Quite simply the biggest character on the British rhythm and blues scene since the early 1960s, Zoot Money was born George Bruno Money on 17 July 1942 in Bournemouth, Dorset, England. Part of a large and noisy family, both his parents were Italian immigrants, although his father's family (really called Money) were originally English.
At school Zoot played the French horn and sang in the choir, but it wasn't long before he heard the call from the pied pipers of rock and roll (aka Jerry Lee Lewis and Ray Charles - what a combination!) and found himself transformed into a leading light on Bournemouth's vibrant music scene.
In 1961 Zoot formed the first incarnation of the Big Roll band; over the next two years the line-up settled into Andy Summers (guitar), Nick Newall (saxophone)and Colin Allen (drums), with Zoot on piano and Hammond organ. This dramatis personae continued for a few years with various interruptions. The first was when Zoot, spotted by "British Blues Godfather" Alexis Korner's then manager, was invited to play with Korner's seminal Blues Incorporated for a temporary spell. Zoot decided to stay in London, and the other Big Rollers soon joined him.
Before long The Big Roll Band, alongside those other luminaries of the Soho blues scene of the time, Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames and The Animals, had become permanent fixtures at the Flamingo Club in Wardour Street. Zoot's shows were famed far and wide for his combination of outrageous antics (including "shocking" trouser activity that predated PJ Proby by several years), tight musicianship and passionate vocal delivery. At that time, to be seen - let alone to play - at the Flamingo was just about as achingly hip as it got. Two new members, Paul Williams (bass/vocals) and Clive Burrows (saxophone), were added to the line-up, and things really began to take off.