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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
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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

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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
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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
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