About Me

I turned professional when I was 18 (talking late 60's here!) and have continued ever since. I started giving drum lessons in Kent privately and in schools a few years later and have continued ever since.

My route in the professional world was pretty much standard, summer seasons, cruises, 'function' gigs and similar.There was a brief Pop Star phase with a vocalist,long since disappeared, but we did have three singles released on Polydor.My first 'big gig' was at the Playboy Club on Park Lane ,London. Not exactly a drag!!

I have backed dozens of well known acts/artists, too numerous to mention. I did also have my own band etc. Over this length of time you do many different things which include playing with every major function band on the London hotel circuit. I did a residency at the Empire Leicester Square London where we recorded live TV for the World Disco Dance Championship, today's version of Strictly Come Dancing!

I am not going to give a year by year account of what I have done, I am more interested in today than all my yesterdays!

I will go into more detail of my connections with Steve Gadd and Buddy Rich. See separate stories. At the time of writing, September 10th, I will mention two things.

I played with the Peter Coe Big Band which won the BBC Big Band competition (about 1979) I won the Best Drummer award which was judged by Martin Drew (top jazz drummer) and the award was presented by Jack Parnell, himself a top drummer and at the time musical director for ITV television. They both died within weeks of each other in August 2010.

From 2002 until the present I have been a member of the Glenn Miller UK Orchestra. We play all the top theatres in the country, Birmingham Symphony Hall, Manchester Bridgewater Hall and the Barbican in London to name but a few. We also do regular tours of Spain and Portugal, which include the Opera House in Barcelona with an audience of 3,500!


© 2011 Bobby Cleall