The Jazz Defenders

What they say…

“Pure Blue Note! Excellent!!”

Chip Wickham





The Jazz Defenders are a group born out of a deep love for Blue Note Records, drawing on a wealth of inspiration to craft their own raw and vibrant compositions. Having played several shows at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club as well as many other prestigious venues in the UK, they have become known for their ability to electrify audiences with their energy and virtuosity.

As The Jazz Defenders continue to distinctly ‘defend’ the legacy of some of the classic hard bop greats such as Horace Silver, Lee Morgan and Art Blakey, they are beginning to evolve their modern soul-jazz slant to combine solid grooves and catchy horn lines with a collaborative and all-encompassing sound, fusing soul, jazz, hip hop, soundtrack and groove into a masterful union that leaves audiences mesmerised.

The group is the brainchild of one of the UK’s most formidable jazz pianists, George Cooper who at a young age already amassed a comprehensive repertoire of musical credits including Hans Zimmer, Nigel Kennedy, U2, Omar, Slum Village, MF Doom, The Brand New Heavies, Lisa Stansfield, Wet Wet Wet, The Haggis Horns, Abstract Orchestra and Lack of Afro.

In 2015 set Cooper set about choosing the right musicians for the individual qualities and style that they would bring to the group. Featuring some of the UK’s finest players the line-up is Jake McMurchie (tenor saxophone), Nick Malcolm (trumpet), Ian Matthews (drums), Will Harris (bass), and George Cooper (piano).

As session musicians in their own right, the five members of the band have worked with a variety of internationally acclaimed artists such as KasabianNigel KennedyHans ZimmerMassive AttackThe Haggis HornsPee Wee EllisAndy SheppardGet The BlessingSimon SpilletAlan BarnesRodriguez & Nostalgia 77, as well as playing at venues including Ronnie Scott’sThe Jazz Cafe and The 606 Club.

Alongside an intense schedule of live gigs the band began laying down their own tunes, effortlessly channelling the spirit of the golden Blue Note era of jazz. The result was debut album Scheming released at the end of 2019 on Haggis Records. The album puts its own unique twist on classic bebop and hard bop, giving a modern soul jazz slant to the traditional sound and proving once and for all that jazz is far from dead.

Sophomore album King Phoenix was released in 2022 and marked a new direction for the band, as they began experimenting with a jazz-funk sound anchored more in the 70s, as well as blending jazz with hip hop thanks to the collaboration with US rapper Herbal T and London rapper & actor Doc Brown. The album was strongly supported by the likes of BBC 6, BBC 2, Jazz fm and more.

Fast forward to 2023 and the band released a new double-sider 45 with Doc Brown, Rolling On A High” / “Looking Back, cementing this winning combo and setting the stage for a possible third album!

For more:
The Jazz Defenders’ website
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The Jazz Defenders on bandcamp