Biog and Press


Jamil Sheriff is the Programme Leader of the Jazz course at Leeds Conservatoire – the largest music student campus in the UK that offers an internationally recognised degree and masters programme.

Visit the Leeds Conservatoire web site for more information.

Jamil was born in Bolton, UK in 1977 to Pakistani father, Asgar Sheriff and Lancashire born mother, Carol Sheriff. Both Jamil and his sister, Naadia Sheriff, studied music at Bolton School of Music under the direction of Richard Eastham. Jamil’s early music education was also informed by his attendance at Canon Slade School and his involvement at St Peter’s Church. At the age of 18 Jamil went on to study at Leeds Conservatoire (then Leeds College of Music) where he focused on Jazz piano and composition and developed under the direction of Joe Palin and Nikki Iles.

As a performer/composer Jamil is a prolific artist who has spent his career creating new music for a variety of ensembles, including his acclaimed octet, big band, trio and collaborative project Rafe’s Dilemma. He has also enjoyed performing with artists such as Ingrid Jensen, Dave Liebman, Terell Stafford, Baptiste Herbin, Lukas Oravec, Pete King, Henry Lowther, Gareth Lockrane, Josh Kemp, Richard Iles, Neil Yates and Colman Brothers.


Manchester Evening News An instinctive melodist, the frontline is an extension of his own colourful piano: A quiet marvel. A true piano trio, and that’s what the Jamil Sheriff Trio represents, is as close as we get to three being one. There is nowhere to hide, each component part is a necessity… put the music onto your system and you are in no doubt, this is serious trianglular music in the business of creation.

The Guardian Classy contemporary jazz with a personal stamp

Jazz UK The music is both swinging and sophisticated, with Sheriff showing himself once again to be a constantly inventive arranger. Just when you think you’ve heard it all, he’ll come up with something fresh.

The Guardian Pianist/composer Jamil Sheriff, a pivotal figure in the influential jazz programme at Leeds College of Music, has made a real difference to the vitality of the jazz scene in the north.  

The Times Excellent northern pianist who brings together a range of classic, contemporary and urban approaches

The Guardian A Wayne Shorter-like commitment to narrative composition… There is no shortage of fine soloists… immaculate taste… soul and lyricism

Jazz Journal The music is dramatic as well as atmospheric. Sheriff is a sophisticated and clever (but never showily so) writer with something of Delius’s romantic melancholy

Leeds Guide Jamil’s music moves from driving blues inflected melodies to sensitive, cleverly arranged melancholic moods, to odd time shuffle grooves, all underpinned by a beautiful sense of melody

The Jazz Mann Sheriff’s evocative compositions and lyrics conjure up a real sense of place…also well supported by his hand picked group of instrumentalists, who interpret his compositions with great sensitivity and skill… The composer anchors everything from the piano and delivers some excellent solos of his own

Yorkshire Post This is intelligent and original music… post-bop influences, balancing disciplined, through-composed sections with highly articulate solos 

Bebop Spoken Here The bandleader gets inside the tunes, head tilted to one side, muttering inaudibly. Fabulous piano playing and two utterly reliable musical partners – a winning combination every time.

Jazz wise Sheriff is an accomplished player displaying dashes of McCoy Tyner-style brawn and, even more impressively, a top-notch composer/arranger. 

Northern Exposure Jamil has succeeded on two fronts – his compositions are as imaginative and enjoyable as ever and he has put together an ensemble which showcases his writing talents as much as it does the considerable individual skills of his all star cast of musicians

The Jazz Breakfast Leeds College of Music faculty member, pianist and composer Jamil Sheriff adds yet another to the growing pile of big band albums littering the “favourite plays” area of my desk.

Jazz UK A fierce introduction grabs the attention then follows a succession of carefully crafted pieces which not only demonstrate jamil’s talents as composer and arranger but provide fine settings for the rising stars in the band

Top 100 CD’s Sheriff’s outstanding support exposes an artist destined for a bright jazz future… ranging from the delicate to the dynamic

Tony Augarde Jazz CD Review These tracks display Sheriff’s enterprising arrangements, which make interesting use of the ensemble. That adventurous spirit is illustrated by Sheriff’s handling of the closing tune

The Scotsman Sheriff’s writing and arranging for the instrumentation is thoughtful and imaginative, and never overrides melodic development in the interests of harmonic complication. 

Jazz wise The new album “Backchat” stands out for Sheriff’s sinuous, sophisticated post-bop ensemble writing. Throughout there’s an emphasis on the interaction between the horn passages with individual solos.