4BR Dinner Guests - Cai Isfryn gives us his ultimate dinner guest list


The multi talented Mr Cai Isfryn tells 4BR just who he would have around his dinner table for a good night out and chin wag. It's an interesting mix..

Cai IsfrynGiven the opportunity, the wish list, the ability to mess about with the Space-Time Continuam like Doctor Who, and the skill to cook like Heston Blumenthal, who would you like to invite around to your place to enjoy a meal and chin wag with?   

4BR started it all off a few days before Christmas 2007 with our 10 dinner guests, so we thought we had better ask a few more brass band personalities who would be on their all time dinner list too..

Multi talented

This time it's the multi talented Cai Isfryn, who hails originally from North Wales.

Cai has just completed his studies at the RNCM - passing with flying colours, and as well as making a name for himself as a highly repected cornet and trumpet player, has also won new admirers for his compositional output too, such as 'Blizzard', which was performed by David Thornton recently. 

Whilst at the RNCM he played with Black Dyke and was a founder member of Groves Brass, an award winning quintet who have been finalists in the prestigious Phillip Jones Brass Competition, and have earned critical acclaim for their championing of new music. They recently performed at the Black Dyke Brass Symposium and the Scottish Academy of Music.

He told 4BR: "There are many people within the brass banding movement who’ve had a big influence on me musically and otherwise, and many people outside the movement that id genuinely love to meet and have a chat with, preferably over a steak dinner with the footie on."

1. Ian Rush

As a Liverpool fan and a patriotic Welshman there’d be no one more apt than Ian Rush to have round. Football’s my second passion and I’ve been a lifelong red fan (although not quite old enough to remember Rush in his heyday).

The fact that he later went on to play a few games for Wrexham as well makes him one of the few players who’s played for all three teams closest to my heart.

However it’s hard to imagine that he’d be a barrel of laughs, and another footballer that might be worth inviting round would be Robert Green, another Welsh hero.

2. Jonathan P Davies

Jonathan’s in my view, currently the finest young conductor in the brass banding movement.

Conducting Delph Band part time, he’s one of the most enthusiastic brass band supporters I know, constantly promoting the movement within the RNCM where we both recently finished our studies.

His passion for music would mean that the conversation couldn’t help but be interesting, and he’s also quite an expert when it comes to fine dining.

He’d certainly be the man to trust when it comes to choosing the wine.    

3. Stevie Wonder
My musical tastes and influences vary greatly, from Stravinsky and Prokofiev to Queen, Oasis and this man, Stevie Wonder.  

His album ‘Number ones’ was on repeat in the car as we used to drive to band along the M62. His consistency in performance is something I’d love to have as a brass player as every live show he seems to do is incredible!

I’d ask him to bring his accordion along and give us a tune as well.  

Another bonus is that I wouldn’t have to worry about what I’m wearing.

4. Simon Dobson

Simon’s outlook on the brass banding movement has been a big inspiration for me.  

In my opinion composers such as himself or Peter Meechan make brass banding current, keeping us in touch with what’s happening musically outside the movement, which in turn will keep younger people enthusiastic about playing and being involved in brass bands.

An example of this is when I recently played a piece of Simon’s with Groves Brass quintet and Dave Thornton as a soloist called ‘In Memoriam E.S’.  

The piece had a Drum and bass backing track and was heavily jazz influenced, moving us away from the traditional ‘brass sound’- something which really appeals to me!

5. James Morrison
After Black Dyke toured with him last summer I was left in awe of the man:

Firstly for his ridiculously good trumpet, trombone, euphonium, xylophone (generally anything that makes a noise) playing; secondly, for his laid back attitude towards life, and thirdly because the stories he told the audience between songs were genuinely funny- something I’ve found to be very rare.

He’d keep the guests entertained for hours, and it would also be great to see what car he turns up in...... as he’s the presenter of the Australian ‘Top Gear’ he’d have plenty to chose from!

6. Paul Duffy and Tom Hutchinson
 With all these wonderful people round the table I’d have to balance things out, and invite two ‘not so wonderful’ people.

I jest.

During my time at Dyke, Paul and Tom were great banter and kept me very entertained, so it would be a shame not to have them round.

7. Rob Brydon
Another Welshman, Rob Brydon would be the perfect man to lighten the mood once Paul and Tom had made things dull at the dinner table.

His turn as ‘Bryn’ in Gavin and Stacey was pure genius and although he’s nothing what so ever to do with brass bands, I find him hilarious!

8. Fred Evans

Fred was the founder (along with his son, Gwyn) of Beaumaris Band, where I began my playing.

His work with the youngsters in the Anglesey area is inspirational and he is regularly to be found leading the band at the town square to raise funds for upcoming competitions.

As a youngster I used to trek up to Fred’s house for a lesson in his living room, and he’s not changed one bit.... still full of stories and jokes, and happens to be one of the kindest people I’ve ever met as well.

9. Wynton Marsalis

A real musical hero of mine.

What Wynton doesn’t know about brass playing (in any style) is probably not worth knowing. Whilst Wynton can’t be classed as a brass band performer (he’s far too busy), I’m sure he’s been accompanied by a few in his time.

The most amazing trumpeter and with such vast experience and knowledge, he would probably be the centre of attention for at least some of the evening!

10. John Miller

My teacher during my time at the RNCM would be a must at the dinner table.

A remarkable teacher, and a highly entertaining man that would be able to keep everyone on their toes. 

Previous dinner guest lists:  

Previous guests have included the 4BR selection; Chris Wormald; David Read; Pete Meechan; Alan Jenkins; Derek Broadbent; Philip Harper; Peter Roberts; Frank Renton; James Shepherd; Dr Roy Newsome; Paul Lovatt-Cooper; Bramwell Tovey; Kevin Crockford; Morvern Gilchrist and Lesley Howie; Richard Evans; Simone Rebello; Ian Porthouse; David Daws; Alan Morrison; Alan Wycherley, Mark Bousie, Steven Haynes, Simon Dobson, Ian Buckley and John Roberts.


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