Simon Purcell

Key details:

International Professor of Improvisation


Jazz pianist, composer and educator, Simon Purcell originally came to prominence during the UK jazz boom of the 1980s through his band Jazz Train, a quartet with Julian Arguelles and numerous appearances with or opposite visiting American artists (Red Rodney, Kenny Wheeler, Eddie Henderson, Jean Toussaint, Valerie Ponomarev, Dale Barlow, Bobby Shew, Conrad Erwig).

His recent CD Red Circle was released to critical acclaim and features some of the most important contributors to the UK’s creative music scene during the last two decades with bassist Steve Watts (Loose Tubes et al), drummer Gene Calderazzo (Pharaoh Sanders) saxophonist Julian Siegel (Partisans etc) and trumpeter Chris Batchelor (Hermeto Pascoal, Loose Tubes).

A passionate music educator and thinker, Simon has been active in the conservatoire sector since 1987, first as a senior lecturer within the jazz course at Guildhall School between 1987-2005, Head of Jazz at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance between 2005-2017 and now back at Guildhall as International Professor of Improvisation. He has contributed to the development of jazz education in the UK for many years and in 2006 was awarded Jazz Educator of the Year by the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group.

Simon was a member of the Pop and Jazz Platform within the Association of European Conservatoires between 2009-2018 and his research into teacher-development in Jazz education was published by Ashgate in 2005. His work in Jazz education has taken him to Brazil, China, New Zealand and many parts of Europe.

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