Swing into spring at Jazz Jurassica

PUBLISHED: 07:00 14 April 2018

Lauren Bush (left), Fliss Gorst (centre) and Shane Hampsheir (right).

Lauren Bush (left), Fliss Gorst (centre) and Shane Hampsheir (right).


Fliss Gorst is set to perform at Jazz Jurassica in Lyme Regis.

Fliss Gorst.Fliss Gorst.

Local musician Fliss Gorst is all set for a warm home-coming when she brings her six-piece swing band to play at the Jazz Jurassica festival over the spring bank holiday weekend.

May’s event comes hot on the heels of her sell-out show at Seaton’s Gateway last year.

As a former student of Woodroffe School’s music department in Lyme Regis, she’ll play in the town which did so much to nurture her musical talent.

She returns not only with a top-class band of musicians plus a couple of vocal powerhouses in tow but as one of the few female band leaders in the country and a debut album in the iTunes jazz chart.

Fliss was born and brought up in Axminster but now lives in London.

Acquiring her first saxophone at the tender age of 14, she soon found herself playing in local jazz bands.

She studied at Exeter College and then the Birmingham Conservatoire where the jazz bug began to bite.

She said: “I worked on cruise ships for three-and-half-years, playing every day with a variety of musicians, and then I made the big move to London.”

Initially she set up Jivestar, a jive and rock and roll band ‘but I guess my tastes have changed somewhat since then. I don’t want to be pigeonholed by a band title’.

The move from Jivestar to Fliss Gorst Band signals more than just a name change.

It’s a sign of a growing confidence in her own arrangements and compositions that has led to a successful debut album, The Place for Me, released in March.

Fliss said: “The title represents my inner struggle with my love for London and my home county of Devon.

“I wouldn’t be able to live the life I live without my connection to either of these places. My parent’s house in Axminster is my regular bolt hole to escape city life”.

The pressure-cooker life in London where Fliss combines playing and teaching leave little time for rest and recuperation.

She’s one of the few successful female band leaders in a male-dominated profession. As she herself says ‘you have to balance being assertive and someone musicians want to be around. You need to earn their respect as well as their friendship’.

Fliss acknowledges the support of some fantastic musicians – including Dave Borazon on trumpet (‘my right-hand man’) and Liam Dunachie on piano (‘one of the best’).

And two vocalists in the shape of Lauren Bush and Shane Hampsheir, who are outstanding performers in their own right.

Fliss said: “Lauren’s a highly acclaimed Canadian jazz singer, who brings pizzaz to every song she sings. And swing’s in Shane’s DNA - his recent solo gig at Ronnie Scott’s sold out. He’s Mr Ratpack personified!”.

According to Julie Sheppard, of Jazz Jurassica, audiences are in for a treat.

She said: “It’ll be a potent cocktail of sparky swing standards, jumping jives and dazzling dance numbers – it’ll be slick, hugely entertaining and fun, with lots of on-stage banter amongst eight friends who obviously love playing together.”

The Fliss Gorst Band will be performing on Friday, May 25, at 8pm, Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis.

Tickets and more info: www.jazzjurassica.co.uk or box office: 01297 442138.

This event is part of Jazz Jurassica – Lyme’s festival of jazz – May 24 to May 28, Lyme Regis.

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