Steve began studying the clarinet at the age of 10, first with Cyril Chapman (clarinetist with the Royal Philharmonia Orchestra) and later with Colin Courtney (clarinet professor at the Royal College of Music). He was a member of the Bromley Symphony Orchestra from ages 14 to 18 playing anything from Haydn and Mozart to Stravinsky and Shostakovich.  At 16 he took up the saxophone with a pile of Charlie Parker 78’s as his main guide and inspiration. He completed an Earth Sciences degree at Leeds University before deciding to become a professional musician. 
 
He was a key member of Loose Tubes (the highly acclaimed 21 piece jazz orchestra that became the focal point of the British jazz renaissance of the 80s).  During this time, he was closely associated with the London  African and Latin American scenes, playing with bands such as Taxi Pata Pata (a top Zairean Soukous outfit) , Bosco D’Olivera’s Grupo Folia and Roberto Pla’s Latin Jazz Ensemble.  His own projects included Orchestra Rafiki, co-led by long-time associate Chris Batchelor and featuring Kenyan Nyatiti player Ayub Ogada and Ghanaian drummer Nana Appiah, and also the Pigs Head Sons, another Buckley/Batchelor  collaboration. He toured and recorded with Ashley Slater’s Microgroove, Norman Cook’s Beats International and the contemporary classical ensemble Jeremy Peyton-Jones’ Regular Music.


He has played and recorded with several Django Bates’ projects including The Third Policeman, Human Chain and Delightful Precipice.
 
His continued connections with African music led him to travel to Ghana to work with The Pan African Orchestra and with Kakatsitsi in the UK. He has also played and recorded with Massukos from Mozambique.

Steve’s main area of work has always been within the contemporary jazz scene, playing and recording with artists such as John Taylor, Julian Arguelles, Steve Arguelles, Eddie Parker, Iain Ballamy, Steve Noble, Billy Jenkins, Huw Warren, Christine Tobin, Phil Robson, Colin Towns, Seb Roachford, Mark Lockheart, Mike Outram, Joseph Jarman, Jonathan Joseph,  Mark Sanders, Kit Downes and Leroy Jenkins. Steve’s close association with Chris Batchelor has continued with projects such as the internationally acclaimed Big Air, featuring Myra Melford, Jim Black and Oren Marshall. In 2006 Steve and Chris received the BBC Jazz on 3 award for best new work with “Ten Tall Tales”.

More recently he has played and recorded with the legendary South African pianist Tete Mbambisa and also with the newly re-united Loose Tubes.

Selected discography

            Loose Tubes                                      Loose Tubes
            Loose Tubes                                      Delightful Precipice
            Loose Tubes                                      Open Letter

            Django Bates                                     Music for the Third Policeman

            Buckley/Batchelor                              The Whole and the Half
      
            Jeremy Peyton Jones                         North South East West

            Django Bates’ 
              Human Chain                                   Pyrotechnics{Bluenote compilation}

            Noble/Marshall/Buckley                      Live at Bad Gleichenberg
            Noble/Marshall/Buckley                      Bud Moon

            Buckley/Batchelor                               Life as we Know it
            
            Christine Tobin                                    Aililiu
            Christine Tobin                                    Yell of the Gazelle
       
            Dick Walters’
                   Jazzcraft Ensemble                     Secret Moves

            The Space Within                               Federico Ughi
 
             Django Bates’
                Delightful Precipice                        Summer Fruits
             Django Bates’
                Delightful Precipice                        Winter Truce

              Buckley/Batchelor                            Big Air
 
              Massukos                                        Bumping
 
              Loose Tubes                                    Dancing on Frith Street
              Loose Tubes                                    Sad Africa
              Loose Tubes                                    Arriving

 
              Empty Boat                                      Waitless

 
 FEEDBACK

Steve's playing just blows me away.
It always reminds me of African music without being African music.
It's melodic and soulful but very free too.
                                                                                                                        Seb Rochford

Big Air:  “Big Air” (2009).

Steve Buckley: Saxophone, Bass Clarinet, Whistles
Chris Batchelor: Trumpet, Electronics
Oren Marshall: Tuba, Electric Tuba
Myra Melford: Piano, Harmonium
Jim Black: Drums, Percussion
 
This inspired transatlantic alliance……is both highly adventurous and eminently listenable.
…dazzling and invigorating stuff….a remarkable album.
                                                                                                                          Ian Mann, The Jazz Mann
 
This genre-mashing quartet…….an exhilarating, visceral blend of free jazz, post-bop, messy funk with electronic flourishes.                                                                                                                     
 
All the musicians soar, the sound is fantastic and the spirit tangible.
 
 As funky and unbuttoned as a chimp on acid.        
                                                                                                                           Chris May, All About Jazz
 
                                                                                                                               
Satisfyingly adventurous, fiendishly well played and all done with good humour, intelligence and soul.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Daniel Spicer, Jazzwise
 
Big Air has gained near mythical status in the jazz jungle.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Robert Shore
…shifting variation of mood that’s never off the boil.
                                                                                                                           John Fordham, the Guardian
                                                                                                                                               
Exhilarating, visceral blend of free jazz, post-bop, messy funk with electronic flourishes and a little cod mariachi….vivid and intoxicating.
 
This is the best British jazz record for twenty years.
                                                                                                                           Brian Morton,  Jazz Journal
                                                                                                                
 
There are no passengers here…. All the players telling contributions to what is already shaping up to be one of the most engaging,  exhuberant and inventive albums of the year.
                                                                                                                           Kenny Mathesson,  The List
 
The kind of uninhibited roar up that only a group of this calibre could handle.
                                                                                                                          Roger Thomas,  BBC Music Magazine
 
The music is provocative, vital and rich in variety, as soft delicacy is dramatically juxtaposed with pulsating fury.
                                                                                                                           Al browntree,  City Life
                                                                                                                                                                                             
 
                    Life As We Know It. (1999) Babel
                               
Steve Buckley: Saxophones, Clarinets, Whistles, Percussion
Chris Batchelor: Trumpet, Tenor Horn, Tuba, Percussion
Paul Clavis:  Drums, Percussion
Mark Sanders: Drums, Percussion
 
“Buckley and Batchelor join Django Bates and Iain Ballamy as really important names in 90’s jazz and make this the unexpected highlight of the year.” Life As We Know It” moves British jazz forward in a very accessible but inventive way”.
 
                                                                                                                               Peter Bacon of The Birmingham Post.
                 
                      The Whole And The Half (1994) FMR

Steve Buckley: Saxophone, Bass clarinet, Tin Whistle
Chris Batchelor: Trumpet
Wayne Batchelor, Steve Watts: Bass
Steve Noble, Martin France: Drums

Altoist Steve Buckley and trumpeter Chris Batchelor dig impressively into the edgy possibilities of the pianoless quartet.....the themes are perkily unpredictable and the playing has a palpably fresh sparkle: a good idea superbly realized.
                                                                                                                             Chris Ingham, Mojo

This one is a real breath of fresh air.....unusual and exhilarating.
                                                                                                                             Brian Blain, Musician Magazine

The band is a spiky and effervescent example of the eclectic approach to new music that Loose Tubes helped to engender
                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                             John Fordham, The Guardian


Theatre, Film and Television Work:
 
Various sessions for the past 25 years, including;
 
Penny Whistle on Cry Freedom (1987); a film by Richard Attenborough about South African Black Consciousness Movement Leader Steve Biko.
 
Composition of music and tenor saxophone for BBC Radio play The Brothers Wilmer, by Tony Dennis.
 
Saxophones and clarinets for BBC police television drama, Prime Suspect, starring Helen Mirren.
 
Penny whistle for Wildlife on One, episode about Cape Coast penguins.
 
Penny whistle for Rides, BBC television series about an Irish womens’ mini cab firm.
 
Appeared in and played saxophones and penny whistle on Plotlands, a BBC television drama series written by Jeremy Block.
 
Clarinets for London Contemporary Dance production, Flee as a Bird.
 
 
National Theatre Productions:
 
Machinal), by Sophie Treadwell starring Fiona Shaw; Saxophones and bass clarinet.
 
Les Parents Terribles), by Jean Cocteau, starring Francis de la Tour; saxophones and clarinet.
 
Skylight), by David Hare, starring Michael Gambon; solo tenor saxophone.