Keith Marr playing Gates of Justice

The Trombonist

Although mostly self-taught Keith started out, like so many brass players, in the local Salvation Army band. He remembers being entrusted with an old Hawkes peashooter, complete with a bell section that curved alarmingly inwards! In his late teens he moved onto bass trombone which always seemed to have the better parts in brass band work. Starting out on a Besson International single valve bass, his first two-valver was the legendary King Duo Gravis (pictured at the bottom of this page in 1975) which he used for many years. He then moved onto a Holton TR181 prior to acquiring the Rath and the Kanstul he now uses. See My Trombones for details of these.

In the late 1970s he got his LGSM and at that time was lucky enough to be involved in some master classes with Denis Wick during part time study at the Guildhall. This enables him to occasionally drop into conversation the phrase, "as Denis Wick once said to me . . . .", although he probably wasn't being addressed directly at the time.

Keith says, "Sadly several years away from the instrument means I feel that I still haven't recaptured the standard I played to then – but I'm getting there slowly."

He joined what was then the Page Three Big Band in 2000 and a couple of years or so later moved from the Stevenage Symphony Orchestra to his present orchestral position with the St Albans Symphony Orchestra (pictured below in rehearsal for Janacek's Sinfonietta as part of SASO's 2005 New Year's Day concert). The Page Three Big Band has since renamed itself as the Shades of Swing Big Band.

In addition to these regular appointments Keith has guested on a number of very interesting performances of rarely performed pieces such as the Hovhaness St Vartan Symphony and Varese's Integrales and many others, including the very demanding alto trombone part in Britten's Burning Fiery Furnace. He also played first trombone for the European premier of Dave Brubeck's cantata The Gates of Justice in 2005 (pictured above taking the applause).

Keith has also guested alongside Richard Baker and Dame Diana Rigg as they have narrated Peter and the Wolf (i.e. performances on two separate occasions) and was part of the brass section for The Enid's performance of Childe Roland and their masterpiece Fand at the Birmingham Town Hall in 2010. This enables him to describe himself, "as seen on YouTube".

In 2015 he left the Shades of Swing Band, having decided to change from big band jazz to early music performance. To this end he is learning to learn to play sackbuts. Watch the gallery page and trombones page for pictures of the Eb alto, Bb tenor and Eb bass sackbuts that he plans to work on.

From 2011-2016 Keith was principal bass trombone of Bridgewater Sinfonia, based in Berkhamsted but has since relinquished this position to make more time for his sackbut playing. He retains his position with the St Albans Symphony Orchestra and is happy to stand in as a deputy with the Bridgewater Sinfonia and also with the De Havilland Philharmonic Orchestra and the Hertfordshire Philharmonia.

Type Metal performance

Solo Repertoire

The following works have been played as the soloist (other solo projects are always being worked on).

Albrechtsberger Concerto in B Flat
Arnold: Fantasia
David Concertino.
Guilmant: Morceau Symphonique
Henry: Passacaglia and Fugue
McCarty: Sonata
Marr: Type Metal
(see picture opposite for performance)
Rimsky-Korsakov Concerto.

Big band bass trombone features include:
Drover Mr Nice Guy
Mantooth A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square
Rich Wave
Williams Saturday Night is the Loneliest Night of the Week

Keith Marr in SA Band in 1975Additionally there are the following brass band solos:
Leidzen Concertino
Steadman-Allen The Eternal Quest

Keith says, "I am of course open to offers for solo work. I would be particularly interested to play Norman Bolter's Mountains, Lakes and Trees, an orchestral piece in which the soloist is required to play bass, tenor and alto trombones in the three respective movements. I have written a similar piece, Type Metal Opus 23. which is available for performance. Type Metal was premiered at the Friends of SASO evening in 2013."

Keith plays Doug Elliot Mouthpieces