Steve Bland -
I’ve always wanted to play the trumpet, right from an early age. I remember being forced(!) to listen to classical music as a kid by my parents, but the sound of the trumpet called out to me. Fast forward a few years and here I am, professional trumpeter, touring the UK and Europe with brass bands, samba bands, theatre shows, function bands, big bands and orchestras. I absolutely love it!
Working with Mitch has always been a hugely enjoyable experience over many years, I’ve never met anyone who has a greater sense of happiness in life, and his positive attitude spills over into the projects he commits to. Fortunately Fat Cat Brass Band is where our worlds of brass and drums meet. Between us we’ve brought together a fabulous team of colleagues, but probably more importantly, friends, all with the same thirst for life and an unquestionable work ethic. This gives FCB a real edge when it comes to excitement and performance, but with top quality musicianship.
Recent playing highlights for myself include UK album launch tour with up-and-coming artist Tom Grennan, Durham Brass Festival with Oompah Brass, Jeff Hooper Big Band gigs, tours in Norway with Johnny Cash Roadshow and one-off gigs in Spain and Germany. I love playing at some of the most prestigious venues in the UK including the Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham, St. David’s Hall in Cardiff and Bristol Hippodrome. One of my favourite what I like to call ‘seat-of-the-pants-gig’ happened just before this Christmas with a performance of Karl Jenkin’s Christmas suite ‘Stella Natalis’. The suite is written for choral ensemble, organ, strings, percussion and one trumpet! I was so far out of my comfort zone having to play straight classical style music and piccolo trumpet for the first time ever, but it went really well with basically no rehearsal and just a brief run through that I’m very much looking forward to playing more classical music in the weeks, months and years to come.
Favourite thing to do in my spare time? Do freelance musicians ever have spare time?? What I love to do when I’m not playing music myself is listen to my kids playing music, I know they’re both going to go on to do bigger and better things than I ever will have accomplished! I also love to take the family to see live music (that’s research, right??) including Mnozil Brass (check them out on YouYube if you’ve never heard of them!), Earth, Wind and Fire and Tower of Power amongst many others.
Here’s a few links of various ensembles I’m involved in:
Magic of Motown Theatre Show:
4 To The Floor Function Band:
Hello Again Neil Diamond Theatre Show:
Motown Inferno Function Band:
Nottingham Jazz Orchestra:
Mitch Oldham -
Drums and Stilts
Originally from Nottingham, Mitch now lives in the North West's Calder Valley. He has been a professional Drummer, band leader, Percussionist and World Music educator for nearly 30 years. Mitch plays Drum Kit and a wide variety of percussion instruments from Brazil, Cuba and the Middle-East. He has performed, toured and recorded with artists like Gerry and the Pacemakers, P.J.Proby and The Platters plus U.S. Country and Western music legends Billie Jo Spears, George Hamilton IV (and V) and Stella Parton. Mitch has gigged all over the world from the Albert Hall to Las Vegas, Hawaii to Australia. He loves all kinds of good music Rock, Jazz, Heavy Metal, Folk, Latin.
Fat Cat Brass is an ideal mix of performance and ability. 'The team that Steve and I have brought together couldn't be a better blend of people.....so along with Steve's legendary arrangements, it's just a dream band!"
Check out some of Mitch's other drum projects at www.battereddrumco.com
James Docherty -
For me, variety is most certainly the spice of life when it comes to music! Since I finished my classical trumpet degree at Trinity Laban conservatoire of music and dance I have thrown myself into every style of music that has come my way, preferably if I can dance around like a mad thing on stage. I have been a member of a number of touring theatre shows with which I have played across the UK, Europe and Scandinavia, most frequently of which is the Johnny Cash Roadshow with whom I sing backing vocals and play guitar, trumpet and have the occasional blast on the harmonica at opportune moments. I have been a member of numerous different projects over the years giving me the chance to experience different musical styles such as jazz, bollywood, rock, electronic dance, 1920's dance, traditional folk and Balkan with which I performed on the BBC proms. I am over the moon to be a part of Fat Cat Brass, every performance has been an blast from start to finish and to play with something so unique and with such presence is an absolute pleasure!
Bruce 'Dr.Beef' Reid -
Bruce has been playing sousaphone, double bass and bass guitar professionally for over 20 years. His work as a low frequency specialist has seen him perform and record with a diverse range of artists that include Bad Manners (ska), Ursula Burns (harpist/ singer/songwriter), Watercress (acoustic alternative indie pop), Basic (electronica/dance) and Gary Boyle (jazz fusion). While working with these artists he toured extensively throughout the UK, Ireland, Europe, Scandinavia, Canada and the US. He has appeared on numerous live TV and radio shows as well a performing at major international festivals including Glastonbury (UK), Witness (Ireland), Roskilde (Denmark), Bergen Blues & Roots (Norway), Midem (France), Dranouter (Belgium), Milwaukee Summerfest and the New York and Boston Fleadhs (USA). He also writes music for TV, film and documentaries. However he needs to work on his woodwork skills as his standard of carpentry is substandard.
Phil Drew -
Phil began playing the trombone aged 6 and after passing his grade 8, aged 16, found a passion for Jazz and Swing music. He went on to attain a music scholarship during his time at Loughborough University. Over the years Phil has led big bands, toured with theatre shows, gigged and recorded across all genres and now enjoys jazz, swing, ska, pop and funk wherever possible! Phil loves a bit of choreography, what he lacks in playing, he more than makes up in cheesy dance moves, laughter and pure passion for playing the trombone!
Here's some links to Phil's other projects:
Dave 'Black Beard' Boston-Barber :
Drums and stilts
Dave’s love of drumming started at the tender age of 11 when he began lessons and practicing drumkit for all hours in his bedroom. His passion led him to study a BA in performance music, interspersed with several trips to Guinea and Gambia to further his study of djembe, and to Cuba to develop his understanding of Afro-Cuban percussion.
Dave’s professional career has been heavily involved with folk rock band Blackbeard’s Tea Party, playing drums and percussion. This has seen him perform at festivals as diverse as Glastonbury and the Rainforest World Music festival in Borneo alongside numerous tours.
He is a member of The Axis Percussion Trio who studied together in Cuba, and have collaborated and recorded with the London Lukumi Choir and other projects.
Dave also plays in stilt drumming band ‘Stilt Batteristas’, performing at height at festivals and parades using a bespoke, ‘wearable’ kit! and is proud member of the drumming team in Fat Cat Brass.
Since graduating, Dave has continued to lead workshops such as Arts Council funded project ‘Singing for the Orishas’ and as a guest lecturer at York St John University. He also runs weekly djembe and bata groups in Nottingham and York, as well as teaching orchestral percussion and drum kit privately at home and in schools.
Joe Martin - Trumpet:
Joe was born in Harrogate and began playing cornet at the age of 8. At 16, under the tuition of legendary cornet player James Shepherd, Joe successfully auditioned for a place in the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain. He then went onto successfully audition for a place at the Royal Northern College of Music two years later, where he has enjoyed playing in a wide range of ensembles, studying trumpet under the tuition of Rhys Owens and Steve Berry.
Outside of college, Joe has relished the opportunity to work with established performers, such as Cory Wong from Vulfpeck, Those Magic Beans, The Orchestra of Opera North, Manchester Camerata and The Leyland Band. Joe is a member of the brass quintet, Cobalt Brass, who in 2018 won the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble Competition, and the Christopher Rowland Chamber Music Prize at the RNCM. He is also involved in many other exciting original projects across Manchester and the rest of the UK.
Kieran Newman - Sousaphone
From an early start playing Flute and Alto Sax, Kieran has gradually picked up bigger, bassier and more awkward instruments, finally settling on Sousaphone and Bari Sax as main instruments. Primarily playing pop, funk, riot jazz and brasshouse, his inspiration comes from players such as Nat McIntosh of Youngblood Brass Band, and Leo Pellegrino of Too Many Zooz, aiming for rumbling, busy basslines and a pounding rhythm.
Kieran came to Fat Cat Brass via sharing a dep gig for another band with Steve Bland, and then being lucky enough to get an invitation to an early Fat Cat rehearsal.
Kieran lives on Merseyside with his fiancee, cat, and large instrument collection, and outside of music is studying for a research degree in Ocean Science at the University of Liverpool.