Allan Ganley was born in Tolworth in Surrey in 1931. He began playing drums in his early teens and did gigs with local bands before serving in the RAF. He turned professional in 1952 and in 1953 joined Jack Parnell. following a brief stint with Geraldo he joined John Dankworth's first big band in 1953 and stayed with him for two years. In the mid 1950s he worked with several jazz groups including New Jazz Group (with Derek Smith), Kenny Baker's Dozen and the Jazz Today Unit. Keen to experience the latest developments in New York at first hand, in 1956 he followed the British jazz musician's time-honoured practice of taking a job playing on a transatlantic liner, in this case the Queen Mary. The next year he toured in the United States with a sextet led by Ronnie Scott, and on his return formed a band, the Jazzmakers, in partnership with the baritone saxophonist Ronnie Ross. In 1959 this appeared at the Newport Jazz Festival, returning to America twice in 1960, with Ross's place taken by the trombonist Keith Christie.
From January 1962 to 1964 he was part of the sensational Tubby Hayes Quintet which included trumpet player Jimmy Deuchar. In the early 1960s he became an increasingly busy session musician including film work as well as being house drummer at Ronnie Scott's from 1964 until 1967. He continued to work with a variety of bands including John Dankworth and Cleo Laine, as well as undertaking a lot of session work freelanced with many top British and American performers.
In February 1967 he left Britain to work with Joe Wylie's band in Bermuda and did not return to Britain until the summer of 1976. While out of Britain he studied arranging and composing at Berklee School of music in Boston, USA for four months in 1970. He recorded with Jim Hall and Art Farmer in New York in 1976 before his return to Britain.
(Front left: Ronnie Ross, Front right: Allan Ganley)
continued from bottom left...
On his return he resumed freelance session work with all sorts of people including Henry Mancini, Nelson Riddle, Robert Farnon and many others. He played with various jazz groups as well accompanying many visiting musicians including Dizzy Gillespie, Al Haig, and Peggy Lee. He formed his own occasional big band that played through to the 2000s. He was a prolific composer and arranger for groups that included the BBC Radio Big Band, Dankworth Generation Band, and for many singers
Through the 1990s up to his death in March, 2008 he continued to work regularly with the Pizza Express All Stars, The Great British Jazz Band, Cleo Laine, John Dankworth and others as well as accompanying visiting musicians, freelance sessions, radio work and spells with Stan Tracey, Annie Ross and Tony Coe.
Listed below are most of the British jazz sessions that Allan Ganley played on that are detailed under other names on this website. He made few sessions under his own name but these are shown in detail on this page. Following his return to London in 1976, after ten years in Bermuda, he spent most of his time in the studios, his type of jazz was no longer being recorded...
Jack Parnell and his Band - April 8th, 1953 (Parlophone) - recording details: Jack Parnell
Johnny Dankworth Orchestra - November 12th, 1953 (Parlophone) - recording details: Johnny Dankworth
Johnny Dankworth Orchestra - December 23rd, 1953 (Parlophone) - recording details: Johnny Dankworth
Johnny Dankworth Orchestra - January 21st, 1954 (Parlophone) - recording details: Johnny Dankworth
Music in the making - January 27th, 1954 (Vogue) - recording details: other
Vic Ash All Stars - February 16th, 1954 (Melodisc) - recording details: Vic Ash
Jazz Today Unit - February 28th, 1954 (Esquire) - recording details: Keith Christie
Johnny Dankworth Orchestra - April 14th, 1954 (Parlophone) - recording details: Johnny Dankworth
Melody Maker's All Stars - May13th/15th, 1954 (Atlantic) - recording details: Melody Maker
Johnny Dankworth Orchestra - June 1st, 1954 (Parlophone) - recording details: Johnny Dankworth
Johnny Dankworth Orchestra - August 9th, 1954 (Parlophone) - recording details: Johnny Dankworth
Johnny Dankworth Orchestra - October 6th, 1954 (Parlophone) - recording details: Johnny Dankworth
Johnny Dankworth Orchestra - November 3rd, 1954 (Parlophone) - recording details: Johnny Dankworth
Derek Smith Trio with Harry Klein - winter, 1954 (Decca) - recording details: Derek Smith
Vic Ash Quartet - January 3rd, 1955 (Columbia) - recording details: Vic Ash
Johnny Dankworth Orchestra - January 6th/7th, 1955 (Capitol) - recording details: Johnny Dankworth
Cleo Laine with Keith Christie Quintet - March 3rd, 1955 (Esquire) - recording details: Keith Christie
Eddie Thompson Trio - March 17th, 1955 (Polygon) - recording details: Eddie Thompson
Keith Christie Quartet - July 26th, 1955 (Esquire) - recording details: Keith Christie
Harry Klein Orchestra - November 28th, 1955 (Nixa) - recording details: Harry Klein
Derek Smith Trio - January 27th, 1956 (Nixa) - recording details: Derek Smith
New Jazz Group - February 18th, 1956 (Tempo) - recording details: Dizzy Reece
Jazz Today Unit - November 10th, 1956 (Decca) - recording details: George Chisholm
George Chisholm - Keith Christie Quintet - November 10th, 1956 (Decca) - recording details: George Chisholm
Alan Clare Quartet - November 10th, 1956 (Decca) - recording details: Alan Clare
Ken Moule Arranges For - November 22nd/December 6th, 1956 (Decca) - recording details: Ken Moule
Derek Smith Trio - January 23rd, 1957 (Nixa) - recording details: Derek Smith
Dave Lee Trio - May 29th, 1957 (Nixa NJE1038)
Dave Lee (p), Lennie Bush (b), Allan Ganley (d).
On The Alamo/Excuse For The Blues/Salt Air/I Must Have That Man.
Melody Maker's All Stars - October, 1957 (Nixa) - recording details: Melody Maker
Allan Ganley Quartet - November 19th, 1957 (Nixa NJE1046) (JM0658)
Joe Harriott (as), Stan Jones (p), Sammy Stokes (b), Allan Ganley (d).
Margona*/I Feel a Song Coming On#*/Stewpot*/Mean To Me*.
(#Castle 3CD box set - Too Hot - The Best of British Mainstream Jazz)
(*Acrobat CD - Allan Ganley: The Complete Quartet & Jazzmakers Session 1957-59)
Ken Moule's Music - January 28th/February 13th, 1958 (Decca) - recording details: Ken Moule
Vic Ash Quartet - March 26th, 1958 (Nixa) - recording details: Vic Ash
Allan Ganley Quartet - August, 1958 (Saga 7010)
Art Ellefson (as), Stan Jones (p), Stan Wasser (b), Allan Ganley (d).
Open Country*/Beaulieu*/The High Priest*/Blue Skies*.
(*Acrobat CD - Allan Ganley: The Complete Quartet & Jazzmakers Session 1957-59)
Melody Maker's All Stars - November, 1958 (Nixa) - recording details: Melody Maker
Vic Lewis and his All Stars - June, 1959 (Ember) - recording details: Vic Lewis
The Jazzmakers was co-led by Ronnie Ross and Allan Ganley, the album below was recorded in New York and subsequently issued in the UK by Ember...
The Jazzmakers - September 23rd, 1959 (Atlantic)
Art Ellefson (ts), Ronnie Ross (as,bs), Stan Jones (p), Stan Wasser (b), Allan Ganley (d).
Two Hoots/The Real Funky Blues^/It's A Big Wide Wonderful World^/How Long Has This Been Going On^/Pitiful Pearl^/Blues For The Five Of Us^/The Country Squire^#/I Won't Fret If I Don't Get The Blues Anymore^/The Moonbather^/Suddenly It's Spring/Blues For June (unissued)/Cherry (unissued).
(^Collectables CD - Groove, Funk, Soul) six other titles on this CD are by Joe Castro
(#Fantastic Voyage 2 CD set - Ember Jazz - The Flamingo Connection)
(^ Fresh Sound CD - The Jazz Makers / The Jazz Five - The Hooter)
(^Acrobat CD - Allan Ganley: The Complete Quartet & Jazzmakers Session 1957-59)
Vic Lewis and his All Stars - April 10th, 1960, 1959 (DJM) - recording details: Vic Lewis
The Tubby Hayes new Quintet with Jimmy Deuchar, Gordon Beck, Freddy Logan and Allan Ganley is widely regarded as the best British post bop modern jazz group. Allan Ganley was an ever present and produced some of his best jazz drumming in this outstanding group...
Tubby Hayes Quintet - May 17th/18th, 1962 (Fontana) - recording details: Tubby Hayes Quintet
Tubby Hayes Quintet - May, 1963 (Fontana) - recording details: Tubby Hayes Quintet
Tubby Hayes Quintet - November 7th, 1963 (Jazz House) - recording details: Tubby Hayes Quintet
Tubby Hayes Quintet - December 3rd, 1963 (Harkit) - recording details: Tubby Hayes Quintet
Tubby Hayes Quintet - December 16th, 1963 (Jazz House) - recording details: Tubby Hayes Quintet
Tubby Hayes Quintet - December, 1963 (Spotlite) - recording details: Tubby Hayes Quintet
Tubby Hayes Quintet - March, 1964 (BBC) - recording details: Tubby Hayes Quintet
Tubby Hayes Orchestra - April 20th/24th April, 1964 (Tubbs Tours - Fontana) - recording details: Tubby Hayes
Roland Kirk Quartet - November 14th/15th, 1964 (Jazz House) - recording details: Stan Tracey
Tubby Hayes Big Band - January 31st, 1965 (BBC) - recording details: Tubby Hayes
Joe Harriott / John Mayer - September 3rd, 1966 (Columbia) - recording details: Joe Harriott
Vic Ash Quartet - 1996 (Audi-B) - recording details: Vic Ash
Duncan Lamont Quartet - January,1988 (LDC Records LDC4001)
Duncan Lamont (ts), Brian Dee (p), Mario Castronari (b), Allan Ganley (d).
Secret Love/June Time/No Blues/London Time/Blues In The Night/Up Jumped Spring/Music For Cole Porter/On Green Dolphin Street.
Vic Ash Quartet - 1995 (The Eyes Have It - Audio-B ABCD3R)
Vic Ash (ts,cl), Dave Newton (p), Malcolm Creese (b), Allan Ganley (d).
The Touch Of Your Lips*/Bernie's Tune*/I Thought About You*/November Rose*/Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea*/Silver Minor*/Namely You*/Soon*/Carnaval Samba*/Nancy With The Laughing Face*/The Eyes Have It*.
(*Audio - B CD - The Eyes Have It)
In January, 2001 the Allan Ganley Quartet recorded live, what is described as a session in the classic bebop style. Jazz Journal selected the CD as "one of the best CDs of the year". It is available via Allan Ganley's website.
Allan Ganley Quartet - January, 2001 (Live at the Station - JAGZ CD043)
Geoff Simkins (as), Dave Cliff (g), Dave Green (b), Allan Ganley (d).
Au Privave*/How Deep Is the Ocean*/Anthropology*/The Right Time*/Just In Time*/Goodbye*/Quasimodo*/Limehouse Blues*.
(*JAGZ CD - The Allan Ganley Quartet "Live at the Station")
A tribute to drummer Allan Ganley. This CD features Ganley's arrangements and a number of his compositions played by an all star big band directed by Andy Panayi...
The Allan Ganley Jazz Legacy - March 17th, 2009 (June Time - Vocalion CDSML 8454)
Simon Gardner, Tony Fisher, Henry Lowther, Martin Shaw, Mike Lovatt (tp), Mark Nightingale, Cliff Hardie, Gordon Campbell, Bill Geldard, Ashley Horton (tb), Andy Mackintosh, Julian Siegal, Alan Barnes, Roy Willox, Jimmy Hastings (saxes), John Horler (p), Phil Lee (g), Malcolm Creese (b), Mike Smith (d).
Victor*/My Shining Hour*/June Time*/Don't Mention It*/Gentle Jim*/Two For The Road*/Let's Run Around*/Those Days*/Around The Track*/Allisamba*/My One And Only Love*/One Morning In May*/Detour Ahead*.
(*Vocalion CD - The Allan Ganley Jazz Legacy - June Time)
These have been issued on the Sepia label and are available only from Dankworth's own marketing website. Link
Allan Ganley recorded with many other great jazz musicians. His own website (www.allanganley.com) lists the following:
Stephane Grappelli "Just One of those Things" / Stephane Grappelli & Yehudi Menuhin "Grappelli & Menuhin Play" / Jim Hall "Committment" / Scott Hamilton "Live at Brecon" / Scott Hamilton "Christmas Love Song" / Kenny Davern "The Very Thought of You" / George Shearing/Bob Farnon "How Beautiful is Night" / Carol Kidd "I'm Glad We Met" / Al Haig "Bebop Live!" / Clark Terry "Clark After Dark" / Ruby Braff "Braff Plays Wimbledon" / David Newton Trio "In Good Company" / Martin Taylor "Don't Fret"