Sussex Store Staff
Phill Straker - Managing Director
Sax.co.uk was started in 1995 by Managing Director Phill Straker (pictured in corny pose), originally trading as The Sax Rental Company. Phill had spent 30 years working in the music business importing, buying, selling and playing in numerous bands.
The original intention, other than just making a living, was to make saxes easily available to all the adults who kept bumping into him at gigs declaring, "I wish I could play the sax."
Music shops can be intimidating places, some have only one token sax on display and often no one in the store can play it! Phill put together a comprehensive sax-pack containing all you needed to get started and made it readily available by mail-order and on an inexpensive hire basis. The sax-pack hire was an immediate success and guess what - over 90% of these wannabe sax-players found they could play and bought their hired instruments.
With the growth of the Internet the business became Sax.co.uk and evolved into the leading supplier of saxophones on the world wide web. The Internet has brought customers from all over the world and each week saxes are shipped to the USA and beyond. Sax.co.uk has a reputation such that professional sax players worldwide are confident to buy direct and be supplied mail order.
In 2005 Sax.co.uk moved into it's purpose built 5,000 sq.ft. showroom in Crowborough which is the World's biggest sax store.
Chris Straker - Director - Finances
Chris (Christine) Straker oversees finance, administration and the 500+ customers currently hiring their first saxes. This is the foundation stone on which the company is built requiring a high degree of personal attention
Jim Cheek - Director
Previously a classically trained oboist (care of Birmingham Conservatoire and the Royal College of Music) he decided that a life of making double reeds was no way to go and converted to the more relaxed lifestyle of sax-playing! Other than being obsessed with cycling he plays regularly with various funk and soul outfits in and around the Brighton area, the most recent of which was a 60's soul covers band which included Prog-rock star Bill Bruford in the line-up. He is currently enjoying recording and producing his own material and will soon be releasing his first solo album.
Liam Young - Manager
After studying Piano for many years he took the step to the dark side and picked up the Alto at the age of 17. Very quickly swapping to Tenor, Liam moved quickly and completed his BA Music/Jazz Studies in 2006 where he was tutored Saxophone by Rob Townsend, Mark Lockhart and Martin Speake.
Taking a sabbatical from music, Liam worked in IT and Business, gathering all the experience and knowledge to enable him to bring his two interests together.
Liam started working for Sax.co.uk London in October 2009, was appointed Assistant Manager of the London store in 2011 and from 2015 has been the Manager of the Sussex Store.
Musical activities involve playing in various bands and projects all around London varying from Swing to SKA and he is always on the lookout for something different!
Jules Lawrence - Assistant Manager
Jules has been a member of numerous blues, jump-jive and rock bands along the South Coast for several years. A player of the tenor and baritone sax & blues harmonica, he is also one of the very few people who's ever bothered to work out how to get a tune out of a musical saw.
As a member of country blues outfit, The Swamp Things, he has shared stages with Jools Holland's Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, Paul Jones' Blues Band, RL Burnside and Alabama 3 as well as touring Europe on several occasions. As a member of The Dime Store Jive Revue, he also spent time playing in New Orleans as part of a Burlesque festival. He has also worked on producing live soundtracks for silent movies, performance art pieces & is currently a member of Jump Jive/ Rock & Roll Big Band- Fat 45 www.fat45.com
Scott Jenkins - Saxophone Specialist - Administration
Saxophone Specialist Scott Jenkins joined the Sax.co.uk team after spending 3 years at Middlesex University doing a BA in Music (Jazz), and a year of teaching. Serving several years with the Kent Youth Jazz Orchestra, and working with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, Scott's jazz led him down the funk and fusion line. He toured professionally with soul band "Loose Change", and now conducts a 40+ strong big band, Invicta Jazz Orchestra. He qualified at Merton College studying brass & woodwind repairs. When he isn't advising sax players, doing sax repairs, or taking part a computer, Scott has taken over the sax chair from Phill in "The Big Kahuna" band, as well as organizing two of his own bands, "Rac-a-saX", saxophone quartet, and "Swagger", Jazz quintet mainly focusing on funk and fusion music. www.scottyj.co.uk www.scott-jenkins.com
Colin Jones - Head Technician
Head Technician Colin Jones (based in Sussex) deals with complete re-builds of vintage horns, and expert advice on any repair/rebuild related questions. You can have confidence that Colin will complete all repair tasks to the absolute highest standard. Colin was formerly sax player with The Blunter brothers.
Amy Craig - Sax Technician
Assistant technician Amy Craig completed the World famous brass & wood wind repair course at Newark College in 2008 and has since specialised in sax repairing. She has played alto sax with various local ensembles.
Phil Kerry - Saxophone Specialist
Having worked in the musical retail industry for most of his working life and worked as a performing saxophonist for over ten years, Phil is no stranger to the needs of current musicians.
He plays alto and tenor regularly with various musical groups local to the Brighton-Eastbourne area in all manner of different styles from classical to pop and reggae and beyond! Despite his musical diversity, Phil's passion is jazz and he is heavily influenced by Bobby Watson, Sonny Stitt and David Sanborn, amongst others.
In his spare time, Phil is a private saxophone teacher to a variety of different ages and abilities. He also enjoys dabbling in compositional work and creating complex arrangements, incorporating his rather nerdy love of music theory!
Lola - Labradoodle - Head of Security- Part Time Repairer
Lola is head of security at Saxophones stores, and also a part-timer repairer