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UK's Jazz Guitar Pioneers

Bill Bramwell

1922-68 - composed, performed and recorded the original Candid Camera theme tune - I've Got You Covered

One such colossus of the nineteen-fifties was the incomparable Bill Bramwell, bassist, banjo player, guitarist and raconteur par excellence.

Roger Bramwell was born on the 16th of July 1922 in Corwen, Merioneth, however at an early age he acquired the soubriquet ‘Bill’ and the name stuck, indeed he preferred it, as he would say, ‘Roger Bramwell? Would you? No thanks!’

Bill was conscripted into the RAF in 1942 and was immediately posted to Malta where he joined the Stations’ resident band. Upon demob he departed for London and briefly joined the Freddie Randall band, shortly after he decamped, for the first of a number of occasions to play with  the Reg Wale Combo, in between times working with Karlo Krahmer the bandleader and soon to be founder of the fondly remembered and much lamented Jazz recording company ‘Esquire’.

In 1947 Bill was one of four instrumentalists who were to receive the accolade ‘Young Musicians of the Year’. The other three members of this august quartet were… Humphrey Lyttleton, Derek Franklin, later of the Hedley Ward Trio, and Roy Foxley, who went on to record with Ken Colyer and many 50’s Jazz outfits. In recognition of his success on the 24th of January 1948, Bill alongside the bassist Bernie Woods became the first of many domestic Jazzmen to be recorded by Karlo Krahmer, playing and singing the old Jazzer ‘My Old Man’… ironically the recording was not released until a decade later.

Late in 1948 he was to leave for Cape Town for an eighteen-month residency… he returned to the UK in 1950 and was to rejoin Reg Wale’s band. Bill had a low boredom threshold and in 1951 he joined a cruise ship, travelling extensively and bizarrely for a fleeting period he was employed as a disc jockey in Honolulu. It was whilst in Honolulu he became interested in psychoanalysis and Zen Buddhism. Upon his homecoming (1953) he would attend a number of psychoanalysis sessions. At great length Bill would with mounting absurdity recount that during his time on the couch his psychotherapist would feverishly knit. ( - was it a male we wonder).

Bill was short, rotund, bald and bespectacled, indeed he resembled everyone’s idea of a bank manager or stockbroker. His great charm lay betwixt the juxtaposition of his appearance and his true character; he could reduce his audience to hooting wrecks, laughing until it was too painful to bear any longer. During his time with Mick Mulligan he was nicknamed ‘Bumble Bee Fat’ - in honour of the Blues singer Bumble Bee Slim. Bill married the daughter of a minor Devon notable and in 1956 and set up home in Hampstead.

In 1957 Bill Bramwell was to join Chas McDevitt (Bill in full flight with his inimitable ZZZ's -  Scat mode opposite - was that an Ecko archtop guitar? - dig those retro mic's) and with Chas he re-recorded ‘My Old Man’ for Oriole Records, (CB 1395) perhaps as a spoiler Karlo Krahmer finally issued his 1948 recording of the same tune (Starlite Records ST 45 004) As a direct result neither recording received the attention it deserved.
1958 and Bill was off again, this time to Mick Mulligan and his Magnolia Jazz Band, where he stayed for 18 months, recording a number of sessions with Pye Records, where he recorded several songs with the band… notably the LP ‘Meet George Melly’ (NSPL 18424).
After his sojourn with Mick, Bill was offered a job in the musical side of advertising. He composed a number of highly regarded jingles… some of which were recorded by George Melly. Bill continued to record and occasionally tour, becoming for a time house guitarist with Oriole and sporadically recording with Mick Mulligan. Come 1960 and Bill was to achieve a place in the UK Record Charts… with his Decca recording of the ‘Candid Camera’ theme. During the sixties he concentrated on composing and produced the soundtracks for a number of short films, notably the greatly praised 1965 short ‘Jemima and Johnny’ a film, which tackled the then taboo subject of racial discrimination.

Bill’s guitar style is difficult to describe, his chord work was pithy and punchy in the manner of Django Reinhardt and his single string work is similarly inventive and incisive. His light tenor voice was extraordinary, his richly creative scat singing perfectly complimenting his swinging guitar.

Bill was good, Bill was a superb, highly underrated session man, his greatest predicament was that he knew he was good… and he would tell you. He would come off stage stating ‘I was good tonight, bloody good’ … even on the occasion when he had not played to his usual lofty standards. Bill’s problem? he was an irredeemable and incorrigible alcoholic. And it was to become his downfall.

For on the 13th September 1968, at the early age of 46 at his Hampstead home Bill Bramwell was to die of a stroke.

I never met Bill, I only know him through recordings and the stories of musicians… even given his many faults, and there were many, above all his humanity shone through… he may have annoyed and infuriated many, but in the end they all forgave him. All remember Bill with deep affection and respect.  Bill never legally changed his name and he was interred under his birth name, Roger.

Bill in the Highlands protesting at what they have to put up with when bringing his skills to the hinterlands of Scotland.  No - it is not a cold 'Jimmy Currie' found abandoned in Glencoe (We didn't have such food available then) but simply snow (gathered on Shirley's hot water bottle which can be a nasty surprise to some southerners.


Bill, Anthony David Kohn Vocals & Guitar, Manager Bill Varley Lennie Harrison - Bass,  Shirley Douglas -Vocals and Chas McDevitt - Guitar, Vocals, Whistling and blankets. circa '57.  Marc Sharratt - Washboard took the picture

Pictures of Bill Bramwell are kindly donated by Chas McDevitt

Main Article by Alex Balmforth
Post Script
After leaving Mick Mulligan, Bill rejoined the de Wolfe agency were he concentrated on composition and writing copy for variously, advertisements, short films and promotional work, of which the Torbay recording is an example. Bill never seemed to stick around, he deputised at various times with Tony Coe, Bruce Turner’s ‘Jump Band’ and several other top line musicians.  He later went on to join a loosely connected cooperative of musicians, writers and other creative types, one of whose members was to become Madonna’s mother in law. (Guy Ritchie‘s mum) The group were quite successful and Bill’s input was ultimately greatly praised, he just missed out on a top award for the short film, ‘Jemima and Johnny‘.  His personal coupe d’etat during the mid sixties was the music he composed for the launch of the Ford Cortina.  Bill also wrote humorous scripts for the South African comedian Garth Mead.   He suffered a stroke in mid 1958 the final one in his home near Swiss Cottage, Hampstead. His widow, Jenifer later married Peter Winter-Hart and she now lives near Glastonbury.
I have footage of Bill Bramwell playing alongside Chas McDevitt and various commercial and private recordings, including airshots with Humphrey Lyttelton introducing him playing with the Jump Band.  I also have a script written by Bill and some notes he made when he was touring. Diz Disley lost (or sold) Bill's Maccaferri guitar. Mind, on a personal note I never got the tenner Diz borrowed from me in 1976.  Sausage me a gregory!  - alexb

It is rhyming slang of course,

Sausage and mash - cash
Gregory Peck - cheque

Diz was asking us to cash him a cheque.

This was in total contrast to an Irish musician who was touring at the same time, who always asked to get paid by cheque, "You can't spend a cheque!" he used to mutter, it would seem that all too often his fees had disappeared by the time he got back to Cork, so having a cheque was a lot safer.

Louis & Ray Gallo Guitarists

Louis Gallo was a respected guitar player, teacher and composer. He was one of the first guitar players in London to acknowledge Eddie Lang's plectrum guitar music. He dedicated original guitar solo's to this style. He also wrote many other compositions for plectrum guitar and fingerstyle.
Louis was a great teacher and expert on all things Django. He was also a great friend of Mario Maccaferri and did much to promote the 1970s CSL Maccaferri remakes. These were the brainchild of Maurice Sommerfield, produced by Ibanez and approved by Maccaferri himself. The early models are much sought after instruments. Ray has some photographs of his father with Mario Maccaferri which may soon be available. These have not been published before! In addition Louis was a big friend of the Luthier, Marco Roccia who worked for Clifford Essex music shop in London. He it was who made Selmers from remaining parts available when the Selmer guitar factory closed. Louis Gallo and Mario went to France to buy remaining parts stock amongst other luthiers who sought after the residues.

Image 1Ray Gallo, born 1947, started learning Spanish guitar at 8 years old, and with his father Louis' guidance he was soon playing solos at his school concerts.  When he reached his teenage years he wanted to broaden his scope and started to learn the plectrum guitar style. He was soon playing with local gig bands and then became a member of Bill Ashton's National Youth Jazz Orchestra, during which period his featured solo was "Django" by John Lewis of the Modern Jazz Quartet. During his late teens he was also working as a guitar salesman in the Sound City shop in London's West End, dealing with the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page and many top session men of the time.  One of his first professional jobs was playing in an orchestra supervised by Burt Bacharach. He also had spells of playing guitar with Johnny Dankworth and Cleo Laine 

Denny (Denys Justin) Wright (6th May 1924 - 8th February 1992) was a jazz guitarist, born in Deptford, London, England. Denny grew up in Brockley, with frequent forays to the Old Kent Road and the Elephant & Castle.
<Denny on the left.
Denny's first instrument was the piano. His older brother, Alex, was a semi-professional guitarist before the war and it was inevitable that Denny, ten years younger, was soon trying to play his brother's guitar. He must have succeeded, because Denny began playing professionally before 1939 while still at school. For a schoolboy, he was pulling in a substantial income. Indeed, when one teacher took a dislike to him, Denny took his entire class to the cinema and the teacher arrived after lunch to find an empty classroom.
Denny spent the first part of the war playing in jazz clubs in the West End of London, doing almost non-stop session work and performing in bands on many hit wartime shows. He worked with Stephane Grappelli for the first time in London around 1941. Denny was unable to join up, being classified as medically unfit due to a childhood injury which resulted in his spleen and half of his liver being surgically removed. When he was old enough to join up, Denny joined ENSA, entertained the troops, and ended the war in Hertogenbosch in Holland.  After the war, he toured Italy and the Middle East with the Francisco Cavez orchestra.In the 1950s he featured on BBC's Guitar Club.In 1981, Denny was voted BBC Jazz Society Musician of the Year.  Denny's free-flowing improvisational style came to the forefront through his work with Lonnie Donegan in the 1950`s. Denny was a pioneer in establishing a fresh lead guitar style in the context of the folk and blues roots from which Donegan drew his song repertoire . Drawing upon and transcending the jazz blues elements in his own background, and the vital influence of Django Reinhardt, Denny produced constantly innovative lead breaks and solos for Donegan's live work and recordings on both acoustic archtop and electric guitar.  Together with Bill Bramwell and Donegan's younger lead guitar players, Les Bennetts and Jimmy Currie, he helped forge an approach to lead styling inspirational for the next generation of British lead guitarists working with blues - based material in a rock context. 

Les Bennetts was a fine player and a better one in the making then.  Les formed "Les Hobeaux"  and joined Chas McDevitt when the then incumbent Tony Kohn was purloined into National Service.  A bit later he was recruited by Lonnie Donnegan to replace Denny who was not treating his body like a temple.  Les stayed with Lonnie for some time until Denny recovered his health.

Stephane Grappelli: "Denny Wright also is a marvellous player, he's got such a good technique. Of course he can't produce Django's melodic line because Django invented it, but he has his own style, and on top of that he's got the strength of Django Reinhardt. In my opinion he's the only player in the world who can compare to Django and, you know, when I'm playing with Denny Wright and if I let my spirit go, then maybe I find that for a few seconds I'm back again with Django Reinhardt."  Paul McCartney: "I remember going to see Lonnie Donegan in 1956 at the Empire in Liverpool. It was wonderful. After we saw him and the skiffle groups, we just wanted guitars. Denny Wright, his guitar player, we really used to love--he was great."  Denny died in1992 in London after a nine year battle with cancer. His wife, Barbara, predeceased him by just under three years. He leaves a son.

IVOR MAIRANTS was well known throughout the world to guitarists of all styles. After over 50 years as a professional guitarist,teacher, composer and leading UK musical instrument retailer, he devoted the last few years of his life to composing and writing for the guitar. Born in 1908 in Rypin, Poland. Ivor Mairants came with his family to the United Kingdom in 1913. He took up the banjo at the age of 15 and became a professional musician at the age of 20.  From the 1930's he was a featured banjoist and then guitarist of many of Britain's leading dance bands including those of Ambrose, Roy Fox, Lew Stone, Geraldo and Ted Heath. In the 1960's and 1970's his outstanding guitar playing was often heard on television, radio, film soundtracks.  His recording of the 'Adagio' from Joaquin Rodrigo's 'Concierto de Aranjuez' with Manuel sold over one million copies. His guitar quintet broadcast regularly in the late 1950's on the BBC's 'Guitar Club' series.
Three virtuosos
Ivor Mairants, Les Paul and Bert Weedon in 1952.

In the 1950's Ivor Mairants established his central school of dance music in London. All instruments were taught at this innovative establishment, but special emphasis was given to the guitar. Several of his ex-pupils are today Britain's top guitarists. In 1958, together with his wife Lily, he opened The Ivor Mairants Musicentre. This was Britain's first specialist guitar store and it was situated in the heart of London's West End.. For many years some
of the world's best guitars and guitar accessories were introduced into Britain by Ivor Mairants at his store. The Ivor Mairants Musicentre became a Mecca for professional guitarists, and for amateur guitarists at all levels of ability.  Because of his unique knowledge and music skills, Ivor Mairants was over the years often employed as a specialist consultant for leading instrument makers and importers.

From the 1930's Ivor Mairants was a prolific columnist in several leading music journals including Melody Maker, BMG and Classical guitar. In 1980 his highly acclaimed biography 'My Fifty Fretting Years' was published by Ashley Mark Publishing in the UK, and in 1995 his marvellous opus, 'The Great Jazz Guitarists', probably the most complete collection of note-for-note transcriptions of historic jazz guitar solo's was published by Music Maker Publications in Cambridge, UK.

Ivor Mairants made a unique and outstanding contribution to the world of guitar in Britain. Over the past 50 years, there can be few British guitarists who have not benefited from this contribution. he was a member of the worshipful Society of Musicians, a prestigious and ancient British guild, and a Freeman of the city of London.  In 1997 the Worshipful Society of Musicians inaugurated a new annual competition the Ivor Mairants Guitar Award, which will remain an important part of the enormous legacy this irreplaceable figure has left for future generations of guitarists. Ivor Mairants - Born 18 July 1908, Rypin, Poland. Died 20 February 1998, London, UK.

Vic Lewis
These days Vic Lewis is, in my opinion an unjustly neglected pioneer of the jazz guitar. Vic was born in 1919 in North London - the son of moderately prosperous but indulgent parents who owned a successful jewellery business. At the early age of three he picked up his father’s tenor banjo and quickly mastered the instrument. Later, he was introduced to the instrument he was to become best known for – the ‘Quatro’ - a four-string guitar popular at the time. His parents were closet early Jazz fans and regular record purchasers at Levy’s Music Emporium in Whitechapel. Levy’s had established the business in 1928 and began importing early US Jazz recordings, eventually in 1932 they founded ‘Levaphone’ Records, later to be renamed ‘Oriole’ and coincidently in the thirties/ forties the sole distributor of Django Reinhardt’s oeuvre.
Vic’s early influences included Eddie Condon whom he was later to befriend and significantly, Eddy Lang. In the late thirties his interest in Jazz led him to establish his own quartet until a lucky break in a talent contest resulted in a number of radio appearances. Rather than enter the family Jewellery business, Vic decided to become a professional musician. His eternally indulgent parents financed a journey to New York, where upon the personal recommendation of Leonard Feather he sat in with amongst others Zutty Singleton, Joe Marsala, Pee Wee Russell and the man who was to become his close friend and mentor, Eddie Condon.

Whilst in New York he recorded a session that for many years lay neglected and unrecognised. A few of the recordings were eventually released but surprisingly they were for the most part overlooked.  Upon his return to the UK and at the outbreak of war Vic enlisted into the RAF and joined the service band ‘Buddy Feathertonhaugh’s Radio Sextet’, and after Buddy’s departure reinvented itself as the ‘Vic Lewis – Jack Parnell Jazzmen’. Around 1944 Vic and Jack teamed up with George Chisholm, several of the Squadronaires, Johnny Mince and three of his US orchestra, then resident at the ‘Palladium’ and recorded a number of landmark sessions with Parlophone Records.  After the War Vic collaborated with Stan Kenton and enlisted a band, which largely played Kenton inspired arrangements. This band persisted in various incarnations until 1960 when Vic segued into management, managing amongst others, Elton John, Dudley Moore and Nina Simone.   

Vic’s recordings are difficult to locate, although it is worth searching out a (deleted) 2003 CD on Upbeat - URCD 192 showcasing his pioneering 1938 New York jam sessions.       - thanks to  Alex Balmforth for this contribution.

Ike Isaacs
Ike was born in Burma in 1920. A chemistry graduate he chose to pursue a career in music & started his own Jazz group while in India. In 1944 Ike turned pro with the Leslie Douglas Bomber Command Band. He later joined Cyril Stapleton's BBC Show Band as their guitarist & worked on a series of orchestral albums. He played for 12 years with the Ted Heath Band & featured in Braden's Weeks & the Max Bygrave Show & has made several Albums, notably - Ike Isaacs Lutes & Flutes - The Music of Michel Le Grand. Ike joined the Diz Disley Trio on their world tour with Stephane in 1974.

Bert Weedon talks guitars with two fellow Guitarists Ike Isaacs & Jack Llewellyn
during a break in his recording session
Photograph by Mark Hamilton

Ken Sykora - influential host of ‘Guitar Club’ who was on a number of occasions voted the winner, ‘musician of the year’ by readers of the ‘Melody Maker’   Music remained an all-consuming passion for Sykora. He led own band in the 1950s, performing with Ted Heath at the London Palladium and with Geraldo at the old Stoll Theatre, and was voted Britain's Top Guitarist five years running in Melody Maker's readers' polls.  Music led him into broadcasting, and involvement in the creation of a wide range of popular radio programmes. First he presented and played on Jazz Club and At the Jazz Band Ball. He devised, presented and performed on the Guitar Club and Stringalong series. Other programmes with the Sykora stamp included Those Record Years, Album Time, LP Parade, Big Band Sound, and Radio Three's Jazz Digest. In his final years he liked nothing better than to watch the ever-changing waters of Loch Long lap on the foreshore opposite his house at Blairmore, and to soak up the music of Django Reinhardt and other guitarists.
Thanks for the mention we are keen to make sure his music and  playing remain alive, it's so lovely to hear and see him on the net.   He pretty much worked with every one you mentioned on the UK Jazz  Pioneers page!  Dads 1958 tune "Little Black Dog" dad plays rhythm, Ike Issacs on  lead guitar with the guitar club band is the theme tune for the new  short British Film "The Bedfordshire Clanger" from Five Feet Films, showing at Cannes  Film Festival this year  (2007).  Very kind regards  - Alison Sykora - Duncan Sykora (Ken's Son) is also A Guitarist and sister Susan Sykora has a career as a Chanteuse

Fizroy Coleman, 76, was born in Alfredo Street, Woodbrook. His father, a steamroller driver, played the guitar for amusement, but did not want young Fitzroy to touch his prized instrument. So, he improvised one by nailing a flat pan to a piece of wood and stringing marling on it to let the boy amuse himself.  But at age 19, Fitzroy could take it no more and made for the guitar each time his father was out working, and began to teach himself to play.

He recounts the events as follows: "I started to invent chord constructions and rehearse the popular ballads of the day. It was only when he caught me and realized I could play without any teaching that he allowed me to use the guitar freely.  "On moonlight nights, Ray Holman's father, Leslie, would come over to our house and he would play his ukelele and I would be on the guitar. A lot of fellows used to come by and sing songs from Satchmo and Rudy Vallee and the talk would usually be how I make chords different to other guitar players.  "One of the people who came by was Victor Hudson, known then as 'Whistling Charlie'. He had a fake flute but he could whistle so sweetly that he was considered a musician. When he heard me play he asked my mother to let me go with him all through St Clair on his tours.

"Remember, this was in the thirties. Radio was not popular, so together with Steadman Butler on cuatro, we would learn the songs, however we got to hear them, and walk to St Clair and stand outside the gates of white people houses and play songs. They would come into their gallery to listen, then would send the maid out with some coins for us. But for those days, we made good money.  "My playing came to the attention of Captain Cipriani, who then introduced me to a whole new world by taking me to perform at dances and concerts in the Princes Building and the Royal Victoria Institute (now the National Museum). Meanwhile, I was also making some money playing for the tourists on the waterfront. But by 1942, I started playing formally with a big band. It was Len Woodley's orchestra, a band that worked for the elite.

"I played with Woodley until 1945, when an Englishman, Al Jennings, came to Trinidad to select a Caribbean All Stars Band and I was chosen as the guitarist, even though I could not read music. They said I was a drinker and knockabout but Rupert Nurse, who was chosen as the arranger, stood up for me and promised to teach me the notes when we got to England.

"We left here in October, 1945. All I had was my guitar and the clothes on my back. I did not even know that there was a thing called winter. It was a soldier on the boat who gave me a coat. But from the first time they heard me play in London, I nearly always enjoyed steady work, which continued for all of the 26 years I spent there."

Coleman's unique style of playing chords to match virtually each note in a song's bassline, caught the attention of all who would listen. When the band with which he left Trinidad folder while on tour to Paris, Coleman was selected from the lot to perform at London's prestigious Mill Roy Club. It was there that he made some of his more valuable contact, spending may hours after work relaxing with the likes of Humphrey Bogart and Bette Davis when they were in London, and exchanging notes, as it were, with Hoagy Carmichael whenever he was in town.

Coleman married in 1947. His wife, Victoria, was well connected, although the war had devastated the family's clubs. But she became his manager and piloted his flight to the top of the heap of jazz guitarists.  He regularly played sessions for BBC TV and was featured at all the top nightclubs. Business got so good, Coleman was soon able to offer regular work to the very band members that begged him to go to London.

Coleman also introduced Kitchener to the circuit when the latter arrived in London in 1951. He worked on Kitchener's early recordings and did some work for Beginner, who had accompanied Kitch to the UK.  Coleman continued to amaze audiences until his retirement from the British scene in 1975.  Now, he lives with his second wife, Edna, surviving on royalties from his life's work.

Judd Proctor, from Doncaster b 2nd Jan 1933
Originally played plectrum banjo but switched to acoustic guitar at 14, played gigs with local bands and won a regional Melody Maker contest with The Zetland Players.  Did National Service with the RAF and while stationed at Maidstone played in Les Evans rehearsal band and took lessons from Ike Isaacs.  After demobilisation he did his first professional work with Peter Fielding at Nottingham Palais.  Played summer seasons with various bands then then moved to London to join Norman Burns from February until July 55.  Member of Ray Ellington's Quartet for 6 years from July 55.  Many radio dates included the Goon Show broadcasts.. Left Ray Ellington to concentrate on session work , playing for television radio, recordings etc.  Took time out to tour Japan with Stanley Black1965 and to work with Benny Goodman on record and on various concerts in England 1971.  Often in Don Lusher's big band during the late 70's and 80's but mainly occupied with session work in the 1990's. Early sponsor of the Hofner President guitar. National Dance band Championship Picture 1949 from Michael Wiper - the Bassist Phil Wiper's Grandson - also a Bassist - who wishes to receive more info on Judd Proctor and any surviving original Zetland Players. (new) - Zetland Players  name inspired by Zetland Road, Doncaster.

The photograph show on the site of The Zetland Players was taken at the Danum Hotel in Doncaster. The name of the Zetland Players was derived from Zetland Road in Doncaster.  As both your grand father, Harry and Phil Elwiss lived in Zetland Road when the band was formed by them.
Phil Elwiss passed away in 1990. The band was Phil Elwiss alto sax and clarinet
Ivor Goodhead piano
Harry Wiper bass
Judd Proctor guitar
Fred Bessant drums. Fred is still with us. - (supplied by Claire E Clark)

Dave Goldberg  Guitar / Trombone / Composer.  Born 22nd July 1922 Merseyside, died London 21st Aug 1969
The Family settled in Glasgow . Took up guitar at 14, played gigs from the age of 16.  First professional work with Jack Chapman on Guitar and Trombone 1940.  with Ronnie Munro 1941 then joined the RAF and served in Canada as a pilot Instructor..  After demobilisation he specialised on guitar joined Ted Heath and remained until moving to USA in March 1948 and worked with Les Brown.  Played gigs in Los Angeles and worked with Tenor Saxist Corky Corcoran, then returned to Britain ands rejoined the Ted Heath Band from October 1948 until march 1949.  Freelanced and again moved to the USA (early 1950)  Freelanced in Los Angeles (as Dave Gilbert)  and worked as Dave Goldberg in Freddy Slack's trio in1952.  Worked in film studios and then joined dancer Katherine Dunham's show in 1953.  Film work playing in soundtracks and writing, in Italy spring 1954 before returning to UK in April 1954.  Worked with Dizzy Reece's Sextet 1954 with Harry Roy's Quintet 1954 then joined Geraldo Feb 1955.  In Phil Seaman's Quintet in 1956 and freelanced before becoming a long time member of Jack Parnell's ATV Orchestra. 
The player that all the Modernists talked about, Dave was probably the most original of jazz improvisers and was frequently sent for by the likes of the young John Dankworth.   

He was an early bebop pioneer and the flat he shared with fellow guitarist Pete Chilver in central London was where many young musicians gathered in 1949 to hear and discuss the bebop records beginning to come from the USA. Proof of his familiarity with the idiom can be found on twelve inch 78 issued under the title "Melody Maker Columbia Jazz Rally" recorded in June 1947. He sounds very much at home on Thrivin' on a riff made at a time when most of our local musicians were still playing in the swing style.  He died in 1969 at the early age of 47.
He played with many well known jazz musicians as his discography shows. Sadly, like many of our pioneer bop musicians, there is little of his recorded work currently available on CD...

Can anyone shade in more of these careers?

The elegant Neville Skrimshire (born 1923) was also everywhere.   He seldom played a solo but he seemed to be everyone's first choice as a rhythm guitarist.   Bill Ashton told me quite recently that when he was gigging he thought Neville was the most reliable provider of a pulse he had ever played with.    He had received lessons from Bill Bramwell. - Tony Kohn

John McKechnie - The most competent technician, loved by his fellow musicians,  was a very modest man (died 2003) who was the musical mainstay of the Hedley Ward Trio Jack McKechnie, Derek Franklin - Bass and Bob Carter/George Taylor - Piano.   Whenever Jack rehearsed most of the others on the bill went to listen.    He and I developed a ridiculous double act.   Jack was a big man and I was as thin as a pencil.   I would stand and hold a guitar on a neck-strap.   I would play chords with my left hand near the nut and my right hand near the bridge.   Jack could put his arms round me and his left and right hands in the centre of the fretboard.   I played chords and Jack played melody.   I only remember "Sweet Georgia Brown" but it was enough.   Recently Jack's nephew contacted me and I told him this story.   He was trying to write a book and he reckoned Jack had not received the acclaim he deserved.   I tend to agree with him. - Tony Kohn

Jim Douglas (1943-) Best know as guitarist for the Alex Welsh Band, he completed 19 years with the group. One of Britain's most fluent, experienced and eloquent guitarists, he continues to perform today- undated?

Tony Pitt (born 1940 - elder brother of Vic (Bassist) one of the finest exponents of banjo and guitar in the country ...has had lengthy spells with all the top jazz bands including Kenny Ball, Acker Bilk, Terry Lightfoot and Alan Elsdon, doing countless TV and radio sessions"

Hi Eddie, I've recently been introduced to your excellent U.K. Jazz Guitar pioneers site and would like to thank you for including my name in the list. In answer to your question regarding details about myself and others, I can, of course, supply you with as much info. regarding my own career as a guitar player as you  might require and would be delighted to do so. Perhaps we can establish a dialogue at your convenience.

For now, kind regards, Tony Pitt.

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Last modified: 18/02/2012