Rory Duffy Jazz Quartet

  • Biography

    The jazz quartet, formed in November 2008 whilst studying at the Royal Northern College of Music, draws upon a wide range of influences from swing and bebop to Afro-Cuban jazz and Bossa Nova to motown, soul and funk, with a heavy emphasis on improvisation and live, dynamic interaction.

    Rory first discovered Latin jazz through the recordings of Cuban saxophonist / clarinettist Paquito D’Rivera, who has remained one of his strongest influences, alongside David Sanchez, Ed Calle, Gato Barbieri, Stan Getz and Jan Garbarek. Hearing Latin jazz and fusions of jazz with world music led him to make musical pilgrimages to Latin America to learn more about their cultures and traditions.

    The jazz quartet finds its own at the meeting point between jazz, funk and Latin. The quartet also delves deep into the rich treasure trove of the Great American Songbook, interpreting and reinventing wide range of jazz standards by George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Rodgers & Hart, among others.

    Rory Duffy – Sax, Flute, Piano

    Rory Duffy is a London-based saxophonist, pianist & music producer with a background in jazz and improvised music.

    Raised in Stroud, south west England, Rory was brought up on a diet of Celtic folk, musical theatre and jazz. He wrote his first songs aged seven, took up the piano aged nine, alto saxophone aged eleven, clarinet aged sixteen, tenor & soprano saxophone aged sixteen and flute aged eighteen.

    Rory studied saxophone at the Royal Northern College of Music with Rob Buckland, Andy Scott, Mike Hall and Julian Arguelles as the second recipient of the Martyn Edwards Scholarship for Jazz. During this time, Rory performed with the Royal Northern College of Music Big Band, appearing with Chris Potter, Pete Long, Norma Winstone and Johnny Dankworth, and attending masterclasses with Andy Sheppard and Bob Mintzer.

    After graduating with distinction in 2009, Rory enjoys a busy career performing and recording with his own projects and as a freelance musician, appearing at events (private & corporate) festivals and venues throughout the UK.

    Rory has worked in a variety of fields ranging from big bands and contemporary music groups to DJ’s, jazz and world music ensembles, party bands and musical theatre productions to promotional and media work, studio sessions and saxophonic / symphonic wind orchestras and quartets. Highlights include entertaining the athletes at the London 2012 Olympic Games and appearing onstage in a production of The Blues Brothers: A Musical Tribute at the Arts Theatre in London’s West End.

    Rory has appeared at jazz clubs such as Band on the Wall, Matt & Phred’s and The Hideaway Streatham. He has also played frequently at some of the big hotels such as the Hilton, Midland and Radisson, Manchester and Liverpool international airports and numerous stately homes and country estates for events (private & corporate), weddings and parties, and also being engaged by PR companies such as Blackjack Promotions and The Little Big Voice.

    Chris Roe – Piano

    With a diverse musical background, playing classical piano and violin from an early age, studying contemporary composition at the Royal College of Music, electronic music in Paris and playing keyboards in the 70’s cover band Superfly Soul Collective, Chris is an individual and versatile musician, able to write and record his own music in a wide array of styles.

    Described as both ‘cooly understated’ and ‘passionate and energetic’, Chris’s playing is able to cut to the emotional core of the music, no matter what genre.

    Will McGee – Bass

    Will McGee, originally from Wimbledon, has been gigging frequently on bass guitar, upright bass and piano since his school days. Will trained as a linguist (Spanish and Portuguese) at the University of Manchester, where he was highly in demand with various bands including Manchester University Jazz Orchestra, Manchester University Big Band, Superfly Soul Collective and The Open Session @ O’Shea’s.

    Will has travelled to some exotic destinations, including living in Brazil and Cuba (six months in each country), working as a professional agent in the Canary Islands and enjoying frequent trips to the Iberian Peninsula. Alongside the jazz quartet, Will is a founding member of Diáspora, and has played regularly with the group over the past five years.

    Riccardo Castellani – Percussion

    Riccardo Castellani was born in Rome and his musical training began at the age of 14. From 2003 to 2006, he studied drums with Ettore Mancini and Marco Volpe. In 2010, he graduated from Conservatorio Licino Refice in Frosinone, where he studied amongst others with Ettore Fioravanti, with a BA (Hons) in Jazz. Since graduating, he moved to London where he has pursued a career as a drummer and teacher.

    His musical experience includes playing with lots of Pop-Rock bands, small jazz groups and orchestras, funky function bands and tribute bands. He has also worked in recording studios realiwing albums with producers like Rob Ellis and many international session musicians. His musical capabilities go beyond then simply playing the drums; he is equally as good arranging music for original bands or solo song-writers, and as a performer he has played at international festivals in Italy and around the UK.


  • Reviews / Testimonials

    "Rory (alto sax and flute), Lilli (keyboards) and Will (bass guitar) created the perfect Jazz Trio for our family anniversary party. Before the event we were able to discuss the music and tailor it perfectly for the day. They had some great ideas to make it special and included many of selected favourite songs. They are obviously talented musicians, they looked great and played with a relaxed style in keeping with the occasion!"

    "I was meaning to contact you and say how wonderful it was to have you. Hope to see you soon and thank you so much for adding your wonderful vibe to our event and making it all a very special experience."

    "Great event. We loved the music and Rory was completely professional and helpful right from the initial planning to the performance. We loved that he could play both sax & flute, that was very nice contrast. Our guests loved the performance and enjoyed the ambience. Many thanks from our guests and Team."

    "We were very pleased that we hired Rory. We were particularly impressed with communication before the day and it was great to speak to him. He was very friendly, approachable and accommodating. On the day, his performance was soulful and classy and he very closely followed our song preferences. We would thoroughly recommend Rory."

    "I have been meaning to email to let you know how great my do was and Rory made it extra special. Hearing him play was such a surprise for my guests they all loved his music... Rory Duffy was the icing on the cake for my 40th birthday celebrations. We had afternoon tea at Fanhams Hall Hotel with Rory playing the saxophone as my guests entered the venue and and throughout the afternoon while we ate our afternoon tea. I asked Rory for Christmas music and jazz to go with my birthday celebrations as it was three days before Christmas and he played amazingly. All my guests were so impressed with Rory's set of lungs as he played for hours. Rory made the atmosphere amazing and I would definitely recommend him. My friend has recently enquired about Rory for another do. Again thank you Rory for making my day extra special."

    "Hi Rory, it was a pleasure having you... Think you were a hit ;-)"

    "Thanks for yesterday Rory. The music was fantastic and the day ran perfectly. Everyone loved the music and it created the perfect atmosphere. Thank you so much for all your support."

    "Hi Rory. Your contribution to today’s Cocktail Party was outstanding and memorable. We loved your playing and choice of music. We hope we will have another opportunity to hear you... Please send us details... With best wishes"

    "Rory was great – and everything went very well."

    "The music was great. It really made the day."

    "Rory played solo saxophone at our event, his performance was top class, choice of music just right for the occasion, the solo saxophone perfectly complemented our event which was an afternoon vintage garden party. In addition Rory is a thoroughly good guy and top company."

    “Rory’s Bossa Nova Trio added a wonderful, tasteful musical presence to our staff summer party. Their musicianship was top notch, they were professional all the way through and I would gladly book them again for a future event.”

    "The Rory Duffy Jazz Trio provided an ideal backdrop to our charity drinks reception. The choice of music was perfect for the occasion and enjoyed by all our guests."

    "We have just come back from holiday and I kept meaning to message you! Just wanted to say thank you so much for everything on our engagement night, everyone enjoyed the music very much and it really made our night so special. We will definitely pass your details to friends in the future!"

    "Just a quick note to say thank you for such a wonderful job yesterday. Everyone absolutely loved the music and it created the perfect ambience. You are v talented as I’m sure you know, and although you probably don’t love playing at people’s houses, we will definitely use you again in the future!"

    "Just wanted to say thank you so very much for yesterday. You completely made the party. It was such a pleasure to have you there as part of the day. Everyone adored the music including me. Thank you again."

    "Hi Rory, I want to thank you and your band for playing at our Summer Party. We all appreciated really a lot your performance! Best regards, Stefano."

    "It was a pleasure to meet you, and I really liked the band, the music, sound and vocals were perfect. I hope to see you in the future."

    "I just wanted to let you know the band were brilliant last night."

    "The trio was great. Thank you so much!"

    "Many thanks for a great service and great music."

    "The band members were very professional and were happy to cater to our entertainment needs. Above all, the music was exceptional and our guests loved it!"

    "Words cannot describe how thrilling it was to walk into the reception, hear music, turn round and see you play. You created a truly magical atmosphere. When the band came on later, everyone got up to dance. And it was not a straightforward gig. The band went that extra mile - not only in the planning and preparation stages, scheduling an order of ceremonies that would cater for our precise needs and requirements - but also on the day itself. When my DJ vocalist fell through at the last minute, the band were only too happy to step in, playing my MP3 cues through their sound system and even learning our first dance wedding request on the spur of the moment! The band were also kind enough to play extra time, and I was really pleased with their adaptability and flexibility in response to the fluctuating nature of the event. They ensured that my wedding was a real party. The band itself was a joy to behold and everyone was delighted with your music. I sincerely hope that we can work with you again in future. Thank you!"

    "Thanks for booking the Rory Duffy Jazz Quartet, I have used them on 3 separate occasions and every time they have performed brilliantly! The buzz they have created in the airport has been fantastic and the quality of their performance have drawn in considerably large audiences. They have been hugely adaptable which was evident to see when they performed jazz style Christmas carols! I will definitely be booking them again this year."

    "Thanks for an excellent band. If we organise any further events and need a band I will be looking to you again."

    "We thought that they were great and it went down really well with the guests!"

    "Your guys were phenomenal! ... The swing band were amazing during dinner. Everyone complimented us on the swing band and Rory did a great job coordinating it so please pass my thanks on to the group."

    "Thanks again for last night, you were both fantastic and I'll definitely recommend you for any future events!"

    "Last summer, we were delighted with the performance of saxophonist / clarinettist Rory Duffy and pianist Chris Roe exploring the music of George Gershwin. This summer, Rory Duffy enchanted the audience with his fusion of acoustic Latin with Brazilian music, jazz and soul and the arrangements were tastefully orchestrated with Julian Harris on guitar and Venezuelan percussionist James Vielma. It made for an engaging performance. We hope to have him back again soon!"

    "Rory Duffy and his jazz quartet were fantastic and helped to add a bit more elegance to the evening's proceedings. They were very professional and knew exactly what suited the mood, which made my job easier and the evening was a great success. Thank you again."

    "Rory Duffy and his jazz quartet are a fantastic group of musicians, and their music is uplifting, fun and engaging. Our audience really enjoyed their performance. Thank you for playing!"

    "Rory and his colleagues played at my husband’s 40th birthday party. This was held on a summer evening at home for around 60 people. Having live music totally transformed the night. Rory's band created a really unique atmosphere. The music was relaxed and subtle, which meant that the conversation could flow, but so enjoyable to listen to that you didn't want it to end. I would love to have the opportunity to hear them play again and I would not hesitate to engage them for another occasion."

    “I wish to thank you for your recommendation of Rory Duffy to perform with Holly (percussion & vocals) & Julian (guitar) in a Latin jazz trio for my wife's special birthday a couple of weekends ago. They were brilliant. A great musical backdrop to a very successful garden party and a real hit with all our guests. We will recommend them without hesitation. Thank you again.”

    “Everybody enjoyed your playing at the Gallery Oldham, and we had nothing but good comments.”

    "Rory Duffy Trio played for our client's open-air Brazilian carnival summer barbeque. Combining swinging samba and bossa nova with uptempo popular tunes and funky originals, they went down a treat with our guests, creating a festive atmosphere and keeping them drinking and dancing until the embers glowed. The standard of musicianship was excellent and the level of professionalism very high. A great success!"

    “Our music evening at Novotel Manchester Centre was elevated by the Rory Duffy Trio. Their talent and skill made for an entirely lovely evening for all of our guests, many of whom commented on how much they enjoyed the performance. I would highly recommend this group again as they were not only talented and played wonderful music but also displayed a high level of professionalism throughout the evening.”

    "Please can you thank Rory and the band for me as I didn't have chance to thank them personally yesterday... They were tremendous, and several people commented on how it just added the perfect finishing touch to the day. Hindley Hall have also asked for your details and I will pass them on. They were also very impressed with the musicians."

    “Rory Duffy Trio put on after show performances for Manchester Camerata at the Bridgewater Hall and at the Royal Northern College of Music respectively. I am pleased to say that both performances went successfully; Rory Duffy brought a tasteful cosmopolitan selection of Brazilian tunes and acoustic Latin, blending well-known arrangements with original compositions, which created a buzzing vibe and went down very well with our audiences, keeping them at the bar all evening! Great fun and would definitely book them for future events.”