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"He plays confident, swinging violin in a style based on Stephane Grappelli with aspects of Eddie South and Stuff Smith, mixed into what emerges as a very personal means of expression"....."I hope Mike's enterprise in making this open-minded record receives the reception it so richly deserves"...."..impressive versatility" (Jazz Journal International).
Mike began playing the guitar, and occasional violin, with soul, blues and reggae bands in the London club scene of the early 1970s. His first group, The Bone Idols, play local gigs and spend a month in the South of France in the summer of 1966. During a week's residency at a nightclub in Cannes, Stephane Grappelli, who is playing next door at the Palm Beach Casino, comes in most evenings to unwind and sits at the band table. Although MP is playing rock/blues, Shadows etc guitar at the time, a significant encounter in view of future events. An attempt at a "proper job" at the BBC tape library with a view to becoming a sound engineer, is cut short after playing at all-nighter gigs in London at weekends and not being on the ball on Monday morning. So the alternative seems to be to become a full-time musician - if possible.
As guitarist in local groups "The Sound of St.James", Krivoli Rog" and "All-nighters" at the Flamingo Club in London's Wardour St. with the System Soul Band opposite bands like Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames, and US Airforce bases around the UK are followed by a year with Junior's Conquest, which features Hammond organist/guitarist Junior Marvin (later of Bob Marley and The Wailers). This is followed by 2 years, as guitarist/violinist, with The Gass who record his their album in 1970 at Sound Techniques and Trident Studios in London, featuring Fleetwood Mac guitarist Peter Green as a guest on two tracks. Apart from some dates in Spain The Gass play mainly the London club scene, which at the time includes The Bag O' Nails, Speakeasy, Scotch of St. James, The Revolution, Rasputin's, Sybillas and a Saturday residency "Upstairs" at Ronnie Scott's where regular sitters-in include Peter Green, Georgie Fame and the horn section from Ginger Baker's "Airforce". The Gass also recorded with Jack Hammer (writer "Great Balls of Fire").
Another venture is Phil Collins's "Zox & the Radar Boys" - a band he forms pre Brand X, while still with Genesis - MP violin - lots of rehearsals, not many gigs.
A change to a more acoustic style, featuring more violin, results in tours, recordings, broadcasts from 1972 with Paul Brett (3 albums) and MP possibly the only person ever to appear on the Old Grey Whistle Test wearing a dressing gown - see video clips. Mike and Paul support Status Quo on their first nationwide UK tour in 1972. Gigs with Paul's friend, Paul King (Mungo Jerry), as a duo and with the Jigilo Jug Band - (3 albums). Ralph McTell (6 albums) and tours with Ralph and Danny Thompson and also concerts with a six piece band including Dave Mattacks, Dave Pegg, Maddy Prior and Nigel Portman-Smith.
As a member of the Denny Laine Band (Moody Blues, Wings) 1980 - 82 - 1 album "Japanese Tears" (including "Go Now" and "Say You Don't Mind"), playing UK and continental dates on guitar and violin.
Violinist and guitarist with Bert Jansch on and off for about 18 years (1977-1995), as a duo and other line-ups including the band "Conundrum" with Bert, Rod Clements (Lindisfarne) and Pick Withers (later with Dire Straits), and recording 2 albums. In 1982 Bert asks Mike to join the re-forming Pentangle (the original line-up, replacing John Renbourn, who embarks on a music degree course at Dartington College), from 1982 - 89 (3 albums) - tours of the U.S.A., UK and and continental dates.
Alongside this there are violin jazz concerts, including with Keith Nichols' Ragtime Orchestra featuring in concerts at the Purcell Room in London and the Bix Beiderbeck concert series, featuring Guy Barker, at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Also some dates at Ronnie Scott's with Madeleine Bell (MP on guitar). Recordings with a wide variety of other artists.
Russell Davies' TV film "The Lowest of the Low" - the history of the bass saxophone, includes Mike in the Joe Venuti role, playing "Raggin' the Scale" - (see video clips).
Further work with Keith Nichols at concerts and jazz festivals. An International Fiddle Festival in 1984 at Battersea Arts Centre, also featuring Nigel Kennedy and Johnny Van Derrick. With Gypsy Jazz guitar stars Fapy Lafertin, Angelo Debarre and Romane. He has worked with most of the Grappelli guitarists (apart from Django!), including Diz Disley, Martin Taylor, John Etheridge, Bucky Pizzarelli, Jeff Green and Denny Wright and Paul Degville. Also including Neil Stacey and the Kimbara Brothers, Jonny Hepbir Quartet, Ultraswing, Ian Cruikshank, Keith Stephens Gypsy Jazz, Jack Emblow, Madeleine Bell, Big Jim Sullivan, Peter Green, John Joyce, Wizz Jones, Tom "Spats" Langham, Malcolm Harrison, Max Brittain, Gary Potter, Campbell Burnap, Digby Fairweather, Alan Barnes, Don Weller, Marty Grosz, Ken Peplowski, Chris Spedding, Howard Alden, Nigel Price, Herbie Flowers, Peter Ind, Peter Morgan, Jez Cook, Andy Crowdy, Laurence Corns, Dave Toye, Tony Barnard, Jim Mullen, Steve Simpson, Nigel Bagge, Martin Wheatley's Arcadians, Stefan Grossman, Duck Baker, Piers Clark, The Hot Club of London (Nils Solberg, Gerry Higgins), a gig with Gary Brooker at "Blues on the Farm", Dave Bronze's Western Swing band "Fargo" (1 album), The Lord Colwyn Band (long-standing member, playing private parties and Royal events - 1 album), Remi Harris, Mark Ridout, Jason Henson, Miller Anderson.
Ventures into comedy/theatre include a long-standing partnership with John Parker (Les Onions) in many musical guises, Bob Kerr's Whoopee Band (honorary member-3 albums and several Continental tours - MP violin/ banjo/guitar/strohviolin and musical saw), Jim Davidson ("The Devil Went Down to Brixton"), Ivor Biggun & the Red-nosed Burglars ("Cyril Goes to Bognor") and Bernard Cribbins ("I Hate Country Music"). Recording and gigs with Australian singer "Duffo" (Jeff Duff) with a band and as a Duo; "Zippy & Pinhead" (MP as "Pinhead").
An occasional member of John Etheridge's "Sweet Chorus" and an appearance at the Xabia Jazz Fesival in Spain as a member of Martin Taylor's "Spirit of Django".
Five years as jazz/rock violin/guitar "tutor", for a week each year, with the "Herbie Flowers Rockshop" at the Dartington International Summer School. The first International violin festival - "The Genius of the Violin" - held in London in 2004, featured a live broadcast from the 606 Club. The "Violin Summit" includes MP with Christian Garrick and Stuart Hall, and is broadcast on BBC Radio 3's "Jazz Notes".
In addition to guest appearances on numerous recordings by other artists Mike's first CD release "Blues for Stuff and Steph", featuring his quartet, receives excellent reviews from music publications in the UK, the USA, Jazz FM and BBC radio's "Jazz Notes".
"One of the best swing jazz fiddlers anywhere"..... New York Jazz Times. "Master of the jazz violin"...Jazz UK.
MP Quartet CD "Take a Walk" receives excellent reviews and media coverage, including Humphrey Lyttelton opening his BBC Radio 2 "Best of Jazz" with "Struttin' Stuff" from the CD. (He also opened a previous show with a track from "Blues for Stuff and Steph").
These publications all include recognition of MP's fiddling/guitar:
"Stephane Grappelli - with and without Django", by Paul Balmer (Sanctuary Publications)
"Exploring Jazz Violin" by Chris Haigh, Schott Publications
"Dazzling Stranger - Bert Jansch and the British Folk and Blues Revival" by Colin Harper, Bloomsbury Publications
"The Songs and Guitar Solos of Bert Jansch" Punchbowl Publications
"The Guinness Who's Who of Sixties Music" by Colin Larkin, Guinness Publications
"Streets of London - The Official Biography of Ralph McTell" by Chris Hockenhull, Northdown Publishing
"Strange Brew - Eric Clapton and the British Blues Boom 1965-1970" by Christopher Hjort, JawBone Publications
Current appearances at The Ivy Club in London with the Joe Thompson Trio. Blues gigs with the Nigel Bagge Band, Bob Brookes' Voodoo Kitchen, Miller Anderson and Eric Ranzoni's Blues Band at Boisdale. Guest appearances at jazz clubs and festivals in the UK and abroad. "Jazz Breakfasts" with Herbie Flowers. London club appearances with Laurence Corns at the Green Note and Arcola Theatre, The Hot Club of Boisdale - (see video page). Concerts and festivals with MP's Hot Club Trio.
Recent activities include recording with guitarist Chris Spedding on John Lodge's (Moody Blues) solo album "10,000 Light Years Ago".
31/01/16 and 1/02/16, as an ex-member of Pentangle and Bert Jansch bands, MP performed at two concerts for "Celtic Connections" at The Old Fruitmarket and The Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow, playing guitar with Jacqui McShee as a duo and violin with Robert Plant's Sensational Space Shifters, Graham Coxon (Blur), Bernard Butler (Suede), Karine Polwart, Ryley Walker and Martin Simpson and others for the Bert Jansch Foundation.
Album recordings include:1970 GASS - MP (gtr/vln), Bobby Tench (voc/gtr), Derek Austen, (kbds/flute), DeLisle Harper (bass), Godfrey Maclean (dms/perc). Special guest – Peter Green (gtr)
1972 PAUL BRETT
1973 BRADLEYS ROADSHOW – Paul Brett -live at the Marquee Club
1973 EASY – Ralph McTell
1974 CLOCKS – Paul Brett
1975 STREETS - Ralph McTell
1975 INDISCREET - Sparks
1976 DO IT – Jo Ann Kelly
1977 A RARE CONUNDRUM – Bert Jansch
1977 KING OF BONGO BONG – Duck Baker
1978 LORD COLWYN’S 3B BAND
1978 HARD PRESSED – Bob Kerr’s Whoopee Band
1979 SLIDE AWAY THE SCREEN – Ralph McTell
1980 JAPANESE TEARS/Say You Don’t Mind/Go Now – Denny Laine Band
1981 TOO RISKY – Jim Davidson – Live
1983 OPEN THE DOOR – Pentangle
1983 ALPHABET ZOO – Ralph McTell
1984 FULL MOON - Cliff Aungier
1985 IN THE ROUND – Pentangle
1988 RADIO NIGHTS – The Moonlight Serenaders (Keith Nichols/Claus Jacobi)
1988 RUSTY TAYLOR’S JAZZ REVIEW – Rusty Taylor/Keith Nichols
1989 KEEPING UP WITH THE SPIKE JONES’S – Bob Kerr’s Whoopee Band
1990 STEALIN’ BACK - Ralph McTell
1991 I LIKE TO DO THINGS FOR YOU – Janice Day/ Keith Nichols/Guy Barker & The Cotton Club Gang
1992 SYNCOPATED JAMBOREE – Keith Nichols and the Cotton Club Orchestra
1993 HEP TO THE BEAT – The Blue Caps & Friends
1993 ONE MORE ROAD – Pentangle
1994 HAPPY DAZE – Bob Kerr’s Whoopee Band
1995 ABOUT THYME – Jacqui McShee/Gerry Conway/Spencer Cozens
1995 WHEN THE CIRCUS COMES TO TOWN – Bert Jansch
1995 THE MILL IS GONE – King Earl Boogie Band
1995 HOUDINI’S MOON – Paul King (Mungo Jerry)
1997 POPPIES – THE ULTIMATE PEACE ALBUM – Various Artists
1998 GRAVELANDS – The King
1998 "BLUES FOR STUFF & STEPH" – Mike Piggott Quartet. MP vln, Brian Dee pno, John Rees-Jones bs, Dave Trigwell dms
1999 LONELY STREET - Bap Kennedy
1999 DE RIGEUR – Ultraswing
2000 RED SKY – Ralph McTell
2001 A WOMAN'S VOICE - Jacqui McShee
2002 BOISDALE BLUE RHYTHM BAND - LIVE
2003 STROHLIN' AND STUMBLIN' - With Piers Clark - guitar
2004 I'M OLD FASHIONED - Heather Simmons
2006 "TAKE A WALK" - Mike Piggott - featuring Jacqui McShee, Peter Ind, Nils Solberg, Brian Dee, Peter Morgan and Rod Brown
2006 ALL DAY BREAKFAST - Martin Wheatley
2006 "MESS OF BLUES" (MP guitar/violin)
2006 THANK YOU MR MOON - Debbie Arthurs' Sweet Rhythm
2007 TRIBUTE TO PAUL WHITEMAN - Live at the Sage Theatre, Gateshead with Keith Nichols and Northern Sinfonia
2009 ORDINARY MAN - Duncan McKenzie
2009 BY A WATERFALL - Spats Langham's Hot Fingers
2010 THE TALK OF THE TOWN - Debbie Arthurs' Sweet Rhythm
2010 FARGO - FARGO - Dave Bronze, Heather Simmons, Martin Wheatley
2011 ATTUNE...OR TWO Keith Stephens Hot Club Trio
2012 JOUEZ - Ultraswing
2012 DIDN'T PLAN MY ROUTE HERE - Nigel Bagge
2013 ATMOSPHERICS - Kate Daniels - with John Etheridge, Alec Dankworth
2014 PRETTY RED SHOES - Cat Piggott - with MP guitar, fiddle, mandolin, percussion
2015 10,000 LIGHT YEARS AGO - John Lodge (Moody Blues) - with Chris Spedding
Mike Piggott has three CDs available: TWO NOW AVAILABLE TO ORDER ONLINE
Take a Walk (2006)- DOZ 007 As featured on Radio 2 (Humphrey Lyttleton's Best of Jazz)
TRACK LISTING (click to play excerpts): 1. Hillcrest (Smith) 2. Yellow House Stomp (Grappelli) 3. Struttin' Stuff (Piggott) 4. The Gift (Ferriera/Antonio) 5. Blue Daniel (Rosolino) 6. Brother Where Are You? (Oscar Brown Junior) 7. Red-O-Ray (Grappelli) 8. But Beautiful (Van Heusen) 9. Swing '42 (Reinhardt/Grappelli) 10. Cette Chanson (Alhert/Young) 11. Mexican Wave (Piggott/Solberg) 12. Bix (Wilber) 13.Royal Mayall (Piggott). To preview all tracks in pop-out player, please click here
Also featuring: Jaqui McShee, Nils Solberg, Brian Dee, Peter Morgan, Peter Ind, Rod Brown "He plays confident, swinging violin in a style based on Stephane Grappelli with aspects of Eddie South and Stuff Smith, mixed into what emerges as a very personal means of expression"....."I hope Mike's enterprise in making this open-minded record receives the reception it so richly deserves"...."..impressive versatility" (Jazz Journal International 2007)
Available via PayPal for £12.00 per copy (includes P+P):Please email email@example.com for prices for more than one copy.
Blues for Stuff and Steph (1998 DOZ 001) by The Mike Piggott Quartet featuring MP (violin), Brian Dee (piano), John Rees-Jones (bass) and Dave Trigwell (drums).
TRACK LISTING (click bto play excerpts): 1. September in the Rain (Warren) 2. Skip It (S.Smith) 3. This Can’t Be Love (Rodgers/Hart) 4. Nuages (Reinhardt) 5. My Little Suede Shoes (C.Parker) 6. Only Time Will Tell (S.Smith) 7. I Can’t Believe That You’re in Love with Me (McHugh/Gaskill) 8. Waltz For Sachma (Piggott) 9. Timmie’s Blues (S.Smith) 10. Autumn Leaves (J Kosma) 11.Vous et Moi (Reinhardt) To preview all tracks in pop-out player, please click here
"..an engaging document of jazz violin" – CADENCE USA"
Available via PayPal for £12.00 per copy (includes P+P)
Please email email firstname.lastname@example.org for prices for more than one copy.
Strohlin' and Stumblin' (2003)- A relaxed selection of favourite pieces, recorded with acoustic violin and strohviolin, plus Piers Clark - guitar (1934 Gibson L5)
TRACK LISTING: 1. I Saw Stars 2. I'll Never Be The Same 3. Mexican Waltz 4. Sons De Carrilhoes 5. Stumblin' 6. A Kiss To Build A Dream On 7. Exactly Like You 8. Marino Waltz 9. Whispering 10. St. Lewes Blues 11. China Boy 12. When You Wish Upon A Star 13. April Kisses
Very limited quantities available. Please email email@example.com for further details.
First awakening to the electric guitar was when on holiday in Swanage, walking along the cliff top. hearing the strains of Wonderful Land by the Shadows wafting up from the fairground in the town centre. First instrument was a £4/10s homemade guitar which made the fingers bleed - moving swiftly on to a light blue 3 pick-up Futurama De Luxe with a Watkins copycat echo, a Vox AC30 and the Shadows repertoire.
While still at school, forming "The Convicts", later "The 'Ighbroughs", and becoming aware of recordings by such artists as Big Bill Broonzy, Robert Johnson, T Bone Walker and John Lee Hooker, my first live introduction to the blues is seeing John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers featuring Eric Clapton at Carshalton Public Hall and the Harvest Moon in Guilford, and venues around south London, followed by Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac, Savoy Brown, Chicken Shack, Aynsley Dunbar's Retaliation and other British Blues bands of that era, often at the Nag's Head in Battersea. Also, visiting U.S. stars like Buddy Guy, Albert Collins, Freddy King and BB King.
Playing guitar in local groups which, amongst others, included Sound of St James and Krivoli Rog (which featured vocalist Paul Conroy who later became chairman of the Brit Awards). Krivoli Rog performed fake operations - with fake blood - on stage and were banned from the Greyhound pub in Redhill for letting off a smoke bomb and caused someone to faint at the New Malden Cricket Club Dance.
While playing violin in a pizza restaurant in Streatham, one of the best British blues singers, Jo Ann Kelly, asks me to play on her album "Do It", which I was proud do do.
Rod Stewart/Jeff Beck drummer Micky Waller forms a band which includes Tony Ashton and Don Weller and myself. There's also a memorable gig with Micky Waller and the Bill Blair Band at the Wimbledon Theatre, involving a "fake" Jeremy Spencer from Fleetwood Mac - long story! See Bob Brunning's book.
Playing guitar alongside violin with Shakey Vick's Blues Band, which includes bass player Alex Dmochowski, previously with Aynsley Dunbar's Retaliation and later with Frank Zappa. Alex and I were planning a band "Wavy Gravy" - which never materialises....A "Blues on the Farm" with Gary Brooker Band (vln) and a couple of gigs with Madeleine Bell at Ronnie Scott's (gtr). Current gigs with contemporary blues players include The Nigel Bagge Band and Mike Dowling (USA), Duck Baker (USA,) UK band “Mess of Blues” and Eric Ranzoni’s Blues band. Bob Brookes's Voodoo Kitchen and Miller Anderson.
Listen to two of Mike's guitar tracks
5 Boisdale - Cabot Place, Canary Wharf, London E14 4QT www.boisdale.co.uk/ 1 - 3pm with Hot Club of Boisdale
11 Venture Theatre, North St. Ashby-de-la Zouch LE65 1HU www.ashbyventuretheatre.org.uk/ 8pm with Martin Wheatley's Arcadians
13 Boisdale of Belgravia 15 Eccleston St, Belgravia, London SW1W 9LX https://www.boisdale.co.uk/belgravia/the-venue 9.15pm with Hot Club of Boisdale
16 Googlies Jazz Supper Club Botany Bay Cricket Club, East Lodge Lane, Enfield, EN2 8AS www.googliesjazz.co.uk 8pm with quartet
18 Royal Oak Ifield Green, Crawley RH11 0ND http://www.royaloakifield.com 8pm with Nigel Bagge Band
20 Paris House 21 Western Road, Hove BN3 1AF 01273 724195 4 - 7pm https://www.the-paris-house.co.uk
23 London private gig
27 Boisdale of Belgravia 15 Eccleston St, Belgravia, London SW1W 9LX https://www.boisdale.co.uk/belgravia/the-venue 9.15pm with Hot Club of Boisdale
30 Eltham Warren Jazz Club - E. W. Golf Club, Bexley Road, Eltham SE9 2PE with Hugh Ockenden Trio 8pm
3 Boisdale - Cabot Place, Canary Wharf, London E14 4QT www.boisdale.co.uk/ 1 - 3pm with Hot Club of Boisdale
14 Splashpoint Jazz Club, Brighton with Neal Richardson Trio. Details tba
Mike can be contacted by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Other links that may be of interest:
www.jazzservices.org.uk - promoting growth and development of Jazz in the UK
www.abar.net - Anthony Barnett
www.rolyveitch.20m.com - Roly Veitch
www.spotlightentertainments.com - Music and Entertainment for functions and events