Pete Downes has rapidly become one of Europe’s leading guitarists in the modern fusion and ambient genres.With influences that cover such a wide spectrum as Pat Metheny, Bach, Hendrix, Ralph Towner and his work with PD3 (Pete Downes Trio) caught the attention of Jazzwise, Jazz FM and critic praise from The Guardian, The Observer and many others. PD3 regularly perform on the UK jazz scene.
After extensively touring Europe and Scandinavia with leading European acts during the 80’s, he focused on writing and recording. His releases include four albums with PD3, ‘Music for Guitar: Bach‘ which was nominated for ‘Best solo classical recording’ by the JPF Awards and ‘Sea of Tranquility‘ an ambient album which has proved highly successful on iTunes.
In the last five years he has also established a highly successful teaching practise in South West London with over 150 students ranging from beginners to advanced, and runs regular workshops aimed at inspiring young players. He still gigs with his trio PD3 and also performs with many bands in various genres.
The Pete Downes Trio
Biography by Gordon Moore
PD3 (Pete Downes Trio) are established on the jazz scene in the UK and Italy with a string of regular appearances at top jazz clubs culminating with a packed audience at Glastonbury Festival.
With influences that cover such a wide spectrum as Pat Metheny to Jimi Hendrix the first PD3 album Street Scene caught the attention of Jazzwise, Jazz FM and critic praise from The Guardian, The Observer and many other Radio Stations and newspapers. The eagerly awaited follow up album Into The Blue. is a further step on the road to a wider audience. On this album PD3 blend their infectious original compositions with totally fresh and inspired versions of popular songs from the 70s to present day in a way that simply underlines the incredible versatility of the trio and the ease in which they can provide assessable jazz routed music to a much wider audience.
With Dick Pearce Live
PD3 have joined forces with legendary trumpet player Dick Pearce and produced an electrifying live recording from a performance at the Pizza Express Jazz Club, Soho, London in April.
“New material was chosen at a rehearsal before the gigs” says Pete – one of Europe’s leading fusion guitarists, ” therefore many of the tunes were performed for the first or second time. It’s very exciting to capture that freshness in front of an audience.”
PD3 received critical acclaim with their earlier releases ‘Street Scene‘ and ‘Into the Blue’ from the likes of Jazzwise, The Observer and Jazz Journal International. Dick Pearce (trumpet/flugelhorn) was in Ronnie Scott’s band for many years and works regularly with the likes of Stan Tracy and other leading British jazz artists.
“I wrote ‘View in Blue’ for Dick” says Pete. “We had never played it live and had intentionally not worked out a concrete arrangement, yet it came together on the night and Dick’s playing is hauntingly beautiful. Also the arrangement of Mozart’s Requiem was for Dick. I took the first few bars before the choral section and merged the woodwind themes into a composite tune. Our original reggae-jazz version of Cantaloupe Island starts the CD and, as you can probably tell from the choice of material, we’ve retained our diverse influences throughout. ”
” We met Dick at one of our trio performances” says Pete, “He said he thought our sound was exciting and that he’d like to play with us. We were really pleased as it was just what we were looking for as he adds immensly to the sound and retains originality and sensitivity. We’ve managed to retain the space and dynamics that we utilise almost as another instrument. Dick was aware of this and there is space to create pictures and movement.
Tim Bruce (drums) and Andy Coe (double bass) complete the quartet and were the rhythm section on the first two recordings. “Tim is a very percussive drummer and when you play with him you can feel him listening. Andy is very visual and entertains the audience with his physical approach.”
” Of course there are imperfections in a live recording, but life is like that. You hear the humanity come through. I’ve always been excited by live recordings: Weather Report 8.30, We Want Miles. John Mclaughlin Trio at the Festival Hall are in my Desert Island Disc list.”
The cover design uses only photos by David Bell taken at the first nights performance and compliments the immediacy of the music.
Andy Coe’s extreme and unique bass playing not only providing a solid back line, but pulsing through on solos and driving the tracks along to Tim Bruce’s meticulous drumming. Pete Downes’ guitar work is unrivalled, but never over the top or self indulgent. He is a master of understatement and delicate phrasing, but when the track requires power, he’s there adding just the right amount of weight so as not to overpower or derail the beauty of the track.