The Simon Bates Big Band

The Simon Bates Big Band is an 18 piece power station of musical magic. The all-star line-up assembled by top saxophonist and musical director to the stars Simon Bates includes Shirley Bassey’s lead trumpet player, members of funk band Incognito, a finalist of BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year, Van Morrison’s drummer, The Syd Lawrence Band’s front man and even a member of the Wombles!’
Demonstration Lindy Hop/Swing dancers will be there to show the way and provide ticket holders with an opportunity to practice before the event. As one can imagine space will be limited for this crackerjack evening and the dance area will be no less than 25 square meters (which is not as much as it might sound).
The programme will be assembled from an exciting mix of classic instrumental and vocal big band numbers from the great bandleaders including Glen Miller, Count Basie and Duke Ellington and from the stunning vocal arrangements sung by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Matt Monroe. The sound of all these amazing musicians playing full-on in the lively acoustics of The Empire Hall will take your breath away!
The Band has appeared as a headline act at many festivals including The 2019 Jazz Gin & Blues Festival and four appearances at the West Green House Festival.
Testimonials to Simon Bates’ band include Alice Cooper, Charles Kennedy, Boy George, James Nesbitt, Anastasia, Robbie Coltrane, Jay Kay, Aleisha Dixon, Terry Wogan, Tony Hatch, Cilla Black, Chaka Khan and John Dankworth.
With many reviews in the public domain these two sum it up:
I don’t think the word ‘amazing’ can be used enough times in one sentence to sum you up …even if you were to put “amazingly amazing” – which still doesn’t do it much justice! Jez Rose
Thank you so much for last night, you were all wonderful and succeeded in creating the most amazing atmosphere in that room. Please pass my thanks on to all the members of the band and I’m sorry i was not able to thank them all personally at the end of the evening. You sounded wonderful and really added something exceptional to the occasion – were already worrying about how we are going to achieve the same next year!! Margaret Andraos English National Ballet
The Empire Hall, Graffham is lucky enough to have two fantastic pubs in close walking distance to the venue that can offer an opportunity for pre and post event drinks and pre event dinner (if you book). The is a 3 minute walk from the venue and is less than 10 minutes walk away.
Fronting the Big Band, multi-instrumentalist, composer and arranger Simon Bates is known and respected for his stylistic versatility and instrumental prowess. His playing is in great demand on the London session scene, appearing on countless adverts, film scores, theme tunes and pop recordings. He is also Alexander Armstrong’s Musical Director, working with the TV celebrity and a world class band playing pop songs and jazz standards in unexpected styles.
Simon has appeared live and recorded with a wide variety of bands and musicians including John Dankworth, Cleo Laine, Ronnie Scott’s All Stars, Elvis Costello, Jamie Cullum, Lulu, Rick Wakeman, Chaka Khan, Seal, Beverley Knight, Kylie Minogue, Cilla Black, The Zappatistas, Eddie Daniels and Steve Gadd and has been the Musical Director for many artists including Rick Astley and Bette Midler.
He appears frequently on television. Last Christmas he was the Musical Director for ‘The Best Christmas Ever’ ITV show, featuring Alexander Armstrong and Alfie Boe. You may have also seen him in programmes such as The One Show, Lorraine, Strictly Come Dancing, the Paul O’Grady Show, GMTV, This Morning, The Big Breakfast, The Parkinson Show and running the 9-piece band on the Johnny Vaughan Tonight Show; and on Radio where he has featured on many programmes including Radio 2’s Wogan Show and on Radio 3, conducting the BBC Singers and The Orchestra of Academy of St Martin in the Fields for their In Tune Christmas Special.
Simon is also the Professor of Saxophone for the Royal Marines and has featured as a guest soloist with many major ensembles including the Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band, the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, the Royal Armoured Corps Big Band and the bands of the Grenadier and Coldstream Guards. Simon Bates is a Yamaha Custom Saxophone, BG Music Products and Vandoren Reeds artist. Find out more at


Starts On

16th October 2021 - 8:00 pm

Ends On

11:00 pm



Event Categories

Music and Drama

Event Tags

Big Band, live music, Swing