Calaita Flamenco Son

Over the last five years I’ve been working with some great musicians I’ve met in a musical shift to a genre I never thought I’d have the chance of being involved in. Flamenco always seemed to me a music you had to be born into, a rhythm that was given to you in the womb. They talk of the duende (spirit or soul) which seemed unattainable. It’s been a great ride and I the best thing is being able to call these wonderful musicians friends.

We’ve been working hard and recorded our first album, We managed to secure a deal with  World Music Networks Riverboat Records and have benn playing a series of gigs around the UK which has been wonderful.

Calaita was formed by Seville born flamenco singer /guitar player Chico Pere  and  guitarist Glenn Sharp. Calaita has now grown to include percussionist Leo Paredes, vocalist Dianna Castro, and me on sax on flute.

The compositions are in the main by Chico and  these pull on his life experiences growing up in Triana-Seville as well as his travels throughout Europe.  Glenn also writes for the band bringing his virtuoso playing stlye to the fore.  The other diverse musical backgrounds in the band range through world music, soul, jazz, funk, hip hop and of course flamenco.

You can get the album  “Flamenco Son” which is out now  on Riverboat Records  from  World Music Network

Here’s a little preview.

Here’s a great podcast including three tracks from Calaita

All good stuff



World Jazz trio with featuring Matt Nickson on Saxophone Michael Cretu on Bass and Chris Cruiks Percussion.

Bringing together massively disparate influences from Romanian folk music, Jazz improvisation and African rhythms.

Matt is working with these amazing musicians in this band and will be releasing the first CRaB album in spring 2020

Michael Cretu

Michael stems from a 300 year old family of gypsy musicians, originally from Romania he is an internationally acclaimed composer, musical director, and double bassist. He trained at the Bucharest music school and the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. Michael believes in the beauty of weaving together the musical styles of Contemporary, Classical, Folk and Jazz. Currently Michael is the musical director of the Roots Orchestra at the RNCM

Chris Cruiks

Master percussionist Chris Cruiks is currently leading the percussion section for the Hacienda Classic series with Manchester Camerata. Chris was there at the start of the Hacienda, was the house percussion player for eight years and heavily involved in creating those iconic percussion rhythms for the great Manchester bands of the time. Born in Botswana Chris’ roots are in African, Brazilian and Cuban traditional music. Chris was a founder member of the Inner Sense Percussion Orchestra and has led workshops and collaborations with musicians from all over the world. He has toured and recorded extensively with musician / producers such as Rae and Christian and AIM and has recorded on countless albums including two percussion albums with Lea Mullen and friends.



MØNSTER A quartet led by Danish pianist Mads Heide and Mancunian Matt Nickson, Matt and Mads met at Matt’s Jazz Club in 1999 and where Matt instantly gave him the piano chair in the house band.


I’m off to Copenhagen for a series of concerts with the amazing virtuoso Danish pianist Mads Heide.

I first met Mads in 2000 when he came to Manchester to study music. He introduced himself to me as Damien as he thought it would be easier for us English.  He became the resident piano player at Matt and Phred’s almost instantly and proved to be an incredibly fast learner and a great musician. He had a huge dynamic range on the piano and could even “one inch punch” a piano key breaking a string. No mean feat. He cost me loads in piano strings but it was worth it. He was a joy to play with and a firm favorite with the regulars at the club. His exciting free style won many hearts.

After his studies he went back to his home town of Copenhagen and continued to develop his music. We kept in touch through the years and then under his real (much cooler) name of Mads Heide I brought his trio over for a series of gigs to the club a few years later.

Now It’s with great joy I go to see my friend for the first time in the beautiful town of Copenhagen during the Jazz festival and Annabel and I are looking forward to meeting Mads’ young family and creating some music with a whole host of musicians he’s set us up to play with. I can’t wait.

I hope to set up at least one recording date while were there and have been working on a set to mark the occasion.

Copenhagen was and still is a center for great jazz and great jazz musicians. Ben Webster lived there and the Danish are real aficionados of the music.

We may play some of my tunes