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Pat O'Donnell


I first began playing drums at about the age of 14 in a band that we formed at my school, Buckhurst Hill County High, and later I played in various dance bands in the Essex/Herts area. In my late teens I formed a modern jazz group and played regularly at "The Greyhound" in Harlow, and this led to my meeting up with jazz pianist Alan Gowen.
The trio we subsequently formed with John Hosey on bass continued to play in the Harlow area, and as a rhythm section we accompanied most of the top names on the UK jazz scene. I also played in a "student big band" run by members of the John Dankworth Orchestra in London.
Around this time I met with Phil & Steve Miller, who were running a band called "Delivery" which featured saxophonist Lol Coxhill.

I began to play in various experimental "free-jazz-rock" ventures with these musicians plus our trio and other like-minded players from the Harlow/Bishops Stortford/Cambridge region.
I turned fully professional in the 70's with the Cambridge group C.M.U., touring throughout the UK and Europe and recording two albums for the Transatlantic label. These were called "Open Spaces", and "Space Cabaret", and have just been re-released on one CD on the See For Miles label- SEECD373. This group featured my wife, Larraine , as lead vocalist.

At the demise of C.M.U., I joined the band Northern Lights, and began to record regularly as a freelance session musician in London. This band included the singer Tina Charles and bassist Trevor Horn, who became a top Producer. Later Jill Saward, Nigel Wright (then playing keyboards) and bass-player Steve Underwood joined the band.

Towards the end of the 70's I formed a jazz-rock band called Tracks with Trevor on bass, Bill Sharpe (keyboards) and Keith Winter (guitar). When Trevor left to form Buggles his replacement was Martin Elliot, now with Michael Nyman. Ian Hamlett, formerly of C.M.U., and bassist John Dover also played with Tracks. We recorded an EP which we released on "white label", and sold at our regular Sunday lunch-time gig at Triad Arts Centre in Bishops Stortford.

Resulting from session work for Les McCutcheon with Nigel Wright producing, a group consisting of Bill, Keith, Steve Underwood, and myself, recorded four tracks written by Bill. One of these was "Steppin'", which became a big club hit and led to a recording contract with Polydor.

Vocalists Jill and Jackie Rawe were added later, and with George Anderson replacing Steve, this became the first official line-up of Shakatak. Apart from Jackie's departure, and Keith leaving due to ill health, this is the personnel that continues to tour and record to this day.

As well as being a member of Shakatak, I free-lance in other situations and I also run my own bands, often featuring my wife Larraine as vocalist. Our son Jamie (Jimpster, Audiomontage, DJ, Re-mixer) is a keyboard playing Producer/Engineer rapidly making a name for himself with a variety of projects including The Bays, andwe have a daughter, Maxine, who graduated from Coventry University with a degree in Culture, Communication and Media, and is now living and working in London.

In late '99, early '00, I co-produced my own CD with Jamie, which features among others, Larraine and Jacqui Hicks on vocals, Mornington Lockett on saxes, Jamie on keyboards, Maxine on backing vocals, and myself on drums. The group is called Beatifik, and the CD is entitled "The Blue Window". Go to The Listening Post for Real Audio samples.

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