Guest Blog: Celebrating Stan Sulzmann's 70th Birthday

Artistic Adviser to Town Hall Symphony Hall's Jazzlines programme, Tony Dudley-Evans, reflects on the career of Stan Sulzmann.

Few musicians manage to achieve the rare balance of reaching ‘elder statesman’ and icon status, whilst remaining as current as anything happening in the contemporary scene of the time. Stan Sulzmann embodies the type of life-long career that every emerging musician can aspire to.

A series of concerts with his Neon Orchestra this Autumn will celebrate both Stan's 70th birthday and his contribution to jazz music both in the UK and beyond over the last 45 years.

Neon Orchestra is a 20 piece contemporary jazz ensemble put together by Stan to perform his original compositions and arrangements. The concerts will feature brand new compositions and arrangements alongside his established repertoire. The line up includes musicians ranging from 22 to 80 years old, all keen to be part of this landmark project supported by Arts Council England.

Stan Sulzmann has enjoyed a rich and varied career that has included playing with musicians as diverse as Kenny Wheeler, Larry Grenadier and Gwilym Simcock, as well as a having enjoyed a prolific output as bandleader. 

He is also a highly respected composer and arranger; his vibrant big band arrangements have excited and inspired people for the last 25 years, and in 2013 Stan was commissioned to write an original piece for the London Jazz Festival.

Highly in demand as a sideman, Stan has worked with a host of musicians, including: John Taylor, Jim Mullen, Nikki Iles, Mike Gibbs, Marc Copland, Allan Botchinksy, European Jazz Ensemble, Kit Downes, Michael Brecker and Gil Evans.

But a shining light of the whole attractive enterprise is the presence of Stan Sulzmann, who seems to sound more personal and hauntingly moving than ever.

John Fordham, Jazz UK