Henry Botham is one of the UK’s leading Stride, Blues and New Orleans pianists, most noted for his work with 52 Skidoo, No Good Beatniks and The Nightcreatures.
Henry Botham is a professional pianist based in Manchester, UK. He specialises in Harlem Stride Piano, New Orleans music and playing vintage and analogue keyboards, organs and electric pianos.
When he graduated from Salford University with a first class degree in music he had already been working for several years with his first band the HB3, a jazz trio that performed gigs around the Manchester jazz circuit. At around this time he also toured and recorded with RSL, where he developed his love of vintage and analogue instruments that led to the formation of No Good Beatniks, an originals project with a stellar line up of UK jazz talent.
In an unusual departure from the work he had been doing Henry then turned his focus on learning 1920’s Harlem Stride piano by studying the great pianists Fats Waller, James P. Johnson, Willie ‘The Lion’ Smith, Luckey Roberts and Dick Wellstood. He found that there weren’t many gigs going around for stride pianists in modern day Manchester so he formed 52 Skidoo. They have since gone on to become one of the leading 1920/30’s bands in the UK and beyond.
Having developed a taste for vintage piano and ‘old time music’ he discovered New Orleans piano, which draws from a wide range of influences including Blues, Jazz, Funk, R&B, Rhumba, Ragtime and even Classical music and Rock, all epitomized by the recognised master of the genre, James Booker. Through studying his recordings, as well as those by Dr John, Professor Longhair and Jelly Roll Morton, plus visiting New Orleans to meet and study with Tom McDermott, Josh Paxton and Jon Cleary, Henry has emerged with an intricate knowledge of this little known approach to piano. He puts this to good use as pianist for New Orleans R&B band The Nightcreatures.
As well as regularly playing with all three projects he runs a New Orleans jam at Matt and Phred’s, Manchester (3rd Monday of the month), plays trombone in Mr Wilsons Second Liners and is a keen flautist.
Henry performs solo piano (a mix of everything described above) and enjoys accompanying singers and soloists whenever he can. He has done session work in a wide variety of situations and continues to do so. You can hear a variety of recordings on the player below. He also runs his own private teaching practice.
So there you have it, a curious mix of Harlem Stride, New Orleans piano and analogue keyboards to keep him occupied. You can find info on all these bands by navigating through this website.
So I’ve finally got this website up and running. More music and videos will be added in due course. In the meantime please have a look around and think of me next time you need some vintage piano, New Orleans vibes or funky analogue keys!
I’ve always loved vintage and analogue instruments and as time passes my collection gets ever more impressive and I still hope to add to it. Mellotrons and Odnes Martenots may be pipe dreams but I keep looking. Almost all these instruments get used regularly, mostly thanks to No Good Beatniks, I don’t have any digital keyboards with loads of sounds on them as I’m a bit of a stickler for the real thing (with the exception of the ‘necessary evil’ digital piano). Each instrument just makes it’s own sound. They’re harder to transport but feel much better to play.