Winner of the Parliamentary Jazz Award for Best Media, 2019



FNUK, Music Spoken Here, The Marr’s Bar, Worcester, 11/01/2024.

Photography: Photograph by David Smaylen sourced from the Music Spoken Here Facebook page [url=][/url]

by Ian Mann

January 15, 2024


Ian Mann and guest contributor Dave Fuller on a memorable night in Worcester featuring the stellar talents of the fusion sextet FNUK.

FNUK, Music Spoken Here, The Marr’s Bar, Worcester, 11/01/2024.

Pete Case, Jason Rebello – keyboards, Tim Fulker – tenor & alto saxophones, Paul Stacey – guitar, Pat Davey – electric bass, Jeremy Stacey – drums

Music Spoken Here’s 2024 programme kicked off in terrific style with the series’ biggest ever crowd for the visit to the Marr’s Bar of this stellar sextet, featuring some of the UK’s busiest musicians.

FNUK is centred around the Bournemouth based musicians Pete Case (keyboards), Tim Fulker (saxes) and Pat Davey (electric bass), together with their famous friends Jason Rebello (keyboards) and twin brothers Paul Stacey (guitar) and Jeremy Stacey (drums). All the members of the band are prolific and highly experienced session musicians and first got together in the early 2000s to have some musical fun playing more jazz oriented material under the slightly risqué soubriquet FNUK.

MSH promoter Dave Fuller has been scouring the UK looking for musical talent to bring to the Marr’s Bar. His visits have not only taken him to London but also to seaside towns like Brighton and Poole, and it was in the latter that he spotted FNUK and quickly snapped them up for a visit to Worcester.

For jazz listeners Rebello is probably the best known name in the line up, a musician with a successful solo jazz career who has also worked as sideman with such high profile musicians as Sting, Jeff Beck and the French drummer, composer and bandleader Manu Katche.

It was Rebello’s 1990 debut album “A Clearer View” that first steered a young Dave Fuller towards the worlds of jazz, funk and fusion, and it’s an album that I’ve still got an old vinyl copy of too. Jeremy Stacey plays on that album and I recall seeing Rebello play an exciting set at the short lived Birmingham branch of Ronnie Scott’s sometime in the early 90s.  Although my memories of that event are now somewhat hazy, I do seem to remember the leader doubling on grand piano and electric keyboards, but some thirty years on I can’t quite recollect who else was in the band.

Jeremy Stacey was just one of the three drummers in the latest (and probably final) edition of King Crimson, while brother Paul has played with some seriously big pop and rock names as well as pursuing a parallel career as a film actor.

The band was billed as ‘featuring Jason Rebello and Paul & Jeremy Stacey’, which seemed to work from a marketing point of view,  with a big crowd providing the musicians with plenty of encouragement. It was the fullest I’ve ever seen the Marr’s Bar for any kind of jazz event.

The majority of the announcing duties were handled by Pete Case, who quickly set the sextet’s stall out by declaring “We’re a covers band!”. He went on to explain that the group members were all old friends, with associations going back for many years,  that get together to play three or four gigs a year performing classic items from the jazz / funk / fusion repertoire and predominately the kind of material that had persuaded them to become musicians in the first place. Thus tonight’s programme, mainly sourced from the 1970s and 80s, incorporated compositions associated with such artists as Steps Ahead, Weather Report, John Scofield, Pat Metheny, Lyle Mays, Herbie Hancock and Rebello’s old employer, the late, great Jeff Beck.

The stage was chock-a-block with musical hardware, with both Paul Stacey and Tim Fulker deploying extensive ranges of effects pedals. Rebello and Case faced each other from behind two different Roland keyboards, Rebello playing an A-88 and Case an RD-88 supplemented by a keyboard controller. In the end not everything actually got used, notably Rebello’s melodica and Fulker’s soprano sax, but given the impressive variety of musical fireworks that the band ignited this hardly seemed to matter.

Davey’s melodic electric bass allied to Fulker’s tenor sax introduced “Pools”, a composition by the late, great Don Grolnick that featured on the eponymous 1983 album from the stellar US fusion quintet Steps Ahead. Solos from Fulker on tenor and Davey on five string electric bass were followed by a remarkable keyboard excursion from Rebello that saw him generating a vibes like sound, this presumably representing a tribute to Steps Ahead vibraphonist Mike Mainieri. Paul Stacey then established his credentials with a superb guitar solo before handing back to Fulker. Case provided colour and texture throughout, with Jeremy Stacey driving things forward from the drum kit.

The title track of Weather Report’s 1976 album “Black Market”, written by Joe Zawinul, upped the funk quotient still further. Davey’s fat, Alphonso Johnson style bass lines fuelled solos from Case, cutting loose for the first time with some Zawinul-like synth sounds, and Fulker, still toting his tenor sax as he delivered a blistering solo, at one point accompanied only by Jeremy Stacey’s dynamic drumming. Rebello then took over for a searing keyboard solo that combined electric piano and synth sounds. Terrific stuff, and a welcome reminder that there’s more to Weather Report than just “Birdland”.

Famously recorded by Michael Brecker the slippery, shape shifting grooves of the Don Grolnick composition “Nothing Personal” (a tune that also appeared on Grolnick’s own “Weaver of Dreams” album) provided the platform for dazzling solos from Paul Stacey on guitar, Fulker on tenor sax and Rebello on keyboards. Adopting an acoustic piano sound Rebello played with such exuberant abandonment that he actually fell of his piano stool! Not that this was to be his only comedic contribution to the evening.

John Scofield’s blues infused “Let The Cat Out” saw Case adopting a Hammond organ sound as he shared the solos with Fulker, this time playing alto sax, and Paul Stacey on suitably Sco-like guitar. The piece also featured a thrilling series of musical exchanges between the front line instrumentalists (Rebello, Fulker, Case and Paul Stacey) as Davey and the indefatigable Jeremy Stacey continued to lay down the groove. Music Spoken Here regulars may recall that Hoop, another all star aggregation led by saxophonist Paul Booth, also played a version of this tune at their Marr’s Bar gig in November 2023.

Following his earlier slapstick moment Rebello was now coaxed by Case into telling a joke, and a sick one at that, before the band tackled a genuine funk and fusion classic, Herbie Hancock’s “Absolute Proof”. Again this was a tune that had been played by previous visitors to the Marr’s Bar, in this case the group Jingu Bang at Music Spoken Here’s October 2023 event.
FNUK’s barnstorming version incorporated solos from Fulker on tenor sax, Paul Stacey on guitar and Rebello on electric piano. The performance also included a drum feature for ‘Mr. Perpetual Motion’, the brilliant Jeremy Stacey, whose playing in the ‘engine room’ was at the heart of the sextet’s music all night. His rare foray into the limelight was very well received by the audience as an exciting, high energy first set that had featured some dazzling playing drew to a close.

The second set began with Paul Stacey’s rapidly strummed intro to the Pat Metheny / Lyle Mays composition “It’s For You”, which appears on the pair’s 1981 album “As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls”, a recording that also features the late Brazilian percussionist and vocalist Nana Vasconcelos. As Case observed it’s a beautiful tune and one that FNUK clearly relish playing. Case’s keyboards did a good job of reproducing Mays’ signature synth sounds, while Fulker’s tenor sax solo enabled the band to put their own stamp on the piece. That said the solos of Rebello, on ‘acoustic’ piano and Stacey on guitar approximated the playing styles of Mays and Metheny. Nevertheless it was a delight to hear a piece that I hadn’t listened to for a long time.

Rebello’s lengthy tenure with Jeff Beck was honoured by a performance of Beck’s arrangement of the Charles Mingus composition “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat”, itself a tribute to Lester Young. This piece proved to be a feature for guitarist Paul Stacey, who made particularly effective use of his array of pedals, plus his instrument’s tremolo arm as he really bent the strings. As Stacey channelled the spirit of the late, great Beck keyboardist Case provided a quasi-orchestral sonic backdrop, aided and abetted by Rebello, Davey and Jeremy Stacey as Fulker briefly departed the stage.

I wasn’t expecting to hear a second composition involving Lyle Mays, this time a sole writing credit for “Slink”, a tune from his eponymous 1985 debut solo album for Geffen Records. The complex unison melody lines were shared between Rebello on acoustic piano, Stacey on guitar and Fulker on alto sax, with subsequent solos from Rebello and Fulker. It was good to hear this again, and has since prompted me to dig out my nearly forty year old vinyl!

The second set closed with the 1973 Head Hunters arrangement of Herbie Hancock’s “Watermelon Man”, powered by Davey’s thumping electric bass groove and incorporating fiery solos from Paul Stacey on guitar and Fulker on alto sax. Rebello deployed a mix of synth and electric piano sounds, favouring the latter for his solo, while Fulker made the move from alto to tenor sax as the piece progressed.

A rapturous reception from the Worcester audience saw the band remain on stage to deliver a barnstorming version of “Led Boots” from Jeff Beck’s 1976 album “Wired”, also the source of the earlier “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat”. Written by Beck Group keyboardist Max Middleton “Led Boots” is intended as a tribute to Led Zeppelin, something that both the spelling of the title and FNUK’s gargantuan, razor sharp riffing bore out, with Paul Stacey on guitar, Rebello on synth and Fulker on tenor all delivering monumental solos. Fulker’s sax playing has been compared to that of the late, great Michael Brecker and there was something of Brecker’s power and fluency here.

What a way to end an incredible evening of music making at the Marr’s Bar. FNUK proved to be even more popular than Hoop, another group of prolific sessioneers taking time out to perform something more jazzy, but placing a greater emphasis on their own material. For this reason alone I’d give Hoop the nod by a short head, but FNUK were still terrific and delighted the audience with their fiery playing, brilliant musicianship and ready humour.

A great night all round, and let’s hope that all those in the audience that enjoyed it will return and continue to support Music Spoken Here at The Marr’s Bar. Worcester is very lucky to have this unique series of jazz, funk and fusion events, but it needs the support of the local populace, and indeed the wider Midlands area, if it is to continue to survive and prosper.


Promoter Dave Fuller has written his own review of the show for the local press.


Music Spoken Here presents FNUK at The Marr’s Bar, Worcester, 11th January 2024

The cold, dark, midwinter evening on Thursday did not deter hardened jazz-rock fans across the West Midlands from descending in droves on the Marr’s Bar in Worcester for a night of classic jazz-rock, played by an incredible group of friends originating from the Bournemouth jazz scene.

It was indeed chilly as the six-piece band, led by Pete Case and featuring Sting and Jeff Beck’s pianist Jason Rebello, guitarist and producer Paul Stacey and his twin brother Jeremy Stacey, loaded into the Marr’s Bar. But the temperature rose and the coats were off as the queue down Pierpoint Street filed in and filled the place with warm anticipation!

Described by Case as ‘a covers band’, the busy musicians that make up FNUK get together just a couple of times a year to play their favourite, most challenging tunes from the jazz-fusion greats of the ‘70s and ‘80s. The first set opened with Pools by Steps Ahead, a 15-minute ‘appetiser’ introducing Tim Fulker’s Brecker-esque sax from the start, with additional features from Pat Davey on bass, Rebello superbly emulating Mainieri’s vibes on his Roland A-88 keyboard and the first taste of Paul Stacey’s mastery of the guitar.

With the band and audience suitably warmed up, the band continued with Black Market by Weather Report, with Davey laying down the instantly-recognisable Alphonso Johnson groove while Rebello, Case and Fulker made good on the Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter parts throughout, being relentlessly driven along by Jeremy Stacey commanding the kit to his every rhythmic nuance!

The first set developed further with Michael Brecker’s Nothing Personal, featuring Stacey’s melodic guitar, Fulker’s exuberant sax, and Rebello adopting an acoustic piano sound for his solo that finished rather spectacularly with a stool adjustment that landed him briefly on the stage floor, though perfectly landing his left hand on exactly the right note on the way down! Fortunately, no jazz-related injuries were sustained!

The vibe was chilled down a bit with John Scofield’s swinging blues groove Let The Cat Out, before finishing the first set with the absolutely stonking Absolute Proof by Herbie Hancock, but not before a brief stand-up comic interlude from Rebello!

The second set opened with the gorgeously evocative It’s For You, from the splendid As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls album by Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays, with Paul Stacey invoking Metheny remarkably.

We saw more of Paul’s meticulous attention to detail as the band tackled Jeff Beck’s arrangement of the Mingus tribute to Lester Young, Goodbye Pork Pie Hat (presumably less of a challenge for Rebello, who toured with Jeff Beck for six years with this one in the repertoire).

This was followed by another Lyle Mays composition Slink, closing out the final set with another Herbie Hancock classic Watermelon Man (the 1973 Headhunters arrangement).

The packed house of appreciative jazz-rock fans called out for more and were rewarded with an encore of Jeff Beck’s Led Boots from the genre-defining 1976 album Wired.

If any of the audience were still in any doubt about the sheer magnificence of this long-standing group of friends from Bournemouth, then Led Boots certainly put that to bed with everyone giving it everything for the eight-minute finale. The joyous buzz in the room was electric as punters lingered among new acquaintances and enthused about what they had just experienced!

I went to see the Lee Jones Quartet at Jazz at The Bonded Warehouse in Stourbridge on Friday and the band had all heard about the incredible gig the night before in

Music Spoken Here present the very best in UK jazz, funk and fusion, every other Thursday at The Marr’s Bar in Worcester. Go to to find out more.




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