Halcox was born in Chelsea, London, and became the trumpet player in the Chris Barber Jazz Band, when the band took that name on 31 May 1954. He was originally offered the spot earlier, but elected to continue his studies as a research chemist, so Ken Colyer was invited to fill the vacancy in 1953, and the band was known as the Ken Colyer Jazz Band, as Colyer had recently returned from New Orleans, and the other members, including Chris Barber, Lonnie Donegan and Monty Sunshine, decided that this New Orleans experience would add credibility.
The band effectively parted company with Colyer after a dispute about the direction it should be going. Halcox took Colyer’s place, in what then became the Chris Barber Jazz Band as we know it, and even though the original six piece band grew to 7, then 8, and eventually to eleven in number, Halcox remained an ever present.
Although primarily the trumpet player, Halcox also had a fine singing voice, and led the band’s various renditions of “Ice Cream”, one of their most popular standards. He also played piano on the Lonnie Donegan recording of “Digging My Potatoes”.
The Pat Halcox Allstars did make a recording of their own during a Chris Barber Band summer break, now re-released on Lake Records as a CD.
Halcox announced his retirement from the Chris Barber Band at the age of 78, effective from July 2008. (wikipedia.org)
The career of the jazz trumpeter Pat Halcox, who has died aged 82, was defined by the exceptional length of his musical partnership with the trombonist Chris Barber. Halcox explained the longevity of this relationship in a 2008 interview: “Chris always cared so much about what he was doing, and that’s why I stayed with him. I’ve seen the world, made good friends with wonderful musicians, played for huge crowds in fabulous places. I have to thank Chris for all that.” (guardian.co.uk)