Adrian Drover is a world renowned arranger/composer and shot to fame when he joined the Maynard Ferguson Orchestra in 1974 and his arrangements of MacArthur Park, Spinning Wheel, Eli’s Coming and Hey Jude became hits on Maynard’s M.F Horn series of albums.
Since then Adrian has spent all his life excelling in the field of arranging and composing for a wide variety of ensembles and different styles of music.
Adrian was born in London during the height of the blitz. This was his first encounter with loud, explosive things made of brass. The second was the cornet. In his early childhood, he received instruction on this instrument from his father, a long-serving soldier-musician in the Grenadier Guards.
During his years at military boarding school, Adrian could not find a music instructor that was willing to teach him much else other than elementary basics, so he took it upon himself to study harmony in his spare time and taught himself orchestration and arranging. He wrote his first composition, a march for the school wind band, at the age of 14. After leaving school, not wishing to compete with his father and brother, both trumpet players, he taught himself to play saxes and woodwinds.
On quickly realizing that he had no talent for day jobs, he took up music as a full time profession and learned trombone as a double in the ’60s, again self taught. After a few years of seasonal touring work in circus, theatre and ballrooms, and a six-month winter season in the Bahamas, he moved back to London and quickly found freelance work in many roles as a multi-instrumental session player, writer, director and contractor in the numerous recording, broadcasting and movie studios of that period.
Bass trombone became his primary instrument in 1970 when he joined the Maynard Ferguson Orchestra and his arrangements became a hit for Maynard and the band. In 1974, he joined the BBC Scottish Radio Orchestra as bass trombonist and arranger.
BBC redundancies took their toll in 1981, but after a long vacation in Southern California, Adrian returned to Scotland as a freelance broadcaster with his own orchestra, big band and trombone band (inspired by George Roberts’ Californian ‘Bones West choir). Special guests with Adrian’s Slide Rule band (10 trombones and rhythm) were Kai Winding, Jiggs Whigham, Urbie Green, Phil Wilson, Don Lusher and Roy Williams. Adrian composed a new piece for solo bass trombone as a tribute to George Roberts, famed for his solo work with Stan Kenton, Nelson Riddle and Frank Sinatra, to be performed by Bones West at a special 70th birthday celebration for George in Hollywood. A year later Adrian was invited back to California to attend a special Bones West day in his own honour.
Through the years Adrian has also worked with such stars as Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, Benny Carter, Gladys Knight, Shirley Bassey, Marion Montgomery, Georgie Fame and many more. In 1985 he won the Marty Paich trophy for best arrangement in the BBC Radio 2 big band competition.
Adrian now has his own publishing business, specializing in brass band, big band and trombone music. In recent years he has worked as arranger and director with the BBC Radio Orchestra, BBC Radio Big Band, Carol Kidd, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Scottish Opera Orchestra and Glasgow Philharmonic Orchestra, and his scores have been performed by radio and TV orchestras in most major Western European cities. Among his other activities over the last few years, he has been hired as a freelance instructor of arranging and composition and director at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Napier and Strathclyde Universities and the National Jazz Institute.
Now a freelance arranger-composer he still enjoys playing and has recently been a member of about five different Scottish big bands including the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, as well as the Glasgow chapter of the British Trombone Society Trombone Ensemble.
Adrian currently guests with the BBC Radio Big Band as composer/director and directs his own string orchestra to accompany top jazz singer, Carol Kidd. He is also a specialist instructor at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama for Big Band Arranging and is co-director of the recently formed Adrian Drover/Dave Hankin Big Band a 23 piece ensemble which includes French Horn section and Tuba.