The beginnings

Since the 1950s, I have faced audiences whilst performing as a chorister and a pianist.

The 50s and 60s were great days for witnessing the evolution of modern music and as a boy I so wanted to grab my share of performing live music.

Aged 9, I learned a little piano through lessons, but it was my years as a chorister where I developed my ear. For 8 years I sang under the guidance of a really well-disciplined choir master and honed my voice to sing part harmony to music. Four part harmony develops your sense of ‘harmonics’ and clarity of chord structures.

In the early 50s I started, like so many, to play guitar. In those days there were few useful tuition books. But it wasn’t hard to work out what was happening - music isn’t simply a string of notes that are played in sequence from a musical score.  Music to my ear was an evolving sequence of chords which progressed through a song, in a systematic, rhythmic, associative and predictive progression.

After learning to accompany songs strumming guitar chords, I reverted back to piano and applied my new-found knowledge to the piano. It was instantly rewarding .... and I was learning to play by ear.

In the early 60s, there was a plethora of piano player/songwriters such as Carole King and Neil Sedaka, there was a huge choice of ‘modern’ music to get my teeth into. Then along came the Beatles, Elton John, Billy Joel on the back of Jerry Lee Lewis.

With a love of jazz, blues and improvisation there were no holes barred. My hero is Oscar Peterson.

60s and 70s Pop, Rock and Roll

I played a little folk/skiffle music in the 60s, mainly guitar and banjo. In 1969 I joined the Hertfordshire based RobbKFour as their pianist. Gigs were mainly in North London.

In 1972 I joined Luton based band ‘Times’, playing Irish Clubs, Working Men’s Clubs, Hotels and private functions throughout Bedfordshire.

In 1973 we broke away from Times and formed ‘Spice’ consisting of guitar, bass drums, keyboard and our 4 part close harmony.  "What A Difference A Day Makes" is one example of our recordings in a multi-track recording studio in Luton, Bedfordshire.

In 1978 I moved the family to Somerset in pursuit of a more serious career in aerospace. As a result, live playing was put on hold for a few years.

Shows, Musicals and Panto’s

Throughout the 80s and the 90s in Somerset and Wiltshire I became involved in the production of a number of local musicals and shows.

I have been a Musical Director of at least 12 Pantos and 8 Musical Reviews, rehearsal pianist and band pianist for a full orchestra stage show. I have also written original music for 3 Shakespeare productions. As an example, here is the overture for "As You Like It" performed at Sheldon Manor in Wiltshire. It is a composite of 6 songs written specifically for the performance.

Composition, Studio and Music Technology

With the advent of music technology through the late 80s into the 90s, I embraced computerised sequencing and digital recording. This allowed me to compose and edit with an unlimited orchestra of real sampled instrumental sounds.

In the 90s I was multi-track recording with the Antiques Road Show and from 2000 onwards, was working with singers and musicians in my own fully digital environment.

I arranged and recorded a collaborative project with the composer/pianist, drummer, Blues guitarist Innes Sibun, four children's voices, 2 male backing singers and Corrina Morrisseyl as vocalist. All parts were recorded separately over two weeks - Let Me Take Your Hand.

 

From Steinberg Cubase to LogicProX

My first 20 years of multi-track and digital recording and sequencing were with various versions of Steinberg’s Cubase.

Over the past 25 years I have composed many original works. A selection of these can be found here on my Soundcloud site, with many of my own arrangements of contemporarty film scores.

I adopted ‘LogicProX’ on an Apple iMac27 in 2015 with sampled orchestral sounds from 'East West Sound Studios' (LA), 'Spitfire Audio' (London) and Native Instruments 'Komplete 11'.

Here's an example of a recording session in my studio


 


The studio is equipped with an Apple iMac27 running LogicProX. I use
orchestrated samples from East West Studios (LA), Roland hardware,
Roland FP-90 digital piano, AKG C414-XLS Microphones,
Roli Seaboard Rise 25 MIDI controller, Focusrite MIDI interface and Soundcraft mixer.
 The accoustic piano is a Yamaha C3 Conservatory Grand.   (Click to see larger)


Accompanying, arranging and orchestrating

I’ve always enjoyed working with vocalists.

Some examples of the numerous tracks that I’ve arranged, orchestrated, played on and recorded in my studio are here:


Top: Becky Paisley
Julia Clarke - Graham Lee - Brenda Farlow

Bands and Live Music

Over the past 20 years I have played with a number of bands, such as the Antiques Roadshow.

I am currently engaged in some exciting projects.

These are:-


The Tone Takers
Maiden Voyage (live) ~ Maiden Voyage (tour) ~ Forget-Me-Not Music
(Click on picture to enlarge)


Tuition

I have given tuition to many young and mature pianists wishing to explore their ability to play piano via less conventional techniques.

I am happy to be engaged in personal tuition and learning programmes. This would not lead to recognised qualifications or grades, as I would temper each programme to address the student's specific needs to a point where they would be equipped to pursue their own learning programme.

The programme would be based on chord knowledge, rhythmic techniques and improvisation.

I am also able to provide assistance in the techniques of computer technology.
 


The Piano Shop in Bath

I am currently working with www.thepianoshopbath.co.uk.

As a past customer, my relationship grew to working with them in piano sales and creating video reviews for their stock. See www.youtube.com/thepianoshopbath
 

Will Lawton Music

I am delighted that my eldest son Will is taking his singer, songwriter, recording, performing career to the next level.

Will is an exceptional songwriter who has a prolific catalogue of original music.

He has recorded his last two albums in Peter Gabriel’s ‘Real World Studios’ near Bath.

More information here: www.willlawtonmusic.co.uk

 


Interesting links:

Joey Alexander is a young jazz pianist who is taking the jazz world by storm - www.joeyalexandermusic.com

 

Back to Start Page