About the fellas…

Imagine the sound of the original gypsy style troubadour Django Reinhardt come crashing into the world of contemporary pop and you’re half way there.

The Riviera are a stylish and charismatic group of extraordinary musicians.

Their unique style combines the sublime talents of all 5 musicians to create a vibrant live act and puts a contemporary twist on the classic 30s and 40s gypsy jazz sound. Whether entertaining clients in a busy city bar or creating a beautiful mellow ambience for an early evening event, The Riviera never fails to capture an audience.

This band have travelled far and wide to spread the Riviera word from their base in Manchester to Scotland to London, taking in New York and parts of Asia.

Individual band members have worked with musicians such at Justin Timberlake, Mark Ronson, 50cent, Katherine Jenkins and Russell Watson. They have toured the UK with some of the country’s biggest bands, playing events such as the O2 wireless weekend and venues such as The Clapham Grand and Edinburgh’s Dirty Martini and the historic Edinburgh Botanic Gardens.

All 5 astonishing musicians now perform exclusively as The Riviera and are available for private hire, weddings, corporate events and advertising/media campaigns.  Contact us now for a free quote.



Nick Blacka – Upright Bass

A professional freelance, session bassist with over 10 years experience. Nick has been recording and touring since graduating from Leeds College of Music in 2001. Equally at home on double bass and bass guitar, Nick is comfortable in many different styles earning him a reputation as one of the first call bassists for leading touring musicians. He has shared the stage with some of the biggest names in the industry and has performed at most of the UK’s major festivals and concert venues including Glastonbury Festival, The Big Chill, 02 Wireless Festival and performed sell out shows at Sheperd’s Bush Empire and London’s Koko amongst others. He has collaborated with Mercury Music Prize nominee Nitin Sawhney leading to a sell out show at Manchester’s legendary venue Band on the Wall. As the bassist for underground UK hip-hop pioneer Aim, Nick has toured the UK and Ireland extensively as a full time member of Aim’s live band. He has performed at the annual Dingwalls sell-out reunion sessions in London alongside influential jazz DJ Gilles Peterson with Nu jazz trumpeter Matthew Halsall. In 2010 Nick recorded a live album with singer Kirsty McGee, twice nominated for a BBC 2 folk award. Upon release the live album ‘No 5’ won in the 10th annual Independent Music Awards. A track from the album that heavily features Nick’s distinctive double bass style was selected for Q magazine’s prestigious Q50 list of essential downloads. Together with Kirsty he has toured the UK and has performed at Glasgow’s Celtic Connections with Karine Polwart. Nick continues to maintain a busy schedule of recording and touring with a wide range of artists and performers as well as recording two studio albums and undertaking numerous full scale UK tours with his own group The Magic Hat Ensemble and new outfit the Retrosettes.


Rob Goodwin – Guitar/Vocals

Rob Goodwin has been heavily involved in the music industry for the past 10 years. During this time he has worked with a number of world renowned record labels and toured the UK with some of the country’s biggest bands, playing events such as the O2 wireless festival and venues such as Manchester cathedral for BBC Radio2’s live in session.
Rob’s live performances have taken him worldwide including gigs in the USA and most recently Europe as part of a Headline European tour. He has also played sessions for companies such as ‘Xenomania Records’ home to a host of successful artist such as Lilly Allen, Franz Ferdinand and Girls Aloud.

Rob’s 2012 career highlights include Live Radio sessions for Dermot O’Leary, Jo Whiley and Clive Anderson and live appearances at Camp Bestival and Londons world renowned Union Chapel.


Chris Hough – Drums

At the tender age of 8, Chris’s inspirational late father decided it was time to follow in his 3 brothers musical footpaths. But on choosing ‘the drums’ it was his late grandfather who showed up with a mini drum kit and lessons began with ‘John Hicks’ a legendary teacher in the North West area. It wasn’t long before he was playing with local brass bands, organists and orchestras. At 13 years old he was the youngest member ever to join a Championship brass band and also became the Principal Percussionist of The Lancashire Students Concert Band. By the age of 16 he had already appeared on many recordings for the BBC and various Bands. He toured the UK, France, Germany, Norway, Denmark, USA, Japan, Korea, and Switzerland playing for various bands as either a percussionist or a drummer. He went on to study music at Preston College then Salford University working with the university bands touring Scotland and Brazil. To fund his student days Chris played with many bands from German Oompah to Latin. On leaving university Chris worked with friends on an original project having good success in Manchester but as the band started to have families he decided to move into education and doing Session work. Teaching throughout the North West at various Schools, colleges, and universities as well as a large private database kept him extremely busy up until 2009. He felt he was doing to much teaching so cut down the Colleges and Universities to focus more on his own playing, it wasn’t long before he was playing various sessions for Mel C (Spice Girls) Tipatina (a UK New Orleans Band) and an original project with some top Manchester session guys ‘The Slow Show’. The education/playing ratio he now feels is a great balance, “I feel that with my 28 years playing experience of doing various styles not just drums but percussion has really rounded my own sound and this is reflected in the great sound of ‘The Slow Show’. Mapex drums have really helped with the sound I wanted to achieve and in particular my Velvetone or my Saturn for my live sound or studio work. I use various Vic Firth mallets, Sticks and Brushes and the drums adapt to all of these, since moving to Mapex drums a few years ago my confidence with my sound has improved Vastly. I look forward to a long relationship with Mapex and continue to promote the greatness of these drums. With my busy schedule over the next year with Festivals and European tours as well as my teaching I’m glad to be a part of the Mapex Team.” Catch Chris’s beautiful percussive drum sounds with The Slow Show on tour from October 2012, details here

Chris’s Set Ups

Black Panther Velvetone for ‘The Slow Show’ – 22″ Bass Drum , 12″ Rack Tom, 16″ Floor Tom, 14″ Velvetone Snare, 13″ Cherry Bomb Snare
Jazz Kit – Velvetone – 18″ Bass Drum, 10″ Rack Tom, 14″ Floor Tom, 14″ Blade Snare Drum.
Studio/Live Kit – Saturn Birch Walnut Ltd Edition – 22″ Bass Drum , 10″ + 12″ Rack Toms, 14″ + 16″ Floor Toms, 14″ Matching Snare, 14″ Sledgehammer.
Teaching Kits home studio –
Saturn 18″ Bass Drum, 10″ Rack Tom, 14″ Floor Tom, 14″ Blade Snare Drum.
Pro M 22″ Bass Drum , 10″ + 12″ Short stack Rack Toms, 14″ Floor Tom matching 14″ Snare.
Pedals – Falcon Direct Drive Single

Chris is sponsored by…


Fred Kindt – Keyboards

Fred Kindt attained an MA in music in his native belgium an is also a classically trained pianist and violinist. As well as playing with the Riviera and the Slow Show he also works as the bands’ producer in his Blueprint Studios in Manchester. His session work has seen him work with the likes of Justin Timberlake, Mark Ronson, 50 Cent, Rihanna, Katherine Jenkins, Russell Watson, The Wanted, Cherry Ghost, Elbow, Alt J, Jamie T and many more…



Joel Byrne-McCullough – Guitar

Belfast born and now residing in Manchester, Joel has been busy carving out a reputation as one of the first call session players in the area. Well versed in a variety of genres, Joel has been a busy sideman with many major international jazz artists including Jacqui Dankworth, Louis Stewart amongst many others. A regular player around the UK and European festival circuits, as well as numerous TV appearances, ‘The Riviera’ showcases many sides of Joel’s talents.



So, what are you waiting for?  Contact us now for a free quote.