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Acker Bilk

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Acker Bilk has won immortality on rock oldies radio for his surprise 1962 hit "Stranger on the Shore," an evocative ballad featuring his heavily quavering low-register clarinet over a bank of strings. To the jazz world, though, he has a longer-running track record as one of the biggest stars of Britain's trad jazz boom, playing in a distinctive early New Orleans manner. After learning his instrument in the British Army, Bilk joined Ken Colyer's trad band in 1954 before stepping out on his own in 1956. By 1960, a record of his, "Summer Set" — a pun on the name of his home county — landed on the British pop charts, and Bilk was on his way, clad in the Edwardian clothing and bowler hats that his publicist told his Paramount Jazz Band to wear. Several other British hits followed, but none bigger than "Stranger," which Bilk wrote for his daughter Jenny

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News: Obituary

Chris Barber, Giant of British Jazz, Dies at Age 90

Chris Barber, Giant of British Jazz, Dies at Age 90

Born in 1930, Chris Barber was one of the leading figures in European jazz. Together with Kenny Ball and Acker Bilk, he was one of the “Three B’s” who defined traditional jazz in Britain and spearheaded the “Trad” revival of the late 1950s and early 1960s. His interest in jazz began while he was evacuated from ...

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Article: Hardly Strictly Jazz

Death Is Not The End and the Law of Periodical Repetition

Read "Death Is Not The End and the Law of Periodical Repetition" reviewed by Skip Heller


"Will this wonderful civilization of today perish? Yes, everything perishes. Will it rise and exist again? It will—for nothing can happen that will not happen again. And again, and still again, forever. It took more than eight centuries to prepare this civilization— then it suddenly began to grow, and in less than a century it is ...

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Article: Profile

Keith Tippett: 100 Best Foots Forward

Read "Keith Tippett: 100 Best Foots Forward" reviewed by Duncan Heining


From the Albert Hall at twenty-two with a fifty-piece band to picking potatoes to make ends meet a decade later, Keith Tippett's life in music could sum up many a jazz career. After a grim '80s, things now look better for the composer, pianist and bandleader. “What I'm about to say is ridiculous but it was ...

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Article: Out and About: The Super Fans

Meet Martin McFie

Read "Meet Martin McFie" reviewed by Tessa Souter and Andrea Wolper


Super Fan Martin McFie is so into live music he doesn't even have a record collection. These days, McFie, British by birth, calls both South Carolina and Nice, France, home. The frequent-traveling “jazz detective" has made it his business to seek out jazz of all kinds in some of the most unlikely places, especially when he's ...

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News: Obituary

Acker Bilk: Legendary jazz clarinettist dies aged 85

Acker Bilk: Legendary jazz clarinettist dies aged 85

Clarinettist Acker Bilk, who personified the trad jazz revival of the 1950s and '60s, has died after a lengthy illness at the age of 85. His most famous song Stranger on the Shore was the UK's biggest selling single of 1962 and made him an international star. Born Bernard Stanley Bilk, he changed his name to ...

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Article: Live Review

Live From Birmingham: The Pedigree Jazz Band, Tony Bennett, The Fat Chops Big Band

Read "Live From Birmingham: The Pedigree Jazz Band, Tony Bennett, The Fat Chops Big Band" reviewed by Martin Longley


The Pedigree Jazz Band Solihull British Legion September 7, 2014 It's a curious sensation when tributes are paid to revivals of revivals. Down the decades since the original jazz repertoire was established in the 1920s, '30s, and even earlier, there have been a multitude of responses, counter-responses, exhumations and ...

News: Festival

Brecon Jazz 2013 Hosts Best Of Contemporary Jazz

Brecon Jazz 2013 Hosts Best  Of Contemporary Jazz

The stunning Brecon Beacons in the heart of Wales will resonate to the sound of some of the very best in contemporary jazz as Brecon Jazz returns on the weekend of the 9th-11th August with a stellar line-up to suit a broad range of tastes. Saxophonist Courtney Pine presents his House of Legends band at the ...

News: Festival

Huw Warren: Brecon Jazz Artist-in-Residence

Huw Warren: Brecon Jazz Artist-in-Residence

Back for his second year as artist-in-residence at Brecon Jazz is innovative Welsh musician and composer Huw Warren who performs in one of the stand-out festival concerts with his highly acclaimed ensemble Quercus, along with some interesting international collaborations. Quercus play the Chapter Stage at Brecon Cathedral on the festival Sunday, bringing together three of the ...

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Article: Live Review

Rhythm Changes: Rethinking Jazz Cultures

Read "Rhythm Changes: Rethinking Jazz Cultures" reviewed by Ian Patterson


Rhythm Changes Media City UK, Salford Rethinking Jazz Cultures Conference Manchester, UK April 11-14, 2013 The study of jazz in academic institutions may be a relatively modern trend, but the presence of over a hundred academics from South Africa to Russia and from America to Portugal at the Rhythm Changes: ...


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