Band Administrator/Bass Guitar/Tuba
John has been a professional musician for most of his life – working as both a bass guitarist and a sound engineer. Although working primarily in commercial music John has always enjoyed playing jazz, and particularly jazz fusion. Working with Greek, Persian and Jewish musicians John developed an inclination toward Eastern music. This culminated in John becoming Musical Director of an Indian/Jazz fusion band formed around the female vocalist Najma Akhtar. The band recorded three albums and toured the world performing at many music festivals.
At the same time John was working for an organisation called CSE that provided entertainment for the troops in places where they could get no local entertainment. This took John to Northern Ireland, The Falklands, Belize, Germany, Cyprus, Bosnia and the Outer Hebrides and during one of these trips he met his wife Tracey.
Now running a business in Basingstoke John still works as a freelance bass guitarist and sound engineer whilst enjoying running the RJO.
From 1983- 2005 Stuart was the lead trumpet player of Her Majesty’s Household Division and during that time performed at venues worldwide and at every state occasion in London. This included two 12 week Columbia Artists tours of the USA and Canada, performances at every major city in Australia and visits to New Zealand, China, Hong Kong and many European cities. He performed as a soloist and band leader many times in for the Royal Family and World Heads of State in places such as Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Balmoral, St Pauls Cathedral and Westminster Abbey.
Since 2005 he has appeared with jazz icons such as Peter King, Art Themen, Mark Lockhart (Polar Bear) and Mornington Lockett. He has played the Edinburgh, Glasgow, Brecon jazz festivals and at venues such as Ronnie Scott’s and the Jazz Café Camden.
He performs regularly with the String of Pearls Orchestra, the Joe Loss Orchestra and has recently appeared with American superstar Michael Feinstein.
I remember 1955 very well. Three fabulous saxophone players died, Charlie Parker, Bob Gordon and Wardell Gray. Cannonball Adderley made his record debut and I bought a saxophone. I looked at this strange but beautiful thing that I had just invested four months wages on and tried to figure out which end to blow.
In 1958, having figured out that it was the narrow end, I joined the band of the "XII ROYAL LANCERS" as a noational serviceman. After two years in the band, mainly in Cyprus, I returned to Sheffield and got to know the local musicians. The most notable being Tony Oxley who had a little band in a pub called 'The White Horse'. Tony went on to greater venues, 'Ronnie Scotts' and the 'Albert Hall'. I went on to the 'Red Lion' and the 'Flying Duck'.
In 1961 I played with a nice little 8 piece band called the 'Roy Dennis Orchestra' at the Rex Ballroom in Cambridge.
In 1975 with Interpol closing in we settled in Reading. I joined Brian Haddock's band and subsequently 'The Chosen Few'.
Baritone Sax/Bass Clarinet/Flute
Born and bred North of the Border in Aberdeen Jim, initially inspired by the likes of Benny Goodman, the “Big Bands” and later by the work of Gerry Mulligan, Gil Evans and Miles Davis, took up clarinet and later tenor sax. In 1964 Jim struck out for the South to study Computer Science at the then Brighton College of Technology.
This was really his ‘cunning plan’ to get close to the London jazz scene. Jim found his way into rehearsal band land with the likes of Barrie Forgie, Graham Collier and the Morley College Band. This led to seats with the New Jazz Orchestra, Chris McGregor and the Bobby Lamb / Ray Premru Big Band and occasional gigs with the likes of Maynard Ferguson. He formed his own Miles style quintet which performed at Ronnie Scott’s ‘Old Place’ and played and recorded with Michael Garrick’s sextet. Aiming for the high ground he joined fellow Scot Mike McNaught in his London Jazz Four (later renamed Atlantic Bridge). This group achieved recognition playing and recording material from the pen of composer Jim Webb and the likes of the Beatles.
In the early seventies Jim went back to the ‘Day Job’. He re-emerged some 30 years later and now plays alto and baritone sax with the Berks Bucks & Oxon (BBO) Big Band, the Surrey Jazz Orchestra and the RJO (previously the Chosen Few).
My teacher training was at Southland's College, Wimbledon then to schools in Stoneleigh and Croydon, where I met Kate when she arrived for one of her student teaching practices. I joined the army in Jan 1974 and as soon as I finished learning how to march joined my band, Welsh Guards and in March Kate and I married.
Playing double-bass, bass guitar and bass trombone the band gave my much valuable experience in a variety of styles, dashing here and there before I decided to return to teaching in Sept 1978 teaching music in Middle schools in Wimbledon until 2002 then the next four years teaching mostly ICT in Ursuline High School, Wimbledon, before retiring in December 2006.
An original member of The chosen Few with Brian H, Brian M and Mike Booker
Adrian has been playing in several local big bands over the last ten years combined with other appearances in smaller groups. He started piano lessons at the tender age of 8 years old and later developed an interest playing in dance bands and modern jazz groups from around the age of 16, following in a long family tradition. As a recent member of RJO, Adrian says that coupled with the band's musicianship, extensive and varied repertoire, the result is a formidable challenge worth all the effort it requires to produce live performances of the highest order.
I was always keen on music at school. As lads my brother and I were keen on various styles of music but eventually became lovers of the 'Big Band' sound. Barry took up drums so I saved hard, bought a Tenor Sax, took lessons and we soon got in on the local scene.
For experience we did a couple of holiday camps seasons with the Len Turner Big Band which we thoroughly enjoyed and following this formed our own Big Band called M.D.O (Modern Dance Orchestra) in which I also played Lead Tenor. The band got better and better and enjoyed playing at all the West End Hotels, including The Dorchester, Savoy, Grosvenor House, Cafe Royal and even The Mansion House for the Lord Mayor. We ran the band for 25 years before deciding to hang our boots up.
I joined The Berks Bucks and Oxon Big Band on 2nd Tenor subsequently transferring to Lead Alto and also joined the Maidenhead Concert Band and I am still playing in both. Along the way Mike Booker introduced me to The Chosen Few Jazz Orchestra and I joined them on 2nd Alto in 2001. I then continued in the newly formed Remix Jazz Orchestra.
Peter discovered jazz whilst studying at the University of York, playing alongside rather more talented contemporaries such as Alex Wilson. Despite this he graduated with Honours in Physics and, having gained employment at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, settled in Reading in 1993.
After a couple of years on the local Brass Band scene, Peter was called into service as a last minute dep with a Big Band based in Oxford, which reminded him what he had been missing. This led indirectly to a seat in the Berkshire Youth Jazz Orchestra (later Pendulum). Here he finally came to learn the rudiments of Big Band phrasing, both from director Pat Kelly and by playing alongside great trombonists such as Martin Gladdish.
Peter first joined "The Few" on second trombone back in 2003, but left a couple of years later when his day job took him to CERN to help install and commission the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider. In 2009, having returned to Berkshire, Peter was in Marks and Spencer when the call came to rejoin the band and remembers the day well: he bought underpants, a shirt and a pair of pyjamas.
Peter is married with one daughter and lives in Caversham. He has not met Prof. Brian Cox.
Drums and Percussion
"Dave started his musical journey in his school band and was draw of the drums on hearing the showmanship of the great Gene Krupa on his Dad's copy of the famous Benny Goodman, 1938 Carniegie Hall Concert. After much pressure his parents relented and shiny new drum set arrived only to be relegated to the garage, where it was beaten to death on a regular basis.
Dave played with his local Town brass band, in Newquay, Cornwall before moving on to the dizzy heights of the Cornwall County Youth Orchestra, play timpani and percussion.
In 1983, at 18, Dave joined the Junior band of the Queens Division, going on to Kneller Hall in 1984, for a year. It was here that he got the real taste for playing Jazz, playing in small ensembles in local pubs and clubs with fellow pupils. He was then posted to the Albuhera band of the Queens Regiment, in Gibraltar, which was followed by a two years stint in Germany, before transferring back to UK with the Staff Band of the Royal Corps of Transport, based in Aldershot. Here he again had the chance to play jazz and was introduced to the big band when he joined The Surrey Jazz Orchestra. This came to an abrupt end, in October 1990, when he was shipped out to the Gulf.
In late 1991 Dave left the Army and has since been a Police officer with Surrey Police, having to fit the music in around his shift work. Gigs here and there, sitting in with Surrey Jazz, The Paul Sykes Big Band and a couple of function bands, kept things going until a regular gig came about in around 2008 with Thames TV Big Band, up in Teddington. It was then in November 2010 that Dave joined the newly formed Remix Jazz Orchestra."
Alto Sax/Clarinet/Soprano Sax
Like many others, as a young lad my first introduction to playing music was on piano. After a few years of tuition my interest and efforts fizzled out, but some knowledge of the keyboard proved useful later for learning about chords and harmony.
I began discovering jazz and swing in my teens, and decided to get back into playing but my limited funds only stretched to a battered old clarinet from the local junk shop. To join a small local dance band with some friends I then bought an alto sax. Rock was all the rage at the time but we were mostly listening to big bands and modern jazz and trying to figure out how to play it.
I spent a couple of years in the Royal Engineers, playing in the military band, orchestra, and big band which introduced me to playing the music of Ellington, Kenton etc, a great experience. After the band I returned to my job and studies in engineering, and except for a brief period playing professionally in a big band, playing has been periodic and for pleasure.
I have since played in various dance bands, small jazz and jazz-rock groups mostly on tenor sax, orchestras for musicals and stage shows, and local big bands, and was a founder member of the Chosen Few jazz orchestra. I particularly enjoy the challenge and discipline of the big band saxophone section, and playing with a great bunch of musicians in the RJO.