John ALTMAN – composer, arranger, songwriter
John is a musician’s musician. Music royalty. Accolade after accolade. He’s won BAFTA’s and EMMY’s. He is the proud recipient of a Gold Badge of Excellence for services to British music awarded by his peers in The British Academy of Songwriters & Composers in 2011, a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Monaco Film Festival, and in 2012 with an honorary Doctorate of Music from the University of Sussex where he was the first ever Creative Arts Fellow in the Department of Humanities. His autobiography, Hidden Man: My Many Musical Lives , was published by Equinox in February 2022 and is receiving excellent reviews and John has done lots of signings and interviews including at the renown Hay Literary Festival as well as tv, radio and podcasts.
John scored the 1928 restored silent move Shooting Stars for The British Film Institute which had a red carpet premiere at London’s Odeon Leicester Square as part of the London Film Festival.
He’s jammed with Clapton, Zoot Money, Hendrix, Jimmy Page, and the late Amy Winehouse. He was Van Morrison‘s MD for years and Hot Chocolate‘s MD and sax player. He’s responsible for classics by Alison Moyet‘s ‘That Old Devil Called Love’, George Michael‘s ‘Kissing A Fool’ and Bjork‘s ‘It’s Oh So Quiet’, to name but a few.
He is a highly regarded award winner for his contemporary orchestral scores, big band music, and small group ensemble work and respected critic Don Heckman in the Los Angeles Times describes him as “one of the few film composers with authentic jazz skills.” He’s also a songwriter and writes end title songs and pastiches where source music is difficult to clear.
Feature films include RKO281 (EMMY winner), Hear My Song (BAFTA winner), Miramax’s Shall We Dance, starring Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez; the thriller Shoot On Sight and a contemporary version of Ibsen’s The Master Builder (Crossover Productions). Funny Bones (Hollywood Pictures); wrote and produced all the period music for Titanic (20th Century Fox); Matchmaker (Working Title); King Of Texas (Hallmark); Fidel (Showtime); the classic tank chase in Goldeneye (United Artists) which remains number 2 in the all-time James Bond favourite scenes; The Lost Empire (Hallmark); Beautiful Joe (Capitol Films); the award-winning Little Voice (Scala/Miramax); Garden Of Redemption (Paramount); Beautiful Thing (World/Channel Four Films); Vendetta (Limelight/Miramax); and Boss Of Bosses (Turner). Also the films Breaking Through, starring Diane Keaton; Hope Springs (Disney), starring Colin Firth, Minnie Driver and Heather Graham; The Roman Spring of Mrs Stone (Showtime), starring Helen Mirren for which he received an EMMY Nomination; the Christmas movie Mr St. Nick starring Kelsey Grammer; and The Reagans (CBS/Showtime).
UK TV credits include ITV’s The Good Samaritan; BBC Film’s Mr. Harvey Lights A Candle starring Timothy Spall; the Channel 4 drama The Queen’s Sister, ITV’s Peak Practice, Rich Deceiver, No Bananas, The Old Devils and many more.
As an arranger John has worked with the best – Diana Ross, George Michael, Goldie, Bjork, Rod Stewart, Tom Jones, Tina Turner etc etc. He has his own hand picked London and LA big bands and quartets and regularly gigs both sides of the Atlantic and has several albums out there featuring both line ups.
For several years he’s hosted music/interview gigs at London’s famed Pizza Express Jazz Nights. He and his musicians perform between interviews with major stars most of whom he’s worked with over the years including Michael Palin, Lenny Henry, Goldie, Rob Brydon, Adrian Dunbar, Bradley Walsh, Imelda Staunton and Jim Carter, and Sanjeev Bhaskar – and mostly they get up and perform with the band too!
John’s Big Band & Swing