About Us

Out of the Blue was founded in 2019 by three friends on the Wirral...................

Becky Bell Thomas

Becky is a conductor, arts manager, clarinet and alto sax player. She joined her first big band ,The Brassery, in Nottingham at age 14. In 2011 she founded Hull University Big Band, taking them on tour to the Edinburgh Fringe in 2004, to great critical acclaim. Embarking on a career in London, she completed an MA in Arts Management in 2007 and worked at the Royal College of Music and for the creative arts company Heart n Soul. She is an experienced events manager, fundraiser and artistic project manager. Continuing her passion for big band jazz and musicals, she conducted and managed a successful London big band, and was musical director for numerous productions. Moving to the Wirral in 2014 with her young family Becky has pursued a career in teaching, where she loves encouraging the next generation of musicians. As well as conducting the Heswall Concert Band, she is a co founder of Out of the Blue which made its debut performance at the Palm House, Sefton Park in 2019.

Nick Wootton

Music has always been a big part of Nick's life. His Dad was a wonderful pianist who played Jazz and Swing pieces in 'stride' style as well as being a great accompanist. Nick started playing clarinet at grammar school, and his teacher, George Eager, wrote arrangements for the wind ensemble in which he learned, many of these in a jazz idiom. He developed a taste for Dixieland, early jazz and swing, which led to him becoming a founding member of a Dixieland Jazz band when he went to College, which is when he started on tenor sax. The subsequent years (oh so many of them!) have seen and heard him playing in a variety of ensembles in a range of styles, as well doing a bit of teaching and theatre pit work. He has met so many interesting, talented and stimulating people - such is the musical world!

Out of the Blue is an exciting new adventure which brings together a group of talented musicians who love Swing and Big Band music and who are looking forward to performing what the BBC described as 'this obscure form of jazz' to the public. He hopes you enjoy it!

Ian Wray

Ian was at Chethams with his Schott recorder in the 1960s. But music did not bite until he left Chets, age 11, having heard the Beatles, and later Sonny Boy Williamson. He started music for real with blues harmonica at 15, taking up flute and tenor sax at 20. He is influenced by sax players John Almond, Stan Getz, John Coltrane and John Surman, as well as many British and US blues players. From the 1970s onwards he played in bands in London, Liverpool and Manchester - jazz rock, avant garde, rock, blues, soul, and white R&B. For decades he has played by ear, but has just learned to read, which has been a revelation (all that counting).

Out of the Blue Jazz Orchestra