The best musician in my family by far was my Grandfather. (Frank Snr. Father''s side) Grandpa had a wonderful tenor voice being blessed with perfect pitch and played the banjo, mandolin (basically anything with strings attached) and also played a mean harmonica. He played in several big-bands during the 20''s & 30''s and fronted his own smaller combo''s too. My Father (Norman) played exclusively from the printed copy and his preference in music was mainly Popular music from the Forties, songs from the musicals and light classics. My Fathers brother (Frank Jnr.), however was more inclined toward Jazz and improvised music. One day he arrived and on being invited to play the piano suddenly launched himself into this wild and exciting ''Boogie'' style which he had cultivated in Army NAAFI''s during the war. The value (or dangers) of inspiration couldn''t be more evident because that moment undoubted changed my life. Within a couple of years (age 16) I was recording music for DECCA & POLYDOR records, and at 17 I had left home and was making a living playing piano and organ every evening with a jazz trio at a local night-spot. This played havoc with my formal classical studies but provided me with more than 20 unforgettable years living in different lands, meeting and working with well known vocalists and entertainers, and enjoying and sharing music to the full. These experiences have subsequently helped me to achieve a successful teaching practice in my local community for several years in Cambridgeshire and now in Teesdale. And gave me the time to try and compose some https://www.tradebit.comr the years I gigged extensively throughout the UK & Europe as Pianist, Organist/Keyboard player (sometimes doubling guitar & vocals) for over 20yrs in various formats - Bands Groups/Trio/Duo/Solo etc. For 3 years I played USA bases in Germany amd Europe with Rock and Country bands.
I have also accompanied many well known T. V./Radio/Recording Artistes in Theatre & Cabaret venues. Occasional and seasonal M.D. engagements with artistes such as Ike & Tina Turner, The Drifters (USA), Gene Pitney, Roy Orbison, Chris Farlowe, Danny Williams, Iris Williams, Guys & Dolls, Buck''s Fizz, Brotherhood of Man, Bert Weedon, Michael Barrymore, Cannon & Ball, Lenny Henry, Gary Wilmot, Mike Harding, Paul Shane, Jim Bowen, Ted Hockeridge, Tom O''Connor etc. I also provided backing for several top Country Stars at Wembley.
I worked for a while in Session gigs in London/BBC & provincial studios also as rehearsal and audition pianist in various genre (West-End/Ballet/Opera)
I have also composed various original music scores including a ''Pantomime Musical'' for Local Radio and a ''Rock Musical'' performed at Theatres in England and at the Edinburgh Festival. I once composed an Irish musical and was interviewed ''live'' on BBC radio Belfast - the musical never took off though! I am currently working on a jazz piano and organ album as a tribute to Jimmy Smith and the late great Oscar Peterson.
Regarding ''Valley of the Ice Flowers'' I have a book called ''England''s Last Wilderness'' by David Bellamy and Brendan Quayle, which documents the local myths and legends of the Northern Pennines. It provided my inspiration for much of this album, especially after visiting some of the remote locations, as the book says "the north pennines are one of the most magical, yet least discovered areas in England. A land of moor and mountain, of hidden valleys and ancient woodland. Please email me if you would like any more information on the stories behind the tunes. (do I sound like a travel agent?)
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