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Dennis Rollins MBE

Born in1964 in Birmingham. Trombonist Dennis Rollins was encouraged into music by his Jamaican-born parents and by his trombonist brother, Winston Rollins, Dennis also took up the trombone. Although his early listening was funk, by his early teens he was listening to and playing jazz. As he developed his own style, the two forms came together and coalesced in a distinctively exciting and earthy manner. His primary jazz trombone influences were Fred Wesley and J.J. Johnson, although he also paid attention to the playing of Robin Eubanks, Frank Rosolino and Steve Turre. Interestingly, all of the players cited have very different and very distinct sounds and styles, doubtless contributing to his development as a very distinctive stylist in his own right. Rollins attended the college system of Doncaster Youth Jazz Association, the brainchild of John S.M. Ellis MBE, who featured him as soloist with the Doncaster Youth Jazz Orchestra. Later, Rollins played with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra and the Jazz Warriors under Courtney Pine. Thereafter, he was in much demand, playing in various bands including the funk fusion groups Us3, Jamiroquai, and Brand New Heavies, with whom he toured the USA. In the mid-90s, Rollins formed his own band, Dee Roe, a jazz funk fusion group, but disbanded in 1997. In 2000, he formed the six-piece BadBone And Co, appearing in concert and also making his first album (having released an EP, Wild & Free, that same year). In addition to playing trombone, Rollins is also developing as a skilled composer and arranger. In addition to Pine and the Brand New Heavies, Rollins has recorded with several other leaders, including Cleveland Watkiss, Jazz Jamaica, Prince Buster, Eric Benet, and Beverley Knight. Rollins is a vibrant and exciting player with full command of his instrument. Clearly he is already an important voice on the UK jazz and funk scenes and his visits to the USA are extending his audience internationally.

In the summer of 2020 Derby Jazz commissioned Dennis to lead LOOSEN UP, an eleven piece band of professional and community jazz musicians form across the East Midlands playing gigs in Belper, Chester Green, Derby Theatre, Royal Derby Hospital and Derby Market Place.

Leicester Jazz House East Midlands JAZZ