Focus: Harry Keeble | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Who are you and where are you from?
My name is Harry Keeble, a jazz musician from Hastings who now lives in County Durham.

What is it you do?
I am a tenor saxophonist with my own quartet, for which I write a lot of original music. I also play in a number of other bands, particularly the Abbie Finn trio, and the Finntet.

How long have you been doing it?
I grew up in a relatively musical family. My father played as a hobbyist, and my older brother played professionally, so it was only a matter of time before I joined in! I started off on piano at the age of five, and picked it up very quickly, quite often spending hours at a time sat at the piano, working out tunes by ear. I took up saxophone around the age of 9, and began playing professionally once I was around 16 years old, playing in several function bands and a Hastings-based reggae band that I was and still am particularly fond of.

I went through a jazz course at Leeds College of Music, achieving a first-class degree before I moved to Newcastle, and then Durham to continue as a professional jazz musician.

What inspires you?
I remember when I was about 15, my older brother had come back from uni for a holiday and had taken a jazz unit on his pop course. He wanted to show me a video of a saxophonist he said would blow my mind, and sure enough, he pulled up The Brecker Brothers playing ‘Some Skunk Funk’ live in Barcelona 1992. It was the first time I’d heard anything that could have been described as jazz, and I was completely blown away by the virtuosity of Michael Brecker’s playing. I listened to that performance, and several other Brecker performances obsessively over the following few years.

Since then, my influences have become far broader, with musicians such as Tigran Hamasyan, Joel Frahm, Chris Potter and Jerry Bergonzi at the forefront of my listening list, but the people who inspire me the most are the ones I have the great fortune of playing with, most importantly my fiancée Abbie Finn.

Tell us about your music
For some time, my music has always been clearly rooted in the realms of modern jazz. I like to make it heavy on the improvisation, utilise complex harmony (helped by my background as a pianist), and focused on rhythmic development. Very recently, however, my writing style has changed and I have begun grafting concepts from another style of music, of which I have been surrounded by all my life. Metal.

Before I was listening to Brecker, Frahm and Bergonzi, I was listening to Opeth, Periphery, Mastodon, Haken and many others. It was always my dream to be in a metal band, but I’ve never played the appropriate instrument. So instead, I’ve decided to start writing music based on a jazz framework, with the sounds and techniques of metal/rock.

What have you got coming up?
My quartet is going to be releasing its first full album in early 2023. The album is being very generously funded by Pete Woodman, who met us when we played at Harwich Festival of the Arts in 2021, and I am eternally grateful to him. We will be playing the Gala Theatre in Durham on 23rd September at 1pm, and again at the Black Swan in Newcastle on 17th November. I will be performing in the meantime with various other groups such as the Abbie Finn trio, the Finntet, the Stu Collingwood trio and others.

Where can people find out more about you?
You can find me primarily on Facebook, or check out my website,

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