Primary Instrument: Piano
Les has worked with some of the worlds finest Jazz musicians, including Kenny Wheeler, John Taylor, Mike Walker, Andy Schofield, Richard Iles, Steve Berry, Ian Ballamy to name but a few. Recent projects have included an album with Neil Yates ‘New Origins’ and his continuing collaborations with Steve Berry.
Throughout his career composition has been central to his musical life especially in the contemporary classical field. He studied composition with Paul Mitchel-Davidson and Bill Connor. Les has written music for orchestra, piano, organ and particularly for choir which has always been a natural medium for him since his days as a chorister.
Improvisation still features strongly in a number of these works, as in a recent commission for Manchester youth string orchestra two pieces to commemorate 9 / 11 Without Justice there can be no peace and Prayer (2005).
Parallel to his career as a Jazz pianist and composer Les has been an active teacher for the past 17 years. His current posts are Professor of Jazz piano and improvisation at Chethams school of Music (1996-) and Professor of Jazz piano at Leeds college of music (1998-) in addition to this has given master-classes and lectures on Jazz at LIPA ( Liverpool institute for the performing arts ) and the RNCM as well as for EPTA ( European piano teachers association ) and various summer schools, he is on the faculty of the Chethams international festival for pianists and the Music place Jazz summer school in Altrincham.
Les also collaborated on the recent Boosey & Hawkes book “The Easiest way to improvise” with Christopher Norton. The book uses pieces from the famous Micro Jazz series. Les then turned these pieces into a play-a-long system with an easy to understand method of improvising.
Current projects include a long awaited ( very long awaited! ) duo Cd with Andy Schofiled, a solo album to include music by Sorabji and John Ogdon and original compositions.