British bebop...
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British modern jazz - from the 1940s onwards...
This website is devoted to the British modern jazz musicians who, from the late 1940s to the early 1960s pioneered the music in the UK. It is intended to be a source for anybody coming to the music for the first time and to indicate where the music can be heard, albeit only on CD or long deleted records.

British modern jazz began in the early 1940s and by 1948/49 our bebop had begun in the London clubs as an imitation of the American bebop developed by Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk and others. It proved difficult for many musicians and the public to get to grips with and soon moved into a less frenetic 'post bop' phase that lasted for fifteen years or more and, at its peak of popularity, attracted a good following...

This website contains discographies for the major musicians and one of the main aims of this website is to indicate where the music of the period can be found now on CD. A number of companies have re-issued some of this classic jazz. Several smaller companies have issued a number of old Esquire recordings but a large chunk of Esquire's mid 1950s recordings have not been re-issued in CD format and maybe never will.

The site will contain biographical details of the pioneer musicians as well as others who came to prominence in the 1950s...Tony Hall writing in 1958 said that he has spoken to many musicians, asking for the names of those who played the most important roles in the development of British bebop. Five names figured on everybody's list: trumpeter/pianist Denis Rose (top of everybody's list), guitarists Pete Chilver and Dave Goldberg, pianist Ralph Sharon, and pianist/drummer/leader Tony Crombie...

Recording opportunities were few and far between for jazz musicians in the 1950s. Fans with money to buy jazz records chose American music. Only small independent labels such as Esquire, in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and Tempo in the mid and later 1950s were issuing records of the British jazz. By the mid 1950s only Tempo were recording significantly and they went out of business in 1960.

The website was created in 2005 and is updated and expanded regularly. I regard the website as a tribute to the music and musicians of a somewhat forgotten period of British jazz. With the exception of Tubby Hayes and Ronnie Scott the musicians have faded from the memory of many who enjoyed the music live. If you can add information or photographs or correct anything on the website please contact me (David Taylor).
The site is dedicated to our bebop pioneers of the late 1940s...
Ronnie Scott
Ronnie Scott

Esquire record label


Update...

Recent additions and updates...
Updated November 17th, 2016...


British bebop pioneer Johnny Rogers suffered ill health to the extent that British jazz musicians arranged a benefit night for him at Studio '51 in December, 1954. Tony Hall's report for The Record Mirror has been forwarded by Tony Middleton. Studio '51, 1954...



Pages on this website are updated regularly when new information becomes available or new CDs are issued. Any information on these topics is always welcome...

Recent updates have included:
A Keeper of the Flame has been defined as someone who keeps alive a tradition, belief or practice that would otherwise be lost. Britain's bebop Keeper's of the jazz flame including Clark Tracey, Alan Barnes and others are briefly introduced here... More will be added later plus recording details...


In 1958 Tony Hall wrote a chapter for the Decca Book of Jazz titled Nice Work if You Can Get It which detailed the growth of modern jazz in Britain from the end of World War II up to 1957.The book is long out of print but Richard Hazlewood has provided scans of the relevant pages... more...


Very few of Britain's 'bebop inspired' bands of the late 1940s and early 1950s were recorded and we are only aware of their existence through the pages of Melody Maker and the recollections of the musicians themselves plus a number of poor quality photos.
I have gathered details of a few of these bands and would welcome any memories you may have to add to the list in future months. more bands...







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