Arnie Somogyi

Arnie Somogyi profile

Visiting Tutor

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire
c/o +44 (0)121 331 6902

Arnie Somogyi – bass, composer, producer, educator. One of the UK’s leading jazz bass players and innovative new bandleaders.

Arnie Somogyi is one of the UK's most in-demand bass players and has played on over 50 albums, including four as a leader. His latest CD, "Accident and Insurgency", featuring trumpet legend Eddie Henderson, was nominated Best Album at The BBC Jazz Awards and his band Ambulance were nominated Best Ensemble at the Parliamentary Jazz Awards.

He has worked with a wide variety of musicians from Amy Winehouse and Jamie Cullum to Charlie Watts and John Martyn, and has gigged, toured and recorded with many leading international jazz musicians including Bobby Hutcherson, Art Farmer, Arturo Sandoval, Bud Shank, Charles MacPherson, Stan Tracey, Chris Botti, Herb Ellis and many others. He has played on film soundtracks and his music has featured on radio and TV in the UK and abroad.

His first album as band leader and composer, 'Cold Cherry Soup' received widespread critical acclaim and was chosen as BBC Music Magazine's Jazz Pick of the Month. In 2004 he was awarded the Jerwood Commission and formed IMPROVOKATION - a ten-piece Anglo-Hungarian band combining leading improvisers from both folk and jazz worlds. Launched at the Cheltenham International Festival the band headlined at Ronnie Scott’s for a week and then toured the regions to enthusiastic audiences. The accompanying album, ‘Star Mountain Sessions’, was the Observer CD of the Week.

His current band Ambulance, launched at Ronnie Scott’s in 2005, and was chosen for the first-ever jazz-residency at the prestigious Snape Maltings in Aldeburgh in Spring 2006 where they created an entirely original set of new material. The band’s subsequent performances at Ronnie Scott’s in September 2006 with legendary guest trumpeter Eddie Henderson won extensive plaudits across the national press.

The subsequent CD, "Accident and Insurgency", was released on Linn Records in January 2008, and supported by another UK tour, again as a sextet with Eddie Henderson, including the Southport Jazz Festival and a headline slot at Ronnie Scott’s with further appearances later that year at Cheltenham, Brecon and Glasgow International Jazz Festivals The tour and CD attracted significant critical acclaim, including **** reviews in The Guardian, The Times, BBC Music Magazine, Jazzwise and The Scotsman; and was featured Gig of the Week and Critic's Choice in Time Out.

The band was cover feature in Jazz UK and Jazzwise magazines and nominated for Ensemble of the Year at the 2008 Parliamentary Jazz Awards. The CD was nominated as BBC Jazz CD of the Year 2008. He works frequently at Ronnie Scott’s club as a member of the club's house band, the “Ronnie Scott’s All-Stars”. He has also made and presented three BBC Radio 4 documentaries: "Cool Roots" - a musical journey back to trace his ancestral roots, "Package Peculiar" - a travelogue of visits to Draculaland in Transylvania and Stalinworld in Lithuania and "The Goulash Archipelago" a culinary road trip through Hungary and Transylvania, trading music for food and recipes.

He is jazz bass tutor, small band coach and jazz history lecturer at Birmingham Conservatoire and visiting teacher at The Royal Academy of Music, Trinity College and The Guildhall School of Music.