Pee Wee Ellis
Hats off to a true heart and soul performer
Kim Cypher is creating quite a stir on the jazz scene at present. As one of the UK’s most exciting saxophonists, vocalists, composers, band leaders and radio hosts, Kim has firmly secured a reputation for delivering the highest quality performance with incredible style, passion, energy, and charisma together with her renowned vivacious stage presence and warm connection with all audiences.
A regular performer on the London and UK jazz circuit, having sold out the main stage at world-renowned Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club and performed in New York, Kim’s experience, all-round skills and natural ability to win the hearts of all audiences offer a unique ‘full package’ for the very best in jazz performance.
“Hats off to a true heart and soul performer” – Pee Wee Ellis
“Kim is an incredibly hard-working, conscientious, vibrant musician driven by passion, who is always innovative and surprising” – Nick Lea – Jazz Views
“A beautiful, poised performance” – Alyn Shipton – BBC Radio 3
“This is a band capable of appealing to jazz ‘newbies’ and hardcore aficionados alike. Fronted by the vivacious Kim Cypher, the band’s music embraces a broad variety of jazz styles, combining good music and good humour and exploring a wide range of musical territory, yet always within a jazz framework. The standard of the playing and singing is excellent” – The Jazz Mann – Live Review November 2022
“Exciting stuff!” – Clare Teal – BBC Radio 2
“A bright, passionate performing light on the UK Jazz scene playing an enjoyable mix of Jazz, from classics through to real funky interpretations of modern mainstream music” – Jazz In Europe
Inspired by the funkier side of jazz, having studied alongside US saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis and internationally acclaimed jazz saxophonist Andy Sheppard, Kim’s style of performance is best described as ‘funky saxophonist meets 1940’s jazz singer’.
Kim developed her own unique ‘funky’ style of saxophone playing, built upon influences by great players such as Pee Wee Ellis, Gerald Albright, Maceo Parker, Andy Sheppard, Barbara Thompson, Dean Fraser, Courtney Pine and Grover Washington. Kim’s vocal style has been influenced by the greats: Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald together with a wide range of vocalists / performers including Liane Carroll.
Having played in a variety of bands semi-professionally alongside a 17-year career as Head of Music in a Gloucestershire primary school, Kim took the brave decision to leave teaching to focus on her own music full-time. At the same time, her husband (drummer) Mike Cypher left his career in banking, having been a Regional Bank Manager for many years. The couple became full-time professional jazz musicians in 2012 and have never looked back…they have also never worked so hard!
Kim’s debut album ‘Make Believe’ was released at the end of 2016, receiving glowing reviews and culminating in a highly successful album tour with sell-out shows across the UK in 2017/18 including Pizza Express ‘live’ Soho, The Pheasantry Chelsea, The Stables Wavendon, Cheltenham International Jazz Festival, Bristol Jazz & Blues Festival plus many more. The album includes many of Kim’s original tracks inspired by an absolute belief in following dreams.
Kim’s 2nd album ‘Love Kim x’ (a collection of inspired original music and quirky takes on some well-known classics) was released in 2019. ‘Love Kim x’ achieved many great reviews and was also listed in the Top 10 jazz albums of 2019 by online jazz magazine Bebop Spoken Here. The new album tour included sell-out shows with special guest Pee Wee Ellis. The tour included shows at many great jazz venues and festivals including an album launch at Pizza Express ‘live’ Soho, Toulouse Lautrec London, The Bull’s Head Barnes, Tetbury Goods Shed, the opening slot at Stompin’ on The Quomps Festival, Pizza Express ‘live’ Birmingham, Pershore Jazz Festival, Upton Jazz Festival plus many other great jazz venues. The tour continued into 2020 with many great performances including a sell-out show at Pizza Express Soho with special guest Jazz Giant Ray Gelato.
Music from both albums and single releases have been featured on BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 3, Jazz FM, BBC Radio London ‘live’ session, BBC Introducing plus other national, local and worldwide radio stations.
‘Love Kim x’ features some of the finest jazz musicians in the UK and overseas including saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis, David Newton on piano (16 times winner of best pianist in the British Jazz Awards), Clive Morton on double bass (ex-tutor to Jamie Cullum and long-time sideman with Frank Sinatra) PLUS New York guitarist B.D. Lenz to name just a few.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Kim and drummer husband Mike continued to keep the music playing and remained firmly connected with their followers and supporters. As well as creating a series of ‘Twilight Music Session’ videos recorded remotely with musicians across the world, they were among the first musicians to set up a daily live broadcast on social media to bring some company, music and chat to those feeling isolated and alone. These ‘Coffee & Chat’ sessions led to a feature on local BBC Points West TV and subsequently to hosting their own jazz radio show!
‘The Big Jazz Hullabaloo’ radio show hosted by Mike and Kim broadcasts worldwide four times every week on Jazz Bites Radio. The show is celebrating 50 episodes in December and, due to the show’s popularity, Jazz Bites Radio is setting up a ‘Best of’ series to run a selection of the best of The Big Jazz Hullabaloo continually across their network.
Kim is a huge supporter of charity and community projects. Her ‘For Mum’ project in April 2020 (a tribute to her late Mum) raised almost £3,000 for The Brain Tumour Charity. The project included an original song and video release ‘All for You’ together with a sell-out show at Pizza Express ‘live’ Soho.
Also, in 2020, once the pandemic lockdown lifted, Kim released an original track and music video ‘Crazy Times’. The track and video demonstrate the power of music to bring people together, raise spirits and create a moment of escapism during crazy times. ‘Crazy Times’ was declared “BEST MUSIC VIDEO OF 2020” by US Music Interview Magazine and received much praise and acclaim for uplifting community and bringing people back together after lockdown.
In 2022, Kim embarked on a huge project called ‘Bring Your Own Sunshine’ as a tribute to her late friend Karen Jackson. The project included an original track and music video, raising £4,500 for cancer charity Maggie’s in Cheltenham. The song and video featured US guitarist B.D. Lenz and London-based CK Gospel choir. The vibrant and poignant video was filmed at Maggie’s Centres in Cheltenham and Barts in London as well as in New York.
For the past two years Kim has been a very proud member of Parliamentary Jazz Award winning ‘Women in Jazz Media’, founded by Fiona Ross. The worldwide team of writers, musicians, photographers, painters, presenters, journalists, producers, editors and more work passionately and rigorously for an equal, diverse, safe and healthy Jazz Industry. This has enabled Kim to provide ongoing support to fellow musicians and has broadened Kim’s skills into journalistic writing. Kim has written many album reviews, interviews and features for a range of jazz platforms including Jazz in Europe, The Jazz Journalists Association, Kind of Jazz, Jazz Views and many more.
Kim has performed alongside and recorded with some of the country’s finest jazz musicians including Pee Wee Ellis (saxophone), Ray Gelato (saxophone & vox), Liane Carroll (piano & vox), Ashley Slater (trombone & vox), Antonio Forcione (guitar), Andy Sheppard (saxophone), Denny Ilett (guitar), David Newton (piano), George Cooper (piano Jazz Defenders), Karl Vanden-Bossche (percussion), with regular band personnel including highly acclaimed musicians Chris Cobbson (guitar), Mike Green (double bass), Raph Mizraki (double bass), Anders Olinder (organ and piano) and husband Mike Cypher (drums). Kim regularly collaborates with US guitarist B.D. Lenz and his band including Easter and Summer UK tours.
Current projects include Kim’s vast, inspired ‘BRIGHTER TOMORROW’ project, paying tribute to all who work in The Arts. The project has attracted much interest and support across the UK jazz scene and includes a 300-page online magazine produced by Kim, devoted to celebrating The Arts. You can view the magazine here:
The project also includes lots of new original music due for release in 2024 as part of Kim’s forthcoming NEW ALBUM. The album features original music recorded with some wonderful jazz artists including Liane Carroll, Ray Gelato, Antonio Forcione, Ashley Slater together with an ALL-STAR band. You can view the ‘live’ recording at London’s 606 Club of an original track from the album featuring Liane Carroll here:
Other notable achievements include:
Performing the Grand Finale at the incredible Barbara Thompson Memorial Concert at London’s Union Chapel on 2nd June 2023.
Being flown to New York in 2016 for a private jazz performance in Manhattan.
Being commissioned to perform a private event for the Prime Minister Theresa May in August 2017 with a repeat booking in September 2020.
Feature in the award-winning ‘Women in Jazz’ book by author Sammy Stein and published by 8th House where Kim is described as “one of the UK’s most popular players”. Kim also features in the 2020 book by Sammy Stein (with Debbie Burke) called ‘Gender Disparity in UK Jazz’. This book gets inside the UK Jazz scene, looks at gender disparity issues and discusses the reality, the potential for change and the ways ahead.
Original music featured in the audio drama ‘The Humanist’ by William E Roberts.
Kim started playing saxophone at age 9 and achieved Grade 8 practical and theory of music with distinction by age 14. She studied Expressive Arts at St Paul’s & St Mary’s College in Cheltenham where she was awarded a First-Class Honours for her original musical composition for saxophone, clarinet, Peruvian pipes and percussion. Prior to turning professional as a musician, Kim was Head of Music at a primary school in Gloucester for 17 years. She has also been a saxophone tutor at the Cheltenham Boys College and a tutor at the Cheltenham Rock School.
Kim has appeared on national TV and Radio and has recorded as a session musician on a variety of recordings and is a resident performer at highly prestigious restaurant & venue The Ivy in Cheltenham.