KJAZZ Radio UK welcomes UK based Dr Gradus. We think if you remember a band called Sky from the 80’s you will like Dr Gradus. Formed in the autumn of 2011 as a healthy tonic to their individual professional work (which has seen them play as side men everywhere from The Big Chill to Carnegie Hall), Doctor Gradus sees the combined talents of Pete Whinnett on piano, Andy Philip – guitar, Rob Levy – bass and Dave Bryant on drums.
Dr Gradus have just finished recording an album of music based on themes by french composers, re-written and played in a classical-jazz crossover style.
Often described as Jacques Loussier gone bananas, Doctor Gradus re-imagine the music of the French Impressionists in a heady mix of harmonic opulence, cascading lyricism, and rhythmic lunacy.
Born out of Pete and Andy’s curiosity with improvisation and a desire to bring something fresh to the scene, the quartet began to meet and generally noodle around with exuberance, laying down a new blend of rhythmic ideas and melodic musings based around the works of French composers. Thus the humble beginnings of Doctor Gradus were formed.
To date, the group have re-imagined a wide selection of some known, as well as lesser known works including Debussy’s Golliwogs Cakewalk and Passepied, Satie’s Gnossienne, Faure’s Trio Op.120 and Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite.
Genre Jazz—Improvisation and freestyle.
Modern arrangements of classical pieces.
Formed: Autumn 2011
Meet The Members
The founding member of Doctor Gradus, Pete Whinnett is thrilled to be working with his good friends, once again, on an exciting new project. Pete’s successful and varied career started from an early age, but live music has always been his passion. Pete had his first piano lessons at six, and at nine was studying piano at Chethams School of Music with Pete Sage and the late Charles Hopkins. Pete’s mainstream career began in the ‘90s seeing him earn the place of pianist with the RTE concert orchestra under conductors Proinnsias O’Duinn and Gareth Hudson. Pete moved on to play piano/keyboards on Irish television programmes: The Late Late Show (Dublin), The Kelly Live Show (Belfast) and Live at 3 (Dublin). The late ‘90s also saw Pete playing keyboards for artists including: Mary
Coughlan, Davy Spillane, Frances Black, Christie Hennessey. Principal Keyboard for the productions of Chess and Riverdance. After earning a reputation as one of the best pianists on the production circuit, Pete soon found himself in demand and was subsequently employed as principal keyboard/pianist on many West End shows including: Romeo And Juliet, Pirates Of Penzance, Beautiful And Damned, Saturday Night Fever, and presently Wicked.
Andy Philip is the joint founding member of Doctor Gradus and has worked on developing many of the initial ideas. His playing combines elements of contemporary classical technique and jazz improvisation into his performances. Andy’s solo playing is renowned for his beauty of tone, freedom of movement and moments of downright dirtiness. As an in demand session player he has worked with everyone from Brian May to Bucks Fizz and everywhere from the BBC to The Big Chill (and that’s just the Bs). He’s recorded widely for television and radio, and narrowly for everyone else, and is resident guitarist in the West End on the Olivier Award winning musical Wicked. Despite all this he is finding time to play with Doctor Gradus as well as finish off a solo album expected in the not too distant future.
Rob has been a professional bass player since 1980 and is a veteran of the industry with over 40 West End musicals to his name. Rob was approached by Pete Whinnett and Andy Phillip as they knew his unmistakable style and finesse would suit Doctor Gradus perfectly. Some of the countless musicals Rob has played on are: Chicago, Ain’t Misbehavin, Anything Goes, Barnum, Beauty And The Beast, Blood Brothers, Bugsy Malone, Cabaret, Cats, Company, Damn Yankees, Evita, Fiddler On The Roof, Five Guys Named Moe, Grease, Guys And Dolls, High Society, Little Me, Little Shop Of Horrors, Mack And Mabel, Me And My Girl, Miss Saigon, Oliver, Passion, Phantom Of The Opera, Salad Days, Showboat, Sister Act, South Pacific, Starlight Express, Sunset Boulevard and Wicked. Rob has played on many other productions including those of the: Royal National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company and numerous Tours and Fringe shows. In addition to Doctor Gradus, Rob is also a member of acclaimed worldmusic group THE BURNING BUSH, led by Lucie Skeaping & Brazilian Jazz quartet LOBU BOBU. Mainstream artists that Rob has accompanied include: Petula Clark, Sacha Distel, Eartha Kitt, Jerry Lewis, Lorna Luft, Alison Moyet, Sir Cliff Richard, Helen Shapiro.
Dave Bryant is another seasoned West End musician joining the ranks of Doctor Gradus. His credits include: Rent, Saturday Night Fever, Smokey Joes Cafe, various incarnations of The Rat Pack, Respect La Diva. The list of shows which Dave has played on is long and distinguished and his career has seen him travel the world as well as earn an enviable
reputation among his peers. Dave’s extensive T.V. & Film credits include: Alfie, House band for Jack Docherty Show, House band for Richard Littlejohn Show. Dave has also
appeared on The Happening, Kenny Live, The Late Late Show, 4th July concert (Washington), Music Live 2000. Dave has been recorded many times on TV themes including: Two Fat Ladies (Series 1t&2), Smell Of Reeves And Mortimer (Series 1&2), It’s Only TV, Bad Girls (Series 1), Stressed Eric, Blankety Blank, Desperately Seeking Stardom, Fame And Fortune, Jo Brand, The Creatives, Mowenna Banks Show, Families At War, You Treat This Place As A Hotel, Rolf’s Animal Hairdressers, Shooting Stars. Jingles for: Tefal, Head and Shoulders. As well as playing on platinum selling albums for both James Galway and Phil Coulter, Dave has also performed on three tours of America (including Carnegie Hall) with them both – continuing on to Ireland with Phil Coultier where Dave toured extensively. Dave has also been drummer on a Jazz & Gospel tour of Germany, Holland, Switzerland with New Orleans singer Lillian Boutte.
On the jazz side, Dave has been heard playing with: Jools Hollland, Jim Mullen, Alan Barnes, Dave Cliff, Alec Dankworth, Butterfield 8, Louis Vause, Gary Potter, Q-Jazz and many more. Dave has also played the fusion circuit with: Sax Appeal, Evidence, Pondlife, Dirty Dogs and other projects. Big Bands include: LJO, The Happy End, 40 Feet Forward, The Miller Band and BYJO.