Course: other students attending his first course in 1982 included Iain Ballamy and Nikki Isles. Crosland later became a bass tutor on the Jazz Course for five years: amongst his students was Jeremy Brown, now a highly-regarded bassist...
Dave Tyas started playing in the 1960's with local bands.
Turned professional in 1971 having worked in various music genres.
Dave has had musical collaborations with The Kenny Shaw Qt, The Dick Hawdon/Red Price Quintet with Bryan Layton, Ian Ballantine's "Semuta", Andy Watson Quartet, Pete Birkby/ Dave Tyas "Legends". Ben Crosland Quintet/Octet/Sextet/Quartet.
Big Bands include The Tony Faulkner Jazz Orchestra, The Alan Hare Big Band, The Shades of Kenton Jazz Orchestra, Big Band Theory and currently Music Director for the "SK2 Jazz Orchestra".
Dave has worked with American Jazz Artists; Al Grey/Buddy Tate, Joe Newman, Jimmy Witherspoon, Eddie Lockjaw Davies, Bobby Shew, Thad Jones, Phil Wilson, Harry Sweets Eddison, James Moody, Bill Perkins, Bud Shank, Charlie Mariano, Bob Burgess, Jiggs Whigham, Shorty Rogers.
British jazz artists include; Dick Morrisey, Don Wella, Alan Barnes, Bobby Wellins, Guy Barker, Kenny Baker, Mark Nightingale, Alan Skidmore, Dennis Rollins, John Etheredge, Ronnie Scott, Pete King.
Theatre work includes the rock musical "Hot Stuff" 1993, at the Cambridge Theatre, London West End, "Mack and Mabel 1995/96 at the Piccadilly Theatre, London West End. Various productions from 1990-2003 at the Leicester Haymarket Theatre with Julian Kelly, Music Director and Paul Kerryson, Artistic Director. Productions at the Curve Theatre, Leicester including "Gypsy" with Caroline O Connor and Victoria Hamilton Barrett.
Dan decided to study music, so he went to Birmingham Conservatoire where he studied classical piano and discovered some of his favourite composers such as Rachmaninov, Debussy, Chopin, Brahms etc. all of which featured in his final recital.
Whilst there, he discovered Jazz and got more and more into that (and maybe spent less time on his Rachmaninov preludes than he should have…) One of the first CDs he heard was Michel Petrucciani with Eddy Louiss and he was blown away by this new language. As his Jazz collection began to grow, he started to play more regularly.
Studying in Brussels followed and this was a turning point for Dan as he became hooked on the 'European' Jazz sound. Diederik Wissels and Nathalie Loriers his two teachers there were a big influence on him. Belgian beers were also an important discovery.
After gaining his Masters in Brussels, Dan then moved to Manchester with Rosa, now his wife, as she got a job as clarinettist in the Halle orchestra.
He now enjoys playing with several national and international players on their visits to the North West, which have included amongst others: Steve Waterman, Alan Barnes, Tina May, Jiggs Whigham, Art Themen and Dan Shout. He is a regular at most Jazz festivals in the North West and enjoys playing abroad whenever possible (Taiwan, Belgium, Spain amongst others) Dan's regular groups include the Mike Hall Quartet, Dan Whiedon/Alice Zawadzki duo, Dan Whieldon trio and the Glossop Gershwin project.
His first 2 cds Live at Zeffirelli's (trio with Gavin Barras and Jonas Backman) and Over the Moon with Mike Hall received positive reviews from the press and enjoyed some radio play on BBC radio 2 on Humphrey Lyttelton's show.