He also played saxophone in rock bands and with blues and jazz groups with such artists as Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Little Richard, and Van Morrison. In the mid-1970s, Altman began arranging and conducting, and worked with Alison Moyet, Aled Jones, Rod Stewart, George Michael, Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Graham Parker, Murray Head, and Monty Python. For the latter, he arranged the music for their Rutles television special and later contributed to The Life of Brian. He also was a frequent guest conductor for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Altman's screen career began as the musical arranger-director for the 1978 film Just a Gigolo. He continued in this capacity for such films as The Secret Policeman's Other Ball and numerous television productions, including Shadowlands and adaptations of all of the dozen Agatha Christie novels featuring Miss Marple.
He served as the historical music advisor and arranged all the period music for Titanic and was the first Western composer to score a Russian film (Tsareubiytsa, aka The Assassin of the Tsar). Altman's credits as a film score composer include Hear My Song, Funny Bones, Beautiful Thing, The Matchmaker, Little Voice, Legionnaire, Hope Springs, Shall We Dance?, and Akasha Gopuram. His latest project, Shoot on Sight, is scheduled for release in 2008. Altman is the most prolific writer of music for commercials, having scored more than 4,000 international ads. In 2002, Campaign named him one of the 100 most influential figures in contemporary British advertising and one of the 5 top composers. His compositions for Levis and Renault won the Campaign Award for Best Soundtracks in 2003 and 2004.
He currently is working with Ridley Scott on a promotional film for Prada. Altman won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Composition for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special for RKO 281 and was nominated in the same category for The Roman Spring of Mrs Stone. He won the BAFTA Award for Best Film Music for Hear My Song, the Television and Radio Industries Club Award for TV Theme Music of the Year 1993 for Peak Practice, and the ASCAP Film Award for Shall We Dance? and RKO 281. The John Altman Big Band frequently performs in the US and UK. Personnel include Wayne Bergeron, Andy Martin, Pete Christlieb, and Grant Geissman. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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