A little about us

James Pettinger is the pianist, occasional accordionist, and bandleader for Stablefolk. His technique for getting the best out of the band is elegant and subtle: get annoyed that they’re not playing it quite the way he wants it, then, after much pontification, announce that it was pretty good actually.

James grew up in Yorkshire, and moved to London to study jazz, learning from leading jazz educators and performers, such as Simon Purcell, Liam Noble, Tom Cawley. He’s performed at the top UK jazz venues Ronnie Scott’s, Kansas Smitty’s, and Green Note, to name a few, playing his own tunes and those of his peers. Jazz wasn’t his first love – no, that title is held by Dave Matthews Band, whom James has been obsessed with since his early teens. Among his regular listening is Shai Maestro, Jonatha Brooke, Dua Lipa, Jacob Collier, James Taylor.

James is excellent at sweating the small things, loves a night in by himself, and wore shorts for two years straight for a competition – which he lost (still bitter, Jacob Bollen).

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Tom Ridout, so far, has only played soprano saxophone and tenor saxophone and bass clarinet for Stablefolk, but we’re hoping he’ll prove useful at some point.

A multi-award winning saxophonist and recorder player, he was predicted by Jazzwise Magazine in 2012 as an upcoming jazz musician to watch out for – and they weren’t wrong. A finalist in the 2016 BBC Young Musician Jazz Award, graduate from the prestigious Royal Academy of Music, winner of the Lancaster Jazz Festival Youth Jazz Commission 2018 and a recent member of NYJO, Tom is a prolific and in-demand musician.

In 2018 Tom released his debut album “No Excuses”, which features a 13-strong band, including traditional jazz instrumentation with a string quartet and brass trio. It received a 4-star review on allaboutjazz.com, and he sold out The Vortex in London with the album launch gig, then embarking upon a small but successful tour of the country.

Tom’s hobbies include film photography, giving his friends lifts home after gigs, and visiting the national railway museum in York. His favourite beer is Black Sheep Ale.

Hailing from Southend-on-Sea, guitarist James Maltby was the latest addition to the band, and it was an immediate "hell yeah" as we bathed in his folky strums.

Incredibly adept and versatile as a player, his own project St. Barbe derives more from rock, and even though he started out with Simon & Garfunkel on heavy rotation, he's (via Yes and Radiohead) now into the likes of Tigran Hamasyan, Julian Lage, Kneebody, and Lionel Loueke. Released ealier this year, St. Barbe's debut EP Shapeless garnered support from Spotify’s editorial playlists and Guitar Magazine, accumulating over two hundred thousand streams. James studied jazz at Guildhall, and won the prestigious Sheriff’s Prize for achieving the highest overall mark on the course.

James loves pasta, and hates the words prezzie, choccies, biccies, and hollibobs. He used to be very good at digging holes at the beach. So good that his mum would make him fill them in when they left in case someone fell in and couldn’t get out again. Nice.

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On double bass, Aram Bahmaie’s musical instincts are pretty immaculate – he never overplays, and yet within that dependent and unselfish framework, he always delivers some tasteful moments of welcome woody warmth.

Born to British and Iranian parents in Guildford, Aram started his musical life on the guitar, but shifted to double bass at the age of 14 – presumably requiring use of a stepladder. At around the same time, he delved into minimalism, drawn by artists such as Terry Riley and Steve Reich, and began experimenting with loops and textures. Aram studied jazz at Birmingham conservatoire, under legendary bassists Mark Hodgson and Arnie Somogyi, and continued on to play around the UK and in Europe, including at the Cheltenham and Trondheim Jazz Festivals. Important albums for Aram include Nina Simon’s ‘Emergency Ward’ and Paul Motian’s ‘On Broadway Vol. 4’; his tastes also take him to such places as Mahler, Stars of the Lid, My Bloody Valentine, and Fennesz.

When not playing music, you might find Aram watching 8½ by Federico Fellini, cooking tachin (an Iranian saffron rice-cake), or cycling – south or east of Guildford towards the South Downs, where it quickly becomes very rural, and where the roads are excellent and rolling.

In the corner on the drums is Adam Woodcock – in the corner, but sadly you can’t eliminate his unceasing punnage or wordplay, and general bad jokes (occasionally punctuated by, amazingly, quite a funny joke).

At the age of 10, Adam attended a drum workshop in Essex. At that point in time he genuinely struggled to touch his nose, but fortunately for him he was as enthusiastic as he was uncoordinated. His coordination improved, and after deciding to pursue music as a career, Adam was accepted into the jazz program at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in 2015. He graduated in 2019 with a first-class honours degree, after studying under some of the best on the British jazz scene, including Simon Purcell, Hans Koller, James Maddren, Gene Calderazzo, and Asaf Sirkis. He has performed all over the UK and further afield, both as a sideman and leader of his own group ‘Meridian’; recent highlights include performing at Ronnie Scotts, Kansas Smittys, the Vortex Jazz club, and the Cockpit Theatre.

Adam is the master of temporary obsessions. Unfortunately for him and those close to him, if he gets it into his head that he likes a thing, it’s impossible to shake until he’s achieved the arbitrary milestone he set himself. Currently, his infatuation is rock-climbing, but past fixations include (but certainly aren’t limited to): learning French, juggling, hot chocolate, scratch-cards, and monkeys.

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