Gemma Boyd is a professional and passionate jazz and classical double bass player.
GEMMA BOYD (double bass)
Gemma was classically trained on the double bass. As a teenager she played in the Walsall Youth Orchestra, the Midland Youth Jazz Orchestra and with the Birmingham Conservatoire String Quartet. She started off doing a music degree at the University Of Chichester, during which time she performed in big choral works such as Verdi's Requiem and played in pit orchestras with amongst others, Chichester Operatic Society. She didn't play properly for a number of years, but then took it up again on her own terms when she moved to Brighton & Hove and joined the Brighton Jazz Co-op. Jazz became her focus, and she met Piers Clark whilst depping on a Karavan gig in at The John Harvey Tavern in Lewes. She's been playing in swing jazz and blues, gypsy swing, western swing and latin bands ever since, mixing it up occasionally with 'classical' gigs, such as playing for four months in 2009 with the classical / experimental string ensemble, Classycool, based at Covent Garden Courtyard, London, and playing on shows with the conductor Simon Gray; the latest one being 'Beauty and the Beast' at the Theatre Royal, Brighton in July 2009.
She plays in a successful 1930s and '40s swing jazz and blues five-piece band called The Priory Street Stardusters (featuring herself on double bass, Piers Clark on guitar, Annie Schutt on vocals, Daniel Rehahn on trombone and John Pargeter on alto and tenor saxophones and clarinet) which has been going for approximately four years, and she has done a lot of duo gigs with Mike the Mic who is a unique guitarist and vocalist (including being the support band for Earl Okin).
Gemma's time on the jazz course at Chichester College brought her into contact with the amazingly talented pianist / vocalist Ann Odell, who she gigged with and learnt loads from. She teaches double bass and tries to use her skills as a jazz / classical pianist and violinist whenever possible. She enjoys playing with the Sussex Jazz Orchestra big band, Southwick Opera ('The Merry Widow', 'The Magic Flute' and 'Titanic - The Musical' conducted and directed by Simon Gray), Straight No Chaser big band, Bass, Bone & Blue (with Piers Clark on guitar and Daniel Rehahn on trombone), The Pete Godfrey and Pals Trio (with Pete Godfrey on piano and Roy Leith on tenor saxophone), The Brighton Jazz Apples / Remember April bossa nova band (with Matt Wall on guitar, Ela Southgate on vocals and Robin Watt and Roy Gee on saxophone), Just Friends Trio (with Terry Whitney on piano and Norman Evans on tenor saxophone), Gemma's Jazz (with Piers Clark on guitar and George N. Paterson on trumpet and vocals), The Swing Thing duo (with Matt Wall on guitar), The Vintage Hot Five 1920s and '30s jazz quintet (with Andy Woon on trumpet, Johnny Muxlow on drums and George Levy on clarinet), The Tom Creed Trio, playing classic bebop, swingers and Creed's compositions (with Diego Parada on guitar and Tom Creed on soprano, alto and tenor saxophones and clarinet), and Early-Bird Special, playing western swing and cowboy jazz (lead by Piers Clark on steel guitar and vocals). Other great local jazz musicians Gemma plays with include Nils Solberg, Charlotte Glasson, Cath Couper, Sam Arts, Lawrence Jones, Renee Ansell, Jo Hunter, Dave Lacey, Jason Henson, and she has done a songwriting course with Heidi Berry.
In September 2010, Gemma embarked on a trip to Paris, France, with her double bass, where she played her bowed solo double bass set outside the Pompidou Centre, busked with trombonist, Daniel Rehahn on the terraces of two cafes in Abbesses, Montmartre: 'Le Nouveau Carrilon' and 'Le Saint Jean', and on a bridge over the Seine near the Notre Dame. She participated in a jam session at 'Autour De Midi...Et Minuit', rue Lepic, Montmartre, headed by the fabulous Laurent Epstein Trio, and improvised a double bass duet version of 'Autumn Leaves' with Riccardo Del Fra (Chet Baker's double bass player) at CNSMDP (the Paris Conservatoire), where Riccardo teaches.
Reggae, funk, gypsy swing, bluegrass, singer-songwriter material and country music are all styles of music that Gemma has experience in playing, and she works as a volunteer at the National Jazz Archive in Loughton.
Gemma is able to put bands of musicians together to tailor for hirers' needs: Please contact her via this website to book her or the bands she plays with for gigs, lessons, concerts or recording sessions.
- Billie Holiday - Billie & Lester (2010)
- k. d. lang - Hymns of the 49th Parallel (2004)
- Guiseppe Verdi - Verdi - Requiem (2005)