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|Funk Funk Funk ! || ||Jamming' with Paul from The Stumble || ||Most Inspirational Vinyl |
I started playing saxophone in school at the age of ten, all the pop bands were using sax in the 80s and I was drawn to its fantastic sound. I pestered my head music teacher for one and eventually after a long wait I was handed a brand new alto sax. I remember taking it home and furiously trying to get any sort of sound out of it I was turning myself red with frustration, little did I know at the time I still had the mouthpiece cover on!
Practising at home was dreaded by my parents and the neighbours, I recall playing in side my wardrobe to try and mute the sound! I tried to jam along to anything that made me feel good. I bought old LPs now and again that I would find on my local market stall, to be honest I just bought any record with the coolest picture of a sax player on it, however I did end up with a really good collection by all the fantastic ‘honkers’ that have inspired me over the years - Jimmy Forrest, Teddy Brannon, Cozy Eggleston, Tab Smith, Jimmy Coe, Doc Sausage, Fred Jackson, Willis Jackson, Morris Lane, Panama Francis, Fats Noel, Johnny Hodges, Maceo Parker and King Curtis. Fantastic!
About the age of 19 my musical grandfather persuaded me to join Accrington College jazz workshop lead by Ted Taylor a great teacher and trombonist. He helped me with my confidence by arranging a few local big band gigs in and around Lancashire. On one occasion we performed with the late great 'Don Lusher’ http://www.donlusher.com/ who was lead trombonist for The Ted Heath band. http://www.45-rpm.org.uk/dirt/tedh
It was probably fate when my brand new tenor sax was stolen because I was lent a vintage sax by a fellow band member and I loved it the sound was so warm and mellow compared to modern sax sounds. I went and bought a 1920s Buescher Tenor with the insurance money. I still play today along with a black/silver plate custom baritone.
Playing in a big band was great and it helped me polish up my reading but I soon realised that I needed more stimulation so at the tender age of 20 I started a blues band with our guitarist from the big band. We called it Blue Waters after the legend Muddy. Playing the blues hit me like a ten ton truck I never knew I had so many hairs on the back of my neck! We had some great gigs for a couple of years performing all the great blues standards in and around Lancashire. I was chuffed to bits when we managed a chance encounter and jammed with the late great Robert Lucas he was over here on tour and appeared at The Stonyhurst in Blackburn. He was an awesome harmonica player and vocalist who unfortunately passed away in November 2008 please have a listen www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVS53YKfyPU
My style of playing was always more suited to blues/rock music and to this day I still get those hairs standing up on the back of my neck when performing. The sound of the R&B tenor saxophone, moaning, shaking, quivering and groaning.......oh yea!