Kenny Wheeler...
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Kenny Wheeler...
Kenny Wheeler Although resident in England since 1952 and often thought to be an English musician, trumpet player Kenny Wheeler was born in Canada in 1930. After his arrival in London, Wheeler gigged in a number of bands including Roy Fox (1953), Carl Barriteau (1954), Tommy Whittle (1955), and Vic Lewis (1958/59) fitting in gigs alongside modern jazz musicians like Joe Harriott and Ronnie Scott, and in 1959 joined the Johnny Dankworth band in time for their breakthrough Newport Jazz Festival appearance. He became one of the major solo voices in the Dankworth orchestra, and during the end of his stay recorded his first album as a leader "Windmill Tilter" (Fontana), which featured compositions for big band based on Cervantes Don Quixote stories.
Through the early 1960s he worked with the Tubby Hayes Big Band, Ronnie Scott's Sextet and Joe Harriott in Indo-Jazz Fusion music. A diffident soloist, always unhappy with his performances he apppeared on a few recordings as a sideman in the 1950s and 1960s but was always looking for something beyond post bebop jazz and in 1966, a chance encounter with drummer John Stevens at the Little Theatre Club in London set Wheeler on a new course. To the surprise of many musicians of his generation, the trumpeter became deeply involved in free music and joined both Stevens' Spontaneous Music Ensemble and the Tony Oxley group. Thereafter he worked with notable 'avant garde' musicians not covered by this website. He died on September 18th, 2014 at the age of eighty.

After "Windmill Tilter" he did not record under his own name until 1973, and it was not until 1987 that he recorded under his own name again in the U.K. In the intervening years he recorded in New York, Canada and Europe and a number of these recordings are currently available in the UK. Recording details after 1986 will be added to the page at a later date.
The skeleton discography below gives links to conventional 'post bop' recording sessions that Kenny Wheeler took part in during the early part of his career.

Buddy Featherstonhaugh New Quintet - December 3rd, 1956 (Nixa NJE1031)
Kenny Wheeler (tp), Buddy Featherstonhaugh (cl,bs), Bobby Wellins (ts), Bill Stark (b), Jackie Dougan (d).
Goldfish Blues*/Doin' The Uptown Lowdown*/Knock Yourself Out*/Henrietta*.
(*Vocalion CD - Jazz Today - Buddy Featherstonhaugh, Harry Klein and others)

Don Rendell Jazz Six - January 15th, 1957 (Don Rendell presents the Jazz Six - Nixa NJL7)
Kenny Wheeler (tp), Don Rendell (ts), Ronnie Ross (as,bs), Ken Moule (p), Arthur Watts (b), Don Lawson (d).
Jack O'Lantern*/Will O' The Wisp*/I Saw Stars*/Limehouse Blues*.
(*Vocalion CD - Don Rendell presents the Jazz Six / Tenorama Highlights)
(*Real Gone Jazz 4 CD set - Ronnie Ross Seven Classic Albums plus bonus tracks)
(*Real Gone Jazz 4 CD set - Don Rendell Six Classic Albums plus bonus tracks)

Don Rendell Jazz Six - January 18th, 1957 (Don Rendell presents the Jazz Six - Nixa NJL7)
Kenny Wheeler (tp), Don Rendell (ts), Ronnie Ross (as,bs), Ken Moule (p), Arthur Watts (b), Don Lawson (d).
Out Of Nowhere*.
(*Vocalion CD - Don Rendell presents the Jazz Six / Tenorama Highlights)
(*Real Gone Jazz 4 CD set - Ronnie Ross Seven Classic Albums plus bonus tracks)
(*Real Gone Jazz 4 CD set - Don Rendell Six Classic Albums plus bonus tracks)

In 1958 Vic Lewis toured the USA and the following titles were recorded at a concert at the University of Connecticut and were lated issued by DJM...
Vic Lewis and his Orchestra - March 12th, 1958 (DJM)
Joe McIntyre, Dickie McPherson, Kenny Wheeler (tp), Al Spooner, Alec Gould (tb), Colin Bradfield, Ronnie Baker (as), Bobby Wellins, Duncan Lamont (ts), Brian Rodgerson (bs), Gerry Butler (p), Bill Stark (b), Bobby Orr (d), Vic Lewis (dir).
That's Love/Over The Rainbow/El Congo Valiente.

This was a combined US/UK band that Woody Herman put together for a European concert tour...
Woody Herman's Anglo-American Herd - April, 1959 (?)
Nat Adderley, Les Condon, Bert Courtley, Renauld Jones, Kenny Wheeler (tp), Bill Harris, Eddie Harvey, Ken Wray (tb), Woody Herman (cl,as), Art Ellefson, Don Rendell, Ronnie Ross, Johnny Scott (saxes), Charlie Byrd (g), Vince Guaraldi (p), Keeter Betts (b), Jimmy Cambell (d).
The Preacher/Like Some Blues Man, Like/From Pillar To Post/Four Brothers/Opus De Funk/Early Autumn/Playgirl Stroll/Wood Chopper's Ball.

Vic Lewis and his All Stars - June, 1959 (Ember) - recording details: Vic Lewis
Johnny Dankworth Orchestra - July 3rd, 1959 (Top Rank) - recording details: Johnny Dankworth
Johnny Dankworth Orchestra - July 1st and 5th, 1960 (Roulette/Columbia) - recording details: Johnny Dankworth
Johnny Dankworth Orchestra - c1960 (Roulette/Columbia) - recording details: Johnny Dankworth
Johnny Dankworth Orchestra - June/July 1961 (Fontana) - recording details: Johnny Dankworth
Johnny Dankworth Orchestra - c1961 (Roulette/Columbia) - recording details: Johnny Dankworth
Johnny Dankworth Orchestra - July to October 1963 (Fontana) - recording details: Johnny Dankworth
Johnny Dankworth Orchestra - c1963 (Fontana) - recording details: Johnny Dankworth
Johnny Dankworth Orchestra - October/November 1964 (Fontana) - recording details: Johnny Dankworth
Dave Lee and his Orchestra - c1965 (Colpix) - recording details: Dave Lee
Stan Tracey Quartet - March 18th, 1966 (Die Jazz...) - recording details: Stan Tracey
Stan Tracey Big Band - March 23rd, 1966 (Columbia) - recording details: Stan Tracey
Tubby Hayes and his Orchestra - May 10th/12h/13th, 1966 (Fontana) - recording details: Tubby Hayes

Joe Harriott / John Mayer Double Quintet - October 10th, 1965 (Indo Jazz Suite - Columbia SCX/SX6025)
Kenny Wheeler (tp), Chris Taylor (fl), Joe Harriott (as), Pat Smythe (p), John Mayer (vln,harpsichord), Diwan Motihar (sitar), Rick Laird (b), Allan Ganley (d), + tambura + tabla.
Overture*/Contrasts*/Raga Megha*/Raga Gaud-Saranga*.
(*Warner CD - Indo Jazz Suite)

Kenny Clare / Ronnie Stephenson Big Band - July 6th, 1966 (Drum spectacular - Columbia TWO146)
Kenny Baker, Eddie Blair, Stan Roderick, Kenny Wheeler (tp), Keith Christie, Don Lusher, Johnny Marshall (tb), Jackie Armstrong (b-tb), Douggie Robinson, Roy Willox (as), Tony Coe, Tubby Hayes (ts), Don Honeywell (bs), Alan Branscombe (p), Freddy Logan (b), Kenny Clare, Ronnie Stephenson (d).
The Hawk Talks*/Topsy*/Dual Carriageway*/Afro Charlie*.
(*Vocalion CD - Big Band Spectacular / Drum Spectacular)

July 7th, 1966 (Drum spectacular - Columbia TWO146)
Greg Bowen, Bert Ezzard, Ian Hamer, Kenny Wheeler (tp), Keith Christie, John Edwards, Nat Peck (tb), Douggie Robinson, Ray Warleigh (as), Tony Coe, Tubby Hayes (ts), Don Honeywell (bs), Alan Branscombe (p), Lennie Bush (b), Kenny Clare, Ronnie Stephenson (d).
Drum Boogie*, Just You, Just Me*, Big Noise From Winnetka*, South Rampart Street Parade*.
(*Vocalion CD - Big Band Spectacular / Drum Spectacular)

August 11th, 1966 (Drum spectacular - Columbia TWO146)
Greg Bowen, Leon Calvert, Stan Roderick, Kenny Wheeler (tp), Laddie Busby, Nat Peck, Johnny Marshall (tb), Jackie Armstrong (b-tb), Douggie Robinson, Ray Warleigh (as), Art Ellefson, Ronnie Scott (ts), Harry Klein (bs), Stan Tracey (p), Lennie Bush (b), Kenny Clare, Ronnie Stephenson (d).
Drum Spectacular*/Caravan*/Portrait Of Elvin*/Talkin' About Drums*.
(*Vocalion CD - Big Band Spectacular / Drum Spectacular)

Stan Tracey Big Brass - January, 1968 (Columbia) - recording details: Stan Tracey
Ronnie Scott and the Band - October 25th/26th, 1968 (Realm/CBS) - recording details: Ronnie Scott

This record is a work that the LP cover describes as a tone poem. It is a suite, based on the story of Don Quixote, and was written by Kenny Wheeler to be played by the John Dankworth Orchestra. It was Wheeler's first major work and was written after a period of illness which may be why some tracks have been described as "mournful". Others have described it's jazz content as slight but it is included here as part of Wheeler's early discography and because of the first rate jazz personnel Johnny Dankworth used for the recording...
Ken Wheeler with the John Dankworth Orchestra - March,1968 (Windmill Tilter - Fontana STL5494)
Kenny Wheeler (flhrn), Derek Watkins, Henry Shaw, Henry Lowther, Les Condon (tp), Chris Pyne, Mike Gibbs (tb), Johnny Dankworth, Ray Swinfield, Tony Robert, Tony Coe (saxes), Alf Reece, Dick Hart (tu), Bob Cornford, Alan Branscombe (p), John McLaughlin (g), Dave Holland (b), John Spooner (d), Tristan Fry (perc).
Titles marked * are by a quintet comprising Wheeler (flhrn), Coe (cl,ts), McLaughlin, Holland and Spooner.

Preamble*/Don The Dreamer/Sweet Dulcinea Blue*/Bachelor Sam/Sancho/The Cave Of Montesinos^/Propheticape*/ Altisidora/Don No More.
(^Salvo 4CD Box set - I Hear Music - A Celebration of the Life and Work of Cleo Laine & John Dankworth)
(BGO CD - Windmill Tilter ...The story of Don Quixote)

Terry Smith - August 22nd,1968 (Fall out - Philips SBL7871)
Terry Smith (g) acc by: Kenny Wheeler, Greg Bowen, Les Condon (tp), Don Lusher (tb), Ray Warleigh (f,as), Bob Efford (ts), Ronnie Ross (bs), Gordon Beck (p), Jim Lawless (vib), Ron Mathewson (b), Ronnie Stephenson (d), Denis Lopez (perc), Jimmy Deuchar (arr).
My Man's Gone Now*/I Love You*/Harry's Theme*/Early Morning Groove*/Fall Out*.
(*Sunbeam CD - Fall out)

Terry Smith - October 28th,1968 (Fall out - Philips SBL7871)
Kenny Wheeler (tp,flhrn), Tony Fisher, Derek Watkins (tp), Don Lusher (tb), Roy Willox, Ray Warleigh (f,as), Bob Efford (ts), Gordon Beck (p), Jim Lawless (vib), Terry Smith (g), Ron Mathewson (b), Ronnie Stephenson (d), Peter Aherne (perc), Harry South (arr).
Morning Minor*/The Look Of Love*/Windows Of The World*.
(*Sunbeam CD - Fall out)

Trailways Express - October 31st, 1968 (Trailways express - Polydor 2460142, Black Lion 157000)
Kenny Wheeler (tp,fhrn), Chris Pyne (tb), Peter King (as), Harold McNair (ts,f), Mike Pyne (p), Ron Mathewson (b), Philly Joe Jones (d).
Mo' Joe*/Gone, Gone, Gone*/Baubles Bangles And Beads*/Here's That Rainy Day*/Ladybird*.
(*Black Lion CD - Mo' Joe)

Alan Branscombe & Friends - November 7th/8th, 1968 (Swingin' on the sound stage- vol 1 Esquire S332)
Kenny Wheeler (tp), Duncan Lamont (as,ts), Bob Efford (ts-1), Alan Branscombe (p), Dick Abel (g), Joe Muddel (b), Chris Karan (d).
For Pete's Sake (1)/On The Alamo.

Alan Branscombe & Friends - November 7th/8th, 1968 (Swingin' on the sound stage- vol 2 Esquire S342)
Kenny Wheeler (tp), Duncan Lamont (ts), Alan Branscombe (vib), Ian McPherson (p), Dick Abel (g), Joe Muddel (b), Chris Karan (d).
Airmail Special.

Alan Skidmore - 1968 / 1969 (Jazz in Britain '68-'69 - Decca ECS2114)
Kenny Wheeler (tp,flhrn), Alan Skidmore (ts), John Taylor (p), Harry Miller (b), Tony Oxley (d).
Bessie/Circles On Ice/Winter Song.

Paul Gonsalves - c1969 (Humming Bird - Deram SML1064)
Kenny Wheeler (tp), David Horler (tb), Paul Gonsalves (ts), Stan Tracey (p), Dave Green (b), Benny Goodman (d).
Humming Bird*/X.O.X*
Kenny Wheeler (tp-1), Paul Gonsalves (ts-2), Alan Branscombe (p), Kenny Napper (b), Benny Goodman (d).
Medley: (Body And Soul (1)*/What Is There To Say*/It's The Talk Of The Town (2)*)/In A Mellow Tone (2)*.
Kenny Wheeler (tp), David Horler (tb), Paul Gonsalves (ts), Alan Branscombe (p), Kenny Napper (b), Benny Goodman (d).
All The Things You Are*/Sticks*/Almost You*.
(Vocalion CD - Humming Bird, Paul Gonsalves )

The Tubby Hayes Big Band - Live at The Torrington Arms, London, May 8th, 1969 (Rumpus - Savage Solweig SS003)
Greg Bowen, Ian Hamer, Les Condon, Kenny Wheeler (tp), Keith Christie, David Horler, Bill Geldard (tb), Peter King (as), Tubby Hayes, Brian Smith (ts), Harry Klein (bs), Louis Stewart (g), Ron Mathewson (b), Spike Wells (d).
Song For A Sad Lady*/Dear Johnny B*/March Brown*/Rumpus*/You Know I Care*/Seven Steps To Heaven*/The Inner Splurge*.
("Savage Solweig CD - The Tubby Hayes Big Band - Rumpus)

Tubby Hayes and his Orchestra - July 25th, 1969 (BBC) - recording details: Tubby Hayes
Tubby Hayes Big Band - August 24th, 1969 (BBC) - recording details: Tubby Hayes
Laurie Johnson - August 8th, 1969 (Columbia) - recording details: Stan Tracey
Johnny Dankworth Orchestra - c1970 (Fontana) - recording details: Johnny Dankworth
Johnny Dankworth Orchestra - c1972 (Fontana) - recording details: Johnny Dankworth

In 1969 and 1976 Kenny Wheeler, along with other star British musicians, played and recorded in Germany with the Francy Boland / Kenny Clarke Big Band. Brief details...

Alan Skidmore - September 17th and 19th, 1969 (Once upon a time - Deram DN11)
Kenny Wheeler (flhrn), Alan Skidmore (ts), John Taylor (p), Harry Miller (b), Tony Oxley (d).
Once Upon A time*/Majaera*/The Yolk*/Old Dan Juan*/Free For Al*/Image*.
(Vocalion CD - Once upon a time)

Bob Leaper Big Band - 1970 (Try This One For Size - Pye NSLP18339)
Big band including: Leon Calvert, Tony Fisher, Kenny Wheeler (tp), Tony Coe, Bob Efford, Ronnie Scott (saxes), Bob Leaper (arr).
The Other Man's Grass/Don't Sleep In The Subway/Joanna/Too Much Too Soon/Call Me/Downtown/If You Ever Leave Me/Beautiful In The Rain/Where Are You Now?/Who Am I?.

Richard Rodney Bennett - c1971 (Jazz Calendar Suite - Philips 6500301)
Leon Calvert, Kenny Wheeler (tp), Keith Christie (tb), unknown (flhr) (tu), Duncan Lamont (as), Tony Coe (ts), Ronnie Ross (bs), Pat Smythe (p), Daryl Runswick (b), Kenny Clare (d), John Lanchberry (cond), Richard Rodney Bennett (arr).
Jazz Calendar Suite.

Kenny Wheeler Orchestra - January 10th and 11th, 1973 (Song for someone - Incus 10>
Personnel includes: Kenny Wheeler (flhrn,tp), Ian Hamer, Dave Hancock, Greg Bowen (tp), Keith Christie, David Horler, Bobby Lamb, Chris Pyne (tb), Jim Wilson, Malcolm Griffiths (b-tb), Alfie Reece (tu), Mike Osborne (as), Duncan Lamont (ts,f), Evan Parker (ts,sop), Alan Branscombe (p,el-p), John Taylor (el-p), Derek Bailey (g), Ron Mathewson (b), Tony Oxley (perc), Norma Winstone (vcl - 1).
Toot-toot*/Ballad For Two(1)*/Song For Someone(1)*/Causes And Events*/The Good Doctor*/Nothing Changes(1)*.
(*PSI CD - Song for someone)

Kenny Wheeler and others - April 27th, 1974 (Will Power: A Shakespeare Birthday Celebration In Music - Argo ZDA 164/165)
Kenny Wheeler (tp,flhrn), Tony Coe (ts,sop,cl), Paul Buckmaster, Colin Walker (ampfd celli), Gordon Beck, John Taylor, Stan Tracey (keybds), Ron Mathewson (b,b-g), Tony Levin (d), Trevor Tomkins (perc).
Sonnet*/Shall I Compare Thee*/Charade For The Bard*/Alas Sweet Lady*/Will's Birthday Suite (Heyday/Dirge: Fear No More The Heat Of The Sun/Fool Talk/Heyday - Reprise)*.
(*Vocalion 2CD set - Will Power: A Shakespeare Birthday Celebration In Music)

The record/CD detailed below was recorded in New York for the German ECM label. The CD is available in UK...
Kenny Wheeler Quartet - New York, June, 1975 (Gnu High - ECM 1069)
Kenny Wheeler (flhrn), Keith Jarrett (p), Dave Holland (b), Jack DeJohnette (d).
Heyoke*/Smatter*/Gnu Suite*.
(*ECM / Touchstone CD - Gnu High)

On February 9th and 10th, 1976 Kenny Wheeler recorded an album at "Mother Necessity Jazz workshop" in Toronto, Canada, for the Canadian CBC label. Titled Kenny Wheeler Quintet, the group was made up of : Kenny Wheeler (tp,flhrn), Art Ellefson (ts), Gary Williamson (el-p), Dave Young (b,b-g), Marty Morrel (d). The resulting record was not released in the UK...

The record/CD detailed below was recorded in Oslo, Norway, for the German ECM label. The CD is available in UK...
Kenny Wheeler Sextet - Oslo, July, 1977 (Deer Wan - ECM 1102)
Kenny Wheeler (tp,flhrn), Jan Garbarek (ts,sop), John Abercrombie (el-g, el-mand), Ralph Towner (g), Dave Holland (b), Jack DeJohnette (d).
Peace For Five*/Sumother Song*/Deer Wan*/3-4 In The Afternoon*.
(*ECM CD - Deer Wan)

The record/CD detailed below was recorded in Ludwigsburg, Germany, for the German ECM label. The CD is available in UK...
Kenny Wheeler Sextet - Ludwigsburg, August 21st and 22nd, August, 1979 (Around 6 - ECM 1156>
Kenny Wheeler (tp,flhrn), Eje Thelin (tb), Evan Parker (ts,sop), Tom van der Geld (vib), Jean- Francois Jenny-Clark (b), Edward Vesala (d).
Mai We Go Round*/Solo One* (KW solo)/May Ride*/Follow Down*/Riverrun*/Lost Woltz*.
(*ECM CD - Around 6)

Spectrum - April 9th, 1982 (Tribute to Monk - Lansdowne Series Switch SWLP001
Kenny Wheeler (tp,flhrn), Peter King (as), Art Themen (as,ts), Bobby Wellins (ts), Stan Tracey (p), Roy Babbington (b), Clarke Tracey (d).
In Walked Bud/Pannonica/Misterioso/I Mean You/'Round Midnight/Little Rootie Tootie.

A record was made in Ludwigsburg, Germany, for the German ECM label. The CD is available in UK...
Kenny Wheeler Quintet - Ludwigsburg, May, 1983 (Double, double you - ECM 1262>
Kenny Wheeler (tp,flhrn), Mike Brecker (ts), John Taylor (p), Dave Holland (b), Jack DeJohnette (d).
Foxy Trot*/Ma Bel*/W.W.*/Three For D'reen*/Blue For Lou*/Mark Time*.
(*ECM CD - Double, double you)

On September 1st, 1984 Kenny Wheeler recorded a live album at Rocella Jonica in Italy, for the Italian Ismez Polis label. Titled Live at Rocella Jonica, the group was made up of : Kenny Wheeler, Paolo Fresu (tp,flhrn), John Taylor (p), Paolo Damiani (b), Tony Oxley (d), Norma Winstone (vcl). The resulting record was not released in the UK...

On March 26th, 1986 Wheeler recorded an album in Milan in Italy, for the Italian Soul Note label. Titled Welcome, the group was made up of : Kenny Wheeler (tp,flhrn), Claudio Fasoli (ts,sop) Jean-Francois Jenny-Clark (b), Daniel Humair (d). The resulting record was not released in the UK...

In March, 1987 Wheeler recorded an album in London for the British Wave label. Titled The Guildhall Jazz Band featuring Kenny Wheeler. Full details will be added to this page later...

Bobby Wellins Quartet + others - England c1989 (Birds of Brazil - Sungai BW11)
Kenny Wheeler (flhrn,tp), Bobby Wellins (ts), Peter Jacobsen (p), Kenny Baldock (b), Spike Wells (d) + The Delme String Quartet.
Birds Of Brazil (suite in three movements)*/Angel Eyes*/Moonray*/In Walked Bud* .
(*Sungai CD - Birds of Brazil)




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