The Big Swing with the Bruce/Ilett Big Band

Party like it’s 1949!

Our regular celebration of all things Swing returns by popular demand. Hall 1 will be transformed into a 1940s style ballroom for this very special event. Featuring 17 of the South West’s best musicians, the aim is simple; to recreate the golden era of Swing. The 17-piece Bruce/Ilett Big Band perform authentic versions of classics from great bands such as Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington and Harry James for dancers and listeners alike. Get your dancing shoes on for a night of Lindy Hopping, Jitterbugging and Jiving!

Dress code: 1930s-50s.

Bruce/Ilett Big Band

Simon Gardner – trumpet

Jonny Bruce – trumpet

Andy Hague – trumpet

Nick Malcolm – trumpet

Ian Bateman – trombone

Jon Hopes – trombone

Liam Treasure – trombone

Justin Pavey – trombone

Ben Waghorn – alto saxophone

Kevin Figes – alto saxophone

Jake McMurchie – tenor saxophone

Andy Williamson – tenor saxophone

Ruth Hammond – baritone saxophone

Denny Ilett – guitar

Dan Moore – piano

Andy Crowdy – bass

Julie Saury – drums


Please note – Band A tickets include a dancing ticket to this event. Band B tickets will be seated in the balcony.


Denny Ilett has been a professional musician for over 30 years specialising in guitar, vocals and arranging. For 20 years, he was musical director for Lillian Boutté, the Official Musical Ambassador to New Orleans and, with her group, travelled all over the world during that period. He has also worked regularly with Pee Wee Ellis, Fred Wesley, Adrian Utley, Will Gregory, Charles Hazlewood and many others. Denny is also co-founder and Artistic Director of Bristol Jazz and Blues festival and a regular contributor to Guitarist magazine and Jamtrackcentral. His first love, however, is the sound of the big bands from the 30’s to the 50’s and, along with Jonny Bruce formed the Bruce/Ilett Big Band in 2012.

Jonny Bruce is a freelance trumpet player based in Bristol, UK. Working as both a soloist and a lead player in a variety of musical contexts, Jonny has received much critical acclaim for his fiery trumpet work. Classically trained, his command over the instrument has made him a very versatile and therefore very busy musician both at home and abroad. Now based in Bristol, Jonny has become one of the most in demand musicians in the UK, touring extensively with Moscow Drug Club, Brass Junkies, The London Swing Orchestra and others. Jonny is regularly working as a guest soloist and session player, both live and in the studio. He’s played with everybody from trumpet legend Bobby Shew, The James Brown horns of Pee Wee Ellis and Fred Wesley (in Ronnie Scott’s with the Bruce Ilett Big Band), Kelis, Emma Bunton, McFly, The Glen Miller Orchestra, Clare Teal, Andy Sheppard, and many others.

Jonny Bruce is a throwback to the pre-Miles styles of playing. In other words, he’s not Cool, he’s Hot! He draws from all the trumpeters from Louis Armstrong to Roy Eldridge and Clark Terry and he’s got the chops to do it.’ Listomania, Bath 2013