top of page

BIOGRAPHY

Hailing from rural Leicestershire with Welsh roots, Nye Banfield is a distinctly creative saxophonist and composer. Bringing a fresh perspective to South East London, Nye paints visceral scenes from his life and the people around him through his music.

 

A graduate of Trinity Laban, Nye follows in the footsteps of a stream of young giants- Nubya Garcia, Laura Jurd and members of Ezra Collective, to name a few. Influences of Nye's include jazz icons Wayne Shorter, Ambrose Akinmusire and mentor Mark Lockheart, as well as the pastoral works of Ralph Vaughan Williams and song writing of Damon Albarn.

Described by Headfirst Bristol as “a smart and original composer who knows both the roots of modern jazz and where he intends to take his own music”, Nye takes you on a journey of richly textured composition and lyrical improvisation. To him, the most fascinating aspect of music is the ‘sound’, which is entirely evident in his tenor playing. The breadth of tone across the horn has been his focus for over 10 years.

Completing his 4 year course in 2019, Nye exploded into life as a performing and educating musician... before swiftly plummeting into the murkiness of 2020. Returning home to the Shire, Nye was faced with a very different pace of life, feeling as though he had been in a car travelling at 80 and slamming the brakes on, flying through the windscreen. At first, like many artists, it was a real struggle, with little to no commitments, yet surprisingly a complete lack of inspiration. What turned this period around for Nye was a reconnection with the area he had grown up in, and the characters linked to it- family and friends.

Returning to the city in 2021, Nye set about composing an album’s worth of fresh material. A couple of dates of recording at Fish Factory with his sextet then followed, producing Nye's debut, critically acclaimed album 'Trails and Traces'.

Trails and Traces

‘Trails and Traces’, dropped on vinyl in January 2024, forming Nye’s debut LP. Featuring ‘Banger Factory’ leader Mark Kavuma on trumpet, the performances from the sextet are richly diverse in influences. An infusion of flavours from 60s Blue Note records, 90s Radiohead, 20th century classical music and contemporary New York Jazz combine to create an intensely gripping sound.

Nye describes the title ‘Trails and Traces’ as an analogy for the many routes we go down in life and the traces that are left on us by others. Each track refers to people, places, objects or moments which have made an impact on him, forming part of his journey.

The musicians on the record breathe life into every corner of Nye’s compositions. Nye takes the lead, with his broad, earthy tone, a speciality of his, weaving a narrative across the album. The rhythm section features virtuosos Rupert Cox on piano, Hamish Nockles-Moore on double bass and Ewan Moore on drums. They have the dexterity to deliver subtlety and a sensitivity of space for the nostalgia of tracks ‘Four Years Later’ and ’E11’, whilst also having the grit to bring an onslaught of energy to ‘Bellarom Gold’ and ‘Rockhopper’. Mark Kavuma brings a touch of class to the palette, offering a few hard-bop style solos, a cool shift from the undeniably modernness of the group. The sextet is complemented by young talent Wilf Diamond on trombone who brings a warm soulfulness to the mix.

Away from the music, the product itself has been given a lot of thought and care. The sessions were engineered and mixed by twice Mercury Prize nominated Sonny Johns (Dinosaur, Portico Quartet), and subsequently mastered by World Circuit legend Tom Leader (Buena Vista Social Club, Kate Bush). The record was then cut at Abbey Road Studios by Alex Wharton and pressed by Optimal Media in Germany, altogether producing a record with real, tangible quality.

The cover features a piece by Sonia Stanyard. Green silk-screened paper is torn, spliced and reconfigured to explore how limitation can create freedom. Nye relates to her process, using form and structure combined with spontaneity to create expressive art.

bottom of page