About Jazz Unlimited

Welcome to Jazz Unlimited

Founded by trumpeter turned pianist Ray Simmons and co-led by local guitar hero Phil Brooke, Jazz Unlimited offers a relaxed sophisticated and soloistic sound evoking American small group jazz of the '50's and 60's. But its material is not restricted to that era. Adventurous jazz artists have always drawn on sources other than their own for inspiration and with pieces extending from the earliest years of the Jazz Age, through Swing, Bebop and Cool and into the '70s and beyond, 'Jazz Unlimited' can be proud of a repertoire almost limitless in scope.

In performance, compositions by WC Handy, Gershwin, Ellington and many others comfortably rub shoulders with the likes of 'modernists' Dave Brubeck, Bill Evans and Miles Davis in a heady cocktail of classic greats which is guaranteed to set your toes tapping. Completing the group are the ever youthful virtuoso bassist Owen Morgan and Palomar's own star drummer, Craig Hipperson.

If your desire is for a top quality jazz outfit for your event, be it on the concert platform or to complement your party, look no further and give 'Jazz Unlimited' a call on 07747 074468 or email raysimmons@btinternet.com

Band Members

Ray Simmons (keyboard and trumpet) was for 19 years Principal Trumpeter of the Royal Philharmonic, enabling him to work with some of the worlds finest conductors and soloists. In that capacity he also had the privilege of sharing the platform with some of the great jazz artists of the day such as Dizzy Gillespie and Buddy Rich, even taking part in a mid-Atlantic jam session on the QE2 with Andre Previn. Throughout his time in London he was very active in the London session scene in addition to teaching at the Guildhall School of Music. In 2001 after a five year stint with the Stavanger Symphony in Norway he retired from full-time trumpet playing and now lives in Beccles where he is delighted to have rediscovered a talent for, and a love of the jazz piano.

Phil Brooke (guitar) studied with Carlos Bonnell at the Royal Academy of Music and has been for many years by common consent the finest jazz guitarist in the Norfolk area. Influenced by such ‘greats’ as Barney Kessell and Wes Montgomery, Phil spends much of his time accompanying visiting jazz stars such as Digby Fairweather, Kenny Ball, and Alan Barnes. Broadcasts include Radio 3’s Jazz Line-Up, Radio 2’s Arts Programme, and airings on Radio Norfolk. Recent recordings include his solo album ‘Alone Together’, and ‘The St.Malo Suite’ (the music of John Leslie) with the Ray Simmons Quintet.

Owen Morgan (double bass) has worked with a huge range of jazz musicians, including Alan Barnes, Pete King, Steve Melling, Tina May, Jim Mullen, Nat Steele, Sarah Moule and many others on the UK jazz circuit. He also plays with the Norwich Philharmonic and has worked on educational projects with the Britten Sinfonia. Outside of Jazz he has worked with contemporary popular music artists such as The Darkness, Wild Beasts, Fionn Regan, Adam Buxton, Imelda May and many more. Owen also teaches at Summerhill School and is passionate about inspiring new musicians to explore their creativity.

Craig Hipperson (drums) first picked up a pair of sticks at the age of 6 and after lessons with Kenny Clare worked with such names as Bill Lesage, Roy Willox and the Tony Lee Trio. He has spent recent years in the company of local groups big and small such as ‘Cool Blue’ and the 'Sole Bay Jazz Band'. In addition to his percussion role in 'Jazz Unlimited' he is also the 'engine room' of 'Palomar' in much the same way as was one of his idols with Benny Goodman's trio – the great Gene Krupa.