Appreciating the art of Jazz improvisation with Peter Ind

Peter Ind is one of those virtuoso jazz musicians of international renown whose life reads like a jazz legend of its own. In the 1950’s he played double bass with the jazz greats in New York – Roy Eldridge, Coleman Hawkins, Buddy Rich, Lennie Tristano and Lee Konitz, Roy Haynes, even a young Miles Davis and one time accompanying Billie Holliday. In the 60’s he was playing, painting and writing about the environment in Big Sur, California. By the 70’s he was back in the UK teaching and playing with such remarkable European musicians as Martin Taylor, Stephane Grappelli and Louis Stewart. Then, in the 80’s and 90’s, he took on the challenge of owning and running a Jazz, Latin and African music venue in the then dilapidated area of Hoxton Square in East London – opening first the Bass Clef which soon became internationally renowned, followed by the Tenor Clef club.

Undaunted after losing everything when the clubs collapsed in 1994 under heavy financial difficulties, he did no more than concentrate on painting and training in ceramic restoration. What else would you expect but in the Millennium he has started writing about jazz; he launched his first book – “Jazz Visions: the Legacy of Lennie Tristano” at the 606 club in London. He has at the start of 2008 published his second book – “The Environment and Cosmic Metabolism: looking at the stars and thinking about the Earth.”

Throughout his life his wish has been to share the love he has for jazz improvisation. He has built up a collection of jazz CDs – the WAVE catalogue – that provides a range of exciting and inspiring jazz. Forever influenced by the renowned teacher and mentor Lennie Tristano, he has taught and supported younger musicians throughout his life helping them to reach their potential as improvisers.

The approach Peter takes:

  • What do students want to achieve performance-wise? Work with students to identify their level of abilities and aims
  • How to approach and develop rhythmic freedom
  • Appreciating harmony in terms of the roots, inversions and substitutions
  • Melody as a clothes line to hang the harmony
  • Developing a conviction in their playing
  • Some tips on performance
  • Reminiscences of jazz playing
  • Summary – the direction of study to reach the level they want

Lennie Tristano had a profound effect on how I played jazz. His approach was so professional – you had to work at every aspect; we would often play through the whole night at his loft. We learnt to play standards in every key, how to play with feeling and how to sing famous jazz solos as a way of developing our understanding of the musical vocabulary of jazz.”

“There are now many courses and teaching materials – for example I would recommend my good friend Rufus Reid’s course to students – especially bass players. My interest in teaching music students is, once they have put in the hard work to understand basic harmony and learn how to play on jazz standards, to help them find their own voice as jazz musicians, encouraging their confidence to open up as players and guiding them in the direction of becoming jazz artists in their own right.”

The range of experience that Peter brings to Master Classes and Teaching

Late 1940s, early 1950s

Studied with Lennie Tristano, the great jazz pianist & teacher

1950s and 60s

Lived in New York, playing with many of the great jazz musicians


Started Wave records and began to record jazz, the start of a lifetime of sound engineering

Mid 1960s

Lived, painted and wrote in Big Sur California and pioneered solo bass performances at Berkeley, University of California and Esalen Institute


As a session musician undertook studio work, including BBC sessions, commercial recordings for Radio Luxembourg and adverts, such as the Hamlet cigar pilot ad.


Recorded the first solo instrument play-along record - Time for Improvisation


Co-founder with Bernie Cash of the first full time jazz course in the UK at Leeds College of Music

Late 1960s

Taught at the Jazz Society Courses, funded by the Jazz Centre Society

Late 1960s and 70s

Taught first of all in Mid Wales and then taught and recorded at Twickenham, London

1970s and 1980s

Worked with classical orchestras as well as playing jazz - BBC Northern Symphony, Yorkshire Opera, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra


Set up the Wave recording studios at Hoxton Square - amongst those who recorded there were Julian Lennon, Bananarama, Marie Wilson, Marc Almond. Later on, through the Bass Clef club, recorded such jazz luminaries as Kenny Barron, Duke Jordan and Stan Tracey


Opened the Bass Clef club in Hoxton - with Jazz, African and Latin music


Opened a second jazz club in Hoxton - the Tenor Clef


Revived the Wave recording label (now 25 CDs) and resumed teaching

2000 - 2005

Published a book about Lennie Tristano and his approach to teaching - Jazz Visions: The legacy of Lennie Tristano (Equinox Publishing)

Late 1990s - 2007

Played in a range of gigs, including with his own band Bass Clef International, taught individual students and undertook talks/ master classes, for example in Sydney, Australia


Produced 5 new jazz CDs with a launch at Steve Rubie's 606 Club in Chelsea


Cork Jazz Festival masterclass


Masterclass at The South Bank

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