30 years of music industry experience

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Hello.  My name is Andy Murtagh and I’ve been teaching the piano for over 30 years.

I was born in Birmingham and grew up in Handsworth Wood in a house which was always full of music. My dad had a keen musical interest and was self taught on the chromatic harmonica. He also had an encyclopaedic knowledge of classical music which I studied as a child. I also started to get into jazz and some of my influences include Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea and Oscar Peterson who dad took me to see at the Birmingham Town Hall when I was 12 years old.

When I was 17 I gained a scholarship to attend a jazz course in Wavendon hosted by Johnny Dankworth and Cleo Laine. During my teens I played keyboards in several bands covering many diverse styles; rock, funk, soul and reggae. The most successful of these was a band called The Nightcatchers.  We had a TV appearance on Peter Powell’s Oxford Road Show in 1984 and signed to RCA the following year.  During this time we worked with Level 42’s front man and bassist Mark King who produced our single I Can’t Believe.

After The Nightcatchers disbanded, I became self employed with the help of the Prince’s Youth Business Trust.  I also teamed up with vocalist, drummer and song writer Phil Middleton with whom I set up a recording studio in Yardley.  I also worked as a session musician recording with former Steel Pulse guitarist, Basil Gabbidon and performing live with soul legend Edwin Starr and rock and roll star Alvin Stardust.

In 1999 I started working for Access To Music in Birmingham where I taught keyboards, music technology and recording. I also accompanied many of the vocalists on the coarse and assisted many of the bands.  In 2003 I was voted tutor of the year. I also reunited with Basil Gabbidon and performed with his band at Symphony Hall for its 10th anniversary.

In 2008 I moved to North Wales where I now teach and run a small studio from home.  In the past few years I’ve teamed up with my brother Vin producing 3 albums as The Beaten Track, Colwyn Skyline, Whiskey Priests & Lovers and Ackie One Two Three all of which are available on iTunes.  Recently I’ve started working with a local singer Wendy Eastwood. We go under the name Almost Blue and do covers of jazz standards and some blues and bossa novas.

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Conwy • Llandudno • Colwyn Bay • Abergele  St. Asaph  Rhyl • Prestatyn