Sunday, 17 April 2011

Britain says "Happy Birthday" to an old jazz musician called Chris Barber

Chris Barber, jazz trombonist is 81 today.
What you possibly didn't know about him was that he :

* had a statistician father and headmistress mother and was educated at St Paul's School in London and the Guildhall School of Music.

* played trombone with Ken Colyer in 1949 and then led his own band in which he played trombone and double bass in 1950.

* helped to create the careers of the blues singer Ottilie Patterson, to whom he was at one time married, and the singer and banjo player, Lonnie Donegan who rose to fame during the 'skiffle' craze of the mid 1950s.

* had his first transatlantic hit during this time with the release of 'Rock Island Line'.

* in 1953, his version of 'Petite Fleur', made it to number 3 in the 'UK Singles Chart', sold over a million copies and was awarded a gold disc :

* engaged his band in traditional jazz in the New Orleans style and later ragtime, swing, blues and R&B; worked with other artists including Louis Jordan and Dr. John and after 1959 toured the USA many times.

* in the late 1950s and early 1960s, was mainly responsible for arranging the first UK tours of blues artists Big Bill Broonzy, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee and Muddy Waters.

* with encouragement from enthusiasts such as Alexis Korner and John Mayall, sparked the interest of young musicians such as Peter Green, Eric Clapton and the members of the The Rolling Stones in 'The Blues' which helped the British blues explosion which was, in turn, exported back to the US in the middle to late 1960s.

* in 1963, took part in the biggest trad jazz event to be staged in Britain at Alexandra Palace which featured George Melly, Diz Disley, Acker Bilk, Alex Welsh, Kenny Ball, Ken Colyer, Sunshine, Bob Wallis, Bruce Turner and Mick Mulligan.

* was, in 2008, along with Eric Clapton and others, involved in a new cooperative record company, 'Blues Legacy'.

* played in 2009, at the age of 79, along with Acker Bilk and Kenny Ball, a one-off concert at The O2 in Greenwich.

'Ice Cream' and 'Down By the Riverside':

'Bourbon Street Parade' :

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