Meet the Band

Together for 11 years, Sheffield & Derby based jazz quintet, Impressions, have developed a style of playing which embraces and is influenced by the monsters of be-bop and the sultry jazz divas. Their songs are mostly standards, with some originals and some more contemporary numbers – exciting swinging extravaganzas coupled with thought provoking ballads.

Impressions are very much an interactive band and pay close attention to improvising throughout the song and the solos with the textures and dynamics. Karen’s instinctual musical ear enables her to convey the beauty of the combined melody and lyrics with genuine emotion.

Karen Lake is a semi professional singer. Her rich, sultry voice shows the influence of Ella Fitzgerald, Chris Connor & Madeleine Peyroux. Her scat singing and exciting manipulation of rhythm and timing reflect the benefit of her studies with Anita Wardell, but her instinctual musical ear enables her to convey the beauty of lyrics with genuine emotion.

Karen also regularly performs with the Karen Lake duo & trio. She now lives happily in Derby with her partner, jazz guitarist Dan Johnson, and their big eyed cat, Dizzy.

Pete Lyons has worked for many years as a full time jazz musician, jazz educator and private music tutor. His playing draws on a range of mainstream modern jazz styles from the 1950’s and 60’s and his compositions reflect a wide range of contemporary jazz influences. As well as teaching at Sheffield Jazz Workshop and taking an active role in the committee of Sheffield Jazz (the not-for-profit jazz promotion organisation) he plays regular small group jazz gigs at venues around the region with a variety of different line-ups.

After several years as a passionate jazz fan, Jez Matthews followed a long held ambition to get involved as a musician, putting into practise the piano skills he mastered as a youngster, and inspired by many a misspent hour in jazz clubs and festivals all over Europe. He has since become a fixture at jazz venues around Sheffield, as well as appearing further afield at events ranging from functions to festivals. Drawing on influences that include his heroes Bill Evans and Bobo Stenson, he has become known as a sensitive accompanist for singers including Tracey Stewart-Fry, Karen Lake, and Rosie Brown, as well as featuring in various other instrumental duos, bands, occasionally his own trio and sometimes solo. He believes that there is nothing better than a decent pint of beer, although a nice cup of tea never goes amiss.

Rich Keates has been around on the Sheffield jazz scene for many years playing acoustic and electric bass. He grew up with a love of music playing jazz funk and big band jazz, and now enjoys playing regularly with numerous jazz groups in the region and beyond. He has worked recently with: Black Coffee, the Tracey Stewart-Fry Band, Sarah Bennett Bossa Quartet, the Karen Lake trio, Jamshed, the Nick Fletcher Quintet to name a few… As well as being an excellent bass player, Rich is also a live sound and recording engineer.

Brian Bestall was born into a musical family in Sheffield in the late 50’s and brought up on a diet of jazz and swingplayed by his father, a well known local pianist, and brother, who played saxopohone. He soon realised that the only sure way to get attention was to play an instrument – and those old B&W films featuring Gene Krupa playing drums to hundreds of adoring girls had a certain attraction…!

He started to play jazz, rock and pop on the pub and club circuit in the 70’s and eventually moved into the “scampi in a basket” night club scene during the 80’s with various house bands including ex Walker Brothers’ Jimmy Wilson Band until Jimmy was tragically killed on his farm in a vehicle accident.

The 90’s were filled with more residencies and recordings for TV and radio commercials. Brian has now come full circle, returning to his jazz roots as founder member of Black Coffee, a successful jazz quintet featuring singer Alice Coulam, before founding current jazz band, Impressions.


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