After a couple of years of intensive study Pete joined NYJO, managing – in his time there – to play in all five saxophone chairs, solo flute, bass guitar and, on one rather inauspicious occasion, fourth trumpet/flugelhorn. He also developed an inclination to play modern jazz on the rather ‘old-fashioned’ clarinet, which led to several works for clarinet and big band being commissioned during his stay, and established a tradition of clarinet solos in NYJO which has plagued the saxophone section ever since.
On leaving NYJO Pete sought fame and fortune with the John Simons Rhumba Show Band on the QE2, his orange frilly flamenco shirtsleeves and sassy sombrero becoming one of the familiar sights in the bars, clubs and clinics around the ports of the Caribbean Sea.
Returning from his seafaring adventures, Pete joined the award-winning contemporary sax quartet Itchy Fingers on alto. During his three year stay with the band Pete toured Brazil, Venezuela, North Africa, Russia and Europe and worked with, amongst others, Dizzy Gillespie, John Scofield, Chick Corea and Super Sax.
He also played on a session, doubling baritone sax and oboe, for the Stereophonics’ mega-hit Handbags and Gladrags, the single which held a chart position in Europe for the next eighteen months and became the single best selling recording in the UK in 2002 – boosted no doubt by its use as the theme for Ricky Gervais’ ‘The Office’.
A five-year stint playing and arranging for with Jools Holland’s Rhythm and Blues Orchestra saw Pete working with Tom Jones, Norah Jones, Solomon Burke, Dr. John, Lulu, Georgie Fame and Lionel Richie, to name but a few, and producing arrangements for John Cale, Texas, Sir Paul McCartney, Candi Staton, Marti Pellow and Chrissy Hynde.
Recently Pete’s career has divided into three distinct streams – as an educator, working in masterclasses and as soloist with young musicians all over Britain; as a jazz soloist, appearing with resident trios in the provinces; and as a bandleader and orchestrator, with work divided between directing the Big Band at Ronnie Scott’s and putting together bands of all sizes and styles for clients on a bespoke basis.