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Introducing John Shillito    

It's now over 70 years since I first discovered jazz!   I was in my early teens when an older cousin 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!    So I borrowed a cornet, from an uncle who had played in brass bands, and set to work teaching myself to play.   When I passed all my GCE "O" Levels my Dad bought me new trumpet, and I got together with other local enthusiasts in Sheffield and we formed the Gloryland Jazz Band.   I moved to London in 1958, where I continued leading bands of my own and playing with many others for the next decade or so, including Micky Ashman's Ragtime Band, the Lounge Lizards and John Bastable's Chosen Six.  I travelled Europe - and further afield - playing concert halls, dances, clubs and festivals and broadcasting on radio and TV.   In 1973, I uprooted from London and went to live in Devon, where I've continued playing ever since.   Bands I have played in included Soloheim Mungaash, Mardi Gras Jazz, Roger Marks' Armada Jazz Band and bands under my own leadership including the Select 4, Select 6 and the Riviera Ramblers.   I've had the pleasure of hosting jazz holidays for SAGA all over the world, visited New Orleans many times and, until recently, continued travelling and cruising.   I'll be 86 this year, and I'm still active and just as enthusiastic and in love with my music as I was when I started out.   I'm still blowing a hot horn, but I'm not travelling so far afield these days.   Please look me up when you visit the West Country.   I'd love to play for you.

HERE ARE A FEW PHOTOS FROM MY SCRAP BOOK   I'll try and find a few more.....


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.  

More info? Make a booking?

email enquiries@johnshillito.co.uk   

phone 01803 459 173 or  07977577321

JOHN SHILLITO trumpet and bands for any occasion.     Serious jazz with a smile on its face!

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