|Other groups from the '40s and '50s...|
Jazz groups were unlikely to be recorded in the late '40s and early '50s and we can only wonder now what some of these bands sounded like. Groups listed under the "clubs" section of the Melody Maker include such tantalising names as Denis Rose's Orchestra (1945), Clarrie Wears Sextet (1946), and Tony Crombie Band (1947). The Tito Burns Sextet (1947 on) that included Ronnie Scott, Albert Hall, Johnny Dankworth, Tommy Pollard, Joe Muddel and Tony Crombie. Leon Calvert replaced Hall from 1950.
Others from the 1940s were Jive Bombers (1948), Joe Muddel's Downbeat Modernists (1949) that included Johnny Dankworth, Pete Chilver, Tommy Pollard and Tony Crombie, and from 1950 pianist Ronnie Ball.
In 1948/9 there were, of course, the two bands from Club Eleven led by Johnny Dankworth and Ronnie Scott. These two groups did make a handful of records.
A popular band active in 1949/1950 was the Leon Roy 15 piece Bebop Orchestra. Trumpet player Ron Simmonds said of them: "The drummer Leon Roy had heard about me from someone, and offered me a regular weekly gig in a place known as The Jungle along Tottenham Court
Road. Every great West Indian player that ever hit London was in that band, including the trumpeter Pete Pitterson, with Sammy Walker and George Tyndale in the saxes. I believe that Leon, Johnny Keating, Derek Neville, the baritone player, and I were the only white people in the building."|
"The place was dimly lit, packed out, and unbelievably hot. The people stood so close to one another in front of the band that you could have walked over their heads. A closer look at them would reveal that they were all, without exception, stoned right out of their skulls. Leon had a big library of scores from the new Dizzy Gillespie big band. Someone had taken all of Dizzy's solos down from the records, note for note, and I had to play them. There were about twenty of them at the time. When I told Dizzy about this later on he said that he would never be able to do that. 'Man! I wouldn't even be able to read them,' he said. Most of these solos were highly technical; they were all in the high register and tremendously exciting. Stoned or not the people loved everything we played. I made a point of avoiding the band room in the intervals. Just putting your head in there was enough to make you high. The police were hot on the tail of musicians smoking marijuana, and some of the guys were getting busted all the time. I kept away from all that. Derek Neville didn�t hang around much after that band folded. He emigrated."
Wnen his big band folded Leon Roy continued to lead a quartet or quintet around the clubs unti late 1955.
Another big band from 1950, long forgotten now, was Toni Anton's Progressive Orchestra.This was a 20 strong band with 5tp, 4tb, 6sax and 5 rhythm, listed as playing big band bop.
Other groups on the London club circuit in 1950 included, Pete Pitterson Quintet, Kenny Baker Bobtette, Leon Calvert Quartet, Ronnie Ball Sextet/Trio, Laurie Morgan Sextette and Kathy Stobart's New Music, a nine piece modern group.
From around 1950 to 1953 pianist Ralph Sharon led various quintets or sextets which worked in the London jazz clubs as well as working on television. He also worked on TV and employed top name musicians. The picture below shows Sharon (left) with Pete Chilver and Jimmy Skidmore. Sharon did make a few records with his own groups
Ralph Sharon more...
In February 1951 there is an intriguing listing for Martin Feldman's Bop Group with Tubby Hayes. Tubby would have been just sixteen years of age at this time. Martin Feldman became the comedian Marty Feldman and was self-confessed worst jazz trumpet player ever. Other groups playing the clubs in 1951 included Kenny Baker Octet with pianist Alan Clare, The Terry Brown - Keith Barr All- Stars, Joe Muddel Group, and The Ronnie Ball Trio.
In 1953 besides many of those mentioned above there were a number of new groups in the clubs: Tommy Pollard's Jazz at The Flamingo Unit with Joe Harriott and Bob Efford, Jazz Incorporated with Johnny Rogers, Les Condon, Lennie Metcalfe, Bruce Swain and Dickie Devere, Joe Muddel Group, Basil Kirchin All-Stars / Quintet, Kenny Baker Quintet with Stan Tracey, Cliff Ball, Don Lawson.
Toni Anton was leading a quintet (with Dizzy Reece and Dickie Devere) in August 1953 but by October he was billed as Toni 'Kenton' Anton's 14 piece Afro-mambop Unit plus Antones.
Other 1953 groups included the Geoff Taylor Quartet, Don Rendell-Bob Efford "JATF" Stars, Harry Klein Quintet with Terry Brown, Stan Tracey Group with Terry Brown, Buddy Featherstonhaugh, Cliff Ball, Don Lawson.
1954/55 produced more bands, with a couple of exceptions un-recorded. Johnny Rogers All-Star Group with Les Condon, The Geoff Taylor Quintet, The Jackie Sharpe Quintet / Sextet, The Terry Shannon Quintet with Mike Senn, Jackie Sharpe, Eric Peters and Lennie Breslaw.
Late 1955 saw the appearance of The New Jazz Group a thinking mans group with none of the histrionics associated with other bands of the day.The band featured Harry Klein, Derek Smith, Sammy Stokes and Allan Ganley.
Other groups, often shortlived included Tony Hall's Hall Stars with Dizzy Reece, Wilton Gaynair and others, The Jimmy Skidmore Quintet with Terry Brown, The Leon Calvert Sextet with Bob Efford and Roy Willox. Buddy Featherstonhaugh led a piano-less quintet that included Roy Sidwell, Leon Calvert, Bill Stark and Bill Brodie.
In March 1955 Tommy Whittle was leading a quintet that included Harry Klein, Dill Jones, Joe Muddel and Eddie Taylor. Picture below does not include Harry Klein.|
Later in the year he changed personnel to include those pictured below: Eddie Taylor, Freddy Logan, Keith Christie, Ronnie Baker. Both of Whittle's groups recorded.
This page is a work-in-progress and will added to in the not too distant future...any information on groups mentioned, or others not mentioned will be gratefully received...seperate web pages exist for most of the musicians mentioned...Musicians page index...