Palooka is not primarily a jazz group; its music is influenced by funk/pop song structures with an improvisational element. The band features superb young improvising musicians from Australia, Britain. Norway and Ireland and its horn section has toured extensively with Phil Collins, Kylie Minogue and Kyle Eastwood. The band leader, Kevin Brady, is one of Ireland’s top drummers and an innovative jazz producer and organist Justin Carroll has toured with Van Morrison and others. Palooka’s music has been described as: “A fresh and grooving take on improvisation by some of Europe’s young leading jazz musicians” Jazzwise UK magazine. LINE UP: Justin Carroll (Hammond organ), Graeme Blevins (tenor sax), Graeme Flowers (trumpet), Bjorn Vidar Solli (guitar) and Kevin Brady (drums)
Dublin based drummer /composer Kevin Brady has been performing professionally for 18 years. He is a founder member of the Hammond organ group Organics and is also a member of the critically acclaimed piano trio led by UK pianist Phil Ware. After studying classical piano and trumpet from an early age. His interest in drums began at 19 first at Newpark Music Centre. He later attended the Drummers Collective in New York, where his teachers were Kim Plainfield and Bobby Sanabrias. In recent times he has performed with international jazz musicians; Ronnie Cuber (baritone saxophone), Ian Shaw (vocalist/pianist), Brian Kelloch (Piano), Tim Ries (saxophone), Jesse Davis (saxophone), Guy Barker (trumpet), Jim Mullen (guitar), Bobby Watson (alto), Ulf Wakenius (guitar), Giovanni Mirabassi (piano), Tim Whitehead (sax) and on the home front has worked with Van Morrison and Choice Award nominee singer Dave Geraghty (BellX1).
Dublin-born Justin Carroll is a keyboardist and composer currently based in New York City. His main instruments are acoustic and electric piano, hammond organ, harmonium and sine wave generator synthesizer. Justin works in numerous different improvising and jazz based ensembles and has toured in the Ireland, U.K, Europe, U.S.A, Mexico, South Africa and China. He has worked with many renowned jazz musicians including Nils Wogram, Greg Osby and Ronnie Cuber; and many well known Irish artists such as Van Morrison, Glen Hansard and Lisa Hannigan. Justin leads his own group ‘Togetherness’ who released their debut album in 2009 and have performed at numerous festivals in Ireland and Germany. He also plays in several New York based groups such as ‘3-Way’ with trombonist Ryan Kerberle and drummer Jeff Davis; and groups ‘Glue Gun Optimism’ and ‘Sir Richard’ with Edward Rosenberg III. Justin is also a member of creative music collective ‘Bottlenote’ which is based in Dublin and have hosted annual festivals for the last 4 years. He is also recently working with a 5 piece ensemble called ‘Palooka’ with drummer Kevin Brady. As well as writing music for projects he is involved in, Justin has also composed for The Crash Ensemble and dance companies Rex Levitates and Catapult.
Graeme Blevins is a talented and versatile tenor saxophonist based in London and originally from Perth, Australia. Graeme has worked in London with many fine jazz musicians such as Guy Barker, Mark Turner, Bobby Watson, BBC Big Band, Ronnie Scott’s All-Stars and has worked with and toured extensively for several years with the Kyle Eastwood band. He has also done session work recording and touring around the world with many artists such as Kylie Minogue, Craig David, Kelly Rowland, The Script, James Taylor Quartet, The Fratellis, Boyz to Men, Dominic Miller, Manu Katche, Carleen Anderson, Max Cole, The Blockheads, Natalie Williams, X Factor Big Band, Tony Hadley, Ben Cullum, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, The Singapore Symphony Orchestra, The West Australian Symphony Orchestra, The Delta Saxophone Quartet, The Endymion Ensemble, Domu, Nicola Kramer, Dave Jones, Michele Amador, Michelle Escoffery, Spiritual South.
Trumpet player Graeme Flowers has performed and recorded extensively within the worlds of pop and jazz. He has toured the world with Kylie Minogue and has played on the most recent albums of Duffy, Imelda May, and Simply Red. He has also recorded with Joey Negro, The Sunburst Band, Moloko, Take That, Brenda Russell, The Go Team, Katie Melua and The Feeling. Graeme has performed live with Quincy Jones, Duran Duran, Just Jack, Hard-Fi, Kelly Rowland, The Script, Jamie Cullum, The Brand New Heavies, The James Taylor Quartet, The Herbaliser, Tony Hadley, ABC, Go West, Charlotte Church, Lisa Stansfield, Will Young, Jools Holland, Cathy Denis, Mel C, Kelly Clarkson, Midge Ure, Jamelia, Carleen Anderson, Mica Paris, Emma Bunton, Ronan Keating, Gary Barlow, Alesha Dixon, Jason Donovan and Mark Owen etc. Graeme currently tours with Kyle Eastwood, Clint’s bass playing son. He has performed on, and written music for three Clint Eastwood movie soundtracks, and played at all the major jazz festivals and jazz clubs in America, Japan, Europe, Indonesia and South Africa.
Bjorn Solli – Guitarist/Composer was born in Norway in 1979 and is now based in New York. He was voted “young Norwegian jazz musician of the year” in 2002 and has since won numerous awards throughout Europe, including soloist prizes in Belgium, Monaco and Spain, audience prizes in Switzerland and Spain, and a composition prize in France. With his trio SOLID! he has released 3 critically acclaimed CD’s distributed worldwide.