about us

beats and pieces big band


Beats & Pieces is not your average big band, rather a band that’s big. These 14 musicians have been playing together for over twelve years and have become a tight knit bunch, open to a huge diversity of music. The influence of artists such as Björk, Radiohead, David Bowie, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Loose Tubes, Gil Evans and Kenny Wheeler pop up in their performances and the compositions of bandleader and conductor Ben Cottrell.

The band tours regularly across the UK, Europe and further afield, marking their 10th anniversary in 2018 with their debut North American tour. A driving force of the vibrant Manchester music scene and one of the most striking ensembles of its kind, the group continues to win new fans and friends across the world.

New music is on the way from the band – in January 2020 they recorded their third studio album with support from Help Musicians UK and MOBO Trust.


“[Beats & Pieces’] extraordinary achievement is to combine discipline with anarchy, and rock’n’roll energy with textures from the entire canon of big band jazz history” Tom Robinson, BBC 6 Music

“Spine-tinglingly good” MOJO

A return to the idea that contemporary jazz for big band can still generate the kind of direct impact more associated with rock and pop music, but without undermining its essential craft and sophisticationJazzwise


Our current touring lineup is as follows (with links to website/social media where available):

Ben Cottrell : director
Anthony Brown, Emily Burkhardt, Oliver Dover : saxophones
Owen Bryce, Graham South, Nick Walters : trumpet
Richard Foote, Simon Lodge, Rich Mcveigh : trombone
Anton Hunter : guitar
Richard Jones : piano/Rhodes
Stewart Wilson : bass
Finlay Panter : drums
Alex Fiennes : sound engineer

other collaborators

There have been many many more amazing musicians that have played with us, including:

Sam Andreae, Dee Byrne, Rob Cope, Kenji Fenton, Sam Healey, Celia Madden, Jo McCallum, Sam Rapley, Cath Roberts, Riley Stone-Lonergan, Tom Ward, Ben Watte, Helen Wilson, Chris Young : saxophones/reeds

Jamie Brownfield, Adam Chatterton, James Davison, Aaron Diaz, Dave Greenland, Chris Snead, Nick Walkley : trumpet

Danny Barley, Paul Burton, Nick Conn, Tim Cox, Mark Francis, Louise Godfrey, Alex Hambleton, Ed Horsey, Alex Kelly, Phil O’Malley, Owain Roberts, Paul Strachan : trombone

Daniel Brew : guitar

Misha Gray, Chris Illingworth, Patrick Hurley : piano/Rhodes

Mick Bardon, Nick Blacka, Joshua Cavanagh-Brierley, Grant Russell, Harrison Wood : bass

Johnny Hunter, Jim Molyneux, Alex Tod, Rob Turner : drums

George Dennis, Tullis Rennie : electronics

Najia Bagi, Esther Swift : vocals


Beats & Pieces Big Band gratefully acknowledges support from Arts Council England.

Large ensembles are by their very nature extremely difficult to sustain, financially and logistically – you can support us by joining us backstage, or if you’d like to help in any other way please do get in touch!

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