Q+A: Justin’s Musical Background

What’s your musical background aside from what you’re known for? Are you say, a fan of jazz or hip hop or country? Or do you just enjoy good music, genre aside?

My parents organised a few piano lessons when I was 5 or 6 years old, but I found trying to read, and interpret music from the written page was really difficult before I could even write properly. I was doing the lessons after school and it made for a long day – particularly as my brother and I had to walk 2 miles home on our own after every school day anyway. Sometimes a farmer would give us a lift home on on the back of his van when he went to pick up milk churns. It was at his farm that I learnt to milk cows!  And I did find I could play the piano properly a bit from then on.

I don’t have any musical prejudices and I love all kinds of music. Probably the largest genre in my collection is classical (maybe because some pieces are so long) followed by pop, country and rock. I really got in to jazz when I was 15 or 16 and was fortunate enough to see many of the greats from the USA who would come to Bristol to play – Dave Brubeck, Errol Garner and more. French is really suited to Rap, and Italian to melody and drama – but I think English is the most expressive language of all – it all makes for a wonderful musical world.

What’s one way you wish to see music bring everyone together?

The Beatles did it best with ‘All You Need Is Love’ on live TV. It was a beautiful media event. Would someone have the courage to do that nowadays? I look forward to it. Music is peace and love, good vibes, joy and sadness for me. For most of us it reaches deep in to our emotions.

Who was the most talented musician you knew that never got their due in terms of public or critical acclaim?

There were quite a few in sixties London that I knew and would mix with, and sometimes play with. The four that stand out the most for me are Nicky Hopkins, Alexis Corner (who really encouraged me when I first came to London, and supported many like me), Blue Weaver and my friend Long John Baldry.