Tommy Pollard discography...
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Tommy Pollard discography...
Tommy Pollard (1952) Born in 1923 Tommy Pollard was an influential pianist and vibes player in the early days of British bop. Not a lot is known about him and these notes owe a debt to "A tribute to Tommy Pollard", an article written by Alun Morgan, published in Jazz Monthly magazine in December 1960.
He started playing professionally in the early 1940s and joined the clarinettist Harry Parry in 1940 in a band playing in the style of Benny Goodman's small groups and he recorded with Harry Parry's Radio Rhythm Club Sextet in 1941 and 1942. These were not his first recordings, he recorded 5 sides in 1941 with Johnny Claes and his Claepigeons.

From 1942 until the end of the war in 1945 he served in the armed forces and became part of Ralph Reader's Gang Show in India and North Africa. On demobilisation in 1946 he joined Ray Ellington but by 1947 he was working on the trans-Atlantic liners as part of Bobby Kevin's band. Like Pollard other musicians such as Ronnie Scott and Johnny Dankworth had also worked on the cruise ships for the opportunity to hear the music of Charlie Parker and other be-boppers first hand in New York. Pollard was one of the first to get to grips with Parker's music and his harmonic conception continued to amaze his colleagues years later. In 1948 he was with Tito Burns becoming a founder member of Club Eleven in 1948 and apparently instilled into other local musicians, such as Victor Feldman, Tony Crombie and Terry Shannon, the spirit and enthusiasm of Charlie Parkers innovations.

He was a brilliant vibraphone player but his early recordings on this instrument for Esquire have not been re-issued for many years. He did not play it again after 1948. He played and recorded with the Ronnie Scott Boptet and Quartet in the early 1950s and in 1952 took a residency with a quartet at the newly opened Flamingo Club. Unfortunately he repeatedly failed to appear for work and there were stories of him disappearing with people carrying guns - he was an extremely capable high speed car driver - the inference being that he had other activities on his mind.

After his 1951 recordings he did not appear in the recording studio again until 1954 and his handful of dates in 1954 and 1955 were all with Victor Feldman, Pollard's most devout admirer. He did not appear much in person or record again after this.
Tommy Pollard (1955)
Tommy Pollard (1955)

For the final years of his life, from the last records in 1955 through to his death he was a very sick man spending months in bed and wasting away to a shadow of his former size. Tragically, Pollard had fallen victim to the hard drug addiction that was the by-product of the Charlie Parker legend. He died in October 1960 at the age of 37 after a long period of illness.

He was the first drug related casualty of the British modern jazz scene and had spent a great deal of his later years in musical obscurity, his pioneering efforts all but forgotten.
As a pianist his style was his own, Monk influenced but with his own harmonic and rhythmic input that created a superb swinging style. His final recordings hinted at the style that Stan Tracey was to develop. His contemporaries regarded him as one of the most important influences in British modern jazz, certainly he was among the first British modernists to understand the technique of bebop.
Like so many important British jazzmen, his recorded legacy is slight.
Tommy Pollard (c1951) Johnny Claes And His Claypigeons - July 12th, 1941 (Columbia)
Johnny Claes, Nat Gonella (tp), Harry Hayes, George Harrison (as), Aubrey Frank, Gerry Alvarez (ts), Tommy Pollard (p), Ivor Mairants (g), Charlie Short (b), Carlo Krahmer (d), Benny Lee (vocal).
How Am I To Know (vocal BL)/Stompin' At The Savoy.

Johnny Claes and his Clay Pigeons - October 18th, 1941 (Columbia)
Johnny Claes, Nat Gonella (tp), Harry Hayes, Gerry Alvarez (as), Reg Owen, Aubrey Frank (ts), Norman Stenfalt, Tommy Pollard -1 (p), Joe Deniz (g), Charlie Short (b), Carlo Krahmer (d), Benny Lee (vocal), Irene King (vocal).
I Heard (vocal BL)*/Do I Worry? (vocal BL & IK)/Fascinating Rhythm (vocal IK)/My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean (1)(vocal IK, Gonella out).
(*Proper Records 4CD Box set - Jazz in Britain 1919 - 1950)

Harry Parry and his Radio Rhythm Club Sextet - October 19th, 1941 (Parlophone)
Harry Parry (cl), Tommy Pollard (p), Roy Marsh (vib), Lauderic Caton (solo g), Joe Deniz (g), Tommy Bromley (b), Bobby Midgely (d), Doreen Villiers (vocal*).
The Java Joint^/My Melancholy Baby*/I May Be Wrong*.
(^Proper Records 4CD Box set - Jazz in Britain 1919 - 1950)

Harry Parry and his Radio Rhythm Club Sextet - January 11th, 1942 (Parlophone)
Harry Parry (cl), Reggie Dare (ts), Tommy Pollard (p), Roy Marsh (vib), Lauderic Caton (solo g), Archie Slavin (g), Charlie Short (b), Bobby Richards (d), Benny Lee (vocal).
Blues For Eight*/Thrust and Parry#/Someday Sweetheart (vocal BL)*/Sheik Of Araby*.
(*Vocalion CD - Parry Opus - The Harry Parry Sextets)
(#Sunflower CD - Harry Parry's Radio Rhythm Club Sextets - Crazy Rhythm)

Harry Parry and his Radio Rhythm Club Sextet - March 27th, 1942 (Parlophone)
Harry Parry (cl), Reggie Dare (ts), Tommy Pollard (p), Roy Marsh (vib), Lauderic Caton (solo g), Charlie Short (b), Bobby Richards (d), Benny Lee (vocal*), Doreen Villiers (vocal#).
Basin Street Ball*#/Blue Prelude*/Sweet Georgia Brown/Doggin' Around.

Harry Parry and his Radio Rhythm Club Sextet - June 5th, 1942 (Parlophone)
Harry Parry (cl), Reggie Dare (ts), Tommy Pollard (p), Lauderic Caton (solo g), Charlie Short (b), Bobby Richards (d), Benny Lee (vocal).
Crazy Rhythm#/Angry (vocal BL)#/Rose Room/My Blue Heaven.
(#Sunflower CD - Harry Parry's Radio Rhythm Club Sextets - Crazy Rhythm)

Harry Hayes And His Orchestra - c1947 (HMV)
Big band including: Harry Hayes (as), Kenny Graham (ts), Tommy Pollard (p).
Four titles (details not known).

Alan Dean and the All Star Sextet - April 17th, 1948 (Esquire)
Aubrey Frank (ts), Reg Arnold (tp), Ralph Sharon (p), Tommy Pollard (vib), Jack Fallon (b), Norman Burns (d), Alan Dean (vocal).
Oop-pop-a da#/Disc Jockey Jump.
(#Hallmark CD - Basement Bop - British jazz in the 1950s)

April 29th, 1948 (Esquire)
Personnel as April 17th.
Galaxy*/I Can't Get Started*#/First Gear*/Confirmation*.
(*Charly/Esquire 4 CD box set - bebop IN BRITAIN - issued in 1991 currently only available second hand...)
(#Hallmark CD - Basement Bop - British jazz in the 1950s)
(#Proper Records 4CD Box set - Jazz in Britain 1919 - 1950)

May 8th, 1948 (Esquire)
Personnel as April, 17th
My Baby Likes To Bebop*/Disc Jockey Jump*/Fallonology*/Jack Fiddles While Norman Burns*.
(*Charly/Esquire 4 CD box set - bebop IN BRITAIN - issued in 1991 currently only available second hand...)

January 15th, 1949 (Esquire)
Personnel as April 17th, 1948 except Kenny Baker (tp) replaces Reg Arnold.
Gabardine And Serge/First Gear.

Ronnie Scott Boptet (Live, Club XI concert) - April 9th, 1949 (Esquire)
Ronnie Scott (ts), Johnny Rogers (as), Dennis Rose (tp), Tommy Pollard (p), Lennie Bush (b), Tony Crombie (d), Ginger Johnson (bongoes).
Wee Dot*^=/Coquette^/52nd Street Theme*^#/Ow*^/Don't Blame Me^/ Stoned*^/Scrapple From The Apple^/Donna Lee*^.
(^Indigo CD - Boppin' At Esquire)
(*Giant Steps Records CD - Great Scott)

(#Giant Steps 2CD set - Soho After Dark 'London's '50s Modern Jazz Scene')
(=Proper Records 4CD Box set - Jazz in Britain 1919 - 1950)
(^Proper Records 4CD Box set - Ronnie Scott "Boppin' With Scott")

Johnny Dankworth Quartet (Live, Club XI concert) - April 9th, 1949 (Esquire)
Johnny Dankworth (as), Tommy Pollard (p), Joe Muddel (b), Laurie Morgan (d).
Night in Tunisia*.
(*Charly/Esquire 4 CD box set - bebop IN BRITAIN - issued in 1991 currently only available second hand...)
(*Hallmark CD - Basement Bop - British jazz in the 1950s)

Alan Dean's Beboppers - September 17th, 1949 (Esquire)
Ronnie Scott (ts), Johnny Dankworth (as), Hank Shaw (tp), Tommy Pollard (p), Pete Chilver (g), Joe Muddel (b), Laurie Morgan (d), Alan Dean (vocal).
Gone With The Windmill*^/Barbados*^/Elevenses*/Ool Ya Koo*^/Galaxy*#.
(#Giant Steps Records CD - Great Scott)
(*Charly/Esquire 4 CD box set - bebop IN BRITAIN - issued in 1991 currently only available second hand...)
(^Indigo CD - Boppin' At Esquire)
(*Proper Records 4CD Box set - Ronnie Scott "Boppin' With Scott")

Keith Bird and The Esquire Six - October 13th, 1949 (Esquire)
Keith Bird (cl), Tommy Pollard (vib), Ralph Sharon (p), Dave Goldberg (g), Charlie Short (b), Carlo Krahmer (d), Cab Kaye (voc-1).
How High The Moon(1)/Esquire Blues/Tom's Tea Party/Revol.

Ronnie Scott Quartet - February 28th, 1951 (Esquire)
Ronnie Scott (ts), Tommy Pollard (p), Lennie Bush (b), Tony Kinsey (d).
Too Marvellous For Words*^/Have You Met Miss Jones?^/ Flamingo^/September Song*^.
(*Giant Steps Records CD - Great Scott)
(^Charly/Esquire 4 CD box set - bebop IN BRITAIN - issued in 1991 currently only available second hand...)
(^Proper Records 4CD Box set - Ronnie Scott "Boppin' With Scott")
(^Acrobat CD - Ronnie Scott Not So Fast - The Complete Esquire Recordings 1951)

Tommy Pollard's Downbeat Five - April 18th, 1951 (Esquire S318 (all titles)
Spike Robinson (as), Tommy Pollard (p), Victor Feldman (vib), Lennie Bush (b), Tony Crombie (d).
East Of The Sun (2 takes)/Just Friends (2 takes)/Lover Come Back To Me (2 takes)/The Way You Look Tonight (2 takes).

Vic Feldman Modern Jazz Quartet - December 14th, 1954 (Esquire EP54*, EP35^)
Tommy Pollard (p), Victor Feldman (vib), Lennie Bush (b), Phil Seamen (d).
Four And One More*/Everything Happens To Me*/What Goes^/Monsoon^.
(These titles have never been re-issued in CD format but are available on CD via this website...)

Vic Feldman Modern Jazz Quartet - March 3rd, 1955 (Esquire EP84) (JMC17)
Tommy Pollard (p), Victor Feldman (vib), Lennie Bush (b), Phil Seamen (d).
How Deep Is The Ocean.
(This title has never been re-issued in CD format but is available on CD via this website...)

Vic Feldman Modern Jazz Quintet - March 3rd, 1955 (Esquire EP64) (JMC2)
Derek Humble (as), Tommy Pollard (p), Victor Feldman (vib), Lennie Bush (b), Phil Seamen (d).
Bird's Last Flight.

Vic Feldman Modern Jazz Septet - March 3rd, 1955 (Esquire EP64*/ (EP84^ JMC17)
Jimmy Deuchar (tp), Dizzy Reece (tp), Derek Humble (as), Tommy Pollard (p), Victor Feldman (vib), Lennie Bush (b), Phil Seamen (d).
Typhoon^/UMF*.

Vic Feldman Modern Jazz Quartet - July 11th, 1955 (Esquire EP104*, EP114^) (JMC19)
Tommy Pollard (p), Victor Feldman (vib), Lennie Bush (b), Phil Seamen (d).
Item From Carmen*/Dream*/Diggin For Diz^.
(These titles have never been re-issued in CD format but are available on CD via this website...)

Vic Feldman Modern Jazz Quintet/Septet - August 18th, 1955 (Tempo)
Jimmy Deuchar (tp), Dizzy Reece (tp), Derek Humble (as), Tommy Pollard (p), Victor Feldman (vib), Lennie Bush (b), Phil Seamen (d).
Brawl For All*#^/The Big Fist*/Sunshine On a Dull Day*#/Sonor*#/Hand In Hand*/When?* (omit Deuchar and Humble).
(*Jasmine CD - Departure Dates - Victor Feldman)
(^Giant Steps 2CD set - Soho After Dark 'London's '50s Modern Jazz Scene')
(#Real Gone Jazz 4CD box set - Victor Feldman Eight Classic Albums)

Vic Feldman Modern Jazz Quartet - September 12th, 1955 (Tempo LAP6)
Tommy Pollard (p), Victor Feldman (vib), Eric Peter (b), Tony Crombie (p,d).
(Suite Sixteen: Monody#*/Minore#*^/Habanera#*/Epilogue#*)/Time Will Tell*/Deep In A Dream*. (#On Suite Sixteen Crombie plays piano on Monody and Epilogue).
(*Jasmine CD - Departure Dates - Victor Feldman)
(#Ember CD - Tony Crombie - A Tribute)
(*Avid 2 CD set - Victor Feldman: Four Classic Albums)
(*Real Gone Jazz 4CD box set - Victor Feldman Eight Classic Albums)
(^Giant Steps 2CD set - Soho After Dark 'London's '50s Modern Jazz Scene')


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