Concert work in 6 linked sections for soloist and big band
Published by: Highbridge Music
Commissioned by: Simon Bates
Instrumentation: Solo tenor saxophone in B flat, 2 alto sax, 2 tenor sax, 1 baritone sax, 4 trumpets in B flat, 4 trombones, piano, bass, drums

[Key to Abbreviations]
First Performance: Simon Bates, solo tenor saxophone with the Simon Bates Big Band 5th June 2015 Steyning Jazz Club, Steyning, Sussex


The first version of 'Heartbeat' (op.319) was commissioned for BBC Radio Brighton by producer Jim Parr for National Arts Day 1982 and performed by Danny Moss and his quartet with the strings of the BBC Concert Orchestra  in the Gardner Centre, Brighton University on 24th June that year.  Howard later made two arrangements of this, one for cello (Steven Isserlis) and one for violin (Nigel Kennedy) but all three of these were withdrawn later when a BBC 2 producer, John Langridge, suggested that a much-enlarged version might be created as a 'concerto for tenor sax, big band and orchestra'. A performance of this was given at a BBC invitation concert on 26th February 1989 at the Hippodrome, Golders Green, by the BBC big band plus the BBC Radio Orchestra with Ian Dixson as soloist, conducted by Grant Hossack. However, in 2015 Howard decided to drop the orchestral aspect of the work and re-arrange it solely for solo tenor sax and big band (opus 671). A highly succesful first performance of this was given by Simon Bates as soloist with his own big band on June 5th 2015 at Steyning Jazz Club amongst a programme of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Neil Hefti, Stan Kenton and other big-band classics.


8th November 2008 Andrea Kautzmann, Leverkusen Jazz Festival
3rd November 2008 Big Band of the Clara Schumann Music School, soloist Andrea Kautzmann, Sinfonia of Dusseldorf cond.Tobias van de Locht, Savoy Theatre, Dusseldorf
26th February 1990 BBC Big Band and the BBC Radio Orchestra, Ian Dixson, (solo tenor saxophone), conductor Grant Hossack,


6th April 2016 Simon Bates solo tenor saxophone with The Royal Armoured Corps Big Band, 2016 National Concert Band Festival, Royal Northern College of Music
17th November 2015 Simon Bates Big Band, Loxwood Jazz and Blues
5th June 2015 Simon Bates solo tenor saxophone with the Simon Bates Big Band, Steyning Jazz Club
5th June 2015 Simon Bates and big band, Steyning Jazz Club

'Heartbeat'- a rousing first perfomance. A programme of classic numbers from Count Basie, Duke Ellimgton , Stan Kenton and others preceded a first performance of Howard Blake's 'Heartbeat' for solo tenor sax and big band, to great applause. 'Heartbeat' was originally commissioned by BBC Brighton as a piece for jazz quintet and string orchestra but this was the first perfomance of a new version specially made by the composer for tenor sax soloist (Simon Bates) and big band.

Related Works

A concert piece for tenor saxophone solo, jazz quartet and strings
'*HEARTBEAT' op.404 (December 1989)
Concerto for tenor saxophone, big band and orchestra

Related Autobiography Chapters


[Back to top]