The first steps on my musical journey came via an old Grundig radiogram at my Grandmother's house. There were a limited number of records including Buddy Holly, Elvis, Patsy Cline and maybe Slim Whitman and at around the age of 10 I was exposed to Bob Marley and progressive rock bands Genesis & Pink Floyd by my older cousins. I think you will agree this is quite an eclectic mixture of sounds for a 10 year old but I didn't start to play guitar until much later at around 17. Although my tastes haven't changed much, they are still as eclectic
I was introduced to the guitar by a friend who taught me in parrot fashion, the chords to popular Genesis,Yes and Pink Floyd songs as well as some of their more intricate solo guitar pieces. I bought an Admira Spanish guitar and eventually we would both wear the grooves out on records (pre-internet) trying to figure out the parts played by Steve Howe and Steve Hackett. This led to an interest in classical guitar players, in particular Andres Segovia, I was taken by the romance and tradition of the instrument and would watch the documentary -The Song of the GUITAR over and over. This love of Spanish music inevitably led to and interest in Flamenco guitarists in particular maestro Paco De lucia and by way of natural progression the next step was to the album Friday Night in San Francisco by Paco, Al Di Meola and John McLaughlin. By now the Jazz guitar radar was well and truly switched on and I was listening to all of the greats like Wes, Benson and Barney Kessell but I kept coming across the name of Django Reinhardt and it was exactly around this time (1991) that I saw a documentary on TV called Django Legacy, the first leg of my musical journey was complete. The Next Leg
I have been passionate about the music of Django ever since I watched this programme and around this time I would regularly watch the amazing Gary Potter in Liverpool. Gary was an inspiration for all of us Django fanatics in the UK at this time and I eventually became part of his rhythm section for around 4 years playing festivals and concerts around the UK. I have also been lucky enough to perform with some more great Gypsy Jazz musicians including Robin Nolan and Daniel John Martin. Another exciting project I have been involved with was John Wheatcroft's Ensemble Futur an exciting mix of classic Django with a modern twist and it is something that I hope John revives soon! I have also been part of two of my own Reinhardt type projects with some brilliant local musicians, Nouveau Django with George Maher and Hayden John and The Manouchetones with Karl Webb and 'count' John McCormick and we perform regularly around the North West. Aside from Gypsy Jazz I have also been involved with vocalist Christina Malley whom I performed alongside at Liverpool Echo Arena at the venues' first public event The Number One Project in 2008 and more recently I have had the opportunity to work with a couple of great functions/cabaret bands which has been a really enjoyable and refreshing change. I am really excited to move onto Salford and have a clear idea of the direction my final year will take and once I complete my studies I hope to pursue a career in teaching. I would like to thank my fellow students for their patience with the grandad of the class and all of the tutors at CoLC, especially Dr Sykes.