Google+ Followers

Monday, 31 March 2014

Malcolm Roberts born 31 March 1944

 
Malcolm Roberts (31 March 1944 — 7 February 2003) was an English singer, who enjoyed three hit singles from 1967 to 1969 in the UK Singles Chart.
 
Born in Blackley, Manchester, Roberts arrived in the music industry through a previous career in acting - even appearing briefly in a tiny role in ITV's soap opera, Coronation Street. It was while appearing as Tony in West Side Story  that he received his big break. Composer  Lionel Bart spotted his potential and cast him in appear in his West End production of Maggie May at the Adelphi Theatre, in 1964.
 
His powerful singing voice may have had great appeal only with the older generation- but they certainly went out and bought his records in great numbers. His first single, "Time Alone Will Tell" reached number 45 in May 1967, followed by his biggest hit, "May I Have the Next Dream With You" in November 1968, reaching number 8 and staying on the charts for 15 weeks. His final hit, in November 1969, was "Love is All", which reached number 12. According to the sleeve notes of his 2001 retrospective CD collection, his recording career continued in Brazil, where he scored many hits.
 

 
Perhaps it was because Malcolm Roberts began to spend more time abroad instead of cultivating his home audience, but no further 1970s UK chart hits followed his heady 1960s beginnings. He did however maintain a high profile in musical shows and continued as a popular stage performer throughout the 1970s and into the 1980s. More recently, he was able to establish himself a niche at 1960s nostalgia concerts.
 
He also appeared on American television on 6 November 1970, via The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. He had previously sung on both The Morecambe and Wise Show (1969) and The Kenneth Williams Show on the UK's BBC Television. Roberts later appeared in pantomime, starring opposite Ronnie Corbett and Clodagh Rodgers in the 1971 production of Cinderella at the London Palladium. In 1985, he joined a six-member group to represent Luxembourg in the Eurovision Song Contest. The song, "Children, Kinder, Enfants" was written by Ralph Siegel, Bernd Meinunger and Jean-Michel Beriat, all of whom had written Eurovision entries before, with Seigel and Meinunger writing the 1982 German winner. The group consisted of an international line-up of the UK's Roberts and Ireen Sheer, Dutch singer Margo, Frenchman Franck Olivier, German Chris Roberts and Canadian Diane Solomon. The song was performed mainly in French, with a counterpane sung in English and German. They got 37 points and finished in 13th place.
                          
In 1991, Roberts attempted alone to represent the UK, with his own composition, "One Love", but finished last in the A Song For Europe contest. Numerous stage appearances in various shows across the country followed, and his back catalogue of recordings was re-released for a new audience. The highpoint in his private life came in April 1995 when his son, Oliver, was born.
 
In 2001 Malcolm started to appear in more shows but because of the need for a new hip had to curtail several other shows that he had lined up.The operation took place in May 2002 and by July Malcolm was back on stage at Blackpool. Work was also on a brand new CD that contained songs that Malcolm had written. But on February 7 2003 Malcolm’s many fans were left shattered when they heard the news he had suffered a fatal heart attack near his home in Chertsey, Surrey. He was found collapsed at the wheel of his car in the car park of council offices in Addlestone, near Chertsey. He was only 58.
 
 
His funeral took place at Henley-on-Thames, and he was buried at Remenham Cemetery near Henley on 20 February 2003. (Info edited from Wikipedia & 45rpm)
 

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Ted Heath born 30 March 1902

 
 
George Edward 'Ted' Heath (30 March 1902 – 18 November 1969) was the most famous English bandleader of the 40s, 50s and early 60s.

Heath was born at 76 Atheldene Avenue, Wandsworth, South London. Ted Heath learned to play several instruments while still a child, but settled on the trombone while still in his teens. He began playing on a semi-professional basis in order to supplement the family income. After gaining sufficient experience to become fully professional he played trombone with a number of orchestras during the 1920s and 1930s. These included some of the best British orchestras of the day including those of Jack Hylton, Bert Ambrose and Geraldo. Then in 1944, he managed to gather round him sufficient musicians with whom he could exploit his own passion for big band swing jazz for BBC broadcasts. 



 
 
In 1946 they played for London Town, a British musical film. On Thursday 20th February1947 he performed at Kings Hall Bellevue Ted Heath and his Music The film was an unmitigated disaster, but Heath's career took off, including many hit records ("Swingin' Shepherd Blues" being his biggest success, reaching number three in the charts in 1958), regular work for the BBC, and especially a series – started in 1945 – of Sunday-night concerts at the London Palladium. He and his band were featured in the film Dance Hall in 1950. During the 1950s his orchestra frequently performed at the Hammersmith Palais de Dance and The Orchid Ballroom in Purley, Surrey. From 1956 Heath and his orchestra were regular and popular visitors to the United States.

In its turn the Heath orchestra became host to many musicians who would later form their own units and go on to become famous in their own right. These included Ken Baker, Johnny Dankworth, Jack Parnell and Stanley Black- but there were many others. The Ted Heath orchestra were also supported by several vocalists that went on to stardom- those most familiar to record buyers would probably be Dickie Valentine, Lita Roza, and Dennis Lotis.

The orchestra was on the cusp between dance music and jazz; not only did Heath employ many of the big-name British jazz-musicians at various times, but his staff arranger for a time was Tadd Dameron, and his programmes of straight dance music were supplemented by projects such as his recording of Fats Waller's London Suite. Heath (in common with many other bandleaders at the time) allowed no unrehearsed improvising, however, and the orchestra was known for its note-perfect perfectionism.

His huge worldwide success lasted for about fifteen years, touring the United States on several occasions with outstanding success -- a ten minute standing ovation at The Carnegie Hall, New York in front of a stellar audience in 1956 a memorable moment, ended only by the popularity of rock and roll and the advent of The Beatles. The orchestra was disbanded in 1964 when Heath's health started faltering. Ted died at Virginia Water, Egham UK Nov. 18, 1969. There have been many reunions of several of the musicians involved with the orchestra  until the final concert in 2000.

Heath's sons Nick Heath and Tim Heath continued the musical and entertainment tradition in the family becoming highly successful artiste managers in 1970's and subsequently forming their own record label Rialto and various music publishing companies and other entertainment entities. Heath's grandson, James Heath, maintains the theme -- his company, Burning Vision Entertainment, produces music videos.


(info edited from 45 rpm & Wikipedia) 




The UK's No 1 Big Band in the late 40's, 50's & 60's, most of you who are in the UK who know of Ted Heath, will know the stars that played in this big band , Bobby Pratt (trumpet) Don Lusher (Trombone) Johnny Hawksworth,(Bass) and Ronnie Verrell (Drums) the list goes on....
This clip comes from the 1956 film "It's a Wonderful World."

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Ruby Murray born 29 March 1935

 
Ruby Murray (29 March 1935 – 17 December 1996) was one of the most popular singers in the United Kingdom and Ireland in the 1950s. In 1955 alone, she secured seven Top 10 UK hit singles.
 
Ruby Florence Murray was born on the Donegall Road in south Belfast, Northern Ireland. Her voice's unique sound was partly the result of an operation on her throat in early childhood. She toured as a child singer and first appeared on television at the age of 12, having been spotted by producer Richard Afton. Owing to laws governing children performing, Murray had to delay her start in the entertainment industry. She returned to Belfast and full-time education until she was 14.
 
Again spotted by Afton, she was signed to Columbia and her first single, "Heartbeat", reached number 3 in the UK Singles Chart in December 1954. Afton had offered her the position of resident singer on the BBC's Quite Contrary television show, to replace Joan Regan. "Softly, Softly", her second single, reached number one in early 1955. That same year Murray set a pop-chart record by having five hits in the Top Twenty in one week, a feat unmatched for many years.
 
 

  

The 1950s was a busy period for Murray, during which she had her own television show, starred at the London Palladium with Norman Wisdom, appeared in a Royal Command Performance (1955), and toured the world. In a period of 52 weeks, starting in 1955, Murray constantly had at least one single in the UK charts - this at a time when only a Top 20 was listed.
 
She starred with Frankie Howerd and Dennis Price in her only film role as Ruby, in the 1956 farce, A Touch of the Sun. A couple of hits followed later in the decade; "Goodbye Jimmy, Goodbye", a #10 hit in 1959, was her final appearance in the charts.
 
She married her first husband, Bernard Burgess, of the close harmony group the Jones Boys, in 1957, and in 1962 they started a year-long tour of Britain in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. When Murray fell in love with the comedian Frank Carson, who was both married and a Roman Catholic, the stresses it put on her marriage increased her reliance on alcohol. She joined Alcoholics Anonymous and twice spent time in a psychiatric hospital after nervous breakdowns. When she and Burgess divorced in 1977, he was awarded custody of their two children Julie and Tim (now the singer Tim Murray).
 
The same year Murray began living with Ray Lamar, a theatrical manager for Bernard Delfont, and in 1993 they were married. Though it was a loving relationship, the chronic alcoholism persisted, despite repeated attempts by Murray to stop. (When she did stop, she would smoke 80 cigarettes a day.) In 1982 she was arrested and fined for being drunk and disorderly - she spent a night in a cell and is alleged to have entertained the police with her hit songs. Still fondly remembered, she received a standing ovation in 1985 when she appeared in the concert Forty Years of Peace in the presence of Princess Anne, but her final London appearance, at Brick Lane Music Hall in March 1993, revealed a frail, halting performer.
 
For the last two years she had totally given up drinking, but her liver had become irreparably damaged and for the eight months until her death she was a patient in a nursing home in Torquay where she died from liver cancer, aged 61, in December 1996. At her beside were Ray Lamar, ex-husband Bernie Burgess and their son and daughter Tim and Julie.
 
The LBC broadcaster Lee Stevens, her manager for 12 years, said, "She gave happiness to millions of people, but sadly she never found real happiness herself."
 
A play about Murray's life, Ruby, written by the Belfast playwright, Marie Jones, opened at the Group Theatre in Belfast in April 2000. (Info edited from Wikipedia & The Independent)

 

Friday, 28 March 2014

Felice Chiusano born 28 March 1922

 
 
Felice Chiusano (28 March 1922 - 3 February 1990) was one of the singers of Quartetto Cetra, a popular Italian vocal quartet.
 
Chiusano was born in Fondi, in the province of Latina of southern Lazio. He was a self-taught guitarist. He left his native village before his twentieth birthday and moved to Rome. After work, he performed in local clubs as singer and guitarist. He successfully auditioned for EIAR, the Italian national radio broadcasting company, and worked as a singer for the various radio orchestras.In 1941, he replaced Enrico Gentile in the line-up of Quartetto Ritmo, a vocal quartet that immediately renamed to Quartetto Cetra.
 
The quartet's early style was very much similar to Mills Brothers's, with jazz and swing vocal arrangements. The group then found its own way with a combination of songs and entertainment: catchy tunes with funny lyrics yet with sophisticated arrangements, performed in comedy acts. The audience loved that, and Quartetto Cetra soon became very popular at first on the radio, then on stage and on the TV as well.
 
Quartetto Cetra was widely credited with the great virtue of combining excellent professional skills with popular entertainment. In over forty years the group's repertoire included more than a thousand songs. Most were written by the duo Tata Giacobetti-Virgilio Savona, two members of the quartet. Just to name a few of them, Il Visconte di Castelfombrone, In un palco della Scala, Un disco dei Platters, Nella vecchia fattoria (Italian version of Old MacDonald Had a Farm), Vecchia America, Che centrattacco (dedicated to Virgilio Levratto), Un bacio a mezzanotte, I ricordi della sera.
 
 
 
 
Felice Chiusano was widely recognized as the "bald head" of Quartetto Cetra, famous for his humour and funny jokes. He was an actor and writer, known for Biblioteca di Studio Uno: Odissea (1964), Biblioteca di Studio Uno: Il dottor Jeckill e mister Hide (1964) and Biblioteca di Studio Uno: I tre moschettieri (1964). He was married to Franca Andenna.
 
During the 1970s and 1980s, as Quartetto Cetra gradually scaled back their public appearances, he also worked in the organization of shows and cultural events. Quartetto Cetra officially finished their performing career on 1 July 1988 in Bologna, with their last public concert.
 
Their song Crapa Pelada (Testa Pelada) ("Bald head") is used in the TV series Breaking Bad, in Season 3's final episode, "Full Measure".

Chiusano died on February 3, 1990 in Milano, Lombardo, Italy.
 
(Imfo mainly edited from Wikipedia)

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Sam Browne born 26 March 1898

 
 
Sam Browne (born London, England 26 March, 1899 - died 1972) was an English dance band singer, born in London, became one of the most popular British dance band vocalists of the 1930's.  
 
One of eleven children, Sam was born in 1898 to East London Lithuanian Jewish parents. His father had a shoemakers` shop near Tottenham Hotspur Football Club and Sam became a lifelong supporter. His introduction to music came as a chorister at the local Synagogue. After leaving school he had several jobs before reaching the age of 18 during the First World War, when he joined the Merchant Navy. It was on visits to New York that he discovered "jazz" and developed an ambition to become a musician himself.
 
Back home and on dry land once again Sam bought a drum kit and with a couple of like-minded souls on piano and guitar formed the Tottenham Dance Band, gaining a few bookings around North London halls. As they became more successful other instruments were added and Sam introduced his vocal contribution which came to be the mainstay of the outfit, resulting in a booking at Stockholm Casino that lasted a year.
 
After this success Sam decided  to go solo and found work mainly around various London clubs, including a brief spell in 1921 with Jack Hylton`s Queen`s Roof Orchestra. Later, in 1928, when Jack was looking for a new singer he remembered Sam and offered him the chance to become vocalist with the now world famous Hylton Orchestra and so followed several overseas tours and much recording work. Often in those pre-amplification days he used a transparent megaphone on stage so the audiences could both see and hear him. Sam, always a natty dresser with a voice described as "ball bearing smooth", was an asset to any leader being a rarity among vocalists, a sight reader, able to sing any song straight off the written music.
 
After two years of travelling Sam opted for a more settled life joining Ambrose at London`s May Fair Hotel, later moving with them to Ciro`s and Embassy clubs, while also doing variety, recording and broadcasting work. Sam stayed with Amy until the outbreak of WWII when, classified as medically unfit for service, he joined ENSA and entertained the troops at home and abroad.
 
 
 
Sam first recorded with Bert Ambrose's band on Feb 8th 1930, the titles were 'A Little Kiss Each Morning' and 'Body And Soul'. The latter (3rd take) is an astonishing recording, a great arrangement the record lasts for over 4 minutes, and Sam's vocal is clear and emotional. It was recorded again on Feb 22nd with the added bonus on a violin solo (Eric Siday). Both takes can be found on copies of Decca M-118 and later re-issued on M-402. 
 
During his ten years with Ambrose Sam also did much freelance work. Some fine radio duets with popular singer Elsie Carlisle earned them a place on the 1935 Royal Command Performance at the London Palladium. Sam also duetted on record with Elsie and other singers and made hundreds of solo recordings with many different bands, sometimes using an assumed name, depending on the label.
 
From 1940 Sam was associated with the wartime radio series 'Hi Gang' that starred Vic Oliver with husband and wife team Bebe Daniels and Ben Lyon, who also wrote the show. He also appeared in the 1942 film spin off from the series.

 After the war Sam toured in variety, including a double act with, at different times, singers Judy Shirley, Jill Manners, Mary Naylor and Elsie Carlisle. On one occasion, while travelling by rail to appear with Elsie at the Bristol Hippodrome, someone fired a gun at the train and Sam had three bullets lodged in his neck. A close thing, but he survived.
 
He did much radio work including his own series 'Sing With Sam' and was a regular on 'Your Tune Is My Tune' with The Squadronaires and 'Songs of the Years' with Rita Williams. He was on the first series of 'Sing It Again', from 19th January 1949, with Carole Carr, Pearl Carr, Lee Lawrence, Johnny Eager and Stella Nichol. Sam continued to record and possibly his most successful release ever, 'Heartbreaker', with Primo Scala and The Keynotes came during this period. 'Tree in the meadow', issued in the States during the musicians` strike there reached No.22 on the 'Billboard' charts.
 
Times were good and with earnings up to £1,000 a week he moved with second wife Olga (his first wife Terry had died in 1931) and two daughters through a succession of luxury homes. No stranger to race courses and gambling, Sam also loved playing golf.
 
Sam re-joined Jack Hylton for a special 'Band That Jack Built' feature on the 1950 Royal Variety Show. But a new younger generation of crooners were taking over in the fifties so he formed the Sam Browne Singers, a four male, four female choir, joining Ken Mackintosh on his band`s Sunday morning radio series 'Happy Days'. They supported the Jack Parnell Orchestra`s first airing on 28th September 1951 and appeared on the Royal Variety Show at the Victoria Palace during October that year. The Singers also turned up on a number of discs.
 
Sam recorded 4 sides for the Embassy label in 1954. Here's one courtesy of Forgotten Vinyl blog.
 
 
 
 
  
 
Recordings made during the fifties were rare and mainly with his Singers. Probably his last session was a 1956 LP 'Songs For Lovers' made with Lew Stone`s Band for the cut-price Solitaire label.
 
Despite the occasional variety tour, a bid to recapture the earlier success of his partnership with Elsie Carlisle by teaming with Jill Manners in 1953, came to nothing. Sam`s finances became tight, putting a strain on his marriage and it broke up in 1955. A night club venture and voice training school had both folded and by the latter part of the decade Sam was reduced to living in a small central London flat. With no singing work he took a job for a time as a clerk in a betting shop, but this came to grief and he eventually finished up in a North London basement bedsit. Ill health finally overtook him and he died from cancer at Highgate Hospital on 2nd March 1972, virtually forgotten. He is buried at Rainham Jewish cemetery. (Info from The Ballad Years)
 
 
Sam Browne leads and sings with the Ambrose orchestra at the Mayfair Hotel in the mid 30s

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Bonnie Guitar born 25 March 1923

 
Bonnie Guitar (born Bonnie Buckingham March 25, 1923 in Seattle, Washington) is an American Country-Pop Singer. She is best remembered for her 1957 Country-Pop crossover hit "Dark Moon". She became one of the first female Country Music singers to have songs crossover from the Country charts to the Pop charts, and have hits on both sides.
 
She also co-founded the record company Dolton Records in the late 50s, that launched the careers of The Fleetwoods and The Ventures. In 1960 she left Dolton and became part owner of Jerden Records. She was married to the late musician and inventor Paul Tutmarc.
(Right Photo Tutmarc Trio: Marlin Hickerson (l.), Bonnie (Guitar), Paul Tutmarc, ca. 1950s.)  
 
Born in 1923 in Seattle as Bonnie Buckingham, she took up playing the guitar  as a teenager which led to her stage name, Bonnie Guitar. At the same time, she also started songwriting. Through much of the 1950s, Bonnie worked as a session guitarist at quite a few small labels, like Abbot, Fabor, and also Radio Recorders.


Working at these places got Guitar noticed as a professional guitarist as she ended up playing on sessions for many well-known singers, like Jim Reeves, Dorsey Burnette, Ned Miller, and the Decastro Sisters. After working with so many singers, she acquired her own singing aspirations herself and a desire to make her very own recording career in the process.
 
In 1956 when Chet Atkins and Owen Bradley were beginning the first moves toward the New Nashville Sound, Bonnie heard the song "Dark Moon", from a publishing demo and found its' composer Ned Miller among the singers with whom she worked as a session guitarist.  However, Guitar liked "Dark Moon" so much she decided to waive her performance fee if she would be allowed to record the song herself instead and was given permission.
 
 
 
 
The song was originally issued under Fabor Records in 1956. "Dark Moon" was then issued over to Dot Records and by the Spring of 1957, "Dark Moon" hit the Pop Top 10 list and went into the Country Top 15 list. Guitar officially had a hit. Her follow-up to "Dark Moon" called "Mister Fire Eyes" failed to make a substantial impact on the Pop charts, making it only to #71 there. On the Country charts though, it was again a Top 15 hit. Because she couldn't follow-up her crossover success, her contract soon ended with Dot Records, and Guitar returned back to Washington.
Guitar however decided she would form her very own record label called Dolphin Records which she co-founded with refrigerator salesman Bob Reisdorff. When the pair decided to re-name the label Dolton Records, many of Guitar's singles like "Candy Apple Red" and "Born to Be With You" were released.
 
In 1959, her own recording career was superseded by that of a high school trio called The Fleetwoods. The trio was signed to the Dolton label and soon had major Pop Music hits in the Spring and Summer of 1959, with two #1 hits, "Come Softly to Me" and "Mr. Blue". Guitar was soon credited as one of the people who helped launch The Fleetwoods into major music stardom. Soon another group called The Ventures were signed to Bonnie's Dolton label. They too had a monster hit called "Walk Don't Run". However, Bonnie thought it was time she would get her own music career back on foot. She soon left Dolton, and went back to Dot Records where she recorded a series of country albums throughout the 60's.
 
In the summer and fall of 1963, Bonnie Guitar took a temporary leave to do a one-album contract with Charter Records which was never released commercially. Her first attempt at a concept album would never be rleased commercially , although some of the following songs found their way onto subsequent albums.
 
It was in 1966, that she scored her next major hit with "I'm Living In Two Worlds". The song was Guitar's first Top 10 Country hit. It even entered the Pop charts, but just about made the Hot 100. In 1967, she scored an even bigger Country hit, with the Top 5 hit "A Woman In Love", which reached #6 on the Country charts. That same year, she won the Academy of Country Music's "Top Female Vocalist" award, and became the second person to win that award. In 1968, "I Believe in Love" was another Top 10 hit. In 1969, Guitar teamed up with Buddy Killen, and together they had a hit duet with "A True Lover You'll Never Find (Than Mine)". After 1969, Guitar's chart success faded away rapidly.       
             
By the 1970s, Guitar's chart success faded away from view. However, she didn't stop recording for labels. In the 1970s, Guitar recorded for Columbia Records and MCA Records. She charted for her last time in 1980 with the single "Honey On the Moon". In 1986, she recorded for the Tumbleweed label, however she gained little success.         
    
Guitar continued performing and playing until she announced she was retiring in 1996. She currently takes up residence in Soap Lake, WA, where she occasionally performs.
(Info Wikipedia)

Monday, 24 March 2014

King Pleasure born 24 March 1922


King Pleasure (March 24, 1922 - March 21, 1981) was a jazz vocalist and an early master of vocalese, a style in which lyrics are written and sung to the solos of jazz instrumentalists. .

Born as Clarence Beeks in Oakdale, Tennessee. He grew up in Cincinnati and worked outside of the music business until he was almost 30. He moved to New York City in the mid-1940s and became a fan of bebop music. He seemed to come out of nowhere when he won amateur night at the Apollo Theater in Harlem in 1951 singing Eddie Jefferson vocalese classic “Moody’s Mood for Love”, based on a James Moody saxophone solo to "I'm in the Mood for Love" in 1949. After his win, Beeks decided to change his name to something a little more interesting, and he succeeded on that count by dubbing himself “King Pleasure”.



Eddie Jefferson had never recorded “Moody’s Mood”, and the Apollo win gave King Pleasure the opportunity to do so. It was a surprise national hit, sitting near the top of Billboard magazine’s “Most Played Juke Box Rhythm and Blues Records” in early ’52, sandwiched in between the Dominos’ “Have Mercy, Baby” and Lloyd Price with “Lawdy Miss Clawdy”. Soon, Jet magazine was reporting that King Pleasure had paid $2500 for a custom-made throne from which he sang on stage.

Pleasure's recording in 1952 is considered a jazz classic. Other notable recordings include a presciently elegiac version of "Parker's Mood", the year before Charlie Parker died in 1955, and Pleasure's take on Ammons's "Hittin' the Jug", retitled as "Swan Blues". He also recorded  memorable versions of “Red Top” (with Betty Carter, based on a Gene Ammons sax solo) and Lester Young’s “Jumpin’ with Symphony Sid” (a tribute to New York disc jockey Sid Torin). He moved to Los Angeles in 1956, cut a few singles that year, and made full albums in ’60 and ’62.

He had a direct or indirect influence on Jon Hendricks, Annie Ross, Bob Dorough, Mark Murphy, Al Jarreau, Lou Lanza, and even the Manhattan Transfer. But his recording career didn't last very long. Pleasure was still recording in the early '60s, but after that, he faded into obscurity -- although the impact of his early work would remain long after his death on March 21, 1982 in Los Angeles (only three days before what would have been his 60th birthday).

Pleasure has been cited as a significant influence by Van Morrison, especially on his album Astral Weeks. Genya Ravan, drawing big inspiration for her singing from King Pleasure, recorded "Moody's Mood For Love" with James Moody on her 1972 CBS album Genya Ravan.


(Info various but mainly edited from Kim Clark's Record Shack)

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Harry Hayes born 23 March 1909

 

Harry Hayes (23 March 1909 - 17* March 2002) was an early exponent of British jazz, a virtuoso saxophonist and a saxophone teacher of distinction.
 
Henry Richard Hayes was born at Marylebone, London on March 23 1909, the son of a bookmaker. He won a school scholarship at eleven years old, for which his father rewarded him with a soprano saxophone. He made fine progress and at 16 gained his first steady professional engagement at the Regent Dance Hall in Brighton where Benny Green’s father, Dave, was in the band.
 
At 17 he was good enough to play at the famous Kit Kat Club in the Haymarket, Piccadilly, with American bandleader Al Payne, and in 1927 at 18 years old joined a mixed Anglo-American band led by Fred Elizalde at the Savoy Hotel, reputed to be the hottest British dance band of its day, at the Savoy Hotel. Although still a teenager, Hayes received the then astronomical salary of £18 a week.
 
For two years Harry sat in front of famous American bass sax player Adrian Rollini, an experience he always swore to have been invaluable to him as a young musician.
 
After the Savoy a succession of jobs followed, at Ciro’s Club, The Cafe de Paris, Spike Hughes big recording band, with Maurice Winnnick, Louis Armstrong on his first European tour, Sidney Lipton at Grosvenor House and Geraldo back at the Savoy Hotel in 1938. When the war began in 1939 the Geraldo band became the BBC Dance Band, doing at least nine broadcasts weekly. Harry was featured and became well known. Geraldo's 1940 version of Sweet Sue, featuring a solo by Hayes, is startlingly fiery for the period. He joined the Welsh Guards Regimental Band together with his friend George Evans—army musicians were allowed to play with civilian bands up to the end of 1942.

 

 
 
Here's "Blue Charm" a lovely composition elegantly performed and recorded in London on October 7th 1946. Personnel includes Leo Wright, tp; Harry H, as; George Shearing, p; Alan Ferguson, g; Bert Howard, b; Billy Wiltshire, d.  taken from above Proper 4CD Box Set .
 
Harry was discharged in late 1944 and became a much in demand session player, particularly at the EMI studios in Abbey Road. The man in charge there asked Hairy if he would like to record with a band of his own, Harry said yes, and formed the band that caused a sensation in 1944 to 1947.  He recorded 36 sides for the HMV label.
 
The band opened the Churchills Club in Bond Street, Mayfair, and almost at the same time Harry opened his first musical instrument shop in Shaftesbury Avenue. The band was kept going and stayed at Churchills for nearly two years, after which it played at various West End establishments. Harry moved to Soho with his shop until 1958 when he moved to Fulham.
 
In late 1947 he had a band at Her Majesty’s Theatre in the Haymarket, and also played at Winston’s club, where he stayed for eight years until retiring from playing in 1965. He also came top of eight Melody Maker polls for alto saxophone during this period. He had no less than three shops in Fulham and sold these in 1985 to move to Surrey, near to his daughter. He returned to performing occasionally in the '80s and produced CD reissues of work by his various bands.

His last appearance was at the Birmingham International Jazz Festival in 1992. Harry was granted the Freedom of the City of London in 1988.
 
Harry Hayes died on 17th March, 2002, aged 92 in Stoneleigh, Surrey, England  (Info mainly National Jazz Archive. N.B.The dates given for Harry's death vary from the 17th - 23rd March. I have opted for 17th as given by The Guuardian obit.)