The Sextet were predominantly an instrumental group formed by guitarist Alex Patchett, who played as Al Paget, and his brother Irving Patchett (guitar and vocals) in 1960. The repertoire was a mix of rock and roll, standards, jazz and Latin.
Al Patchett was a tough taskmaster with an eye for detail and presentation. The Sextet were also all accomplished and exciting players and they always drew large and enthusiastic crowds to the venues where they performed. During their residency at North Shore’s Bayswater Marina Dances, buses were laid on to bring people to the venue.
Apart from the occasional practical joke on stage, the group conducted themselves in a professional and disciplined manner – Al was a school teacher by day, his brother Irving was in the Navy. The line-up almost always included pianist Trevor Salisbury and drummer Merv Herdson. The latter two were much older than the Patchett brothers, being well into their thirties. A string of other members came and went over the years. Jeff Bolton joined on bass in 1961 and remained with the band until September 1964.
The group would regularly perform with guest vocalists including Lew Pryme, Jan Dalton, Bill Morton, Val Fisher and Ray Woolf. In 1961 vocalist Ronnie Sundin joined the group for a year to replace Irving who was on a tour of duty with the Navy.
The group was together for four years before changing times, changing line-ups and Beatlemania caught up with them in 1965. During their four years together they released a single on Allied International, an album on Top Rank (1962) and a single ‘Black Saddle'/‘Christopher Columbus’ on the Lexian label (1963), before finishing their recording career at Zodiac in 1964 with two singles, ‘Stampede'/‘Chariot Stomp’ and ‘Maybe Baby'/'Sea Of Clouds’.
The first Zodiac single, ‘Stampede’, was written by Al with the media at the time predicting that he could well be the next Peter Posa. Al also composed the B-side of the second Zodiac single 'Sea of Clouds'.
After the Sextet broke up Al Patchett formed The Newsounds with Billy Belton. The Newsounds were together for a year and when they broke up, Al headed to the UK where he has lived ever since.
Al Patchett has remained active as a musician in the UK, playing in numerous pub and club bands over the years. Although long retired from teaching, Al still plays gigs, but after 50 years of playing in smoky and noisy dance clubs and pubs he now chooses to play at retirement homes in his local Essex area.
Alex Patchett - guitar
Geoff Bolton - bass
Irving Patchett - rhythm guitar, vocals
Merv Herdson - drums
Trevor Salisbury - piano
Joe Brandon - Saxophone