Bobby Wellins and SNJO “Culloden Moor Suite” CD out today

Culloden Moor Suite“In 1961, Bobby Wellins was inspired to compose The Culloden Moor Suite after reading John Prebble’s vivid account of the last pitched battle on British soil. Fifty years later, Bobby Wellins and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra joined forces to re-create his thrilling and evocative music. Together they conjured up the fervour, the anticipation, the horror, and ultimately the lamentable failure of a lost cause paid for in blood.

The five-act structure of The Culloden Moor Suite also affords generous space for expressive soloists whose voices place the listener at the heart of the action and the centre of the landscape. In this specially commissioned arrangement by Florian Ross, the battle and its terrible aftermath are seen from a modern, yet wholly empathetic perspective.

There is surely no ensemble anywhere that is better qualified than the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra to interpret Bobby Wellins’ emotive vision of this Highland tragedy through the medium of soul-stirring contemporary jazz.” [Michael Clark]

Spartacus Records
Scottish National Jazz Orchestra


Herald Scotland
all about jazz
bebop spoken here
Riot Squad Publicity


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Bobby at Retro Bistro, Teddington, Tuesday 26th August

Bobby guests with Terrence Collie (piano), Matt Ridley (bass), Chris Draper (drums) at this very popular jazz night at premier South London restaurant, Retro Bistro

Bobby guests with Terrence Collie (piano), Matt Ridley (bass), Chris Draper (drums) at this very popular jazz night at premier South London restaurant, Retro Bistro

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Bobby at Rottingdean Festival tonight!


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Tribute to Dylan Thomas and Stan Tracey – 20th August, Chichester


Live gig and documentary – Chichester Cinema at New Park.

Live Gig:


The Undoubted major jazz work ever conceived in the UK, this classic piece is now rarely performed in its entirety.

Stan Tracey’s music will be performed this evening by Bobby Wellins, who of course featured on the original recording in 1965, and is joined by Steve Melling on piano, Andy Cleyndert on bass and Clark Tracey on drums as ever. Narrated extracts for this performance will be read by Ben Tracey, Stan’s grandson who recently collaborated on “A Child’s Xmas” to superb reviews.

Jazz Film:

With its rich sound design and sumptuous digital cinematography, ‘Stan Tracey: The Godfather of British Jazz’ is a deeply moving portrait of one musician’s lifetime achievement.

In a career spanning 60 years as pianist and composer, Tracey, widely regarded as Britain’s greatest living arranger, recalls his life with unprecedented honesty. Through its mix of archive, landscape and interviews with musical giants such as saxophonist Courtney Pine, Bobby Wellins, saxophonist who worked regularly with Stan, doyenne Cleo Laine and jazz eminence Humphrey Lyttleton, a story of British culture emerges that had never been told before. Nominated for 2003 Grierson Award: Best Arts Documentary.
BBC Four Television 2003 John Akomfrah 70m

Film at 20:15, Live Gig from 22:00

Listen to ‘Starless and Bible Black’ from Under Milk Wood


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Bobby’s forthcoming gigs at a glance…

25th July – The Verdict, Brighton (see diary for full details)

20th August – Chichester Park Cinema Film Festival with special jazz documentary, details coming soon.

30th August – 606 Club, London.

More to come!

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RIP Stan Tracey (1926 – 2013)

We were deeply saddened to learn yesterday of the passing of Stan Tracey, a dear friend and musical collaborator of Bobby’s for over 50 years and with whom Bobby recorded and performed on many occasions.

A number of well-written obituaries have been published today including these:

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Bobby Wellins documentary “Dreams are Free” – screenings in August and November.

In 2010, independent film-maker Gary Barber started working on a documentary about Bobby’s life and career.  Gary first met and interviewed Bobby ten years previously and says he was “enchanted by his stories, lyrical voice and his passion for music”.  The film was completed and first shown at the Brighton Film Festival in 2013.   The film is now going to be screened at both the Chichester Film Festival next week, Wednesday 21st August and again at the London Film Festival in November.

Dreams are Free
screening at Chichester Film Festival – 21st August 2013
Dreams are Free will be screened at the Chichester Film Festival followed by a performance by the Bobby Wellins Quartet.
See full details here

Dreams are Free screening at London Jazz Festival – 20th November 2013
Dreams are Free will be screened as part of the London Jazz Festival at The 606 Club.
Find out more about the Dreams are Free documentary and Gary Barber at 
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Bobby Wellins Tenor Saxophonist winner in British Jazz Awards 2013

The 27th British Jazz Awards 2013 organised by Big Bear Music took place in the Jewellery Quarter Improvment District in Birmingham on 10th July.

See full results and nominees in all categories on Big Bear’s website.


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606 Club 25th Anniversary Festival 22nd May – 2nd June


25celeb resizeThe 606 Club will be celebrating 25 years at Lots Road with a 12-day festival involving 42 bands.  

Bobby will be playing with Don Weller as part of the festival.  Here’s a short interview with Bobby on his years playing at the club.

You play regularly at the 606 Club, when did you first get to know the club’s owner, Steve Rubie?

Steve and I go back many years but it was his brother, Peter, I knew first. I met Peter in the seventies and we did some gigs together with Peter on guitar, we just did little pubs here and there.  Then, Steve came around, he played both saxophone and flute, so we all played together and became friends.

Did you play at the old club on Kings Road?

I did, I started going down the old club in the eighties, which was at number 606 on the Kings Road, of course. So I had a play down there and got to know Steve very well and occasionally used to flop at his flat round the corner.  Steve became a very good friend and I have to say he gave me some very sound at advice at that time which I won’t forget… but that’s another story!  He moved to Lots Road so I started doing gigs there. I play one Saturday per month with the quartet: Liam Noble on piano, Dave Wickins on drums and Dave Whitford on base.  Saturday nights are usually heaving and can get pretty lively.

What do you think makes the 606 a great jazz club?

Well, first of all Steve has put a hell of a lot of work into building up the club over the years and we all know that jazz is a difficult business. So, well done Steve.

People like “the six” [so called by the regulars] because it’s relaxed and intimate and it attracts a good mixture of people, so it’s always interesting for the customers as much as it is for the players to see music lovers of all ages, nationalities and so on coming down to eat and enjoy the music.  Various family and friends have come to gigs over the years and they love it down there.  It has become a bit of a home from home for the Wellins’!

Of course, there’s no wine being served out of teapots and tea cups and saucers like at the old club, it’s all legitimate now!

You do get a few famous characters down the club from time to time. I remember one night John Le Mesurier came down with a lady friend, we had just finished playing  What’s New and he came up to me and said “ Excuse me Bobby, do you think you could play What’s New?” and I said, “oh John, we’ve just played it” and then he looked at me with that wonderful look he used to have in Dad’s Army and said “I suppose you have really”.

The other thing to point out is that it’s one of the few clubs in London which employs jazz musicians who play jazz.  We all have to be grateful to Steve for keeping us in employment.

And we mustn’t forget that aside from the music, they do great food, the staff look after everyone and James, the manager, really takes care of everything and keeps it all running smoothly.

I’m really looking forward to playing with Don [Weller] as part of the 25th anniversary celebrations. It’s going to be a cracking night and a super festival.

Here’s to the next 25 years!

Bobby Wellins and Don Weller – Saturday 1st June.


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New Album out now: Smoke and Mirrors

Bobby has a new CD out: a duet with pianist Kate Williams. Entitled “Smoke and Mirrors” it is on the KWJazz label.

It was recorded on 17th of November 2011 at the Crossley Gallery in Halifax, Yorkshire and features Bobby on tenor and Kate Williams on piano.


Track Listing:

  • Smoke And Mirrors;
  • While We Were Young;
  • Minor Pennies;
  • What If…;
  • If You Never Come To Me;
  • The Man I Love;
  • P.S.;
  • Imagination.

Bruce Lindsay’s review for All About Jazz ( ) describes it as  “relaxed interplay between tenor saxophone and piano that has the effortless ease that can only come from players in total command of their craft.”

John Fordham’s review in the Guardian ( ) gives it 4 stars “It’s an unpretentiously delightful encounter.”

According to the review on London Jazz: ( ) it “exudes elegance, taste and refinement that at times borders on the exquisite.”

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