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Kenny Ball

kennyI arranged the interview in january. I waited to long. Today I heard he is dead. Kenny Ball.

Trumpeter and bandleader Kenny Ball died in the early hours of this morning in hospital where he was being treated for pneumonia. He was 82, and was still performing until three weeks ago.

Radio 3’s Alyn Shipton says:

“With his ready grin, mop-haired appearance and upbeat singing and playing, Kenny Ball was one of the most extrovert and cheery figures in British entertainment. His chart-topping hits of the 1960s brought jazz to a huge audience, and he was a dazzlingly accomplished trumpeter, with one of the most developed techniques in jazz. Amid the bravura cadenzas were subtleties that passed many of his audience by, such as playing complex solos in unison with his clarinettist, and his high note range seemed so effortless that he made light of its difficulty. Britain has lost one its most charismatic bandleaders, and a figurehead of the “trad” movement. ” (LondonJazz: RIP Kenny Ball)

Kenneth Daniel Ball, 22nd May 1930, Ilford, Essex, died 7th March 2013

Ball was born in Ilford, Essex. He began his career as a semi-professional sideman in bands, whilst also working as a salesman and for an advertising agency. He played the trumpet in bands led by Charlie Galbraith, Sid Phillips, Eric Delaney and Terry Lightfoot before forming his own trad jazz band in 1958. His dixieland band was at the forefront of the early 1960s UK jazz revival.
In 1961 their recording of Cole Porter’s ‘Samantha’ became a hit, and in March 1962 they reached No. 2 on both the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and the UK Singles Chart, with “Midnight in Moscow”. The record sold over one million copies, earning gold disc status. Further hits ensued, including a version of ‘March of the Siamese Children’ from ‘The King and I’, which topped the pop music magazine, New Musical Express chart in March that year, and such was their popularity in the UK that Ball was featured, alongside Cliff Richard, Brenda Lee, Joe Brown, Craig Douglas and Frank Ifield, on the cover of the New Musical Express in July 1962, although in the U.S. they remained a ‘one-hit wonder’.
In January 1963, New Musical Express reported that the biggest trad jazz event to be staged in Britain had taken place at Alexandra Palace. The event included George Melly, Diz Disley, Acker Bilk, Chris Barber, Alex Welsh, Ken Colyer, Monty Sunshine, Bob Wallis, Bruce Turner, Mick Mulligan and Ball. The same year, Ball became the first British jazzman to become an honorary citizen of New Orleans,[4] and appeared in the 1963 film Live It Up!, featuring Gene Vincent.
In 1968 the band appeared with Louis Armstrong during his last European tour.[1] Ball later appeared on BBC Television’s highly rated review of the sixties music scene Pop Go The Sixties, performing “Midnight In Moscow” with his Jazzmen on the show broadcast on BBC 1, on January 1, 1970, and his continued success was aided by guest appearances on every edition of the first six series of the BBC’s Morecambe and Wise Show. He later claimed that the peak of his career was when Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen played at the reception for the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana. (wikipedia.org)

Pat Halcox

February 11, 2013 Leave a comment

Pat HalcoxThe day Donald Byrd left this world, also Pat Halcox died.

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)

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