is one of this country's most outstanding musicians... His story is one of perhaps being always behind the scenes, the pianist supporting other wonderful artists, the star who has always hidden in the shadows.
Now, together with his wife Wendy, he has found the support, encouragement and determination to succeed in bringing his love of music to a wide audience.
"I was born in London and my earliest memories of music were hearing my Father’s records. I listened to Louis Armstrong and I loved Bessie Smith and Odetta. I also heard my Mother singing “ I Can’t Give You Anything but Love “ on a record she had made. I was about five and it made a great impression on me. My Mother was musical. She danced and taught ballet, tap, sang, wrote and choreographed musicals. The first time I saw one of her productions, I remember my jaw dropped in absolute awe of her many talents.
In my youth my Father decided that we should move to Australia and that started an adventure for me that would take me round the world. We ended up in South Australia, miles north of Port Pirie, running a petrol station. We had no neighbours. Talk about “the sunburnt country”! Numerous other business ventures followed, meaning that my schooling was somewhat interrupted … I recall my father deciding to sell a property two weeks after we moved in… He no longer liked it!
Before I was sixteen I had left school and Dad decided that I should have a stable job, so on my behalf, he applied for an interview for a job as a postman. To my surprise I passed the exam and was notified that my new job started in three weeks. On the morning I was to start I refused to go, so the first job I ever had was the one I never turned up for! Undeterred, my Father saw an advert in the local paper looking for an organ player. My Father told them I was fantastic and they hired me. I found myself playing six nights a week 9.00 to 3.00 am in a seedy strip joint on Hindley Street, Adelaide…. I was in heaven! All was going well until two police came in one night. The club owner almost grabbed me off the bandstand, shoved some money in my hand and told me to vacate immediately. I was really disappointed, but I had now had a taste of performing and knew what I wanted to do in life. (Play music that is!)
Back In The UK
By this time, London life was calling me home and soon we returned to the UK. At this point, Father thought that I should learn a trade so he found a piano tuning apprenticeship for me. This formed my love affair with instruments made of wood, pianos, guitars etc. However, my calling was to be a pianist and I never finished the apprenticeship and instead, took up full time study of formal piano and composition. During this time, I did an audition for the “ National Youth Jazz Orchestra” and soon I was playing with great musicians. I grew up playing with pianist and bassist Paul Hart (accompanist for Cleo Laine), guitarist Laurance Juber (Guitarist with Paul McCartney’s band WINGS), drummer Simon Philips (International drumming legend who toured Australia with Mick Jagger), drummer Martin Drew (Oscar Peterson’s drummer), to name only few. There were so many wonderful musicians I played with I could spend the rest of my life remembering all of them! One that I do need to mention in addition is Peter Koe, a dear friend and tenor saxophonist who played on the Beatles’ “Sergeant Peppers” album and with Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames and featured on all their hits. I played piano with him for years and we formed a close friendship. I also got to know wonderful English composer and pianist Michael Garrick and he gave me lessons and a lot of encouragement. I started recording at the B.B.C. studios in Shepherds Bush and I used to think, “How did I get to be playing in the B.B.C?”
I played in recording sessions of so many different types of music: Greek pop music; country artists who liked my “Floyd Cramer” piano style; bizarre punk bands playing in strange time signatures and bad hair cuts; dope smoking West Indian reggae bands; electronic experimental jazz; middle of the road pop; Italian bands; Turkish bands. I think I did everything there was and it was a buzz! I never said ‘I can’t do that”… I just went and did it and if I couldn’t do it I just made it up as I went along! Mayfair Studios was one of the studios in London to which I was called to record on a regular basis and was a “happening” place! So many of the influential pop artists of the 1970s were recording there that I just used to stay around to see someone famous. Bryan Ferry, Gary Glitter. It didn’t matter what the music was. I used to play in a band where the singer was Kiki Dee and she was very good and very good-looking, I thought!!
During all of this absorbing and playing different styles, I had an underlying passion for the blues singers, pianists and guitarists. People like Memphis Slim were drawing me closer to a style I was forming. I wanted to write simple songs with simple lyrics that were easy to understand but I wanted an underlying musical style that was recognisable as my own. That’s not as easy as it may sound.
Back in Aus
Early in the 1980s, I married and immigrated (again!) with my first wife to Australia, to be near my brother Michael Wade. He had already established himself as a musician and jingle writer in Adelaide and when I arrived he had tired of South Australia and we both moved to the Gold Coast. We worked as the “Wade Brothers” extensively around Surfers Paradise. We were engaged for the opening of the “Atrium” Bar in the brand new “Jupiter’s Casino” complex and this residency lasted for two years. During the Gold Coast years I did a lot of work with jazz drummer and percussionist with the Brisbane Symphony Don Knispel, who had played with the Oscar Peterson trio in Canada. It was here on the Gold Coast that I first worked with George Golla, Australian Jazz guitar legend. My brother and I were also members of the Ed Wilson Band, of the famed Daly-Wilson Big Band. At this time I was also pianist for Channel 10 studios in Brisbane. Brian May, (Brian May Show Band and Hollywood composer) used “The Wade Brothers” studio for most of his Australian content, which I engineered.
After seven years, I moved to Melbourne, leaving Michael based on the Gold Coast to continue his career. I worked for Johnny Young (Young Talent Time fame) as his pianist for around two years and also for Reg Grundy Productions, recording tracks for “Neighbours” etc.
During my early years in Melbourne, I had the pleasure of working with Rob John, at that time the leader of the Victorian State Orchestra and he asked me to play on the release of his CD, subsequently engaging me to head a series of his concerts at the Melbourne Concert Hall. Other work in Melbourne has included appearances with Jazz outfits at Bennetts’ Lane, Manchester Lane and Dizzy’s Jazz Club, Richmond.
Wendy and I met in 1999 through mutual friends but no relationship developed between us until six years later. I have finally found my soul-mate both musically and romantically and now the music is once again flowing from me, as it should. "In Care of the Blues" was the first of many fruitful collaborations with Wendy and our friends. We are currently re recording this collection of standards. We have recently completed our all original album "New Blues on the Block" which will be available for purchase through this website shortly, and plan to follow the release of these two albums with two more in the next few months."