I do music and performance and stuff

Hello. I am Steve Pretty. This is my website, on which I attempt to explain my confusing 'career' to you. I do mostly performance,  music composition, arranging and production, and sometimes photography and writing.

If you're confused, think how I feel.

Filtering by Tag: trumpet

Brian and Robin's Compendium of Reason 2017

Another year, another amazing December gig at the Hammersmith Apollo. Thanks to these gigs, I am now on first name terms with at least one astronaut, and have played my own weird brand of melodic electro jazz freakery (or something) to 4500 unsuspecting science and comedy fans on a yearly basis.

This year, I brought the full HCB along again, and we closed the show with a rendition of No Stars  from Twin Peaks then Murder on the Dancefloor with the absolutely lovely Sophie Ellis Bextor. I thought it'd be fun to march out through the crowd, so that's what we did...

Here's a video of the last bit; spot the cameos by some of the world's leading scientists and comedians.

Ugly Chief

In November 2017 I was in Ugly Chief at the Battersea Arts Centre, after a successful preview tour in the spring.

It's a really interesting show by Victoria Melody and her dad, Mike Melody. I was part of a small band, playing trumpet, percussion, singing and doing a tiny bit of what could loosely be described as 'acting'.

It got universally glowing reviews from all over the shop, and we're touring more in Spring 2018. It's a pleasure working with Vic and Mike, and look forward to getting out on the road with the team again soon.

Hackney Colliery Band live at Koko - FULL SHOW video

HCB played a sold-out show at Koko, London on 26th May 2017. It was a really special evening, and made more poignant as they show took place just days after the devastating Manchester terror attack (see our tribute at 18.30).

We recorded the entire thing for posterity - all 108 minutes of it! We're really happy with how it's come out. What do you think?

Be sure to come to our biggest show yet, at the legendary Kentish Town Forum on 16th February. ROLL UP!

Hackney Colliery Band perform to a sell-out crowd at London's iconic Koko. Performing in the same week as the devastating Manchester terror attacks in 2017, the show has added poignancy with a tribute to victims of terror all over the world, alongside HCB's trademark barnstorming punk/jazz/electro hybrid party music.

Nat Osborn European tour

In summer 2017 I played several dates with the brilliant Nat Osborn Band, mainly at jazz festivals in Eastern Europe and Italy. The mixed New York/Polish band are absolutely superb musicians, and Nat's quirky, catchy and very musical songs went down a storm, helped in no small part by Nat's excellent front man abilities.

It was a pleasure playing with these guys, and looking forward to more dates in 2018 and beyond.

Carnatic Connections chosen as one of the Top 10 albums of 2016 by Songlines Magazine

I'm really delighted that Carnatic Connections, the Bollywood Brass Band album I produced, mixed and performed on has been selected as one of the Top 10 albums of 2016 by legendary world music magazine Songlines.

I worked super hard on this record, and I'm really proud of the result, so it's great to see it getting such a lot of praise (also FIVE STARS from the Evening Standard, with more reviews on the way). Do check the record out.


I've had fun doing some nice sessions of late, with studio sessions in section with chum Pete Wareham for the likes of Paul Epworth (in his incredible studio The Church featuring - geek alert - a 72 channel Neve desk which was used to record Dark Side of the Moon) and some nice sessions I've recorded myself at home through my increasingly tasty setup of a Coles ribbon mic and Neve channel strip. If you want me on your record, drop me a line and I can either come to your world famous studio or record in my own non-world famous studio.

Paul Epworth's 72 channel Neve desk at The Church

Paul Epworth's 72 channel Neve desk at The Church

Circa Tsuica at Warwick Arts Centre

In February/March 2016 I was a visiting artist at Warwick Arts Centre, where I worked with the incredible French circus heroes Circa Tsuica and the brilliant University of Warwick Big Band.

Warwick is my alma mater, and I was musical director of the Big Band for four years, so it was a real treat going back to work with them. The band are sounding better than ever, and we all had a blast working with Circa Tsuica's musical director Camille Secheppet. As well as being a superb sax player, Camille specialises in sound painting, and the band and I learned a great deal about this really interesting way of working with both improvised and written music.


The show was nothing short of breathtaking, with superb musicianship on display...all whilst doing acrobatics, riding bikes backwards with five people on board and upside-down cloud swinging. Extraordinary talent, and a brilliantly inventive, funny show. The moment when we all performed on stage together for the finale was one of my favourite moments of 2016 so far.

Here's a little demo video of the guys. It's great, but, y'know, it's much better in person.

Brian and Robin's Christmas Compendium of Reason

I once again MDed for Robin Ince and Brian Cox's two shows at the Hammersmith Apollo, and once again had the privilege of working with some truly amazing people. Quite apart from all the legendary scientists and comedians on the bill (think Sophie Scott, Andrea Sella, Dara Ó Briain, Sara Pascoe et al), I had the chance to arrange music for, amongst others, Alison Moyet, Charlotte Church and, for the second time, astronaut Chris Hadfield.

It was also my first time arranging for string quartet, as we were joined by concert violinist Jack Liebeck and his colleagues. Slightly intimidating having my first music for string quartet being played by world class players, but it was a real treat, and I now want to add strings to everything.

Oh, and as usual, TV science bloke and physicist Brian Cox was the pianist. 

Thanks as always to Brian and Robin for having me, and to the band for a lot of patience and hard work.