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Our course director is Andy Crowdy who will be moving between the groups to help and advise.
Our group tutors in 2024 will be Denny Ilett, Thomas L'Etienne, Karen Sharp, Steve Waterman and Alex Clarke. 
Group tutors are chosen for their skills in teaching and inspiring adult learners.

You can find their biographies below.

Other specialist tutors will be brought in to cover instrument specific and improvisation sessions.

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Andy Crowdy

Course Director

Andy is one of the UK’s top jazz bass players. He has been touring with Joe Brown over 2019/20 and continues to work with Moscow Drug Club.

He plays for John Etheridge’s Sweet Chorus and Christian Garrick as well as leading Gypsy Jazz guitarists such as Angelo DeBarre, Fapy Lafertin and Gary Potter. He has toured Europe, Australia and the USA with Lillian Boutte performing at festivals and jazz clubs. His interests stretch from Jazz to Folk, Rock to Classical and currently teaches guitar at Caldicott School. Andy is leading the workshop and will spend time in each group assisting the tutors.


Denny Ilett

Group Tutor

Denny is a virtuoso guitarist, vocalist, arranger and bandleader. He honed his chops playing and touring with some of New Orleans finest including Lillian Boutte and members of such notable bands as The Meters, Pee Wee Ellis and the Harry Connick Jnr Big Band. He is a regular feature writer for the Guitarist magazine and teaches jazz guitar at Bristol and Bath universities along with being the artistic director of the Bristol Jazz and Blues Festival. His most recent project is the Electric Lady Band, which takes the music of Jimi Hendrix and reimagines it for a sixteen piece big band. 

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Thomas L'Etienne

Group Tutor

Thomas is a New Orleans style jazz clarinet and sax player who tours the world from his native town of Hamburg. His influences include Ben Webster, Charlie Parker and ‘Lockjaw’ Davies as well as the rhythm and blues tenors Lee Allen and David Lastie. He has recorded dozens of CDs with musicians ranging from Smokey Johnson, Doctor John to Jeanette Kimball and Humphrey Lyttelton. He discovered a love for Brazilian Choro whilst staying in Brazil, and now tours with his group Creole Clarinets. He has taught workshops all over the world and creates amazing arrangements of jazz standards to suit his groups instrumentation.


Karen Sharp

Group Tutor

A prominent figure on the UK Jazz scene since 2000, Karen is well known and admired for her melodic, full-toned saxophone playing, winning the British Jazz Awards for best tenor saxophonist on numerous occasions and appearing regularly as a nominee in the rising star category of the Downbeat Critics Poll.


​Karen’s career began with a three year stint playing in Humphrey Lyttelton’s band, playing tenor and baritone sax. During the same period she also established herself as a band leader and soloist, recording a handful of albums and working alongside musicians such as John and Jacquie Dankworth, Ken Peplowski, Jeremy Pelt, Nikki Iles, Tina May, Alan Barnes, Warren Vache, Howard Alden and Harry Allen. Karen’s quartet, established in 2012 features Nikki Iles, Dave Green and Steve Brown. In 2019 Karen formed a trio with fellow musicians Simon Thorpe on bass and Colin Oxley on guitar, exploring new sonic possibilities and the ‘space’ that such a line-up inspires. They released a recording, ‘Another Place’ in 2019 and are planning a follow up in 2023. She currently plays regularly with the Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Orchestra, the Steve Waterman Big Band and the Nikki Iles Jazz Orchestra.


​As well as a performer Karen is also an experienced teacher of jazz and instrumental technique, working with students of all ages. She has taught on the National Youth Jazz Collective Summer Courses and is in demand as a guest tutor with youth big bands across the country. Karen is currently working as an ensemble and improvisation coach with the Oxford Music Service Big Band programme.

For more information see

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Steve Waterman

Group Tutor

Steve is one of the top British jazz trumpet players both at home and abroad. He has toured Europe playing at many of the major Jazz Festivals with the Carla Bley Big Band and recorded two CDs for the ECM label: Big Band Theory and Carla Bley Goes to Church. Other performers that Steve has regularly worked and recorded with include: Andy Sheppard, Tony Coe, Victor Mendoza, Mal Waldron, Graham Collier, Mike Garrick, Don Weller, John Warren, Colin Towns & Robin Jones, Jeff Hooper, Alan Barnes, and Lee Gibson.

He is a professor of Jazz Trumpet at Trinity College of Music in London and visiting Jazz Trumpet specialist at The Royal Northern College of Music and The Welsh College of Music and Drama. Steve runs his own Annual Contemporary Big Band Jazz Weekend with Alan Barnes, teaches on many summer jazz courses and has conducted numerous trumpet master classes and workshops ranging in size from small groups to big bands throughout the UK and in Spain, Finland, Latvia, South Africa, and Cuba.

For more information see

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Alex Clarke

Group Tutor

As a finalist in the BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year 2020, winner of the Rising Star category in the 2019 British Jazz Awards and nominee in the Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2021 & 2022, Alex is known to be one of the most in-demand and versatile young saxophonists to have emerged on the British jazz scene. 

Known for her versatility and open-minded attitude towards jazz, Alex enjoys performing a range of genres from New Orleans to bebop. Alex's musical voice is steeped in the tradition of jazz; her deep respect for the heritage of the music can be heard in her swinging, melodic sound which is reminiscent of Scott Hamilton and Lester Young, also heavily influenced by Phil Woods and Cannonball Adderley.

As well as leading her own quartet, Alex works with many bands up and down the country, performing alongside notable names such as Roy Williams, Bruce Adams, Enrico Tomasso, Gilad Atzmon, Greg Abate and Art Themen.


Additionally, Alex regularly works with the highly acclaimed jazz, blues and country vocalist/pianist TJ Johnson and has worked with a variety of big bands, including the Simon Spillett Big Band.


As an educator, Alex has worked at Warwick School for 3 years as their Music Assistant, as well as tutoring on Summer Schools and Saxophone Days across the country. She is also an alumna of the National Youth Jazz Collective and was pleased to return as a tutor on the 2021 NYJC Summer School Short Course. 

For more information see

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