The money’s on Zoot

Zoot Money performs on the Maximum R n' B tour.
Zoot Money performs on the Maximum R n' B tour.

Maximum Rhythm and Blues will be the order of the day as the tour of the same name travels around the country.

Headlining – and backing the other artists on the bill – will be The Manfreds.

The Manfreds need no introduction; boasting four members of the original Manfred Mann in guitarist Tom McGuinness, keyboard player Mike Hugg and both – yes both – lead singers with Paul Jones and Mike D’Abo (who replaced Jones when the former went solo in 1966) taking turns to deliver the band’s many hits. These hits included the likes of Do Wah Diddy Diddy, Pretty Flamingo, Mighty Quinn, and 5 4 3 2 1.

Their sound was steeped in R n B and jazz and this line-up of the band has been going for three times as long as the original band, and they have just recorded a new album.

Adding her sultry and soulful vocals to the bill is PP Arnold who had massive success with Angel of the Morning and The First Cut is the Deepest.

Completing the line-up for what will be an excellent night of music is Zoot Money. Zoot, along with his Big Roll Band, has been a major player in the world of jazz and R n B since the early 60s, and hit the charts in 1966 with Big Time Operator at which time his band included Andy Summers who went on to be a member of The Police.

Zoot, born George Bruno Money in Bournemouth, got his name from one of his jazz heroes. “I had a skiffle/rock band at the time, back in the fifties and I went to see a concert at the Philharmonic Hall in Bournemouth.” he explains. “I was taken with the whole thing, the four best acts I could hope to see, and one of them was a sax player called Zoot Simms and after seeing the show I started using saxophones in the band.

“My name came when the guy at the local paper who wrote up the ‘what’s on’ section said that if my name went in as Zoot Money it would stand out – and it did.” “Plus, in hip-hop language, ‘zoot’ means to be fashionable.”

Zoot’s music is heavily laced with jazz and R n B influences, and he tells me about his listening choices.

“I like listening to jazz as it gives me loads of ideas and I like the improvisational side of it. And I used to listen to a lot of imported R n B back in the day.

“Actually, I used to borrow them from the lady at this shop and tape them so that I could learn them.” 
Whilst Zoot is a well-known and respected musician, he tends not to do big tours. “I haven’t done a tour as big as this for a few years,” he said. “I play a lot with The Animals and Friends when Micky Gallagher is unavailable and I have my own Big Roll Band which tends to play around London. But, I have toured with Alan Price and Georgie Fame quite a bit.”

Music isn’t the only string to Zoot’s bow, as he also acts. “I’ve turned up in quite a few things, mainly in the seventies,” he said, “and I’ve met a lot of actors who I’ve enjoyed working with – Leonard Rossiter was one of the first.

“I did a series called ‘Get Back’ which had Ray Winstone in and Kate Winslet.”

George also arranged and played on the music for ‘Tutti Frutti’ that starred Robbie Coltrane. He states that there have been may highlights in his career, but one tour stands out for him. “I was part of the 1983 World Tour for the reunited Animals, where I was an additional keyboard player – it was great fun.” And he mentions two musicians who he greatly admires. “I have a lot of admiration for Kevin Coyne, who was a bandmate of mine (and Andy Summers again) in the seventies; and Georgie Fame.” “Georgie is fantastic and I learn something from him everytime I see him.”

For this tour, Zoot said that he will definitely be playing Big Time Operator and It Should Have been Me. “The only modern thing I’ll do is a song called It Never Rains But It Pours, plus a duet with Pat Arnold.

The Maximum Rhythm n’ Blues Tour, starring The Manfreds, PP Arnold and Zoot Money, will be visiting Buxton Opera House on November 22, Manchester’s Palace Theatre on November 24 and Sheffield City Hall on November 27.

Tickets are available from the box offices and usual agencies.