The Band

Darren Ashford – Drums

Darren Ashford – Drums Darren has been playing drums professionally since 1991. Since that time he has performed with The National Youth Jazz Orchestra (NYJO), The Drifters (also as musical director), in various West-End musicals (Mama Mia/Joseph) and with pop artists such as The Backstreet Boys, Westlife, Will Young, Phats and Small, Sean Paul, Will Smith, Joss Stone, Lucie Silvas, Lionel Richie, Chaka Khan, Shola Ama, Black Eyed Peas, Gwen Guthrie, Romina Johnson, Beverley Knight, Angie Stone, Roachford, Kelle LeRoc, Alex Holland, Me’sha Bryan, Omar, Roy Ayers, Maxi Priest, Carleen Anderson, D:REAM, Dub Pistols, Laura and the Tears, London Community Gospel Choir (LCGC), Larry Carlton and Mattias ‘IA’ Eklundh. Darren teaches both privately and at the Institute of the Contemporary Music Performance on the Bmus degree program. Darren also runs The Drum Lesson Academy, an online resource for drummers that includes an exclusive members area and a Magazine in iTunes.

Stelios K – Guitar

Contemporary guitarist, songwriter and producer Stelios K developed an interest in music at an early age when he started playing guitar at the age of six. As a teenager, he moved to London to study Engineering, but his passion for music proved much stronger.

He relocated to America where he attended Musicians Institute (GIT) in Los Angeles. He then moved back to England to continue his music education at the London College of Music, graduating with First Class Honours in Music Performance. Stelios’ guitar playing is deep rooted in his long lasting influences of Funk, Soul, R&B, Blues and Rock with Jazzy influences. His heavy pocket rhythm playing is firmly set into the deeper funk elements of the 70s and is reminiscent of legendary guitarist and producer Nile Rodgers. Over the past few years, Stelios has performed and toured with a host of artists such as Peter Andre, Steps, Gloria Gaynor, Shalamar, Sister Sledge, Belinda Carlisle, Jason Donovan, Mica Paris, Imagination, Rose Royce, Heatwave, Kenny Thomas and many more. Stelios was the resident guitarist for the X Factor Live Band for a number of years and has worked with One Direction, Olly Murs, JLS and Alexandra Burke. As a house band guitarist at the “10 Room” Club in London for the weekly ‘Music Box Live’ soul night, he had the opportunity to play for various artists including Joss Stone, Chaka Khan, Amy Winehouse, Jocelyn Brown, Kym Mazelle, Omar, Kele Le Roc, Shola Ama and many more. Stelios’ self-titled release “You Are The One” is featured on the Jazz FM Records compilation album “Driftin”, appearing alongside such soul and smooth jazz greats as Aaron Neville, Patti Austin, Je Lorber and Rick Braun.

Joe Morris – Trumpet

Joe studied Jazz Trumpet at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama from 2002-06 and after graduation went to study composition under Maestro Gabriel Senanes in Buenos Aires. Since then he has been playing and composing for various projects both in the UK and internationally and has been fortunate to work with artists such as Ben E King, Eumir Deodato, Airto Moreira, the Heritage Orchestra, John Taylor, Dwight Trible, Gary US Bonds, Kubla Khan, McFly and more recently the Ecuadorian Latin Band Reverso.

Lorenzo Bassigniani – Bass

Lorenzo studied with Marco Conti at the Civica Scuola di jazz in Milan, and later got a degree from the Trinity College of Music in London. His professional career started in Italy where he played with the No One Else Gospel Choir, and the Greensleeves Gospel Choir, touring all over Italy and appearing at the Milano gospel Festival, Conservatoire Verdi in San Remo, and the Riva Del Garda International Gospel Competition. He also worked with singers Julia St Louis, Barbara Evans, Joyce E Yuille and Junior Robinson.

Since moving to the UK he has performed with a number of jazz and pop artists, such as: Polly Gibbons, Sara Mitra, Andy Davies, Ivo Neme, Nic France, Nic Svarc, Josephine Davies, Charlotte James, Tim Giles and Paul Bartholomew, playing in prestigious venues like the Tokyo Opera House, the 606 Club, Jamboree Jazz in Club in Spain, Manchester Jazz Festival, Moleto International Jazz Festival, Varese Open Jazz Festival, Nanning International Folk festival in China, the National Theatre, Ronnie Scott’s and the Pigalle Club.
He also appeared on the BBC radio program Loose Ends.

Holger Skepeneit – Keys / MD

Born in Germany, Holger started playing classical piano at the age of eight and turned to jazz and blues at fourteen. In 1997 he moved to England to study piano, jazz piano and composition at the London College of Music, graduating in 2000 with a first class honours degree, followed by an MMus in jazz piano at the Leeds College of Music. Since graduating he’s been a sought after pianist, keyboard player, composer and MD.

During his career so far he has performed and recorded along side artists such as Katrina and the Waves, Jacky Cheung, Pete King, Jeff Clyne, Tina May, Alan Barnes, Taka Boom, Tony Hawks, The Counterfeit Stones, Kiranpal Sing, John Surman, and many others.

Career highlights include being featured as a pianst/composer and arranger on Jacky Cheungs no 1 album Private Corner (multi-platinum status), performing at the BBC Proms in the park (in front of 45000 spectators), winning the Westminster prize for improvisation, and having some of his classical compositions published when he was only seventeen.

Vasilis Xenopolous – Saxophone

Saxophonist Vasilis Xenopoulos was born in Athens and started playing clarinet and piano at 9 years of age. He started on the saxophone at 13, and continued his music studies at the Philippos Nakas Conservatory in Athens. He showed great potential from the very early stages of his student years and gained a great deal of experience by playing with some of the top names in the Greek jazz scene.

In 1999 Vasilis was awarded a jazz scholarship to the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston MA. There he studied under Billy Pierce, George Garzone and Andy McGhee. In the same year he represented Greece in the European Jazz Youth Orchestra and toured with them in many European countries.

By 2002 Vasilis had moved to London and continued his studies under the guidance of Eddie Harvey, Stan Sulzmann, Jimmy Hastings and Pete Cook. Vasilis formed his first Quartet in 2005 and gradually established himself as one of London’s up and coming jazz saxophonists.

As a jazz musician he has worked with some of the best musicians in the British jazz scene, such as Jim Mullen, Steve Waterman, Alan Barnes, Derek Nash, Bruce Adams, Martin Shaw, Nigel Price, Ray Gelato and many others. On an international level, he has appeared with a variety of top performers such as sensational pianists Hiromi, and Jason Lindner.

In 2009 he formed his current ensemble “The Xtet” and their debut album “Loud City” containing 8 original compositions was released on 33Jazz Records in 2011 to much critical acclaim. Vasilis has appeared in many guises, as guest soloist, as band leader or as saxophone section leader in jazz venues and jazz festivals throughout the UK. He is currently lead tenor in the Steve Taylor Big Band, and in the Ealing based Sound of 17 Big Band.

Vic Bynoe – Vocals

Vic is a very experienced and dynamic singer with a voice ranging from old school R&B to Pop.

He has been a professional singer for over 20 years, has toured worldwide and worked with musical greats such as James Brown, Eric Clapton, Sir Bob Geldouf, Jimmy Cliff, Alexander O’Neal, The Drifters, Rick Astley and Primal Scream, to name a few.

Vic is still performing in various bands and does vocal sessions and music production. He also teaches Vocal and Stage Performance at The Institute Of Contemporary Music Performance (ICMP) in London.

Salena Mastroianni – Vocals

Singer/songwriter Salena Mastroianni studied at the Institute for Contemporary Music Performance in London. She has performed her own music in venues all over the UK including Matter O2, the IndigO2, The Bedford, the Cobden Club and the Water Rats theatre. Her unique and deeply soulful voice, coupled with the ability to sing in different genres from funk and soul to rock and contemporary chart music means that she is in great demand as a freelance singer, performing all over Europe and appearing on numerous recordings.