We're back in the world of brass, to welcome a trombone player with an impressive CV. He's been in Aswad, Jamiroquai and The Brand New Heavies and you'll probably recognize him from the Jools Holland band. Let's welcome Winston Rollins.
Winston Rollins: Hi, everybody, how are you Lars?
Lars: I'm good, I'm good. How are you?
Winston: Yeah, very well indeed, thank you.
Lars: Did you notice how I said 'trombone?'
Winston: Yes, I did and it's taking a long while to pronounce, "trombone", and not any other instrument. I think you better explain.
Lars: Well, it was a little while ago, I'll actually, I will explain. We did an interview, um, all going well, right to the very end, you said "you called
it a trumpet all the way through". - I do apologize.
Winston: Apology accepted.
It's not going to happen today, everything will be fine. Practicing. Trombone. Yes, as mentioned, you've been in lots of credible bands over the years. And held down the trombone position, in the Jools Holland band, where you've played with so many big names. You must have lots of memories.<
Winston: Yes, I tell you what, it's a privilege playing in Jools' Rhythm & Blues Orchestra. Because, like you say, you do, one does get the opportunity to play with lots of great artists, from all over the world. And you know, there's obscure artists, like Seasick Steve, which we discovered on tour, in Australia, and Jools going over. And Steve's a big star now, you know. But one of my little stories is, like you think that people, that artists just keep themselves to themselves, they don't.
been doing it all their lives, they just don't seem to get fed up with it. No one's got a real ego, and if they do, they just hang it on the door for five minutes, and come in, and do a lovely job with you.
producing, arranging, and working I think in some of the London West End musicals.
which, unfortunately, is not on due to social distancing, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
them night after night, to keep the songs fresh?
Winston: Personally, I love going into work, and doing the job. It's just good fun. And, we all get on, the musos and the actors, everybody gets on.
So it's just a great, fun show, to be a part of.
of the show, the big screen at the back lifts up, reveals the band. We go out to the front along with the actors and everybody gets up and sings and dances to those classical hits.
Lars: So let's just go back, I like asking this question, excuse me, um, to young Winston. When you were growing up, was music always playing in your house,
and was the trumpet the first instrument you learned?
me and a friend were walking through the corridors of school, we had a disagreement. We had a little childish fight. The peripatetic teacher came along, that's a music teacher that used to go around to different schools, he came along. And threw us in a room and said "fight that", and then threw us in a room, threw us a trombone each and said "fight that". And that's how me and my friend started playing. And he's still playing to this day, as well.
I just loved his sound, the way he played, and everything. But also, you've got some great players out there, like Steve Turre, like Frank Rosolino, like Carl Fontana.
My friend from college, Mark Nightingale, who's a fantastic trombone player. And, so influences come from all over the place, you know.
to him, obviously. Tell me about your role as a musical arranger and conductor.
for the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, and I've also been privileged to be able to conduct a couple of proms with my good friend Guy Barker along with Claire Teal. Guy had his big band and I had my big band. Main prom, with all my friends, and the Albert Hall full to the max. What an experience.
There's nothing like it and I got to do that twice.
Lars: Twice. I mean, that must have been an incredible feeling, up there in the Albert Hall.
front. The singers and the MDs, and Claire and we walked to the front. And I couldn't see the audience. I think I had tears in my eyes.
know whether you remember, one of the first boy bands, as I call it and they were called The Pasadenas. And, uh, "Riding on a Train"and a few other number ones, they had. And we all had quiffs. I had a Tintin quiff.
I had this quiff, then one day, out of sheer madness, I just shaved it off. And I decided to grow an afro, which just turned into dreads. But the thing is, when they're short, they're amazing, that's great. And like any hairs, you've got long hair Lars, you know when it drops, uh, it's in your face. So I picked up my trombone one day and went to play and had all my dreads in my instrument and I couldn't play. So I thought, I know what, bandana. And I've worn them ever since.
Winston, thank you so much, for taking part in the Fusion virtual world tour.
Winston: Next time, Lars. All right, take it easy man.
About Lars Mullen
With over 30 years in the music business, Lars Mullen does indeed wear many hats, as a writer, journalist, photographer, press person for his own company Music Media Announcements. As an extensive traveller, he's a familiar figure reporting from music trade shows around the world. Spending many years touring as a professional guitarist, Lars has also interviewed a host of top bands and artists, continues to write articles for magazines globally and still finds time to track down Fusion artists for our Artist Spotlight column and Fusion Virtual World Tour Interview Series.