All about Ian.
I first began to play drums at the age of 9, inspired my my two uncles who also play drums, Steve and Carl Palmer.
I spent many years under the tutelage of Malcolm Garrett who I truly believe is one of the finest drummers I have ever seen. Malcolm can be found honing the skills of many fine, young drummers at Birmingham Conservatoire, one of the UK's leading music schools.
My formative years were spent as drummer with the Midlands Youth Jazz Orchestra (MYJO) under the direction of Dr John Ruddick MBE. John Ruddick developed the talents of many young musicians including drummers Pete Cater, Neil Bullock and the late Chris Dagley. Other notable ex-members include Mark Nightingale, the Arguelles brothers and Martin Williams. I performed all around the world with this group, including appearances at the Montreaux Jazz Festival, the International Association of Jazz Educators' Conference in Toronto and a concert at Disneyland, Orlando. MYJO were prolific winners of the BBC Big Band competition. I won two awards as a young member of this group; the Kenny Clare award and the Musicians' Union Young Musician of the Year.
In the early 1990s, I started my own contemporary jazz quintet along with trumpeter Guy Barker, saxophonist Dave O’Higgins, pianist David Newton and bassist Alec Dankworth. We played many shows around the UK and recorded at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London.
During my formative years as a musician in the 90's I was fortunate to study with the great drummer Joe Morello in New York. To this day, Joe is regarded as one of the world's finest technical virtuosos in the art of drumming.
Back in the UK, I continued as a sideman in many groups and ensembles and have had the opportunity to perform with many notable instrumentalists and writers including but not limited to Randy Brecker, Ray Russell, Martin Taylor, Mo Foster, Johnny Thirkell, Mike Clark, Bobby Shew, Rob McConnell, Georgie Fame, Alan Price, Gerard Kenny, Leo Sayer, Roy Wood, Salena Jones, Nigel Kennedy, The Climax Blues Band, Jane McDonald, Stedman Pearson and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO).
I played in saxophonist Alan Skidmore's jazz group for a few years and appeared on three albums on ITM Records; Live at the Berlin Philharmonic Hall (along with Georgie Fame), Impressions of Coltrane and a double album Naima featured myself on one side and the legendary British drummer Tony Levin on the other. This turned out to be Tony's last ever recording.
I guess it would appear that I have a wide taste in music and I do try to push the boundaries in my artistic pursuit. I was a founder of the chart-hit group The Ghosts, along with singer/songwriter Alex Starling (formerly of Ou Est Le Swimming Pool).
In addition to this work, I co-founded the hugely successful series of concerts ‘The World’s Greatest Drummer’ in honour of the man known by this title, Buddy Rich. These shows were originally the brainchild of my friend, the late Jon Brookes of British band The Charlatans and myself. Premiering in 2007, these concerts have featured some of the world’s most famous drummers including Steve Gadd, Steve Smith, Keith Carlock & Benny Greb.
I perform regularly with my friend and session guitarist Ray Russell and along with Ray, Johnny Thirkell (Trumpet), Simon Willescroft (Saxophone), Tom O'Grady (Electric Piano) and George Baldwin (Electric Bass) I was a headline artist at The London Drum Show 2017 at Olympia, London with this group playing alongside the great drummer Mike Clark.
I have worked in Los Angeles with the notable arranger Richard Niles and have performed on two records for Richard. Bandzilla Rises by his contemporary 'pop' big band project Bandzilla. The latest release features Randy Brecker, Leo Sayer and Nigel Hitchcock. Recently I performed on an album arranged and produced by Richard for guitarist Eric Henderson and bassist Mark Egan.
I am based in London and aside from music I have two other passions, aviation and running. I am a keen amateur runner and you will always catch me hitting the trail wherever my travels may take me.