Steve Berry

Head of Jazz and Improvisation

FHEA

Email: Steve.Berry@rncm.ac.uk

  • Improvisation
  • Ensemble coaching
  • Instrumental tuition
  • Jazz techniques and theory
  • Musicianship tutor
  • Jazz Musicianship tutor

Initially a self taught guitar-playing singer/songwriter in the 1970’s, everything changed in an instant after a chance encounter with improvising saxophonist, Stuart Spiers.

At his prompting, Steve soon realised the vital importance of immersing himself in a larger and thriving, Jazz/improvisation community (not available in rural Shropshire at that time), precipitating an early departure midway through his Fine Art Degree and a move to London, along with a switch to double bass, when he was 22 years old.

Learning about Jazz and playing the double bass were mentored initially by the great session bassist Chris Laurence, and later through life-changing lessons with Daryl Runswick and Dave Holland.

His only ‘formal’ study was one year on the GSM&D’s (then) fledgling Postgraduate Jazz course.

Chance encounters with John Parricelli and Django Bates (amongst others) started a dizzying few years, Steve being caught up in the collective that eventually became Loose Tubes, the seminal 21-piece (not really a) Big Band.

Touring the World, recording and broadcasting through the late 1980s, Steve’s profile as a Jazz Composer was established here.

Current and Future Research

  • Ongoing – Jazz composition & arranging
  • Ongoing – Improvisation in performance

Undergraduate Teaching

  • RNCM Musicianship (years 1 & 2)
  • RNCM Jazz Musicianship (years 1 & 2)
  • RNCM Jazz Improvisation Techniques elective (years 3 & 4)
  • Instrumental tuition
  • Chamber Music Coaching

Postgraduate Teaching

Instrumental tuition, composition and ensemble coaching

Professional Activity

Bassist with Mike & Kate Westbrook since 1992.

Jazz instrumental and ensemble tutor at Chetham’s School of Music. Also formerly a Teaching Fellow at Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts.

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