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Sunday, 30 April 2017

Jerry Lordan born 30 April 1934


Jeremiah Patrick "Jerry" Lordan (30 April 1934 — 24 July 1995) was an English songwriter, composer and singer. 

Born in Paddington, Lordan started in music while still a child, teaching himself to play both the piano and the guitar. Like so many others with these precious skills; it assured his popularity during his National Service in the RAF where he was frequently called upon to entertain. His initial attempts to enter the world of professional music included becoming half a duet called "Lee & Jerry Elvin" who actually cut one single on the Fontana label. Despite the failure of this and other forays into the world of entertainment, Jerry set about writing his own songs. 

Jerry's musical work at this time, 1958, didn't pay the rent but he managed to get a few of his songs made into demos while working for a London advertising agency. These drew interest from Decca who used one of Jerry's songs to launch the career of a young singer called Mike Preston. The song, "A House A Car And A Wedding Ring" did not sell particularly well, but gave sufficient encouragement to Jerry to carry on writing. However, another career launch by Decca a few months later consolidated Jerry's songwriting credentials- this was "I've Waited So Long" by another newcomer- Anthony Newley. 
 
 
 
                           
 
Jerry's records weren't big hitters perhaps, and his style was rather gentle 'Pop' rather than rock and roll. However, his work was distinctive and found itself a following. Produced  by George Martin, his first six singles were released between 1959 and 1962 and the first three of these, "I'll Stay Single" (# 26), "Who Could Be Bluer" (# 17) and "Sing Like An Angel" (# 36) charted in the UK, all in the first six months of 1960. Although Jerry would have no more hits in his name, within a month of his last exit from the chart he would make a yet greater impact on British popular music. 

Among Jerry's songs were a handful of numbers without lyrics. One of these was an instrumental called "Apache" which was recorded by the popular UK guitarist Bert Weedon. As things transpired, it was fortunate that Top Rank had not been in any hurry to release Bert's rather bland interpretation of the number. Up until that time, Cliff Richard's backing group 'The Shadows' had not been successful on record without their famous lead singer.  

The group was looking for something to put on the flip side of a recording of "Quartermaster's Stores"- a number suggested by Norrie Paramor- and probably destined to the same fate as their first three releases. Through a chance meeting with Jerry- brought together while on tour- "Apache" was suggested despite already having been canned by Bert Weedon. The rest, as they say, is history. Although Top Rank rushed their version into the shops following the Shadows' release, and despite the strength of the number, Bert Weedon sank almost without trace. The reaction to the Shadows version was amazing and "Apache" was to provide the template for a very long string of subsequent successes by the group. 


Jet Harris 23, Tony Meehan 19 & song writer Jerry Lordan 28
"Apache" is the number for which Jerry will always be best remembered although he wrote many more instrumentals for the Shadows- including "Wonderful Land" and "Diamonds" for Jet Harris & Tony Meehan- both of them number 1s. Unsurprisingly, Jerry neglected his own fading recording career and concentrated on songwriting instead. The hits flowed fairly steadily through the 1960s with "I'm A Moody Guy" for Shane Fenton, "I'm Just A Baby" for Louise Cordet, and "Good Times, (Better Times)" for Cliff Richard among them. 

Things started to go less well for Jerry as the 1960s gave way to the 1970s. The end of that decade saw his life at its lowest ebb and he reached a point when he no longer felt able to write any more. Fortunately, Jerry did eventually start to write music again, but he never managed to rekindle his past success, although his older work was still recorded, across the 1970s and beyond, by the likes of Link Wray, the Edgar Broughton Band, Hot Butter, Cilla Black, and the Incredible Bongo Band. 

Sadly, Jerry Lordan died on July 24th 1995 and Britain lost one of its most talented songwriters and surely the creator of the most memorable instrumental of them all.

(info mainly from 45rpm.org)
 

Saturday, 29 April 2017

April Stevens born 29 April 1936


April Stevens (born Carol LoTempio, April 29, 1936, Niagara Falls, New York) is an American singer. 

She has recorded since she was 15 years old. Her most popular solo recording was her RCA Victor recording of "I'm in Love Again" (music and lyrics by Cole Porter). Accompanied by an orchestra arranged and conducted by Henri René, Stevens' recording peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in 1951. 

Stevens returned to the U.S. chart in 1959 with the song "Teach Me Tiger", which caused a minor uproar for its sexual suggestiveness and consequently did not receive airplay on many radio stations. The song peaked at No. 86 on the Billboard Hot 100. Stevens' recording of this song is often erroneously accredited to Marilyn Monroe. 

She is perhaps best known for her 1963 Atco Records recording of "Deep Purple" (music by Peter DeRose and lyrics by Mitchell Parish) with her brother Antonino LoTempio (singing under the stage name Nino Tempo). A standard song that Larry Clinton and His Orchestra and band vocalist Bea Wain had popularized in 1939, the Stevens and Tempo version reached No.1 on the Billboard chart in November 1963. The song won the 1964 Grammy Award for Best Rock and Roll Recording. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.
 
 
                             

"Deep Purple" is notable for April Stevens' speaking the lyrics in a low, sweet voice during the second half of the song while her brother sings. When the duo first recorded the song as a demo, Tempo forgot the words, and Stevens spoke the lyrics to remind him. The producers thought Stevens' spoken
interludes were "cute" and should be included on the finished product, but according to Stevens, her brother was not as easily convinced: "He didn't want anyone talking while he was singing!" 

Producer Ahmet Ertegun had originally intended "Deep Purple" to be the B-side of a song called "I've Been Carrying A Torch For You So Long That It Burned A Great Big Hole In My Heart": he was dubious of Tempo's belief that it would be a hit, calling it "the most embarrassing thing" the duo had ever recorded. When radio stations preferred "Deep Purple," Ertegun relented, and so "I've Been Carrying A Torch..." holds the distinction of being the longest title of a flipside of a Billboard number one record. Despite being considered "rock and roll," "Deep Purple" also reached number one on Billboard's Adult Contemporary singles chart.  

They also enjoyed a 1964 follow-up hit in the U.S. with the standard song "Whispering" (music by Vincent Rose and lyrics by Richard Coburn and John Schonberger). The recording, which had an arrangement similar to their recording of "Deep Purple", reached No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. They also had chart success with "All Strung Out", which reached No. 26 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1966. 

Music journalist Richie Unterberger has described the later disc "All Strung Out" as Nino Tempo & April Stevens' "greatest triumph", declaring it "one of the greatest Phil Spector-inspired productions of all time". For years following their charting singles, the duo continued recording, but failed to achieve continued sales success. However, in March 1973 the duo scored a #5-hit in the Netherlands with "Love Story" on A&M Records, two years after Andy Williams took that same song to #13 in the Dutch Top 40.  

 
On October 28, 1999, April and Nino were inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame. Nino was not able to attend the gala, but April flew in for the honour, and, surrounded by friends and family, beamed as she delivered her acceptance, along with a reading of a touching and heartfelt letter that Nino had sent for the occasion.    (Info mainly Wikipedia)
 

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Duane Eddy born 26 April 1938


Duane Eddy (born April 26, 1938) is an American guitarist. In the late 1950s and early 1960s he had a string of hit records produced by Lee Hazlewood.  The legendary simple "twangy" guitar sound of Duane Eddy has made him one of rock 'n' roll's most famous instrumental Grammy Award-winning guitarist. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, he is acclaimed as one of the most successful rock and roll instrumentalist of all time.  

Born in Corning, New York, in 1938, he began playing the guitar at the age of five, emulating his cowboy hero, Gene Autry. His family moved west to Arizona in 1951. In early 1954, in Coolidge, Arizona, Eddy met local disc jockey, Lee Hazlewood, who would become his longtime partner, co-writer and producer. They moved to Phoenix and together created a successful formula based upon Eddy's unique style and approach to the guitar, and Lee's experimental vision with sound in the recording studio. The sound was created after hearing Bill Justis' famous "Raunchy" (the song that George Harrison first learned to play).  His first album, Have Twangy Guitar Will Travel, contained six hit singles, and remained on the charts for an astounding 82 weeks.  

Together with producer Lee Hazlewood, Eddy co-wrote a deluge of hits mixed with versions of standards, using the bass strings of his Gretsch guitar recorded through an echo chamber. The debut "Movin' 'N' Groovin'" made the lower end of the US chart, and for the next six years Eddy repeated this formula with greater success. His backing group, the Rebel Rousers was a tight, experienced band with a prominent saxophone sound played by Jim Horn and Steve Douglas, completed by pianist Larry Knechtel. Among their greatest hits were "Rebel-Rouser", "Shazam", "Peter Gunn", "The Ballad Of Paladin" and "Theme From Dixie". The latter was a variation on the Civil War standard written in 1860.
 
 
 

One of Eddy's most memorable hits was the superlative theme music for the film Because They're Young, brilliantly combining his bass notes with evocative strings. The song has been used by UK disc jockey Johnny Walker as his theme music for over 25
years and this classic still sounds fresh. Eddy's "(Dance With The) Guitar Man" was another major hit, which was unusual for the fact that the song had lyrics, sung by a female group. Eddy's albums played heavily on the use of "twang" in the title, but that was exactly what the fans wanted.  

The hits dried up in 1964 at the dawn of the Beatles' invasion, and for many years his sound was out of fashion. An attempt in the contemporary market was lambasted with Duane Goes Dylan. Apart from producing Phil Everly's excellent Star Spangled Springer in 1973, Eddy travelled the revival circuit, always finding a small but loyal audience in the UK. Tony Macaulay wrote "Play Me Like You Play Your Guitar" for him in 1975, and after more than a decade he was back in the UK Top 10.  

He slipped back into relative obscurity but returned to the charts in 1986 when he was flattered to be asked to play with the electro-synthesizer band Art Of Noise, all the more complimentary was that it was his song, "Peter Gunn". The following year Jeff Lynne produced his first album for many years, being joined by Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ry Cooder, all paying tribute to the man who should have legal copyright on the word "twang".  

In the spring of 1994, Eddy was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Eddy's "Rebel Rouser" was featured that same year in Forrest Gump. Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers used "The Trembler", a track written by Eddy and Ravi Shankar. Also in 1994, Eddy teamed up with Carl Perkins and The Mavericks to contribute "Matchbox" to the AIDS benefit album Red Hot + Country produced by the Red Hot Organization. Eddy was the lead guitarist on Foreigner's 1995 hit "Until the end of Time", which reached the top ten on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. In 1996, Eddy played guitar on Hans Zimmer's soundtrack for the film Broken Arrow. 

On April 5, 2000, at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee, the title "Titan of Twang" was bestowed upon Eddy by the mayor. In 2004, Eddy was presented with the Guitar Player Magazine "Legend Award". Eddy was the second recipient of the award, the first being presented to Les Paul. 
 
In October 2010, Eddy returned to the UK at a sold out Royal Festival Hall in London. This success prompted the subsequent album for Mad Monkey/EMI, which was produced by Richard Hawley in Sheffield, England. The album, Road Trip, was released on June 20, 2011. Mojo placed the album at number 37 on its list of "Top 50 albums of 2011." Eddy performed at the Glastonbury Festival on June 26, 2011. (info various mainly New Musical Express)

Here's a video taken from The Saturday Night Beech-Nut Show. July 19, 1958. 

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Jimmie Noone born 23 April 1895


Jimmie Noone (April 23, 1895 – April 19, 1944) was an American jazz clarinetist and bandleader. After beginning his career in New Orleans he led Jimmie Noone's Apex Club Orchestra, an influential Chicago band that recorded for Vocalion and Decca Records. Maurice Ravel acknowledged basing his Boléro on a Jimmie Noone improvisation. At the time of his death Noone had his own quartet in Los Angeles and was part of an all-star band that was an important force in reviving interest in traditional New Orleans jazz in the 1940s. 
 
Noone was born in Cut Off, Louisiana, and started playing guitar in his home town; at the age of 15, he switched to the clarinet and moved to New Orleans, where he studied with Lorenzo Tio and with the young Sidney Bechet, who was only 13 at the time. By 1912, he was playing professionally with Freddie Keppard in Storyville, and played with Buddy Petit, Kid Ory, Papa Celestin, the Eagle Band, and the Young Olympia Band, before joining the Original Creole Orchestra in Chicago, Illinois in 1917. The following year, he joined King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band, then in 1920 joined Keppard in Doc Cook's band which he would remain with for six years, and make early recordings with. 
 
In 1926, he started leading the band at Chicago's Apex Club. This band, Jimmie Noone's Apex Club Orchestra, was notable for its unusual instrumentation—a front line consisting of just Noone and alto saxophonist/clarinetist Joe Poston, who had worked with Noone in Doc Cook's band. The influential Pittsburgh-born pianist Earl Hines was also in the band for a time. 
 
Noone signed with Brunswick in May, 1928 and was assigned to their Vocalion label. From his first session yielded "Four or Five Times" b/w "Every Evening (I Miss You") (Vocalion 1185), which was a best seller.
 
 

 
"The quintet which Noone brought to Vocalion was unique in that it preserved New Orleans' musical concepts without using brass instruments," wrote jazz historian Richard Hadlock in his notes to Decca's 1994 remastered reissue of the 1928–1929 Apex Club Orchestra recordings. "Joe Poston and Noone took turns playing a loose, melodic lead and the powerful right hand of Hines was often blended into the front line to plump up the harmony. … Noone seemed to keep one foot in traditional New Orleans bandsmanship and the other in the new movement toward virtuoso swing solo playing." 


He continued recording for Vocalion prolifically through February, 1935. He then signed with Decca in early 1936 and one session each for Decca in 1936, 1937 and 1940. He did one session for Bluebird also in 1940. With the swing music craze dominating jazz, Noone tried leading a big band—singer Joe Williams made his professional debut in 1937 with the group—but he went back to his small-ensemble format. 
In 1935, Noone moved New York City to start a band and a (short-lived) club with Wellman Braud. He then returned to Chicago where he played at various clubs until 1943, when he moved to Los Angeles, California.  
 
On March 15, 1944, Noone made his first appearance with an all-star band featured on CBS Radio's The Orson Welles Almanac—a band that was an important force in reviving interest in New Orleans jazz. The band consisted of Mutt Carey (trumpet), Ed Garland (bass), Kid Ory (trombone), Bud Scott (guitar), Zutty Singleton (drums), Buster Wilson (piano), and Jimmie Noone (clarinet). Other than Singleton, Noone was the only band member who was working regularly, performing with his own quartet at the Streets of Paris in Hollywood. Their performances on the Welles show were so popular that the band became a regular feature and launched Ory's comeback.
 
The All Star Jazz Group, left to right: Ed Garland (bass), Buster Wilson (piano), Marili Morden (proprietor, Jazz Man Records), Jimmie Noone (clarinet), Mutt Carey (trumpet), Zutty Singleton (drums), Kid Ory (trombone), Bud Scott (guitar)

Noone performed on four broadcasts of The Orson Welles Almanac. On the morning of the fifth broadcast, April 19, 1944, he suddenly died at home of a heart attack, aged 48. The Ory band, with New Orleans-born clarinetist Wade Whaley, played a blues (titled "Blues for Jimmie" by Welles) in his honour on the radio, and the number eventually became a regular feature for the Ory band. 
 
Noone is generally regarded as one of the greatest of the second generation of jazz clarinetists, along with Johnny Dodds and Sidney Bechet. Noone's playing is not as blues-tinged as Dodds nor as flamboyant as Bechet, but is perhaps more lyrical and sophisticated, and certainly makes more use of "sweet" flavoring. Noone was an important influence on later clarinetists such as Artie Shaw, Irving Fazola and Benny Goodman.

His son, Jimmie Noone, Jr., suddenly emerged out of obscurity in the 1980s to play clarinet and tenor with the Cheathams. (Info mainly Wikipedia)

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Ray Griff born 22 April 1940


John Raymond David "Ray" Griff (April 22, 1940 – March 9, 2016) was a Canadian country music singer and songwriter, born in Vancouver and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. His songwritering credits reached over 2500 songs, many of them were recorded by Nashville's top recording artists. 

Canadian singer and songwriter Ray Griff overcame a difficult childhood to become one his country's more successful country songwriters. Born on April 22, 1940 in Vancouver, British Columbia, he moved to Winfield, Alberta with his mother and brother when his parents split up. Suffering from a stuttering problem, Griff found solace in his love for music, forming a band with several other local kids at the age of eight, drumming and singing. He soon taught himself to play guitar and piano and, by the time he was twelve, Griff was writing songs.  

Although he earned an invitation to join the Canadian Olympic team as a long jumper, he put aside athletic endeavours to remain focused on music fronting his own band, The Blue Echos, while in high school. The group played often around Calgary (where Griff's family had relocated) and one performance led to Griff touring Western Canada as an opener for Johnny Horton at the age of sixteen. During the tour, Griff played a song for Horton which he had written specifically for the singer. Horton ended up cutting the song, "Mister Moonlight, and Griff began making trips to Nashville in 1961 to pitch songs.  

His next break came when singer Jim Reeves took note of Griff's "Where Do We Go From Here" and, after recording the song, encouraged Griff to relocate to Nashville. However, shortly after Griff arrived, Reeves was killed in an accident and Griff was forced to take on a succession of odd jobs to support himself while he attempted to get his fledgling career off the ground. He briefly signed a record contract but the deal fell through. An opportunity to play a song for legendary producer Owen Bradley led to a publishing deal instead and for the next two decades Griff would make a name as a successful songwriter with his songs. 

His first records as a singer were released in the late 1960s and Griff had his first hit, "Patches", a remake of the Clarence Carter soul hit in 1970 which peaked at No. 26 in Billboard. Griff recorded for the small country label Royal American and later moved on to Dot Records without much success. His stint at Capitol Records from 1975-1979 proved more successful, racking up eight more country top 40 hits, the most successful being 1976's "If I Let Her Come In" which peaked at No. 11.  
 
 

 
Griff also recorded more than 30 albums such as Songs For Everyone and The Last Of The Winfield Amateurs, He also produced other artists such as Dick Damron and Jason McCoy. Griff also hosted a pair of television shows in Canada, Good Time Country and Up-Town Country. 
 
Griff's success as a songwriter, however, always overshadowed his recording work with over 700 songs recorded, including the major hits "Canadian Pacific" for George Hamilton IV, "Who's Gonna Play This Old Piano" for Jerry Lee Lewis, and "Baby" for Wilma Burgess. Others who had major hit records with Griff songs include Faron Young, Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton, Bob Luman, Gene Watson, and Johnny Duncan. 

Griff returned to Canada in the late 1970s and remained active on the country music scene there as an artist, songwriter, and record producer. He lived a quiet life in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, occasionally performing at country venues with musicians from the area, most notably the Ranchman's Club. In 1989, he was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and two years later saw him issue See Ya, Love Ya, Bye, his first album in fifteen years. 

In 2008, Griff was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by SOCAN at the annual SOCAN Awards in Toronto. 

Griff had battled throat cancer in his recent years, and he died on March 9, 2016, from pneumonia following surgery. He was 75. (Info edited from Wikipedia & a bio by Tom Demalon @ All Music)

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Luther Vandross born 20 April 1951


Luther Ronzoni Vandross, Jr. (April 20, 1951 – July 1, 2005) was an American singer, songwriter and record producer. 

Luther Vandross was born in New York in 1951, the baby of four children. His father, also named Luther, was an upholsterer who died of diabetes when the singer was just 8. Despite this sadness, his mother, a practical nurse, made sure that music was prevalent in the Vandross household, particularly gospel, soul and doo-wop.
Luther was influenced by his older sister Patricia, who became a member of a doo-wop group called The Crests, and scored with "16 Candles", a 1958 hit.  

In high school, Luther formed his own musical group and first started to write and compose. His first big songwriting break came with "Everybody Rejoice (Can You Feel a Brand New Day)", which was used for the Broadway stage and film productions of "The Wiz". He also sang in the film's choir selections. In the 1970s, while still working his way up, Luther voiced commercial jingles (Kentucky Fried Chicken) and provided backup vocals on tour and in session work for such notables as David Bowie, Chaka Khan, Barbra Streisand, Carly Simon, Bette Midler and Donna Summer. 


After performing with a short-lived singing group called "Luther", which was formed to include the talented musicians Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards, who later formed the group, Chic, Luther returned to the background and took part in various projects for Quincy Jones and others. Insisting on creative control, Luther had a difficult time finding the right contract for himself in record-making. At age 30, he finally recorded his first solo album with the No. 1 R&B and "Top 20" pop chartmaker, "Never Too Much".
 
 
 
 
 He continued steadily with such albums as "Forever, for Always, for Love" in 1982 and "Give Me the Reasons" (1986), but it wasn't until 1989 that he had his first "Top 10" single with "Here and Now" (No. 6), which finally placed him securely on the love song pedestal. Such other No. 1 R&B singles would include "Stop to Love", "There's Nothing Better than Love" and "Any Love". A minimalist stylist whose eloquent, velvety renditions were accentuated by spot-on phrasing and effortless vocal control, his image quickly led to such unwelcome sobriquets as "master of bedroom music" and the restrictive label of being a "ladies only" act.  

He was also besieged by a wealth of other personal and health problems. A binge eater, his weight fluctuated throughout his career with his 6' 3" frame handling a diversity of 190 to 340 pounds at various stages, aggravated by constant career pressures and a roller coaster personal and romantic life. The never-married crooner was besieged by persistent reports that he was gay (he never denied or acknowledged the reports), rumours that threatened his ladies' man career. Moreover, Luther suffered from a mild form of diabetes, the disease that took the life of his father.  

In 1986, he was the driver in a 1986 car crash that killed one passenger (a close friend) with a charge of vehicular manslaughter finally reduced to reckless driving (speeding). The 1990s seemed, career-wise, stronger than ever again with a Top 40 hit dueting with Mariah Carey in 1994 on "My Endless Love" and the release of his No. 1 R&B signature version of "Always and Forever" (1994). He also made his motion picture debut with Robert Townsend's The Meteor Man (1993).  
 
Luther & Diana Ross
Throughout his career, Luther continued to write and produce for other artists including Whitney Houston, Dionne Warwick, Teddy Pendergrass, Cheryl Lynn and Aretha Franklin. Following his massive April 2003 stroke, he made a phantom return to the spotlight with the release of his 2003 CD "Dance With My Father", which was recorded prior to his illness.

At the awards show, the absent Luther was rewarded with four Grammys, including song of the year. The success also gave him his first No. 1 album on the pop chart and four NAACP Image Awards.


The beloved 54-year-old musician died at JFK Medical Centre in Edision, New Jersey, of his lingering complications and was survived by his Evangelist mother, Mary Ida Vandross, who was instrumental in promoting her son's last work to Grammy glory following his severe debilitation. 

 (Info from IMDb Mini Biography By:  Gary Brumburgh)

Watch this live performance of 'Always and Forever' at Royal Albert Hall in 1994, originally released on Luther Vandross' Grammy Award winning 1991 album, Power of Love.


Monday, 17 April 2017

Chris Barber born 17 April 1930


Donald Christopher "Chris" Barber (born 17 April 1930) is an English jazz musician, best known as a bandleader and trombonist

Barber was born in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, the son of a statistician father and headmistress mother. He was educated at Hanley Castle Grammar School, Malvern, Worcestershire, to the age of 15, then St Paul's School in London and the Guildhall School of Music. 
 
Barber played trombone with Humphrey Lyttleton in 1949 and began leading his own bands in which he played trombone and double bass. Barber and Monty Sunshine (clarinet) formed a band in 1953, calling it Ken Colyer's Jazzmen to capitalise on their trumpeter's recent escapades in New Orleans: the group also included Donegan, Jim Bray (bass), Ron Bowden (drums) and Barber on trombone. The band played Dixieland jazz, and later ragtime, swing, blues and R&B. Pat Halcox took over on trumpet in 1954 when Colyer moved on after musical differences and the band became "The Chris Barber Band". 

In April 1953 the band made its debut in Copenhagen, Denmark. There Chris Albertson recorded several sides for the new Danish Storyville label, including some featuring only Sunshine, Donegan and Barber on double bass. The year 1955 saw the arrival of Barber's future wife, vocalist Ottilie Patterson, a blues-based performer who sang duets with Sister Rosetta Tharpe when the gospel/swing star sat in with the band in 1957. 
 
 

 

 In 1959 the band's version of Sidney Bechet's "Petite Fleur", a clarinet solo by Monty Sunshine with Barber on string bass, spent twenty-four weeks in the UK Singles Charts, making it to No. 3 and selling over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. After 1959 he toured the United States many times (where "Petite Fleur" charted at #5). 

Ottilie & Chris Barber
Although the Barber band featured traditional jazz in the New Orleans style, it later also engaged in Ragtime, Swing, Blues and R&B and worked with other artists including Louis Jordan and Dr. John. After 1959 he toured the United States many times. 

In the late 1950s and early 1960s Barber was mainly responsible for arranging the first UK tours of blues artists Big Bill Broonzy, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee and Muddy Waters. This, with the encouragement of local enthusiasts such as Alexis Korner and John Mayall, sparked young musicians such as Peter Green, Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones. British rhythm and blues powered the British invasion of the USA charts in the 1960s, yet Dixieland itself remained popular: in January 1963 the British music magazine, NME reported the biggest trad jazz event in Britain at Alexandra Palace. It included George Melly, Diz Disley, Acker Bilk, Alex Welsh, Kenny Ball, Ken Colyer, Sunshine, Bob Wallis, Bruce Turner, Mick Mulligan and Barber. 
 
Barber stunned traditionalists in 1964 by introducing blues guitarist John Slaughter into the line up who, apart from a break between April 1978 and August 1986, when Roger Hill took over the spot, played in the band until shortly before his death in 2010. Barber next added a second clarinet/saxophone and this line-up continued until 1999. Then Barber added fellow trombonist/arranger Bob Hunt and another clarinet and trumpet. This eleven-man "Big Chris Barber Band" offered a broader range of music while reserving a spot in the programme for the traditional six-man New Orleans line-up. 

A recording of the Lennon–McCartney composition "Catswalk" can be heard, retitled "Cat Call", on The Songs Lennon and McCartney Gave Away. Written by Paul McCartney the song was recorded in late July 1967 and released as a single in the UK on 20 October 1967.

Recent band members who have moved on: Pat Halcox, trumpeter with the Chris Barber Band since its formation on 31 May 1954, retired after playing his last gig with the Big Chris Barber Band on 16 July 2008. Halcox and Barber were together in the band for 54 years - the longest continuous partnership in the history of jazz, exceeding even that of Duke Ellington and Harry Carney (48 years between 1926 and 1974).Tony Carter (reeds) also left the band at this time.

In 1991 Barber was awarded the OBE for his services to Music. As a trombone player Chris's work is enhanced by his rich sound and flowing solo style. It is, however, as a Bandleader and trend-creator that he has made his greatest contribution to the jazz scene both internationally and in the UK.

The 1990s and the first decade of the 21st century found Barber carrying the torch of trad jazz into a sixth decade of creative professional activity, often expanding his group to include 11 players while consistently delivering music of unpretentious warmth and historic depth.


 Chris and his Big band are currently touring the UK.  (Info mainly from Wikipedia)