I started learning to play the piano at age 10; I was inspired the first time I heard Peter, my father, playing Alto Sax with a pianist in the front room. I did 6 years of practising and studying classical music; I have been self taught in modern genres. I got my first gig at a restaurant in 1969 playing Hammond organ. I got knocked off my moped by a car on the way there but still did my debut without either of my 2 front teeth!
In the 60s and 70s there was a vibrant live music scene in Manchester so I took every opportunity that came my way. One night, my dad offered to take me to a gig, as I was catching the bus everywhere; he sneaked his Sax into the boot of his car and did the gig with me. As he rarely played at home I hadn't realised how good he was, we worked together for many years and I served as an apprentice to a jazz maestro in the American Songbook era.
I worked through the 70s in various rock and pop outfits interspersed with residencies in the popular Manchester cabaret clubs like the Golden Garter, Blighties, Riverside,The Willows there was also plenty of Theatre and Panto work. I got to work with many famous celebrities and acted as Musical Director for some of them aswell. I got married to Annette in 1975 and in 1980 we went to Florida to broaden my musical horizons - we stayed for 4 years. As none of the american musicians read music, I learnt all the songs by ear and became interested in improvisation, composition, electronic instruments and recording. I was lucky to play in some great bands at wonderful venues but didn't get to play any Jazz! I wrote TV & Radio jingles and on my return to UK in 1985 set up Creative Sound Productions and established an electronic music recording studio and music publishing company. I worked with many other songwriters and helped with MIDI ( musical instrument digital interface) programming and produced / engineered their songs. I had some success writing TV themes and worked on commissions for the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and for the emerging Satellite TV companies. Most of the work was for Sports programmes, though the most lucrative work I did was for teletext music for the BBC – sorry about that!
I did a year as a Video Editor, and engineered in Sound, Camera and Lights for TVAM (remember Roland Rat!) at their studio in Altrincham for national live interview links. I had also started teaching part-time at the University of Salford in their recording studios and in 1992 I took a full time job as an academic in Music Technology. I helped pioneer the first professional audio and video courses in Higher Education, they are still going strong today and are based in the new Media City at Salford Quays where I was based when it opened. I continued to gig and have never lost my love of performing live music; I did a booking at the Hilton in Coventry on New Years Eve 2012 it was my 43rd consecutive NYE!
In 2003 I formed a Soul band called Solar Power with the guitarist Dave Stockwell and Ron Henshall we evolved into Classique with a much broader repertoire and introduced Emma Gilmour who shares lead vocals with our male vocalist; Phil ‘The Fog’. We still work regularly and entertain at corporate events, parties and weddings. In September 2012 I retired from the University of Salford to concentrate on my professional musical career. I’ve got some new projects underway; I have formed an 8 piece Michael Buble swing band with Brad Ward on lead vocals. I’m also composing again and am offering myself as a sound designer to an unsuspecting world – I’ve currently got 3 music computers on the go....
'Definition of Jazz Musician: someone who puts £5000 of musical gear into a £500 car and travels 200 miles for a £50 gig'.