Swingshift Big Band (East Sussex)

Jonathan Bailey

Our leader, Jonathan Bailey, is well known locally and nationally not only as a fine trumpet player but also for his great talent in teaching the ’big band’ style of playing.


He studied trumpet and piano at the Royal College of Music, where he played in a variety of jazz ensembles including the Morley College Jazz Orchestra, conducted by Gordon Rose. At the time this ensemble was at the forefront of modern big bands, typically playing original arrangements rather than recreating the sound of earlier swing bands.


He also trained as a teacher at Reading Bulmershe College and taught for six years, as the head of the music department at a state school in Hillingdon.


During the early part of his career in music Jon spent many years playing in the pit in West End theatres, including six years in the orchestra of the Victoria Palace Theatre where he played for many of the top names in entertainment, including Max Bygraves, Cilla Black and Jimmy Tarbuck. Jon also spent two years playing for the stars of the "Carry On..." series of films in their show, "Carry On London" and at the Prince of Wales theatre for Tommy Steele productions. At the London Palladium he played for international stars like Ginger Rogers, Sammy Davis Junior and many other "Greats".


Having moved to Sussex with his family, Jon continued to combine playing in the London theatres with working as a brass teacher for the East Sussex Music Service until an opportunity arose to join the newly formed Herb Miller Orchestra. He went on to play with the orchestra for fifteen years, the majority of the time combining his playing duties with the role of managing the company. Jon played in many tours to all parts of the world, including Scandinavia and Western Europe with occasional visits to the Middle East.


In the last few years Jon has combined some teaching in primary schools and privately with his other enduring passion, skiing ! He specialises in organising skiing trips to France, a sideline that developed from his experience of organising the transportation for the Herb Miller Orchestra.


For over 30 years, Jonathan has conducted bands in East Sussex, in particular the highly successful East Sussex Youth Concert Band. However the lure of swing music kept calling and in 2007 he formed Swingshift with long time friend and colleague Alan Seymour.


The Founder of the band,




Principal Trumpet