Mary Ann Stoner-Bradley joined the Fred Waring Ensemble in 1969 as a featured singer. Her husband, Bill and I had been in the Navy together and as musical contractor for the musicians, I had invited him to join on trumpet. Bill and Mary Ann were married within a year and now have two children, Amy and David, and three grand-children. Maryann is also an accomplished pianist, graphic artist in water-colors, and an excellent cook. We have remained the closest of friends from our earliest of days together, and we’ve always “Kept The Music Playing.” Her CD is a work in progress, and represents an opportunity for all to hear Mary Ann’s unique ability to cross-over from Classical, to Rock, To Funk, To Jazz!
SummertimeMary Ann Bradley1:28
I Cant Make You Love MeMary Ann Bradley4:23
You Don't Bring Me FlowersMary Ann Bradley3:18
What a great voice! Great band! And great friend to all of his musicians. I began working with Tony in 1973, and continued working with him until I left the UK in 1982. He had several number one hits, both in the UK and the USA. “Show Me The Way To Amarillo” “Las Vegas” and the th eme to the television show “The Protectors” were probably best remembered in the USA. After one of our performances in Dublin, Ireland, a fan came up to me and said, “Ah… that Tony Christie sure can make that voice talk!” I still have a couple of memorable tracks that I recorded with him “Live” on Piccadilly Radio.
“Higher & Higher”
In 1971, after a year long sabatical in the UK without playing the trumpet, I joined the band at The Blackpool Tower playing for ballroom dancing with the Charlie Barlow Orchestra. (Just coming off of a year without playing, my chops began to resemble Mick Jagger on Botox!) When finished with our sets there, I would run down to a club in Lytham St. Annes called the Lemon Tree where I was playing in a band with Tony. Tony also played bass with Jethro Tull, and Steelers Wheel. We became good friends and when I formed “Force Ten,” I invited him to be the lead singer. As of recent years, Tony has been involved in the world wildlife conservation of elephants.
Comedian Ken Dodd with Wilma Reading and Lovelace Watkins, 1975.
I met Wilma in the UK and worked with her on a regular basis. What a great singer and dear friend. Like me, her husband, Ray was a “yank” and we both got a kick out of being considered “errant colonists who would soon realize the folly of our ways, and return to the nest of the empire.” It was natural that we became close friends! It was through Wilma and Ray that I met Barry Gaurd, who became the producer of my British band, Force Ten. In what has become a ‘stella’ career, Wilma Reading includes in her ‘high points’: appearing live with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, starring with Jim Brown in the U.S. film Pacific Inferno, a UNICEF television special with Danny Kaye, thirty-three one woman concerts in Russia, appearing on over seventy-five international television shows, a BBC concert with Charles Aznavour at the London Festival Hall, recording the soundtrack title song for the Julie Andrews-Omar Sharif film “The Tamarind Seed” and the reunification concert in Berlin where Wilma performed with the West Berlin Symphony (RIAS) and the East Berlin Symphony.
I often worked with Matt during my twelve years in the UK. His musical arrangements were fun to play, and I never, for one moment tired of his show. Not only was he a great singer, but he had a comedic side that was simply hilarious. Hanging out after the shows until three in the morning, he would keep us entertained with his many stories and anecdotes about his life in the music industry. A singer once said “his pitch was right on the nose: his word enunciations letter perfect: his understanding of a song thorough. He will be missed very much not only by myself, but by his fans all over the world”. The singer was the legendary Frank Sinatra. The man he spoke about: the irreplaceable Matt Monro. Matt’s number one hit song, “We’re Going To Change The World” has special meaning for Irene and I… it was our wedding song. I couldn’t have known then that I would have the privilege of regularly working with him over my twelve years in the UK. “We’re Gonna Change The World”
Robin and I met in the early ’70’s in the UK. I had formed a Jazz/Fusion band called “Force Ten” and was looking for a guitar player. Robin brought far more to the table than his brilliance as a guitar player…he also wrote most of the music for the band while I did most of the horn arrangements. Subsequent to our departure from the UK, we have remained connected, and have even continued to collaborate (trans-atlantic) on musical projects. Check-out Robin’s virtuoso performance on You Tube. And Robin’s wife, Anna keeps an amazing blog of the blow by blow accounts in the daily life of a totally dedicated and consumed musician.
I first met Dave in 1973 when I began working with Tony Christie. We played in several other bands including “Loose Change” and a few BBC & Granada Television shows. Dave’s contributions as a percussionist on “Force Ten” gave the final product a noticeable boost. Dave has worked with many of Britain’s leading jazz musicians as well as many of the visiting American players, such as: Charles McPherson, Barney Kessell, Tal Farlow, Al Grey, Clarke Terry, Joe Newman, Art Farmer, Mundel Lowe, Ron Jackson, E T Mensa and Dr John to name a few. He is also one of the UK’s foremost authorities on Latin American music and leads his own band, “Apitos”. Dave currently holds teaching posts at: Royal Academy of Music London; Royal Northern College of Music; Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama Salford University.
I was offered a position as lead trumpet player with Skitch Henderson. Ron was playing lead alto and we became instant and life-long friends. Swingin’ With Legends is a third album for Ron & Angela…who most certainly ranks with some of the greatest jazz singers of all time. Her “skatting” in unison with Ron is nothing short of amazing! I had fun playing lead trumpet on an exciting track that Ron wrote called “Colors Of Angela” where I “forgot” to let go of the last note! (Recording Below) In 1974, Ron worked with John Lennon on his Walls and Bridges album. Though John Lennon’s life and artistry were taken from us in 1980, he left behind a treasure trove of musical masterpieces. In 2014, Ron searched the former Beatles library, and now pays a long-overdue tribute to the musical genius of John Lennon.
When just seventeen years old, Hilary recorded some of her original music in my studio. What a beautiful young woman with a fantastic voice, great keyboard chops, and brilliant, original compositions! So glad to see that she is receiving the accolades that she so richly deserves. There was never a doubt. Have a listen to: “Night & Day” from her soon to be released cd. Also some of her original songs on Myspace.
When Uncle Sam and I had had enough of each other, and I arrived back home with little fanfare, and even less pecuniary sustinance, I decided to make use of the GI Bill and so I attended Fairleigh Dickenson University. Around the same time, I was fortunate to be doing some sub work on the Ed Sullivan Show with the CBS Orchestra. One Holloween, the Peter Genero Dancers were doing a special choreography that featured the band. It was a challenging arrangement on a popular song of the day. Little did I know that many years later, I would form a lasting friendship with Rodgers Grant, and still, it would be many years before we both realized that it was his song: “I Say Yeh, Yeh”, made famous by Georgie Fame, that I had recorded those many years ago. Rodgers was also the pianist on Irene’s CD “My Favorite Things.” I’ve always admired Rodger’s abilities, especially his unique ability to find just the right alternative chord changes.
Rodgers passed away in 2012 and I noticed that I hadn’t altered the text: Rodgers Grant Our Dear Friend…We Will miss you. He could make me smile when I didn’t feel like smiling. He could fulfill my musical soul with the most unique and gratifying chord changes. He will always remain a dear friend and I will continue to think of him often. As a fellow veteran, Thank you for your service to your country. Live recording from the Ed Sullivan Show of Paul playing “I Say Yeh Yeh”