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bob smeaton Bob Smeaton

After a few years of playing the clarinet, inspired by the likes of Acker Bilk and Monty Sunshine, Bob discovered Oscar Peterson while at university, and switched to piano.

His first professional gigs as a keyboard player were with rock and function bands in South London, but on moving to Hull in 1979, he began playing with various jazz and jazz-related combos such as the East Coast Jazzmen, the Baz Hewland Quartet,the Casablanca Boys and the Colin Shakespeare band.After moving to York in 1992, he joined Ron Burnett’s Mardi Gras band and the Derek McFall danceband, and Harrogate-based Swingtime Jazz.

On retirement from the University of Hull Library in 2002, he attended Leeds College of Music, where he switched to organ.  Bob’s organ heroes include Jimmy McGriff, Jimmy Smith, Jack McDuff, Larry Goldings and Mike Gorman.

Marlena Rose

Marlaina graduated from the Central School of Speech and Drama, where she trained in classical voice. She has performed in shows with the Lion Ferry Cruise company, and has sung in a variety of clubs in the Leeds area, as well as before 40,000 people at a major Leeds Pride event. She is currently vocalist with “One foot in the groove” and also works with Ian Chalk’s York Big Band Initiative.

Marlaina vocalist
neil drummer Neil Higgins

Neil was brought up in a jazz loving household, even the family dog was named after sax man Tubby Hayes. He cut his musical teeth as a teenager playing in jazz and jazz rock bands in West Yorkshire. A move to Bristol in the late 1980’s saw him play with some of the brightest young jazz talent in the country. He regularly appeared in bands led by the likes of Arnie Somogyi, Dominic Howles, John Baggott, Kevin Figes and Andy Hague and was a member of the bands Five Flights Up and The Versatile Pit Orchestra. Influenced by the music of Pat Metheny, Esbjorn Svensson and Chick Corea, Neil is now firmly established on the York music scene and can regularly be found playing in jazz groups, as well holding down the drum chair with the York Big Band Initiative.

Mike Barnham

'Mike has been playing guitar since 1964, at first in various groups and rock bands but quickly gaining interest in the jazz styles of Wes Montgomery, George Benson, Barney Kessel, Grant Green, Kenny Burrell and others. While studying medicine in London he played in a modern jazz trio, including occasional appearances in leading jazz venues of the time, such as The Plough at Stockwell and The Roundhouse at Chalk Farm, and he participated in the Dunkerque Jazz Festival in 1975.

Mike was appointed as Consultant in Medical Microbiology in Harrogate in the late 1970's, and he has continued with his music throughout in many local bands and settings, including function bands, jazz groups and occasional radio appearances, finding that this gave a good counterpoint to his daytime work. He has enjoyed the opportunity to play with some notable musicians on occasions down the years, including Mick Mulligan, Ronnie Ross and, more recently, Snake Davis.

Mike was a founder member of the Harrogate Jazz Club, and currently plays in a well-respected guitar/keyboard/bass trio based in Harrogate in addition to the York-based 'One Foot in the Groove'. Now retired from medicine he finds more time to develop his music in live performances and home recording''.

mike guitar
Tim New tim sax

Tim studied Maths at York University, and taught in schools for a while. However he felt drawn to the life of a musician, and for the past 35 years has played in numerous bands and ensembles, ranging from folk and rock to soul, jazz and baroque chamber music. He has performed all around Britain, with spells working in regional repertory theatre, and made numerous recordings for local and national TV and radio, and many other commercial recordings.

At the same time, he has been a committed private instrumental teacher, mainly of flute and saxophone, to students of all ages in his music studio at his home in York. He’s also maintained his interest in maths with some private tutoring. Mainly as a result of his teaching he’s been able to develop a long-term passion – writing music.

His compositions have been greatly appreciated by his students, and other teachers have picked up on his writing, and are now using his material in their own lessons. He’s also been commissioned to write music for various different local ensembles. One of his recent compositions has been used as background music for an on-line promotional video by Aviva.

Nick Merriam

Classically trained as a child, Nick discovered jazz relatively recently through bass lessons with Geoff Chalmers and, more recently, Christian Topman. In addition to playing bass guitar and double bass with One Foot in the Groove, Nick plays with the York Big Band Initiative and plays occasionally with the New York Dance Band, Bejazzled, Route de Django and York guitarist Cornelius Corkery. He is a regular member of the Cobweb orchestra and has previously played with the (Arts) Bargestra and York folk band The Fine Companions. One of many musical highlights was playing with the tutors' band at the 2015 Dalesbridge jazz weekend, featuring Matt Roberts, Sam Gardner and Sam Watts. Influences include Ray Brown, Charlie Haden and Carol Kaye.

nick merriam