Pauls composing career
Paul Moran has been a ‘first call’ session musician for many producers and celebrity artists since 1989, when he first arrived on the London scene. His versatility on both piano, Hammond organ, Synthesizers and brass made him extremely sort after, as he can play virtually any style, whether it be jazz, rock, country, classical, R&B or most any style you can think of, to the highest standard.
Paul studied piano from the age of 10 years old with Mrs. Liddle LRAM & Royal Operatic Society principal organist in Jarrow, Tyne & Wear. Mrs. Liddle was a massive influence on Paul, giving him a thorough grounding in classical music, both through his private piano studies, and through the Society of Young Musicians, which was run by Mrs.Liddle and her husband, Lance. Grade 8 piano and Grade 8 theory were attained with distinction before Paul went on to study a Licentiate Trinity College Diploma with Adrian Officer at South Shields Technical College. However, through the influence and encouragement of Paul’s father, a professional musician himself, jazz was never far away from Paul’s practice time, and once all serious classical practice was done, Paul would start looking at jazz riffs, runs, and pieces, some learnt by ear, and some through bought transcriptions.
Paul learnt his trumpet craft through the educational brass band system in the North East, initially learning B flat Cornet. Starting at the age of eleven, one year after starting piano studies, Paul was given an old cornet to practice on by the educational authorities. After progressing from beginners band to junior band, he was then invited to join the senior band as part of the 1st cornet section, one of the advantages being you were given a brand new Boosey & Hawkes Imperial cornet to use as long as you were with the band- quite a horn to be given for free in those days!
Around the age of 13, Paul joined the stage band, his father buying a second hand full size B flat trumpet for him from a friend that was no longer playing the horn. Paul continued to play cornet in the brass band. The stage band, however, was where Paul’s heart lay, playing big band arrangements by Count Basie, Woody Herman, Glenn Miller, Ted Heath, Stan Kenton and other big band greats. Paul was in his element, and soon discovered he had a flair for jazz soloing on the trumpet. His teachers hearing this, gave him most of the improvisational solos.
At the age of 19, Paul was offered the job as 2nd trumpet with the Don Smith band, resident at the Mayfair night club in Newcastle. At 20, Paul was offered the lead trumpet job on the QE2 cruise liner with Don Smith, which he accepted, sailing regularly to New York on the Transatlantic crossings as well as Mediterranean trips. When Paul returned to the UK, he was back on? keyboards full time, and the trumpet took a back seat for a while, until the late 80’s, when Paul was playing horn on his own compositions &recordings, which resulted in his first publishing deal with Warner Chappell and ultimately moving to London to live.
On moving to London in 1989, Paul played piano, keyboards and trumpet at the Empire in Leicester Square, London, before being snapped up by top society band leader Johnny Howard. Now Paul was performing at top class venues most evenings, while fulfilling recording sessions during the day, ranging from commercials and short film to pop records. Working constantly in-house with the Monty Python team, Paul played on such diverse sessions as the ‘Best of Monty Python’ album, first TV season of ‘One Foot In The Grave’, piano on the Bronski Beat hit ‘Small Town Boy’, piano on Toyah Wilcox album ‘Dreamchild’, piano, Hammond organ & trumpet on the Tony Hadley album ‘Passing Strangers’. Piano on live television with Tony Hadley- ‘This Morning’, ‘Children in Need’, Paul O’Grady show. Piano with Van Morrison BBC4 live at St. Lukes Hall, London, to name but a fraction of recording sessions fulfilled both on TV and in the studio.
Whilst recording the Tony Hadley album ‘Passing Strangers’, which Paul was Musical Director and pianist, it was decided that he should play a trumpet solo on the track ‘I Wanna be Around’. The horn players in the band were gob-smacked. The results speak for themselves
Paul is best known these days for his roles as Musical Director and pianist.
Paul famously MD’d his own orchestra, as well as playing piano on the Paul O’Grady Christmas Special, which was broadcast ITV1 9.00pm Christmas Eve, 2011- footage can be seen on the TV clips page. The show featured such stars as Bette Midler, Cilla Black, The Soldiers, David Haye etc. Paul providing the music for the whole show. Other TV performances with various artists can also be seen on the ‘TV clips’ page.
Today, Paul is MD to Van Morrison, playing Piano, Hammond organ and Trumpet both live in concert and in the studio.