Séb Pipe is a London-based half British, half French jazz alto saxophonist, performer, composer and teacher born 23rd August 1982.
He leads his own group, Séb Pipe’s Life Experience and also performs with the Will Butterworth Quartet and Max Luthert’s Orbital.
Séb first blew an alto sax aged seven and later also studied piano, guitar and drums at school. In his teens, he received saxophone tuition from London teacher James Knight, who introduced him to jazz music and inspired him to create his own individual sound and musical approach. Julian Argüelles and Jean Toussaint were among his high-profile teachers at Trinity College of Music, London, where he graduated in 2005 with 1st Class Honours, the Silver Medal award and was also awarded the Services to Jazz prize.
Séb worked with Portuguese group Pequenos Mundos in 2004 and again in 2006 when they played Portugal’s Estremoz Jazz Festival. Later that year, Pipe formed Life Experience. The group played at the London Jazz Festival along side fellow jazz alto saxophonist Tony Kofi, and went on to win a £1500 development prize from the Musicians Benevolent Fund, which set its recording career in motion. In 2009 Séb was awarded a recording and touring Arts Council grant from Jazz Services to record Life Experience’s second album, Shoot for the Stars.
Pipe spent influential periods with American pioneer Steve Coleman and his Five Elements band at workshops in France in 2001, 2007 and a masterclass with his own group and Coleman’s Reflex trio during the London Jazz Festival in 2011 (with pianist Dave Virelles and drummer Marcus Gilmore).
In 2016 Séb was commissioned to write music for Japanese calligraphy artist Ohgetsu Fujita for her Emoji exhibition in Tokyo. The music comprises both electronic music composed using wind synthesizer and acoustic music for trio featuring pianist Will Butterworth and double bassist Tim Fairhall.
The next year in 2017, Séb performed throughout the U.K. within the heart of Will Butterworth’s quartet. Together they reenacted Oscar Wilde’s classic children’s story the Nightingale and the Rose through specially composed music and were joined by celebrity readers including Giles Brandreth and Ian McMillan.
Séb’s most most high profile performances to date have taken place at the London Jazz Festival, Estremoz Jazz Festival in Portugal and Opera City, Tokyo, Japan.
“The sounds of great alto saxophonists like Ornette Coleman, Charlie Parker, Steve Coleman and Lee Konitz are sometimes suggested in Pipe’s serpentine lines and persuasive use of tonality and space. The leader's serpentine melodic fluency, improv resourcefulness and controlled freedom with pitch all confirm that the early accolades he has received were well deserved..” - John Fordham (The Guardian)
“The talented young altoist Pipe has the kind of self-assured confidence of an emerging star, but the good sense to simply play how he wants to play. While the harmonies are angular and the rhythms fractured, Pipe’s flawless technique and witty ideas make him one to watch.” - Jazzwise Magazine
"I'm impressed..this is good stuff...it’s deep" - Jack Massarik and Claire Martin
(BBC Radio 3 Jazz Line-Up)
“Seb is pushing the boundaries and experimenting with some very innovative concepts...it is individuals like him who move the art form forward.” - Jean Toussaint
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