17 piece Swing & Jazz orchestra. Established 18 Jan 2001. Based in Stockcross, Berkshire, UK
Paul Richings – Bass Guitar
Paul started his musical journey at the age of nine on the cornet in the City of Oxford Silver band. He later transferred to the trombone and then the Eb Bass. He joined the North Berks youth Orchestra at 13 and despite now playing Tuba in the brass band and a stint on sousaphone in a Bass quartet, he continued to swop between the two instruments for several years. The lure of big band music had taken hold and by his late teens he was performing with the Oxford big band, Blue velvet, and a Stanza jazz band on Sunday mornings. Contacts within the Oxford music scene led to Gigs with Jonny Morgan then Sweet Illusion. Paul reminisces “It was a great time to be a brass player in a function bands with so much Motown, soul and funk to get your teeth into. We also got to back artists like The Bachelors and Peters and Lee and supported bands like Joe Brown and the New Seekers. You don’t appreciate it at the time that the music you are playing will become the standards of tomorrow. It was tough work learning the top ten every week and playing nonstop Segue dance gigs. But it was a good apprenticeship. Pauline, Yes that one! Was the singer in Sweet Illusion and after four years being locked in the back of vans with me on the way home from gigs, gave in and agreed to marry me. We settled in Newbury in 1982 and looked for music here. I joined the Shaw brass band to keep my lip in on Trombone as well as doubling on bass and trombone in the Gold Stars big band run by Dennis Kemp. Later joining a new band on Bass that Simon Currie was putting together. I also joined Pauline in the band Catch 22 on bass in 1990 after the bass chair became vacant. Nigel Reveler, who played drums in Simon’s Newbury big band, was also playing with George Wicks in the KJB band. Both bands were struggling for players and folded the same year. George was offered the band library if he put it to good use, and after a few shaky rehearsals carrying keyboard and drums upstairs in the Baptist church hall in Newbury, we relocated to Stockcross and slowly grew into The Apollo Big Band and the rest, as they say, is history.