My first exposure to jazz was hearing Gerry Mulligan and Bob Brookmeyer at the Royal Festival Hall in 1957. In the 1960s I played baritone in numerous rehearsal bands playing material by Holman, Ellington, Hefti, Mulligan etc. On one occasion, while rehearsing at the BBC, Harry Rabinowitz talked us through some of the charts which was quite an experience. I began working in R&B bands, one of which was fronted by Freddie Mack, a former world-ranked middleweight boxing champion. In another soul band we played opposite some of the stars of the day such as Long John Baldry, Rod Stewart, Jimi Hendrix, The Kinks, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Witherspoon, Stevie Winwood and Spencer Davis – all for very little money, as I recall. That band was also resident at the 100 Club and the Café des Artistes in Chelsea for quite a while. Later I spent over 30 years on the semi-pro gig scene in London and the home counties. I no longer play the saxophone but I take it out of its case occasionally and gaze lovingly at it. I started contributing to Jazz Journal and Crescendo in 1994 and 30 of my interviews have been published by Scarecrow Press under the title Fifties Jazz Talk. In 2003 I provided a discography of Gerry Mulligan’s numerous unissued recordings for Raymond Horricks’ biography of the great man.
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