Dave Browning. – Piano – Was born in Barking, Essex, in 1971 and was brought up in a close knit community where everyone knew each other and my family new an eccentric old lady called Nell Castleton who in fact was the first person to ever show me how to play anything on a piano. She taught me at the very young age of about 5 to play in the key of ‘F’ which gave me my first introduction to a black note keyboard. My love of playing the piano started at her old hand painted, white, upright piano in the front room of her Ripple Road house. As I grew older, my parents decided to pay and send me to piano lessons and I later found out, it really was a test to see if I had it in me. Much to my parent’s dismay, I was given up by two piano teachers as I would not play the sheet music as it was written. I would rather play it in my own style or watch and listen to the teacher play it and repeat it back parrot fashion. It was during my secondary school years that I knuckled down and had piano lessons given by a rather bold austere German lady who had the patience of a saint but put me through my paces and finally taught me to read music and helped me to pass some of my music exams. In my late teens, I would frequent a pub, called the Jolly Cricketers, at Nevendon, Essex. Being a regular at the pub I got to know the landlord Bob and his wife Daphne, and during a conversation I told him I could play the piano. It was at this point there I met a musician known as Southed Bob Allbut and watch his fantastic ‘one man band’ shows. Bob used to play some jazz numbers in his programme and I was immediately attracted to jazz. Mac, the landlord, told me he used to run a club at Stanford-le-Hope called ‘The Rainbow Bar’ and there was a weekly traditional jazz club. Mac, in 1992, took me there one night and arranged for me to sit in with the band to play a number. I can remember the manager, a cockney bloke called Ray Davis, telling me, as I sat at the piano if you are s**t son, they’ll ask you to get down after one number. All of a sudden a chair was pulled up next to me at the piano and the banjo player asked if I knew chords on the piano which I did, so the cords were called out to me by Hugh Rainey as he played superbly on his banjo, I remember the trumpet player being Dennis Fields. Sadly Ray Davis, who devoted so much to British Jazz, passed away in June 2008. Hugh Rainey and his band that played at the Spread Eagle pub, invited me to sit-in during the second part of his band programme to play the piano. Eventually, in 1998, Hugh’s trombonist the late Ian Holmes suggested to Hugh that I join the band; the band consisted of Hugh Rainey playing trumpet, Jack Clifford reeds, Dave Petty reeds, Terry Godwin banjo and guitar, Ian Holmes trombone, John Baker drums and Arthur Bird double bass.
Groups Played For (at CJC)