My musical career began in England, though I had learned guitar when I was twelve and I had played a few 'gigs' in Latin America, especially in Peru where I hung out for a time with some fellow travellers.
My first gigs in England were with Mataya Clifford in 1977 from Zimbabwe but things really got serious when I started playing with Danny Adler, mainly Bluesy Funk compositions with very complicated arrangements and bass lines. There would be endless rehearsals as he knocked the band into shape. You can hear some of those early recordings on iTunes or Spotify.
I was semi pro and always had a part time job at that time; as a chauffeur, a cleaner, warehouse 'operative' and a desk job answering the phone. I taught myself to read music while I was doing this desk job and also did a course at Morley College.
In the late seventies I formed one of the first 'latin' bands in England called Tres. The highlight of our career was supporting Tito Puente at the Venue in Victoria. I became heavily involved in the Latin music scene and eventually ended up joining the Republic with Sara Jane Morris lead singer. Tim Feinburgh and John Glyn were the creative force, but myself and Jorge Cortesão added the Cuban and Brazilian knowledge that we had to their compositions. Sara Jane was magnificent and we had Jerry Wigens on Guitar and a three piece horn section. We would pack every venue that we played at, it was a fantastic band. Maybe the first ever 'World' music band.
One day in 1985 I heard about auditions at the Guildhall School of Music to get into the jazz and rock course. Thanks to help from Dill Katz I was granted an audition and gained a place on the course. I was awarded a grant by the council and so was able to study music for a year and was able to give up my part time day jobs. It gave me so much confidence, though at the same time I came up against some amazing musicians that year. Winston Clifford, Ralph Salmins, Steve Williamson, Joe Bashorun, Wayne Bachelor, Leigh Etherington, Ricardo Santos, and they made me realise (again) how much I still had to learn.