I started playing the tenor saxophone in 1975, at the age of twenty, while studying French and German at Trinity College, Oxford, having been inspired by hearing John Coltrane. What started as a hobby soon turned into a dream of becoming a professional musician.
When I graduated I took part-time jobs and spent most of my free time practicing. At first I was largely self-taught, but in the summer of 1976 I started to have lessons with Don Rendell, a great British tenor player who I had met at the Barry Summer School.
Don encouraged me in my ambitions and persuaded me to take up the clarinet and flute. A year after starting to play I joined my first group, a soul band called The Black Diamonds.