It's now over 65 years since I first discovered jazz! I was in my early teens when my cousin, Brian, played me recordings of two of the great musicians of the golden age of jazz - Sidney Bechet and Jelly Roll Morton - on a wind-up gramophone. I was immediately bitten by the jazz bug! It was the raw excitement of the soprano sax playing of Bechet first stopped me in my tracks; but it wasn't long before I was marvelling at the music of some of the great early trumpeters like "King" Oliver, Louis Armstrong and Red Allen. I soon discovered later recordings from the New Orleans "revival" period and the playing of "rediscovered" musicians like Bunk Johnson and Kid Howard of the George Lewis band particularly captivated me. I just could not get enough of the stuff! And I was not content with just listening - I wanted to play it too!
AND I'M DETERMINED THAT THE CORONAVIRUS WON'T STOP ME!
Sheffield 1955. This is an old photo of my first band, the Gloryland Jazzband, playing on a stage erected on a bomb site on The Moor, Sheffield, as a feature of the Sheffield University "Rag Day" in 1955. The unseen drummer is Dave Timmis, trombone - Cyril Preston, me on trumpet and Keith Jones on clarinet.
Sheffield 1955. Sheffield University "Rag" Day. We had led the big procession through the city in the morning with the Gloryland Parade Band. I can't remember everyone but it's Mal Bramley -clarinet, Norman Jones - trombone, ? -tuba, Cyril Preston - trombone, Keith Jones - clarinet, me - trumpet, Dave Simpson - trumpet, ? - trumpet, Trevor Barnes - clarinet, Dave Timmis - snare drum, Steve Newbould - bass drum, Ian Russell - snare drum.
London 1959, "Kid" Shillito's Ragtime Band, pictured at the Studio 51, (Ken Colyer Jazz Club). We based our music very much on the George Lewis Band. The musicians are: Dave Cutting - trombone, John Mason - bass, Pete Ridge - drums, Roy Loscombe - banjo, Graham Patterson - piano, me - trumpet and Sammy Rimington - clarinet.
Johnny Bastable's Chosen Six, London 1970. Ken Ames - bass, Malc Murphy - drums, Geoff Cole - trombone, Johnny Bastable - banjo, Tony Pike - clarinet and me - trumpet
In Devon in the mid 1970's Mardi Gras Jazz was a very active band and we went to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in 1975. Mac MacDonald - banjo, Ken Matthews - bass, Mike Brown - drums, Mike Mayer - clarinet, Martin Bennett - trombone and me - trumpet.
New Orleans, with Clive Wilson's New Orleans Serenaders, Bourbon Street, French Quarter Festival, April 2011. Craig Klein - trombone, me - trumpet, Clive Wilson - trumpet, Jason Marsalis - drums, Tommy Sancton - clarinet, Tom Saunders - bass, Lars Edegran - piano.
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JOHN SHILLITO trumpet and bands for any occasion. Serious jazz with a smile on its face!