Pete’s career began fairly inauspiciously at the age of 18 deep within the bowels of the Nat West bank in Marble Arch putting bank statements into envelopes. An unfortunate incident involving a picture of a lady and a horse being accidentally sent to the Convent of the Sacred Heart along with their financial records led to a re-think and a few days later, Pete had enrolled at the Royal London College Of Music. After a couple of years of hard study, ruthless self-denial and curry, Pete was out on the road with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, and during his time there, got to play all five saxophone parts, the solo flute part, the bass guitar, and on one rather messy occasion, the fourth trumpet. Having the unusual inclination to play modern jazz on the rather “old-fashioned” Clarinet led to several works for Clarinet and big band being commissioned during his stay, and established a tradition of Clarinet solos in NYJO which has plagued the saxophone section ever since.
After the apprenticeship had been served, fame and endless riches were only around the corner in the form of the John Simons Rhumba Showband on the QE2, and Pete’s orange frilly flamenco shirtsleeves and sassy sombrero became one of the familiar sights in the bars, clubs and clinics around the ports of the Caribbean Sea. At this time, Pete acquired the knack of bandleading, assembling ad-hoc ensembles on the ship for various passenger and crew functions. Serious playing work followed on the return to Blighty, as the award-winning Sax Quartet “Itchy Fingers” had a job going on Alto Sax. Pete passed the audition, and toured Brazil, Venezuela, North Africa, Russia and Europe during his three-year stay there, working with, amongst others, Dizzy Gillespie, John Scofield, Chick Corea and Supersax.
Due to an inspired bit of orchestral management by “a friend”, the bulk of Pete’s work for the next six years has been in and around the West End theatres, where his versatility on many different woodwind instruments has stood him in good stead, most notably on the notorious Clarinet solo in the closing sequences of the hit show “Oliver”. During this time, Pete developed an interest in the Oboe, and after a rigorous six-hour a day practice schedule for several months, no calls at all came flooding in, and the oboe went forlornly back under the bed. Sometime later, a call came to play a session doubling baritone sax and oboe. That session was for “Handbags and Gladrags” for the hit welsh beat combo “Stereophonics” and the single held a chart position in Europe for the next eighteen months, becoming the single best selling recording in the UK for 2002, a sales figure no doubt boosted by its use as the theme for the comedy series “The Office”.
Now in its seventh year, Bristol Jazz & Blues Festival returns with a fantastic programme of high calibre artists taking place across the city.
The festival has grown in size in popularity through the years with a programme designed to appeal to music lovers of all ages and tastes. Now the festival is one of the city’s biggest music events and is fondly loved by dedicated jazz and blues fans.