Blue Flamingo Entertainments

Blue Flamingo, Jazz, Musicians


Heading Stateside

Blue Flamingo Jazz has the great privilege of performing in Kentucky during the World Equestrian Games in September and October 2010.

We have eight fabulous musicians coming with us (click on name for Biography): Freddie Gavita (Trumpet), Leah Thomas (Sax), Lani Thomas (Flute), Huw White (Piano), Andy Ball (Drums), Dan Farrant (Bass), Phil Short (Guitar) and the great Robin Bailey on vocals. We’re also bringing with us the Official Blue Flamingo Photographer: David Charlwood.

We’re honoured to be representing British Music on such an international stage – and will be mixing up jazz with gospel, ska, funk and everything in between.

For more info email Leah at: and remember to keep up-to-date with us on Twitter by clicking HERE and hearing our latest news!


First Published August 27th 2010


Biography: Phil Short

Guitarist Phil Short comes from Buxton, Derbyshire, home of Britain’s favourite bottled water. Currently studying for a BMus(Hons) in Popular Music Performance at the London College of Music, Phil is not only the tallest member of the group, but is also a great showman.

Phil is a phenomenal guitar player, playing, amongst many other notable performances, at the Nest Fest in Reading, UK, in 2007 and at the Cavern Club, Liverpool, UK (made famous by The Beatles) in 2009. Phil is also involved with BF’s Educational work – leading groups in our 2009 Arts Council Project Edmonton Flamingos working with inner-city London young people on British Jazz Heritage.

Phil’s recalls his favourite BF experience as ‘Having a call and response solo with the trumpet player at one of our ‘Blue Flamingo‘ gigs: awesome!’ He’s also involved in British rock group Flip Side Up, and upon being asked what he was most looking forward to in Kentucky he responded, in typical British-Northern fashion, ‘The Fried Chicken of course!’

However, on a more academic and useless note, his fourth great-grandfather discovered the planed Uranus. Phil also enjoys writing and recording music, watching TV series all in one go…and…no surprises here: eating.

Phil brings a rock and funk background to the Blue Flamingo Jazz outfit, and with his electric solos – Phil’s presence on stage is massive, filled with energy and creativity…

Phil Short
Blue Flamingo Guitarist: Phil Short
First Published Aug 27th 2010

Biography: Lani Charlwood

Flautist Lani Charlwood studied music at Royal Holloway, University of London, coincidentally at the same time as Blue Flamingo photographer David Charlwood studied history there.

Lani has performed all over the world, including the Birmingham Symphony Hall, UK and touring Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Lani is a beautiful giantess, graceful at 6’1 and her melodic long flute lines echo this. She is really looking forward to playing in Renfro Valley and seeing Kentucky again.

She originally comes from North London and is multi-talented, working in events-management as well as playing flute regularly in West London. Lani really likes Steam Trains and…scrap booking. Not two subjects that at first appear to go together, but which reflect her playing: experienced and creative.

Despite being to many gigs, and playing regularly all over London – this is Lani’s Blue Flamingo debut, and we welcome her. Having an instrument that’s not traditionally associated with jazz with us, adds a lyricism and sense of beauty to the music.

Lani Thomas

Biography: Huw White

Pianist Huw White started life as a violinist – but we are thankful he quickly made the swap to Jazz Piano whilst studying at the Royal Academy of Music. Huw hails from Southampton though now lives, alongside fellow Blue Flamingos Freddie and Andy, in Wembley North London.

Huw notes his favourite Blue Flamingo moment as ‘playing an accidental ad lib piano cadenza during a Big Band gig in Ruislip’. But we loved it. Nothing like a bit of solo piano. Indeed Huw has an international name as a top pianist, playing all over Europe including the Nisville Jazz Festival in Serbia, and the Ohrid Summer Festival in Macedonia. Huw has also composed orchestral music for the Royal Academy of Music Orchestra (look out for his arrangements for Robin!) and is a favourite with London’s top jazz clubs. Huw has a new album and tour set for UK release with Tangent coming up.

Huw is, not surprisingly, looking forward to consuming large amounts of Chicken whilst in Kentucky (we promise: we know there’s more to Kentucky than Chicken…horses for example!) A football lover to the heart, Huw wanted to let us know he ‘eat’s aeroplanes’, though we have a feeling this comment was inspired by Freddie’s supposed ‘phobia of crumbs’. But here’s a real fact: Huw recently met a very nice gentleman at a post gig reception, and chatted with him for a few minutes. It wasn’t until afterwards that someone pointed out to him he’d been speaking to the Macedonian President.

Huw’s skill for composing music is reflected in his creative improvisation, pushing the boundaries of tonality, listening and interacting with his fellow musicians and in turn bringing together the many talents of Blue Flamingo Jazz.

Huw White
Blue Flamingo Pianist: Huw White
First Published August 27th 2010

Biography: David Charlwood

David Charlwood is the Blue Flamingo Photographer and has accompanied us all round London producing aesthetically vibrant and beautifully dynamic work. Many of the photographs on the Blue Flamingo website are his. According to David, he most enjoyed shooting BF ‘at London’s world-famous 100 Club and receiving a themed Christmas card complete with Blue Flamingo and santa hat!’ (We do try).

Despite his great creativity, David (known to his friends as ‘Charlie’) studied history at Royal Holloway, University of London, and did very well (rumours are, his final year thesis is to be published in a very clever history journal)…

Originally from Bournemouth on the English South Coast, David is looking forward to visiting the States again and spending time meeting friends of his fiancé, Blue Flamingo Flautist Lani Thomas.

David has a twin brother who looks nothing like him – though David thinks his brother is more the jazz sibling as he’s a trombonist! David does however play the guitar, and has been known to do a bit of writing whilst not holding a camera in hand…

For more on his photography, please go to:

David Charlwood
Blue Flamingo Photographer: David Charlwood
First Published August 27th 2010 @15:18

Biography: Robin Bailey

Robin Bailey is the Blue Flamingo Vocalist with pedigree and style. Having studied at the Royal Academy of Music and performed all over the world, Robin is a traditional English gentleman from the seaside town of Deal, Kent.

Robin has (rather uniquely!) performed as a soloist in the Thunderbirds Are Go concert with Brian Blessed and the London Concert Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall. He is a USA-touring veteran, having performed both in New York and Oklahoma with a capella group Voces8. Robin lists his BF highlights as singing Golden-Era Swing with the Blue Flamingo Big Band in London, and stealing Leah’s (BF Saxophonist) fries in High Barnet, North London.

Robin recently sang at another equestrian event – the Kempton Races Ladies day, dressed as a fireman singing opera, it’s a far cry from his upcoming project, singing in Puccini’s La Bohème in London’s West End Soho Theatre in early 2011.

A singer and vocalist to the heart, Robin is looking forward to trying to imitate the ‘southern’ accent in Kentucky, and is looking forward to the bigger portions of food Stateside. He also enjoys rock-climbing, tennis and running for buses (though we’re not sure that counts as a sport)…

Robin’s experience and expertise brings a completely different sound to Blue Flamingo Jazz …a true British Crooner adding glamour to the show, with a smile and a song.

Robin Bailey
Blue Flamingo Vocalist: Robin Bailey
First Published August 27th 2010 @15:16

Biography: Leah Thomas

Blue Flamingo Leader, Saxophonist and Vocalist Leah Thomas is a Londoner born and bred, and even completed her Master’s in Music in the capital at King’s College London.

Leah c0-founded Blue Flamingo in 2008, and has performed with BFJ all over the country – her favourite gigs have been playing the swing dance nights at the 100 Club and at Camden’s Jazz Cafe.

Leah has in fact lived in America – having attended Bible College in Minnesota – though she’s looking forward to Kentucky – at least there’ll be no snow in October! She has been to Kentucky before and looks forward to introducing the rest of the Band to the State.

Leah is very maternal over the band – and as well as keeping them in-line on stage, she also very much enjoys baking for her musicians, and is known for providing freshly baked Chocolate-Brownies on Blue Flamingo Gigs. Please do email her if you’d like recipe.

Leah enjoys travelling, earrings, shoes and handbags, and has been known to silence 400 people by simply saying ‘excuse me’.

Leah is a saxophonist and vocalist who is a vibrant performer with energy and passion for music. She loves bringing musicians together and giving the audience a show they will never forget. ‘After all’, she says, ‘what is music if nobody enjoys it?’

Leah Thomas
Blue Flamingo Leader & Saxophonist: Leah Thomas
First Published August 27th 2010 @ 15:13

Biography: Freddie Gavita

Freddie Gavita is a first class trumpeter and has degree in jazz from the Royal Academy of Music to prove it. Freddie is a favourite of the British Jazz Scene – playing with the Ronnie Scott’s Big Band and the John Dankworth Orchestra. We can’t wait to hear his own Big Band perform at the London Jazz Festival, and then he’s off on tour with superstars Empirical next year!

However, Freddie is just a boy from Norwich (we checked on a map. It’s in East England) and is…how should we put this? Very much into Norwich City Football team.

When we asked him what he was looking forward to in Kentucky, he responded ‘Trying not to eat chicken all day, hanging out with the band, meeting some new people, looking at some horses.’ We should also tell you, that Freddie’s dead pan face is so good, most people can’t tell if he’s joking or not. Classic British humour if you ask us.

Freddie has a collection of model vintage cars, a phobia of crumbs and all the meals he can cook involve minced beef. He also enjoys Xbox 360, football (there’s a surprise), and swimming.

Freddie’s deep jazz roots ground Blue Flamingo Jazz in British sounds. With soulful improvisation, a unique sense of humour and utmost professionalism, Freddie is a guy to look out for on stage!

Freddie Gavita

First Published: August 26th 2010


Biography: Dan Farrant

Dan Farrant is a magical Bass Player. Literally. He is a keen magician – and you should see what he can do on a Bass! He’s studying at the Royal Academy of Music and doing wonders there.

Dan, like fellow Blue Flamingo Leah, is a Londoner to the heart – and has been around the block with Blue Flamingo. He also has the unique ability to talk whilst simultaneously having a discussion with you. (It’s hard – we’ve tried).

Dan is busy performing all over London, and is currently playing with singing sensation Elisa Caleb. He’s also has his own quintet, and is involved with the jazz scene at the Royal Academy of Music.

Dan, in his normal creative style, noted that he was most looking forward to ‘McDonalds’ in Kentucky. The boy gets points for originality there. Though he is looking forward to heading Stateside. Look out for him – not only will he have his electric bass, but he’ll also be giving it all he’s got on an old-school upright bass!

Dan’s creativity and originality means that he brings much more to the Blue Flamingo group than just keeping us in time. He’s a musician who likes to surprise, loves to play, and inspires those around him.

Dan Farrant
Blue Flamingo Bassist: Dan Farrant

Biography: Andy Ball

Andy Ball is a drummer with qualifications, having studied at both Leeds College of Music, and the Royal Academy of Music. Andy is from Stourgbridge in the West Midlands, though he has seen the world, performing at festivals in Ireland, New York, Los Angeles and Hong Kong.

Andy lists his musical highlights as ‘being finalist and Special Award Winner at the 2008 Kodolanyi Jazz Competition in Hungary with the Tim Evans Quartet and performing with Stan Sulzman on his Birthday Concert at the 2009 London Jazz Featival with the Royal Academy Big Band”. That is some jazz street-cred! Andy lists his Blue Flamingo highlight as getting ‘free sloppy Giuseppe pizzas’. It appears our Band are obsessed by food, as when asked what he was most looking forward to in Kentucky he replied, ‘The Colonel’s secret blend of eleven herbs and spices.’

Just as fellow Blue Flamingos Leah and Phil, Andy is involved in music education, taking his septet into primary schools and running workshops. He will also be performing the newly composed (and interestingly named?) narrated jazz suite The Green Mystery of Woolpit.
Despite being able to name all of Cher’s hits in both chronological and alphabetical order, Andy sums up his life rather philosophically thus: ‘There is very little more to my life than jazz, drums and Birmingham City Football Club. And Church. The Pub when time permits.”

Andy’s breadth of experience, education and spontaneity puts a fire under the Blue Flamingo musicians. His ability to play with intense quiet energy as well as fierce funk soul is the power behind much of the Blue Flamingo Beat.

Andy Ball
Blue Flamingo Drummer: Andy Ball
First Published August 27th 2010