The violin was my first choice and trombone my second, which I started a year after.
Why did the trombone win out?
I enjoyed playing the violin (and still do now occasionally in a string quartet and I hope to do a bit of teaching) but I think I enjoyed the trombone more as I was involved in many groups and was a member of the Doncaster Jazz Association for many years. The trombone became a much more interesting instrument, being able to play both classical and jazz music to a high level. I will never forget my first rehearsal in the trombone section in my first big band up North!
Being a ‘Northerner’ have you found any difference in musical perspectives with ‘Southerners’? Or is it irrelevant?
When I first moved to London I got the impression a lot of musicians thought they were better than people from the North, but I never felt that I was an inferior player.
How did your pre-Trinity musical life prepare you for Music College?
The music department was great at school, having a great head of music also helped. He encouraged me to join many different musical activities both in and out of school. I met lots of interesting people and learnt more advanced things about music.
So who have you learnt the most from?
I’d have to say the teachers I had at Trinity, and most of all, my trombone teacher Malcolm Earle Smith. He knew my ‘technique of learning’ and could explain things in a way I could understand with regard to learning jazz and improvising. His jazz vocal technique was also a great learning curve for me!
Tell us about the best gig you’ve ever done….
…The most inspiring gig?
The BBC Big Band (in various places)! It would be incredible to be a part of that band in 10 years time! Also watching trombone players Mark Nightingale and Gordon Campbell play inspires me to learn more new and exciting things!
…So your perfect gig would be?
Do any Blue Flamingo memories stick out?
I really enjoy the 100 Club gigs as I love to watch the dancing, amazing!
If you weren’t a musician, what would your absolutely perfect job be?
I’d be a gymnast! I used to love going to gymnastics seven days a week when I was 7/8 years old, went for around four years until music took over! I used to love doing competitions and meeting lots of different people. It was an enjoyable hobby and one that I hated giving up!
What’s your most unusual habit?
Too weird to tell! [sounds ominous! ~BF]