Graham Hughes is a freelance jazz musician living in North London, playing the trombone, sousaphone, double bass, singing and on occasions also chromatic harmonica.
He has built a reputation internationally, most notably as a performer of the many styles of jazz that come under the umbrella of "Traditional Jazz" - the early New Orleans music of Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton, Duke Ellington through the decades, hot 20's bands, West Coast revival bands (Turk Murphy and such), British trad revival, Chicago jazz (Eddie Condon and his cohorts), 'Mainstream' swing jazz etc. etc.
He performs with many of the leading exponents of these styles - Keith Nichols, Enrico Tomasso, Martin Litton, Michael McQuaid, Spats Langham, Josh Duffee, Andy Schumm, Tony Jacobs and others, and as a name in his own right at clubs and festivals far and wide.
Some years ago Graham took up the sousaphone, and has now built up a reputation as one of the leading players in the UK, with a thorough understanding of not only traditional New Orleans bass lines, but also the many more contemporary styles that ‘brass bass’ players can be called on to play. With this in mind Graham formed his band The Brass Volcanoes, which also gave him the opportunity to air some of his own compositions. The band has built a reputation for highly entertaining, energetic and creative New Orleans-inspired performances.
He also started learning the double bass at about the same time, first borrowing a housemate’s instrument before buying his own. He soon found himself busy playing on the ‘gipsy jazz’ scene in London, playing the music of Django Reinhardt.
Graham grew up from an early age singing in choirs, so it was only logical that he should translate his skills as a classical singer into jazz. Over time his confidence in this field has grown and he has become a popular singer, switching between the crooning styles of the early jazz singers to interpretations of soul and blues artists.
He has become a highly versatile musician, able to play in many different genres with a respect and understanding for them all, reading music or improvising, as a soloist or as part of an ensemble, performing live and recording sessions.
His desire to play the music he loves with the musicians he enjoys spurred him on to set up his various bands. He has watched and learned how other people lead their bands, and he has been doing it for many years now. Audiences like the way he leads a performance, clients find him easy to deal with, and musicians enjoy working with him.
Long may it continue!