Simon Hurley/Andy Watson Quartet with Bernie Hodgkins and Alex Best at The Bell Hotel, Clare on Sunday 16th September 2018

Simon first picked up the guitar 25 years ago and, after having been self-taught, decided to embark upon his first formal musical education in 2006. In 2010 he graduated with a First Class Honours Degree from Colchester Institute, also being awarded the Centre Prize for Music. It was here that he began to study jazz under the tutelage of session guitarist Andy Watson, a relationship that has now developed into the Watson/Hurley Jazz Guitar Duo.

Jazznights Simon Hurley & Andy Watson 160918 (26)Although he is competent in many styles of playing from rock and blues to country and funk, as well as theatre work (having performed with Heather Peace and Marc Almond), he also performs regularly in small jazz groups and larger ensembles. Simon feels equally at home within more intimate duo settings. He is a fluent soloist as well as accompanist, often simultaneously mixing chords, walking bass lines and single note passages. His jazz playing is much inspired by that of Joe Pass and Martin Taylor, who described his playing as ‘Just beautiful’.

Jazznights Simon Hurley 160918 (88)He has also had the pleasure of playing alongside such jazz artists as Simon Spillett, Alan Barnes, Georgina Jackson, Martin ShawBrandon AllenJosh KempSimon Allen, Matt Waies, Martin Speake (ECM records), Nigel Price (Woodville records), Osian RobertsSteve Fishwick (Hard Bop Records),Quentin CollinsRoger Beaujolais, Mick Hutton (ECM records), Digby Fairweather…

Simon divides his times between teaching, recording, accompanying and performing in and around the Essex area. In another life he has also been the 5-string banjo player and singer in the Bluegrass quintet ‘The Ragged String Band’with many high profile appearances to their name including the Maverick Festival, Camp Bestival and Harvest at Jimmy’s Farm (supporting Newton Faulkner and Ed Sheeran).

So, if you are in need of a musician for a performance/event or wish to learn the guitar in the Colchester area, please contact Simon today.

Andy Watson’s professional qualifications are:

Jazznights Andy Watson 160918 (85)G.D.L.M.  –  Graduate Diploma in Light Music…a graduate qualification in Popular Music and Jazz from the City of Leeds College of Music.

A.R.C.M.  –  Associate of the Royal College of Music…a diploma in Classical Guitar Performance

P.G.C.E.  –  Postgraduate Certificate in Education…a teaching qualification achieved by further study after a degree in music

I have run workshops around the UK. I have written for “Guitarist” and “Music Teacher” magazines and I run a successful part time private teaching practice at my studio in Chelmsford.

I have been a professional musician for the whole of my working life as both player and educator. My experience as a session player includes live and TV work including a number of  West End Shows (7 in total). As a solo artist I have performed nationally and internationally at many different venues and festivals. My teaching experience includes work in schools and colleges as both a guitar teacher and as a lecturer and I have directed many

The quartet included:


Jazznights Bernie Hodgkins160918 (55)

Bernie Hodgkins – 5 string Double Bass

Jazznights Alex Best160918 (29)

Alex Best – drums

Jazznights Simon Hurley & Andy Watson 160918 (27)

Bernie Hodgkins, Simon Hurley, Alex Best and Andy Watson

Following the Jazznights raffle of 3 jazz cd’s we had the traditional Jazznights sitting in spot which is open to all musicians who have an  opportunity to play  with the band. Tonight we had the pleasure of vocalist Larraine Odell followed by Geoff Harriman  playing his harmonica

Jazznights Larraine Odell 160918 (77)

Larraine Odell


Jazznights Geoff Harriman160918 (59)

Geoff Harriman playing with the band

Sunday 30th September 2018 Jazznights will have the pleasure of:

Tara Minton is a harpist, vocalist and songwriter hailing from Melbourne, Australia and since relocating to London in the Spring of 2011 she has built an international reputation. Tara has played some of London’s most iconic venues including The Elgar Room at The Royal Albert Hall, The Pizza Express Soho and Ronnie Scott’s.

THE BEST IN BRITISH MODERN JAZZ is at Jazznights, Admission £10. Doors open 7.00 pm. Music 7.30 – 10.00 pm.

Reserve seating on 01787 237653 or email

Pay on the night.

You can join us at facebook, read reviews of previous performances on more opinions blog or tweet at

The Jaznights blog and pictures is now at

Pictures from past gigs can also be seen HERE

For further information on future gigs go to

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