A Brief Biography

Garry started to play the drums in his very early teens, after discovering the world famous drummers that played with the great big bands of the day, Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa and Louis Bellson in particular. In the UK he became influenced by Kenny Clare and Ronnie Verrell, both of whom in later years he became very friendly with, so much so that he has the drum kits that belonged to them and they played on. See vintage drums page for photographs and details.

After playing with many of the local bands in Redditch where he was born, Garry did his first fully professional job when he was 18 years of age, playing with the Wylie Price Orchestra at the Top Rank Dance Hall in Coventry, 6 nights per week, plus a Saturday afternoon Tea Dance every week for 12 months. He then left to join the Billy Walker Band at the Mecca Casino Ballroom in Birmingham, playing 5 nights and 3 afternoon Tea Dances every week. He did this for two years and then turned his interest to small group Mainstream / Modern Jazz. His main influences had been Joe Morello, Tony Williams, Mel Lewis , Max Roach and Art Blakey in the USA and Phil Seaman, Allen Ganley and Ronnie Stephenson  in England. For the next two  or three years he played in numerous rhythm sections supporting the touring jazz stars of the day,  Tommy Whittle, Kenny Baker, Ronnie Scott, Tubby Hayes, Bert Courtley, Kathy Stobart, Don Lusher etc. In later years this experience was to pay off when he accompanied visiting American stars, Art Farmer, Herb Geller, Maynard Ferguson, Mel Torme and Dakota Staton.

For the next 20 years or so he played with almost every major Big Band in the Midlands, Colin Hume, Sonny Rose, Hedley Ward, Ronnie Hancock, Vincent Ladbroke, Harry Engelmann, Freddy Brinklow, Brian Pearsall, Andy Ross, Vernon Adcock, Geoff Murphy, Joe Ward, Johnny Lambe.  He also did lots of  TV with Jerry Allen and his Trio and with John Patrick and his Orchestra. Many Radio Broadcasts  for the BBC and Television for ATV, Central, Granada, Thames TV, Parkinson Show and others. Numerous recording sessions at Pye, Decca, Phillips in London. He then worked for the P&O shipping company on the cruise liners  Canberra and Oriana.

In 1974 Garry decided to put all of the experience that he had gained into forming his own band. He formed a 16 piece Big Swing Band using all of the star players in the area and so the ‘Midland All-Stars Big Band‘ came into being. It was very successful, playing all over the UK  and in 1980 he took the full band out to the Middle East to play for the 10 anniversary of the United Arab Emirates.  Between 1984 and 1987 Garry led his own 10 piece band , entertaining the worlds VIP’s on board Cunard’s famous cruise liner the Q.E.2. He also took the band to work cruising the Caribbean on board the Cunard Countess

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