Scottish composer, double bass player/ bass guitar player & Musical Director
Co-founder (with Bill Kyle) of HEAD2HEAD
Composer of new jazz, music theatre and opera
Author of the "Jazzsteps" series of jazz improvisation textbooks, which are published by Faber Music
After qualifying from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music in 1971, I immediately joined the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, in which I was a double bas player for most of the seventies, recording and broadcasting almost daily and performing all over Scotland, in London, and in Hong Kong.
At the same time I was a founder member, with Bill Kyle, of the Glasgow-based jazz-rock band HEAD, which also toured the UK and to Europe, and for which I created a number of the music compositions for three albums before moving on as a jazz composer to write new Scottish music for my big-band WINDJAMMER, which was another UK touring band and which featured many of the musicians of the BBC Scottish Radio orchestra. At this time I also started to write and record music for radio and television in Scotland and also for release worldwide; commissions at this time included writing new highland bagpipe music for cable TV in New York.
Since then I have worked almost constantly as a freelance musician in studios, concert halls, and theatres throughout the UK, taking a few years out in the eighties to create the first full-time rock music course in the UK at Perth College, and writing two jazz performance textbooks, "Starting Out" and "Putting it Together", which are still published in the UK by Faber Music. I was Assistant Director of Music at prestigious Glenalmond College where, as well as my regular music teaching duties I was responsible for teaching all music technology & composition, conducted the choir, the orchestras, coached the jazz band, and MD'd the shows.
Although a big part of my heart is, and always will be, in jazz and improvised music, I've also had the very good fortune to play for dozens of music theatre shows with Mr John Scrimger, and, having learned some of the tricks of the trade "at the master's feet", I've collaborated as the music composer with various scriptwriters to create a number of new Scottish music theatre shows, all of which have premiered at the Edinburgh Festival. A particularly successful show was a spoof on the whole TV talent show phenomenon, called "Fame Game". "En route to the enormous room", which features new settings of poems by the pacifist American poet E.E. Cumming, premiered at Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2011.
In October 2012 my short opera "Flora and the Prince", which I co-wrote with librettist Jim Stewart, premiered at Carnegie Hall, New York. Jim and I are now hard at work creating the full-length version of "Flora" in time for our return to the US.