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Max Beesley: Track Record…


Max Beesley is a highly respected British actor with Hollywood success – but we can reveal, he also lives a double life!

Max starred in hit US TV dramas “Suits” and “Empire” and the British TV favourites “Hotel Babylon” and “Survivors”, among many other successful productions in the US and UK. Currently filming a new Netflix series for Guy Ritchie, “The Gentleman” due in 2024, and recently in Apple TV’s “Hijack” with Idris Elba.

His film and TV work began in 1983, and he is still in big demand to this day four decades later. But while Max Beesley is an accomplished actor, producer and writer – he is also a world class and sought-after multi-instrumentalist musician and composer. A top notch vibes (vibraphone) and keyboard player, plus drums and more.

His latest music project gave birth to “Zeus”, the brilliant debut album by Max Beesley’s High Vibes – who previously released two classic 12-inch singles at the height of the Acid Jazz movement in 1993/1994. “Zeus” is a glorious instrumental album which was this magazine’s album of the month when it was released in September 2023, and it is among our albums of the year.

For “Zeus”, Max set out to create something very special, and reached out to some of the most sought-after session players in the world to play on the record, including mega-drummer Steve Gadd [the two played on George Benson’s 1996 album “That’s Right”], and guitarist Dean Parks, one of the most recorded players in the 21st century.

Max is from Manchester, with a home in Hollywood, and he was awarded a scholarship to Chetham’s School Of Music, Manchester at the age of 11, where he studied piano, percussion and composition. During his time at Chetham’s, he played with the chamber orchestra, symphony orchestra, octets, and quartets, as a pianist and percussionist.

He also developed a strong connection to jazz and r&b, citing Bill Evans and Herbie Hancock as some of his main influences. He developed his natural talent as a jazz musician along with the everyday classical music program.

He played with The National Jazz Orchestra, The National Chamber Orchestra and The European Community Orchestra under such luminaries as Claudio Abbado, Simon Rattle and Pierre Boulez. At 18 he won five scholarships to the major conservatories: Trinity College Of Music, The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, The Royal College of Music, The Royal Academy of Music and The Royal Northern. He worked with Leonard Bernstein in this period, also with Michel Legrand.

Zeus is our cup of tea…

After a year at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, he was asked to join Paul Weller’s band, and recorded and toured with him for the next two years. He became one of the most sought-after multi-instrumentalists in the session business, playing with Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Maceo Parker, Earth Wind & Fire, Red Rodney, George Benson, Charles MacPherson, in Clint Eastwood’s “Birdland” movie, Bobby Shew, Maynard Ferguson, James Brown, Incognito, The Brand New Heavies, Robbie Williams, George Michael and Jamiroquai.

In 2020, he recorded his first solo album “Groove Spectrum” in Los Angeles, featuring guests Paul Weller, Robbie Williams, Fred Durst, Lisa Stansfield and Omar.

The 52-year-old will hit the road in 2024 to promote “Zeus”, and aptly, for a touring musician, Maxton Beesley’s middle name turns out to be “Gig”, after American film star Gig Young!

For more good news, over to Max: “I will continue to record new albums with High Vibes, but have a Max Beesley’s Groove Spectrum album to release after ‘Zeus’…After I release that, I will get back into the studio to record another High Vibes album, and feature more world class musicians…” Bring it on Mr B!



Max Beesley’s Track Record:

1. First song you recall hearing as a child?

Marvin Gaye: “Come Live With Me” – from the “I Want You” album.

2. First single you owned?

“Sign Your Name Across My Heart” – Terence Trent D’Arby.

3. First LP/album you owned?

“L Is For Lover” – Al Jarreau.

4. First CD you owned?

“Still Life Talking” – Pat Metheny.

5. Last music you bought and in what format (CD/vinyl/digital download)?

“Zeus” – Max Beesley’s High Vibes. On vinyl.

Max in Guy Ritchie’s “The Gentleman” – coming to Netflix in 2024…

6. Which album would you be happy to receive as a gift?

The complete works of The Oscar Peterson Trio – or (on vinyl) ANY Prince after-show jams in the 1990’s.

7. Favourite album? (Choose more than one if need be…)

“Songs In The Key Of Life” – Stevie Wonder. “Still Life Talking” – Pat Metheny. “The Planets Suite” – Gustav Holst. Mozart – “Requiem”.

8. Best record ever made (can be single/album/EP – and choose more than one if need be)?

“Kind Of Blue” – Miles Davis.

9. Guilty secret (or anything unusual or perhaps unexpected) in your music collection?

The Chemical Brothers – “Further” (album).

10. What does music mean to you and how does it make you feel?

Music is everything. And if I’m creating it and someone likes what I’ve done, it’s incredibly important, as you are partly creating a momentary soundtrack of their lives. I have gone to records that I’ve listened to from great artists, that have been the soundtrack to my life, and that is so powerful.

11. Which song or album is a guaranteed mood booster?

Any uptempo James Brown record. (We all had to refer to him as “Mr Brown”. Max played piano for the soul legend in 2006, as part of the BBC’s Electric Proms festival.

12. Which song or album would be the soundtrack to a film about your life?

“Still Life Talking” by Pat Metheny.

13. Your favourite driving track – or music to exercise-to?

“Rufus and Chaka Khan Live – Stompin’ At The Savoy”.

14. Best song or album for a romantic moment?

Marvin Gaye- “Let’s Get It On”.

15. Which song was played for the “First Dance” at your wedding (if you are married) or which song would you choose if you did get married?

“The Look Of Love” by Dusty Springfield.

16. Your choice of song to sing at karaoke?

“Delilah” (Tom Jones).

17. Which song takes you back to your childhood – and to which specific memory/memories?

“Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head” takes me back to most of my childhood…[Written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David for the 1969 film “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”, sung y B.J.Thomas.]

Max in “The Survivors”

18. Favourite band (or bands)?

Steely Dan, Steps Ahead, Herbie Hancock, The Brecker Brothers, Steve Gadd Band, The Oscar Peterson Trio.

19. Favourite singer (or singers)?

Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Andrea Bocelli, Gregory Porter.

Gregory Porter

20. Which song would you like played at your funeral?

The Trammps – “Disco Inferno”.




Max Beesley Photos by Bjorn Franklin * (apart from the 2 x TV stills)




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