Gerard Presencer - Trumpet

David Gallant talks to the leading trumpeter about how he got started, the instruments he’s played over the years and his all time favourite choice.

As head of the department for jazz studies at the Royal Academy of Music, Gerard Presencer believes that you need to get people’s ears working, before you get bogged down in the technicalities of jazz theory.

Jim Mullen - Guitar

David Gallant talks to leading musicians about how they got started, the instruments they have played over the years and their all time favourite choice.

Jim Mullen
grew up on the East side of Glasgow in the mid-1940s. “My claim to fame is that I taught Billy Connolly the chords for ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’ on the banjo,” he says with a wry chuckle. 

John Etheridge - Guitar

Picking up his first guitar in 1961, a £3 Russian acoustic "with a six inch action at the twelfth fret!" didn’t make for the best of beginnings. "That was awful," says John Etheridge with a chuckle; "I was really relieved when I found the Hofner solid body a few months later. Looking back, that Hofner was a nice guitar and I used it for a surprisingly long time."

Jonathan Gee - Piano

“All the family plays piano,” says Gee, who grew up in an environment saturated with the various colours of classical music. “My grandfather, Harold C. Gee, was a professional classical violinist, who played on the BBC twice a week from 1940-65 and I was brought up on the likes of Bartok, Sibelius, Shostokovich and Britten.”

Laurence Cottle - Bass Guitar

David Gallant talks to the bassist and bandleader about how he got started, the instruments he has played over the years and his all time favourite choice.

Cottle’s first performance was hardly an auspicious beginning to a successful musical career. “I was about two years old,” he remembers, “when I appeared out of a suitcase as my father’s ventriloquist dummy!”

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