Jacqui McShee - VOCALS - Born in London on Christmas day 1943 Jacqui grew up listening to the music played on her parents gramophone - from Fats waller, Ella Fitzgerald and big bands through to popular classics. Jacqui showed little interest in music though until she heard Miles Davis and John Coltrane at CND friends, becoming the most important thing for her – it quite literally changed her life, On CND marches she would lead the singing with her sister Pam and did many gigs locally in South East London for charities such as War On Want and Oxfam.

    Through these gigs Jacqui met Chris Ayliffe who played 12 string guitar - they performed as a duo and also got involved running the folk club at the Red Lion in Sutton. John Renbourn and Bert Jansch would often come and play and they liked the way Jacqui sang. When Chris went off busking in Europe John asked Jacqui to sing on his album Another Monday and do the folk circuit with him. In fact, Chris was instrumental in getting this to happen.

    After about a year John announced to Jacqui he was forming a band with Bert and that she was going to be the singer! This was on a train waiting on the Hungerford bridge by the Royal Festival Hall. John said ‘they’d be playing in in a year. “Yeh, right..” was Jacqui’s reply. Within a year they were - as Pentangle - along with later recruits Danny Thompson on bass and Terry Cox on drums.

Pentangle’s manager Joe Lustig soon had the band signed with Warner Reprise Records and before long they were touring extensively and playing historic venues including Carnegie Hall, Fillmore East and West, Newport Festival, the Isle-Of-Wight festival and of course the Royal Festival Hall. On these historic tours the band would appear alongside Hendrix, Miles Davis, Bob Dylan and James Taylor. Jacqui recounts:

    “During the summer of 1969 we toured the USA and played at the Newport (Rhode Island) Folk and Blues Festival. Our set was interrupted, to tell the audience that the US Apollo 11 mission to the moon had been successful, and that Neil Armstrong was the first man to set foot on the moon.

Some of the audience actually booed and cat called - They were upset that the music had been interrupted and wanted it to continue! In a news programme later that evening there was a coast to coast TV show, looking at what was happening around the world at the precise moment that the U.S. had put a man on the moon. There we were, it was very exciting.

On the same day I remember standing back stage with John, hunched together around a corner, listening to a conversation between Big Mama Thornton and Muddy Waters talking "Jive". Neither or us could understand a word they were saying. I couldn't believe I was standing so close to two of my heroes.

In that Same week we were taken out to dinner courtesy of our record company Warner/Reprise - I sat next to Phil Everly, another of my heroes, What a week that was...”.

Up to their demise in 1973 the band cut six albums that remain classics to this day. John and Jacqui continued as a duo then formed the John Renbourn Band in the late 1970’s. The early 1980’s was family time for Jacqui with son Matt being born in 1979 and daughter Leah in 1984. Touring naturally took second place but it wasn’t long before Jacqui was back on the road.

An Italian promoter approached John wanting to do a tour with the original Pentangle. John approached everyone and they toured Italy, the UK and Australia. This reunion was short lived however as John left the band to pursue a long-term ambition of studying classical music, taking up a place at Dartington College of Arts. There then followed a series of personnel changes, including Mike Piggott on violin, Rod Clements on guitar,  Nigel Portman Smith on keyboards and bass, and Peter Kirtley on guitars and vocals, with McShee and Jansch finally remaining as the only members from the original line-up.

Gerry Conway took over on drums and percussion in 1986. The incarnation consisting of Jacqui, Bert, Nigel, Peter and Gerry survived almost as long as the original Pentangle and recorded three albums: Think of Tomorrow, One More Road and Live 1994. This line-up completed their final tour in March–April 1995, after which Bert left to pursue his solo work.

1994 saw Jacqui begin a brand new project with Gerry and Spencer Cozens. This manifested itself in the 1995 release About Thyme album which gained rave reviews including a no.1 spot for several weeks in the Tower Records folk charts. They toured this album with Alan Thomson on bass and Jerry Underwood on saxes - this was the beginnings of Jacqui McShee’s Pentangle (JMP). The 1998 release of Passe Avant marked the true start of JMP with the band still touring and recording regularly.

As well as focussing on JMP, Jacqui has become involved in Alan Simon’s Excalibur project in 1998, a rock opera about King Arthur – Jacqui playing the character Morgana. This has developed into an arena filling show and continues to grow. She has also appeared on several recent albums alongside David Hughes, Eddie Reader, Chris While, Julie Matthews and Christine Collister.

    Jacqui lives in Surrey.


Gerry Conway - DRUMS - One of the country’s most respected drummers and a member of Fairport Convention since 1998. His history of touring and recording is a Who’s Who of the music world with artists including Paul McCartney, Van Morrison, Jethro Tull, Cat Stevens, Alexis Korner, Fotheringay, Elton John, Emmylou Harris and Richard Ashcroft.

   
Born in September 1947 he grew up in London. Even as a toddler, Gerry wanted to be a drummer and he got his first full drum kit at the age of 11. By the time he left school, his vocation was clear and he went to work at EMI hoping for a chance to audition. The chance came and Gerry found himself the drummer with The Jet Set, playing ska and soul.
   
His next move was to blues legend Alexis Korner's band. After a year with Korner, Gerry joined Trevor Lucas in Eclection. Eclection folded in the early 1970s and Gerry joined Fotheringay which featured Sandy Denny and Trevor Lucas but, despite critical acclaim, the band proved short-lived.

    After playing a studio session with Cat Stevens, Gerry was invited to join the band and spent six years touring the world with Stevens. In 1979 he went to live in the USA for a few years, working mainly with Jerry Donahue. With fellow band members at the time Gerry can also be seen in the 1982 film Who Dares Wins.

    During the 1980s, Gerry spent a year or so on the road with Jethro Tull touring the album Broadsword on which he recorded. This was followed by tours with Richard Thompson's band, Jerry Donahue, The McGarrigle sisters and in 1986, Gerry joined the last incarnation of the original Pentangle.

    In 1991 Gerry became John Martyn’s drummer in his band recording and touring with him. It was in this band that he met Spen with whom he suggested getting a project together with Jacqui. The three got together in 1994 meeting once a week,  writing new material and arrangements of traditional songs and recording the About Thyme album in early 1995. Later that year the subsequent band toured the album in the UK and Italy. Since then JMP has regularly toured and released five albums including the four which can be heard on this site.

    In 1998 Gerry joined Fairport Convention and has worked extensively as one of the band since then, recording several albums, DVDs and lots besides! Visit the Fairport’s website for more detail - there’s no sign of it letting up in any shape or form!

    When not busy with Fairport Convention or JMP Gerry remains a very active session musician - touring, recording or both with such artists as Richard Ashcroft , The Dylan Project and Alan Simon’s Excalibur.

    Gerry lives in Surrey.


Spencer Cozens - KEYBOARDS & VOCALS - Regularly tours the world with Joan Armatrading. He toured and recorded with John Martyn and also performs with Carol Decker’s T’Pau and Julia Fordham.

   
Spencer was born in 1965 in the West Country and started piano lessons at the age of six and trumpet aged nine. Up until teenage years music was just one of the many fascinating interests in childhood. It was only when he started piano and music lessons with Bill Moss at East Notts Music School that it became central to his life. Bill Moss was a truly inspirational teacher and gave so much energy and passion in his teaching - so much so that Spencer is just one of a number of his pupils to have gone on to a career in music.

    Alongside Bill Moss as a major early influence was Colin Smith (MBE for services to music education), one of Spencer’s teachers at Toothill Comprehensive in Bingham, Nottinghamshire. Colin formed the Toothill Dance Band in 1975 and Spencer joined on trumpet a few months later. Colin’s encouragement meant that Spencer could use band equipment in school break times or after school for jamming and rehearsing. Many of these jams were with friend and drummer Chris Wallington. Chris and Spen would jam on Saturday afternoons (such patient neighbours!) and often listen to records that Chris religiously bought every weekend. These sessions provided much of the music that has been a constant influence ever since and include Weather Report, ECM Records’ artistes, Miles Davis, John Martyn, Frank Zappa, Crusaders and Steely Dan.

    After a year being self-employed building speakers and flight cases in July 1984 he moved to London as his brother Jason had met guitarist Dominic Miller who needed a keyboard player for his new project Iguazu.  An album was in the process of being recorded and there were dates at the Edinburgh Festival –
a great start to a musical career! Through Iguazu Spencer met such great musicians as Scott Firth, Dave Heath, Andy Barron and Taj Wyzgowski.

Through these varied contacts he soon become very busy in several bands around London. One of these bands was Savajazz where Spencer met percussionist Miles Bould. Their great friendship has lasted ever since and the two have been in several bands together and have collaborated on many projects ever since. Their own project Peoplespeak has had two albums released – Peoplespeak and Gracenotes, with a third in progress. In 1992 Peoplespeak collaborated with US vibes player Mike Mainieri and his fusion band Steps Ahead on their Yin-Yang album.

    In 1986 Spencer won a place at Berklee College Of Music in Boston, USA. Coming back to the UK in 1987 he enrolled at Goldsmiths College in London and gained a BMus (Hons) degree in 1991. His final year had to be part time due to ever increasing musical commitments!

    In 1989 Spencer joined Julia Fordham’s band where he met bassist Alan Thomson. Through Alan he met and started working with John Martyn, playing on all his albums since 1990. This MD position including co-producing and engineering for and with John until his death in 2009.

    Spencer teamed up with Jacqui McShee and Gerry Conway in 1994 and together they formed GJS Records - the first release being About Thyme. This album features many guests with whom the three have worked over the years and proved to be an incredibly rewarding experience giving the impetus for the formation of JMP.

    In 2000 Spencer joined Joan Armatrading's band and for 13 years toured all over the world with her until her focus on solo touring. He appears on her DVD release Live At The Royal Albert Hall filmed on the 2010 This Charming Life tour. The first seven years with Joan were as a trio alongside Joan and Gary - a major experience multi-tasking playing keyboards - including left hand bass, guitar and singing backing vocals (not usually all at the same time!).

    2014 saw him him touring with John Harle & Marc Almond on their collaboration The Tyburn Tree.

   This was followed in 2014 and continues to the present day by tours and recordings with Deva Premal & Miten, featuring Nepalese bansuri maestro Manose. Their worldwide concerts and best-selling albums  have introduced millions of Westerners to the joy and deep relaxation found in spiritually based songs and chanting mantras from the Eastern meditation traditions.

    In late 2016 Spencer toured with Rita Coolidge on a British Isles tour publicising Rita’s amazing and fascinating autobiography Delta Lady.

  Apart from extensive touring Spencer has recently built his Steinway Recording studio which is becoming ever more successful and is gaining an outstanding reputation for acoustic piano and ensemble recordings. Records produced have received high acclaim form the likes of Gramophone magazine, BBC Radio 2, DJ Jez Nelson and the Guardian.

    He has also worked with Andy Sheppard, David Hughes, T’Pau and brilliant piano duo Worbey & Farrell and teaches privately.

    Spencer lives in Fulbeck, Lincolnshire.


Alan Thomson - BASS - Another long-term member of John Martyn’s Band and an accomplished song-writer. His touring and writing credits include Robert Palmer, Rick Wakeman, Andy Summers, Bo Diddley, Denny Laine and Long John Baldry.

   
Born in Glasgow in 1960 he came from a musical background with both his father and grandfather being jazz musicians and his mother being a fine pianist and singer.  He started (like many other kids) to learn to play the violin at age 5 and then moved onto the piano until at 13 years of age, he finally got a guitar. Along with bass player Neil Fairweather, drummer Tim Brittain, and sax/flute and guitarist David Roy, “The Arthur Trout Band” was formed and played in and around Glasgow from 1976-1980 also playing in the summer of 1980 at Stonehenge and Bristol Ashton Court festivals. An occasional visitor to the band rehearsals was David’s cousin, the now legendary Scottish singer/songwriter and innovative guitarist John Martyn.
    John needed a bass player for his forthcoming Grace And Danger tour of the UK. Alan borrowed a fretless bass, practiced frantically for two weeks, auditioned and got the job, a relationship which
would last almost thirty years until John’s death. Through his association with John, Alan has recorded and performed with Phil Collins, Eric Clapton, Robert Palmer (for whom he wrote the B-side of the hit Addicted to Love), David Gilmour, Linda Lewis and Bert Jansch.

    In 1989 he recorded and toured for Julia Fordham, an association that continues, most recently on tour in Japan in 2009 with Spen and John Martyn drummer Arran Ahmun.

    Beginning in 1992 Alan toured for several years as part of a duo with keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman and then with the Wakeman and Wakeman band. He also had a spell on tour as keyboard player for Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler’s solo project and  Scottish rock band Strangeways.

    The early years playing the guitar left Alan with a good understanding of many different guitar styles and techniques. Early influences include Wishbone Ash, Deep Purple, Jethro Tull, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Genesis, Gentle Giant, Yes, Gong, Led Zeppelin, George Benson, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return To Forever, Herbie Hancock, Weather Report, Steve Khan, BeBop Deluxe, Tony Williams Lifetime with Allan Holdsworth and many more.

    As a result, Alan has backed some of the best guitarists around including Hank Marvin, Brent Mason, Albert Lee, Sonny Landrith and Police guitarist Andy Summers. After a chance meeting in 1987 with American guitar virtuoso Jerry Donahue, Alan joined his band The Backroom Boys with singer/guitarist Doug Morter and Gerry on drums. This eventually led to Alan joining guitar trio The Hellecasters which featured Jerry Donahue, Will Ray and John Jorgenson with whom he still works in the John Jorgenson Electric Band. Alan has also toured with blues legend Long John Baldry and Canadian guitarist Amos Garrett. Other artists include Sally Barker, Dick Gaughan, Roger Hodgson (Supertramp), Bo Diddley, Then Came The Wheel, Shonu, Peoplespeak, Steps Ahead, The Frank O’Hagan band, Rev Doc and The Congregation, and ex-Moody Blues and Wings guitarist Denny Laine.

    Alan lives in Glasgow, Scotland.


Gary Foote - SAX & FLUTE - A multi-talented musician, playing drums as well as sax on Joan Armatrading’s world tours. Amongst the people Gary has made music with are Africa Bambaata, Chris Birkett, Laurel Aitken , Skinny, Kiss of Life, Black Machine, The Quiet Boys (featuring Mick Talbot), Night Trains, Peter Bruntnell, Herbalizer, Big Cheese All Stars, Zoot Money, Sugar "T" and the Swells, Mark Flanagan, Jools Holland, plus countless other great musicians..

   
Gary started playing drums at the age of eleven with a Pipe Band (bagpipes, side drums etc) that was based in Oatlands Village, near Weybridge, in Surrey. It was the good will of the band leaders, their enthusiasm for music and ability to teach that inspired
Gary. After playing drums for about nine years - a great foundation in rhythm - useful for any musician, he turned to the saxophone and fell even more in love with music.

    From his late teens Gary immersed himself entirely in jazz and in the process shifted his instrumental focus - swapping from drums to sax. That transition lead to acid jazz and many sessions and touring including Jamiroquai, Tom Jones, The Bee Gees and Banco De Gaia. The flute was always “under the radar’ - always an instrument lying around and played for fun but it developed into a useful voice.

    In 1992 he joined the Joan Armatrading band and has been with her ever since recording and touring. With Joan he has not only played sax, flute and guitar but also percussion - which has naturally progressed to kit more recently with Gary playing drums on the tours since 2007.

    Recently his musical focus has shifted back to kit - centred around jazz drumming and free improvisation. Alongside Steve Howlett on guitar and effects and Niall Ross on saxes he performs in the spontaneous and improvised music trio Triosh.

    Gary has been involved in music in almost every conceivable form - Jazz, Rock, Dance, Ambient, Techno, Folk, Blues, Ska, Reggae, Pop, World and he’s still discovering more! In 2006 he gained a BMus (Hons) degree in jazz performance from Middlesex University and is at present developing a project involving workshops based upon John Steven’s ‘Search And Reflect’ material.

   Past projects include The Hip Joints, Lionel Moyst Sextet and Acid Jazz (Totally Wired I and II - The Menu); while current projects include UnitedNotions.co.uk with Mark Flannagan, Silicon Beats (Techno Project - sax and flute) and the Tim Royce Band (drums and sax) as well as Triosh.

    Gary lives in North Wales.