Adam McCulloch, saxophonist, arranger, composer, band fixer

Hi there, my name is Adam McCulloch. I’ve been a saxophonist since distant schooldays and have played thousands of gigs and on many studio recordings including with well known bands such as Roxette. I’m also a journalist with The Guardian and Personnel Today and the author of Kent Walks Near London. I occasionally write reviews for Jazzwise.

I’ve written this website because I want to document my musical life and to advertise the fact I can help provide live music to events great and small. I also arrange and compose music.

Adam performing at the 606 Club in Lots Rd, Fulham in 2022. Photograph by Greg Heath

I’m based in south-east London and, thanks to the contacts I’ve built up through years of playing, can organise live music to suit all occasions, from Caribbean-style steel pan groups, to jazz duos and trios, vibrant funk ensembles, rock bands and jazz swing big bands. There are also Motown bands, soul, African, chart hits and David Bowie and Van Morrison tribute bands. I’ve played in them all, although my personal specialisation is jazz and jazz funk. I also possess hundreds of horn section charts including calypso/soca classics, Earth Wind and Fire, and Motown, and often put together horn sections for other bands. I play alto, tenor and soprano saxophones with some flute.


Genres covered by Adam

Jazz duo, trio, quartet, quintet etc with or without vocals;
Swing jazz (standards by Cole Porter etc);
Big band jazz;
Modern jazz;
Jazz funk;
Chart hits;

What kinds of occasions do I provide music for?

Weddings, corporate events, private house parties, birthdays, festivals, pubs and clubs (in this country and abroad). The largest function I’ve played at was with Andy Mitchell’s Big Funk Corp (see Previous Work page) at the NEC Birmingham. The smallest was a birthday party for 25 people in somebody’s front room in Peckham.

How far away do I go to play?

I’m based in south-east London and just love playing in Kent, London, Essex, Surrey and Sussex. I play each month at a big band in Bromley at the Sundridge Park Working Men’s Club. A lot of my gigs seem to be in Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire, Essex, Hertfordshire and Berkshire. There are no mileage limits but fees are affected by distance travelled. My days of driving a minibus to Edinburgh for a one-nighter for £50 are over!

How much does it cost to hire a band?

I love to play, as do my friends and colleagues but we have to earn a living! So a guide…

Jazz duos from £400
Jazz quartet from £800
Six-piece function band from £1,500
10-piece soca/funk outfit from £2,500

Fees subject to mileage fluctuations and can also vary based on time spent at the event.

Saxophone lessons

I teach jazz and basic technique (embouchure and fingerings) to budding saxophonists at £33ph. I have plenty of experience with jazz workshops too.

Big band charts

Adam (far right) with the Mark Cherrie/Adrian Sledmere special quintet, June 2022

Adam has arranged and composed several tunes for big band. Listen to them on Soundcloud (some rough versions though, be warned!). Originals include Wanda Returns, Catalina Beach Scene, On the Ridge, Over and Out, Lost World and Dagenham Ballet. Arrangements include I’ll Catch You (John Scofield); Cubana Chant (Ray Bryant); Song for Bilbao, Extradition, Lone Jack, Timeline, When We Were Free, Unity Village (all Pat Metheny). PDFs of arrangements available by special arrangement.

Listen to Catalina Beach Scene by Adam McCulloch, performed by A McCulloch and John Donaldson (piano) (Sibelius software version with live piano)

Latest news

The Mick Collins Legacy Band plays the first Monday of every month at Sundridge Park Club, 8.15pm-10.40pm, £10; guest musicians and some superb music by the likes of Thad Jones, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Kenny Wheeler, and Sal Nestico are featured. In March and April 2023 the band played Adam’s compositions Wanda Returns and Catalina Beach Scene and his arrangement of Lost by Wayne Shorter.

Adam attended Richard Bona’s gig at the Jazz Cafe and Chris Potter’s gig at Ronnie Scotts.

August-December 2022: Adam played alto at Mick Collins Legacy Band gigs and tenor on New Year’s Eve gig at Pizza Express The Pheasantry, King’s Road with the Soul Trippers band. Jazzwise published Adam’s review of the Pat Metheny Big Band gig at Ronnie Scotts.

June 2022-August 2022: gigs with Motown Gold in Wisbech, Chelmsford, St Katherine’s Dock, Colchester, gigs with Marcus Malone band in Maida Vale, and Grand Central jazz trio in Cowden, East Sussex.

June 2022: review of Pat Metheny Side Eye gig at Hammersmith Odeon published at Jazzwise. Performances with Motown Gold covers band, Mick Collins Legacy Big Band, Mark Cherrie/Adrian Sledmere special quintet at 606 Club and Grand Central jazz trio.

Saxes Joe Pickering (far left), Tim Saunders (hidden), Adam McCulloch (laughing) and Tom Olsen at Mick Collins Legacy Big Band gig 2022. Photo by Michael Johnson

April 2022: New big band chart arranged by Adam performed for first time: an arrangement of John Scofield’s I’ll Catch You. Premiered on big band gig and played at subsequent gigs.

March 2019: Review by Adam McCulloch published in Jazzwise: Steely Dan at Wembley SSE Arena
January 2019: Latest composition called Wanda Returns, debuted by Mick Collins Legacy Big Band in November 2018. Arrangement of Cubana Chant debuted by big band in February 2019.

May 2017: New big band chart completed early May 2017. Premiered at gig at HG Wells Centre by Mick Collins Legacy Big Band on May 1. It’s called Catalina Beach Scene.

Watch a short video of Adam McCulloch and Mark Cherrie in an informal, impromptu jam

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