It’s rare that young musicians can match their talent and ambition with the energy and skills needed to advance not only their own careers but those of fellow musicians as well. Since graduating in classical piano from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in 2002, Dave Stapleton has become an important figure on the UK jazz scene. A jazz pianist of unusual abilities. A composer of beautiful, lyrical tunes and film scores. A record producer, who brings to the music of others the same care and attention to detail that he lavishes on his own releases. A gifted photographer and the astute and intelligent co-founder of EDITION RECORDS. Dave Stapleton is all of these things. What is more, he is already receiving well-deserved recognition for his work in all these areas.
The Dave Stapleton Quintet (DSQ) combine muscular intensity with consummate delicacy in performance. A strong frontline of trumpeter Jonny Bruce and saxophonist Ben Waghorn is equalled by the magnificently subtle but pulsing rhythm section of bassist Paula Gardiner and drummer Elliott Bennett. With Stapleton moving between Fender Rhodes and acoustic piano, this is hi-energy jazz. Imagine those great Blue Note and Riverside recordings of the early sixties. DSQ have that same ability to excite heart, mind and body. Their journey so far has taken them on several UK tours and appearances at festivals in Budapest, Cannes (Midem), Cork, Zagreb, Belgrade, London, Brecon and Cheltenham. Stapleton’s exquisitely beautiful and highly evocative music coupled with his multi-functional approach to the business of music led to him being accepted onto the second edition of the prestigious Take Five initiative. Sponsored by the Jerwood/PRS Foundation and managed by international music producers Serious, Take Five provides Britain’s most talented young jazz musicians with the unique opportunity to take ‘time out’ to develop their craft. In Stapleton’s case, it has clearly paid dividends already. He continues to develop as a musician, as a composer and as a business man. In 2006, he signed an exclusive worldwide publishing deal with Westbury Music Ltd. Then in June 2008 and 2009, he was nominated for the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Composers in recognition of his abilities and potential as a composer.
EDITION RECORDS, the label Stapleton founded in 2007 with photographer Tim Dickeson, has gone from strength to strength. Each release to date has been a jewel and both the Guardian, Jazzwise and BBC Radio 3 have paid tribute to its high production values and innovation. To date, as well as Stapleton’s own records, EDITION has released albums by the Keith Tippett Tapestry Orchestra – the legendary Live at Le Mans (EDN1009) – and others just as fine by Geoff Eales, Dave Kane, Mark Lockheart and Troyka. Now with distribution in 23 countries worldwide, EDITION plans a further twelve releases in 2010, including records by Tom Cawley’s Curios, as well as the launch of the new Limited Edition imprint.