Dave Stapleton

Dave Stapleton

Last updated: 19 November 2008

"Dave Stapleton is a real find for British Jazz... a young musician of real maturity and vision." So says jazz music magazine Jazzwise.

The jazz world has taken composer and pianist Dave Stapleton somewhat to its heart in his professional career since leaving college.

He graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in 2002 with a BMus Degree in classical piano.

"I've been inspired by the freer and more expressive world of European jazz," he says. Subsequently, he's dedicated himself to a fusion of improvisation, jazz and contemporary classical music, rapidly becoming a rising star on the UK jazz scene.

He was accepted onto the prestigious Jerwood/PRS Foundation Take Five initiative, designed to give some of the UK's most talented young jazz musicians the unique opportunity to take 'time out' to develop their craft.

In 2003 he was inspired by Keith Tippett's improvisation and formed his first group - Full Circle - a quartet featuring Deri Roberts (saxophones, trombone, didgeridoo and percussion), Dave Stapleton (piano), Matthew Lovett (double bass and guitar) and Elliot Bennett (drums and percussion).

Following the release of a critically acclaimed debut album, Explorations, the group toured the UK.

The Dave Stapleton Quintet (DSQ) was formed in 2004, and have appeared at jazz festivals and conventional gigs all over the UK. Their debut album, When Life Was In Black And White was recorded at the Wales Millennium Centre.

In February 2005, Dave teamed up with Deri Roberts and recorded The Conway Suite. Devised as a project for church organ and saxophone, "it includes music that crosses the boundaries between classical and spiritual music, jazz and contemporary minimalism".

What started as an experiment with partly composed, partly improvised music turned into a highly acclaimed album.

A second DSQ album, The House Always Wins, was released in September 2007, supported by high profile gigs in Brecon, London and continental Europe.

In 2008 Dave launched Edition Records, a new label for jazz, contemporary composition and improvised music, including a range of his own projects and collaborations.

In April 2010 The DSQ released Between The Lines on Edition Records. Good reviews from Jazzwise, The Guardian and The Observer followed. Stapleton said of the album, "We set out to capture the personalities of the band. The intensely melodic Dry White is for Paula Gardiner (that's all she drinks), the fiery suite-like Horn for Jonny Bruce (a Derek and Clive reference), the intricately dense Wig Wag for Ben Waghorn and the rhythmical, punchy Daz Lightyear for Elliot Bennett (he always wears white and looks like Buzz Lightyear)."

Key works

  • When Life Was in Black and White album cover

    When Life Was in Black and White (2006)

    "Innovative, infectious and utterly compelling, the future of new British jazz is in safe hands," said the Western Mail.
  • The House Always Wins album cover

    The House Always Wins (2007)

    The 2007 album that gained plaudits from the jazz world and even The Guardian.
  • Catching Sunlight album cover

    Catching Sunlight (2008)

    The latest album released in November 2008, again attracting praise from the jazz media.
  • Between The Lines cover

    Between The Lines (2010)

    The latest record, released on Edition Records and with a good crop of positive reviews.

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