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Pete Whittaker

Hammond Organist Pete Whittaker studied music at the University of East Anglia and got interested in electroacoustic music. He furthered his studies, gaining a masters degree in electroacoustic composition.

Having harboured since his mid-teens a subconscious love of jazz (but having made little effort to try to listen to much...) Pete became very much into the genre while at college. Having met like-minded souls (notably saxophonist Julian Siegel, and pianist Kate Williams - now Pete's wife) the study and practice of jazz took over from the vague pop and rock rumblings of his adolescence.

Jazz piano in due course gave way to the discovery of that force-of-nature known to the world as the organist Jimmy Smith, the single most important jazz Hammond innovator ever. The sound of those old Blue Note and Verve albums from the 1950s and 60s grabbed Pete by his charity-shop lapels and made him determined to recreate the sounds for himself. Obviously this would involve a return to the acquisition and frequent transportation of even MORE cumbersome musical equipment than was previously required. Thus was the beginning of Pete's professional life as a jazz organist... twenty years later and he's still as excited by the music as he was then (but now he has a proper van, and can play the organ better).

Pete was fortunate to gain wider experience and exposure in the 1990s by touring with a couple of high-profile rock bands. The first of these was an Indie-ish melodic rock band (with a distinct folk-music influence) called The Wonder Stuff. Pete toured UK, Europe and North America with them (on and off)from 1991 to their initial disintegration in 1994.

Since moving to London in the late 1990s, Pete has had his backside kicked (musically and literally) by many fine jazz musicians. He will be eternally grateful to them all, and strives to learn from their talent and his own mistakes.

Leicester Jazz House East Midlands JAZZ