A Major Influence
Peter King has been a major influence on the British Jazz scene ever since he played, (at the age of eighteen!), the opening of Ronnie Scott's, London's internationally famous jazz Mecca.
Although he now concentrates on his work as a solo artist, and with his regular Quartet, Peter has worked with such legends as Bud Powell, Elvin Jones, Max Roach, Milt Jackson, Lalo Schifrin, Frank Foster's 'new' Count Basie Band and the Ray Charles Orchestra. He has also recorded with Hampton Hawes, Al Haig, Philly Joe Jones, Zoot Sims, Al Cohn, and many others, including Red Rodney, who said this of Peter, "He's got that natural growl in his playingyet he's soft and beautiful when he wants to be."
Peter has also worked with many great singers, such as Ernestine Anderson, Joe Williams, Anita O'Day, and made albums with Jon Hendricks and Jimmy Witherspoon. He has also accompanied artists as diverse as Tony Bennett, Marlene Dietrich, James Brown and Lauren Bacall. King is also known for his recorded work with the pop group, 'Everything but the Girl' and as featured soloist and Musical Director of the Charlie Watts Quintet.
Peter can also be seen in films such as 'Blue Ice' starring Michael Caine, and the new hit movie, 'The Talented Mr. Ripley', staring Mat Damon and directed by the Oscar winning Anthony Minghella. Peter also can also be heard playing on Mike Figgis' film 'Time Code,' particularly over the opening titles.
As a featured performer, Peter has long been a favorite of European jazz festival audiences, including, in France, Marciac, with Phil Woods, Bobby Watson, Cedar Walton, and Victor Lewis; in addition to festivals in Nice, Paris; Belgium, Comblain le Tour, Liege, Bilzen, and Gouvi; Spain Bilbao, San Sabastian; Finland, Pori; and Norway, Molde, as at Pori, with John Hicks and Idris Muhammad.
Peter has been a special guest of Lalo Schifrin with various Symphony Orchestras at concerts in Germany and Switzerland and joined him in Israel for a concert in January 2000 with the Israeli Philharmonic. There have also been several appearances at the Berlin Jazz Festival, including a concert with Phil Woods and Jackie McLean.
Phil was a special guest with Peter's own Quintet at the Glasgow Festival, as was Johnny Griffin, who joined them in a special appearance at the Cork Festival, in Ireland. The later featured a string section, for which Peter did all the writing. Additionally, Peter was the only non-American artist invited to perform at the Gem Theatre in Kansas City during a week of celebrations in honour of Charlie Parker in March 1999.
In the summer of 1999, Peter played and performed a small acting role in the Julian Barry play Lenny. The work involved being on stage throughout the play and acting in several small scenes. Directed by Sir Peter Hall and with Eddy Izzard in the title roll, Lenny is about the life of Lenny Bruce and received rave reviews when it opened in London's West End. In March 2000 he toured with Benny Golson and his tribute band, Roots.
A prolific composer and arranger, one of the best known being Janus, a BBC commission, featuring his own Quartet and the Lyric String Quartet. He has many albums to his name, including Lush Life and Tamburello, which won the Best CD of the Year prize at the BT British Jazz Awards, (other winners include Wynton Marsalis.)
The latest CD, Footprints, is now available on the same Miles Music label. In the Autumn of 2001 Peter went on the road again with the new Charlie Watts Tentet, for which he wrote several arrangements and shared the role of leader. As well as playing two weeks at Ronnie Scott's, the band played at the Blue Note in Tokyo and New York.
In October 2002 Peter visited Russia for an extensive and highly successful solo tour. This was followed by a return trip in Aug 2003 when his Quartet played in Ufa and at the Moscow Summer Festival, where Peter was presented with a special Life Time Achievement award.
Peter's latest project is a full length two act opera, Zyklon, with the libretto by Julian Barry. A short workshop version was performed at the City University of New York on 13 Dec 2004 and received a standing ovation. There are now moves to get the work fully staged, in a full length version and two orchestral pieces from Zyklon were performed with the London Kensington Sifonia, at St John's Smith Square on 4 June 2005.
Peter has been commissioned to write new music for his Octet, which is to be featured at both the Appleby and Brecon Festivals this summer. Further interesting projects, Classical and Jazz are in the pipeline. Peter has also started work on his autobiography, which is projected for publication by Northway Publications in 2007.
Colour photo by Rene Laanen
Copyright © 2005 Peter King. All Rights Reserved.