Swing Machine Jazz Orchestra (SMJO)

SMJO is an 18 piece Jazz Orchestra that draws together some of the finest musicians in the country to form one of the South West's leading professional Big Bands.

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Swing Machine Jazz Orchestra Live Wedmore

SMJO brings together some of the UK's finest jazz musicians under the leadership of saxophonist  Edward Leaker.

The band was formed in 2010 and the audience response has been staggering with a string of sell out concerts each year since then.

As well as performing many concerts in their own right, SMJO have featured a number of guest artists including Clare Teal, Claire Martin, Jason Rebello, Pee Wee Ellis, Mike Lovatt, Noel Langley and Duncan Lamont Snr.

The band’s repertoire consists of big band favourites as played by the likes of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Thad Jones, Buddy Rich and Sammy Nestico as well modern pop arrangements and latin jazz that will get you dancing in the aisles!

The musicians’ collective experience is truly exceptional. Between them they have performed for some of the top musical groups in the country including: Piccadilly Dance Orchestra, Strictly Come Dancing Live Band, National Youth Jazz Orchestra (NYJO), Rat Pack National Touring Shows, BBC Big Band, RPO, LSO, Syd Lawrence Orchestra and literally hundreds of smaller bands.

SMJO are officially supported by YAMAHA UK and the band are happy to be endorse their DXR and DXS sound systems.

"The first time I worked with Ed it just clicked. We had a fantastic time and the band were amazing"  (Clare Teal)


Due to the Covid19 Pandemic we have already had to postpone our new Swing Swing Swing Show and a Rat Pack show with the amazing Matt Ford (John Wilson Orchestra) - we will be back live as soon as we can! 




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Swing Machine Big Band has featured the following musicians:
Saxophones/Woodwinds: Edward Leaker, Andy Tweed, Karen Street, Jamie Phippen, Lisa Tregale, Jake McMurchie, Andy Keenan, Chris Caldwell, Ben Waghorn, Ben Carruthers, Steve Hacking, Damian Cook, Jade Gall, Sam Crockatt, Duncan Lamont Jnr, Will Rees-Jones, Mike Mower, Dom Franks

Trumpets: Jonny Bruce, John Ruddick, Nick Malcolm, Graham Hutton, Paul Denegri, Andy Hague, Andy Champion, Robin Pengilley, Gethin Liddington, Kevin Harcourt, Yazz Ahmed, Jack Coward, Mike Daniels, Noel Langley, Mike Lovatt, Louis Dowdeswell

Trombones: Jon Hopes, Terry Kelly, Andy Fawbert, Vince Ford, Keith Thomas, Bob Martin, Luke Gilbert, Dave Smallwood, Jamie Tweed, Alex Stewart, Andy Derrick, Nick Attwood, Magnus Dearness, Omar Khoker

Piano: Colin Mitchell, Ruth Hammond, Paul Buck, David Newton, Andy Nowak, Harvey Brink

Bass: Al Swainger, Will Harris, Dave Guy, Yuri Goloubev, Ashley John Long

Guitar: Neil Burns, Jerry Crozier-Cole, Denny Ilett

Drums: Mark Whitlam, Eddie John, Kevin O'Rourke, Jon Whitfield

Vocalist: Heather Wensley

Featured guests:

Clare Teal - Critically acclaimed jazz vocalist and BBC Radio 2 broadcaster (July 2015 & Nov 2016 & Dec 2017)

Jason Rebello - Award winning jazz pianist and collaborator with Sting & Jeff Beck (Dec 2016)

Duncan Lamont Snr - Veteran UK saxophonist, songwriter, composer and arranger (March 2017)

Pee Wee Ellis - Legendary saxophone player for James Brown, Van Morrison etc (June 2017)

Claire Martin - Internationally recognised jazz vocalist and BBC Radio broadcaster (June & July 2017)

Mike Lovatt - Renowned lead trumpet with BBC Big Band, John Wilson Orchestra etc (Dec 2016)

Noel Langley - Renowned session and jazz trumpeter (featured lead trumpet with SMJO throughout 2017 and 2018)

Elaine Delmar - Legendary UK Jazz Vocalist joined us in our tribute to Ella Fitzgerald (July 2018)

Enrico Tomasso - Top UK Trumpet Player and Vocalist joined us for our Tribute to Louis Armstrong (July 2018)

Emma Smith - Rising star vocalist, BBC Radio 3 Presenter, Member of the Puppini Sisters and Ronnie Scotts Big Band (Dec 2018)

Pete Long - Clarinet - Renowned session musician and bandleader to the stars (March 2019)

Joe Stilgoe - Star vocalist, pianist and entertainer featured regularly at Ronnie Scotts Jazz Club (July 2019)

Julian Joseph - world renowned jazz pianist, educator and broadcaster (Dec 2019)

Louis Dowdeswell - high note trumpet superstar making waves on the world session scene from London to LA (July 2020)


Here are just some lovely comments that have been emailed to us from audience members after recent concerts:

"Your jazz orchestra is simply the best big band I have ever heard live: brilliant in all respects..."

"Ed! Just wanted to tell you asap that tonight's concert was totally tremendous, so glad we made it, Basie and Ellington eat your heart out!! Great bunch of musos, great arrangements and a truly unique experience, where today could you go to hear 16 great players and the glorious talent that is Heather? Nowhere! Very special, the folks next to us had been before and thought this was even better...."

"I have been meaning to contact you since coming to the big band gig you gave at Wedmore opera festival last year. Wow, what an evening! ...I am originally from Surrey and used to go to events at Fairfield halls, Festival Hall, Royal Albert hall, Hammersmith Odeon, plus many jazz and blues clubs. I have seen the best - Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Buddy Rich, Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Jimmy Smith, Oscar Peterson, Earl Hines, Chris Barber, Humph, Buck Clayton, Howling Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson and...... I CAN HAPPILY PUT YOU AND YOUR BAND IN THE MIDDLE OF THAT LOT!!!" 

"It was very satisfying to hear a west country based big band that is as good as any of the big name touring bands we see on the circuit... I have to congratulate you on your leadership. I hope that you won't think this as patronising, but to firstly want to take on such responsibility at a comparatively young age speaks a great deal about you. You obviously command the respect of all your musicians and your gentle and appropriate sense of humour makes a comfortable bridge between band and audience. Not all band leader have that quality...." 

"Fantastic performance tonight. We loved it all..."