Peter King, as many fans will remember, was just a teenager when he played the opening night at Ronnie Scott’s new jazz club in Gerrard Street, London in 1959.
He has remained one of the great British saxophonists for the last 50+ years, and is someone that Bobby has played with in many settings including the orchestras of Tubby Hayes, John Dankworth and Charlie Watts.
Now Peter has just published his autobiography: Flying High: A Jazz Life and Beyond.
According to Amazon’s description: “Peter King’s book ranks among the great jazz autobiographies. One of the world’s leading alto saxophonists, he tells his story with searing honesty, revealing the obsessions and motivations that have driven him and the dilemmas of surviving as a top creative musician in an often inhospitable world. With cool, unsparing self-analysis, he describes the difficulties that accompanied his brilliant career for many years. Internationally recognised as a jazz star, he has performed and recorded with a galaxy of musical legends, many of them his close friends. Among those vividly recalled in this book are Bud Powell, Ray Charles, Anita O’Day, Elvin Jones, Max Roach, Hampton Hawes, Al Haig, Philly Joe Jones, Zoot Sims, Jimmy Witherspoon, Dakota Staton, Red Rodney, Jon Hendricks, Tony Bennett and Marlene Dietrich. But while the story here centres on Peter King’s life in jazz it shows other important sides of him too: his ambitions and achievements in classical composing, his interests outside music (he is a leading figure and writer in the aero-modelling world) and, above all, the treasured personal relationships that have sustained him through a turbulent life. “Flying High” tells of an exhilarating high altitude journey, in the jazz world and beyond.”
It sounds like a must-read book!
PS I’ve just discovered that the album Bebop Live – Part 1 which I used to own on vinyl is now available on CD. Not only did it have it has a stellar cast of British musicians including Ken Baldock, Bobby’s former sideman, on bass and Peter King on alto but it also had the great US bebop giant Al Haig on piano. The full line-up is:
Al Haig (piano), Peter King (alto saxophone), Art Themen (soprano & tenor saxes), Kenny Baldock (bass), Allan Ganley (drums).