Peace In Our Time

Ice skating

My ice-scating period

And at last !
Finally I've become a drummer !

A drummer, at least!

I recently acquired this very early photograph of me playing at a jazz venue in Botley, a quiet Hampshire village, which, during the 1950s 60s and 70s, became the epicentre of jazz on the South Coast of England.
The photo only just made it into book, because it was given to me only recently by Ian Lessiter, a fellow drum student and long time admirer, who took the snapshot and treasured it for forty something years, then suddenly appeared in Sydney and presented it to me! I had no idea he'd even taken the shot and indeed was unaware of its existence. To say I was astonished, thrilled and dumbfounded to again meet up with Ian and be presented with this lovely gift, is the grossest understatement ever !

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Read the chapter! >>> Download Chapter 2 from Ken Harrison Jobworth


Some Early American Idols

  Benny Goodman & Gene Krupa

Benny Goodman & Gene Krupa

The list is too long to name all the men and women who influenced my early musical thinking. So I'll start at the beginning.
As a baby I sat and listened to my parent's radio and adored everything I heard.
It was just music to me and I wanted to play all of it. Later I began to lean towards jazz, its hard driving rhythms excited my imagination and demanded my full attention.
As a teenager, the first recording I ever bought, (with my own money) was a 78rpm recording of the Benny Goodman Sextet playing 'Soft Winds', with Gene Krupa on the drums.
I wore it out!

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  Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie

Charlie Parker & Dizzy Gillespie

I was still listening to and enjoying all forms of music, supremely aware that I would one day, I would be the drummer in one of the radio bands. Any kind of band would do, I didn't care!
 However, at the age of fourteen I was put to work in a shipyard where I met Jimmy Edwards, a real live 'semi-pro' drummer to whom I confided my ambition. After several probing questions regards my musical tastes, he suddenly asked, "Do you dig Bird?"
Well, he could have been speaking in tongues and when I confessed that I didn't understand, in essence he replied, "Go away. Listen to Charlie Parker, then come back and tell me what you think."
I took myself off to the local music-store, to do as he'd instructed. I asked for a Charlie Parker (78rpm in those days) and carried it reverently into the sound-proof booth. In point of fact what I was actually listening to was the Charlie Parker Quintet.
I was immediately thunder-struck, I couldn't believe my ears, the band turned my head completely around, suddenly I knew exactly what kind of a drummer I wanted to be!

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  Max Roach

Master drummer, Max Roach

Of course the man who commandeered my urgent attention was the drummer, Max Roach. I knew what I was listening to was wonderful and very important, but at first nothing made sense. I was intrigued though and played the record again and again.
On my third hearing, I began thinking in 12/8 time, (or triplets, if you prefer) and suddenly, everything fell into place. All five of the musicians were thinking in triplets, tossing notes back and forth like jugglers throwing Indian-clubs at each other and like skilled jugglers, they kept the clubs floating in mid-air, without ever appearing to drop one.
From that moment on I had to learn to do what Max Roach was doing. I had to learn how to do that. It was imperative!

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  Art Blakey
At only fourteen years of age, I'd become a hardened bebopper. Nothing else would do. Then I heard

Art Blakey

and the molten cast was set in white-hot stainless-steel. Blakey's press-roll alone was enough to send me into a deep trance. As I grew older, my interest in the then 'avant guard' deepened and I began collecting bebop recordings and of course the works of singers like, Billy Holiday, Anita O'Dea, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Peggy Lee, June Christy and my favourite, Mel Torme with the Marty Paich Dek-tette. This in turn steered my attention to the modern big-bands who often accompanied them - and in particular the band led by Stan Kenton.

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  Stan Kenton
This is a photograph of the often enigmatic

American Band-leader, Stan Kenton,

who apparently left instructions that after his death his music must never be performed. Well, let's hope that sometime in the future, somebody will get around that stiffling self-indugence.
I became an avid Kenton fan and made the historic trip to the Theatre Royal, Dublin, to hear the band. After the first concert, I walked out of the auditorium to the box-office, bought another ticket and went back inside to listen to the second performance. Stan Levy was the drummer on the trip and he'd been a member of Charlie Parker's group, so I was really getting my money's worth.

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  Count Basie

Count Basie

Toward the late nineteen-fifties, things had become difficult for big-bands. The Count was touring a small unit to keep the wolf from the door. Then miraculously, he reassembled a big-band and it was sensational, a large percentage of the reason being .
Regarding drummers, I thought I'd seen everything, in common with Art Tatum and Charlie Parker, watching Buddy Rich was as if God come to earth to show us how it should be done.
Gene Krupa was also spectacular in action. Ronnie Verrell, with the Ted Heath orchestra was a spectacular and wildly eccentric drummer to watch, but nothing prepared me for !
I own movies of the Count Basie orchestra and not once does the camera zoom in on Sonny. That in itself is a monumental tragedy, because Sonny was visually sensational. It's not within my powers to describe him, he was astonishing, in command, he took your breath away and yet, in spite of being the most spectacular performer on-stage, the camera never closed in on him. in addition to which, I cannot find one single "stills' photograph of him in action. That's bloody amazing! What an oversight on everyone part!

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  The Gerry Mulligan Quartet

The Gerry Mulligan Quartet

The first LP (Long Playing) record I ever bought was purchased the day of it's UK release. Naturally I'd placed my order several weeks in advance and proudly carried the LP home in it's very attractive sleeve. I placed it on
display on my bedroom dressing-table, where it stayed for quite a while.
Unfortunately that was all I could do, because my parents had refused to invest in a Long Playing record machine.
Eventually I managed to buy a machine of my own and installed it in my bedroom, where I whiled away every waking hour playing along with Chico Hamilton and the guys. (Not to mention every other recording I now owned) Duke Ellington, Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, Count Basie, Ted Heath, Ronnie Scott, Jack Parnell, John Dankworth, every major American and British band - you name 'em, I played with them. I had their books down to a fine art.
By this time I'd learned every arrangement of every song, on every recording that I owned and could faithfully reproduce even the drummer's fills, no matter how difficult they were. I was a sponge, soaking up material in preparation for my launch into Britain's big-band scene.
By the time I was old enough and good enough, they'd all disappeared!

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My Contemporaries

  Phil Seaman

When I was a teenager

Phil Seaman

was my favourite drummer (and the favourite of every other British drummers too!)
I would go anywhere to watch him, and indeed travelled many miles just to see and hear him play.

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  Bosh Lacy-Moody

This is an especially interesting photograph of

my music teacher, mentor, guide and close friend,
Bosh Lacy-Moody

and why is it 'especially' interesting? Well because it was taken in 1945, about five years before I began studying with him, but far more important than that, it was taken shortly after Sergeant Lacy-Moody had been drafted from an Artillery unit and sent to Delhi to join and indeed become the drummer/NCO i/c "The Combined Services Entertainments" road-show.
The "Combined Services Entertainments" were a band of warrior-troubabadours led by a tres-gay Noel Coward-clone named Squadron-Leader Charles Fletcher. (who affectionately referred to his troupe as - "my boys." Cheeky thing!
Apart from the quintet of piano, bass, drums, alto-sax and trumpet, the group comprised an 'all male' ballet, plus some variety- acts, all of whom joined in the comedy sketches and of course the entire show was beautifully strung together with songs and patter in the Noel Coward tradition, by the fright-fully charming - Charles!
Another member of the cast was Jim Perry, who's name might ring a bell with some of you. After a few years had passed and the pain of World-War II had diminished in our souls, Jim Perry wrote a successful British TV series called: "It Ain't Half Hot Mum" and of course it was drawn from memories of the tours he made in India with Bosh Moody and the Combined Services Entertainments show.
Just supposing you doubt the veracity of these stories, Jim Perry's autobiography details his adventures in India, names names and presents photographs of the group taken while they were touring the northern end of the sub-continent - circa 1945-6.

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  Kenny Graham

Tenorist Kenny Graham.

 (who in this photograph, bears a remarkable resemblance to fellow Tenorman, Jimmy Skidmore)  Kenny Graham and his Afro-cubists were another favourite band of mine and I travelled to London many times to catch their 'live' performances. His drummer, Dickie de-Vere was another of my idols.
Later, Ken was the Musical Director on Douggie Richford's London recording session and he was just wonderful!
I remember him dancing around the studio with glee, as we played the tune entitled, "Twelve 0ver The Eight".
Even later, when tragically, neither of us were very fit, we became very close and extremely dangerous drinking partners. And I mean a danger unto ourselves.

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  Nat Gonella

Trumpet virtuoso, Nat Gonella

Nat was the first man to offer me a professional job and I mean a proper job, with a proper wage at the end of the week!
I'd never enjoyed the privilege before - and as a matter fact, I don't recall ever enjoying it again! The nearest I ever got the five and a half years I spent with Graeme Bell.

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  George Chisholm
George Chisholm was a great musician and a very funny man, indeed he was an integral part of the famous Goon-show, where not only did he play in the studio-orchestra, but when called to arms, rose to the podium to play a loony Scotsman, in Spike Milligan's mad-cap sketches. I accompanied George many times, he was always goonish and a bloody good mate. Plus, I gotta tell ya, he played the livin' shit out of a trombone!

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The Dankworth Seven

Left to right from the top:
Eddie Harvey, trombone.
Don Rendell, tenor sax.
Bill Le-Sage, piano.
John Dankworth, Ldr/Alto sax.
Jimmy Deucher, trumpet.
Eric Dawson, double-bass and
Tony Kinsey, drums.

A great British band and of course John eventually expanded it into one of Britains finest big bands.
Needless to say, I never knowingly missed a concert!

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  Nat Gonella

Nat Gonella was no slouch, he could play anything! He led one of England's very first bebop bands, with no less a personage on drums than Phil Seaman!
Financially the band failed, his traditional jazz fans couldn't believe what they were hearing and stayed away in droves. Therefore he was forced to abandon bebop and return to his usual fare. It broke his bank and almost broke his heart.

Left to Right.
Pete Pitterson, Trumpet.
Johnny Rogers Alto sax.
Nat Gonella, Trumpet.
Tommy Pollard (standing)
 Unknown vocalist, and
Ronnie Scott, Tenor sax.

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  Graeme Bell

This a picture of my once upon a time (for almost six years) famous Australian Jazz-band leader,

Graeme Bell,

talking here with an equally famous English Jazz-band leader, Humphrey Lyttleton. The picture was taken at the Leicester Square Jazz Club, circa 1948, when Graeme's first band was on an extensive tour of Europe, and were at the time appearing in the UK.
In the 'real' book, I mention Graeme and this particular UK trip in Chapter 3. where indeed, I refute the spurious tale that it was Graeme Bell who introduced jazz music into England.
Graeme never claimed that, by the way! He never said that! It's another of those foolish apocryphal stories that appear to grow out of nowhere. I can only imagine that so called 'normal' people prefer to believe foolish bullshit about their superstars, rather than the pure unadulterated truth! However, Graeme did introduce the English concert going public to the idea of dancing to jazz. One evening he simply stood up and exclaimed: "What the hell are you all sitting down for? Get off your arses and dance fer Christ's sake!" and the great British public responded.

From left to right:
British bandleader Humphrey Lyttleton and his first wife, Patricia.
Jazz critic, Sinclair Traill.
Australian clarinettist, Pixie Roberts,
pianist, Graeme Bell (fag in mouth) and his trumpet-playing brother, Roger.

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  Pat Wade

Guitarist Pat Wade.

When I first met Pat he was playing the banjo (and very reluctantly too, I may add!) with Cy Laurie and his New Orleans jazz band.
Worlds apart musically speaking, Pat and I became close buddies. From that moment on, he was a major part of my life and therefore plays a powerful role in this story.  Like myself, (by the oddest of coincidences) he settled in Sydney, married a Dutch woman and remains my dearest mate.

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  British Tenor Saxophonist, Tubby Hayes

British Tenor Saxophonist, Tubby Hayes.

Another of my teenage idols, whom eventually I got to play alongside many times:
A hard taskmaster, he took no prisoners, if you couldn't play at his pace, you were in deep trouble, but he liked my playing and always complimented me on it.

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  British Alto-saxophonist, Joe Harriott

British Alto-saxophonist, Joe Harriott.

Every so often Joe Harriott would "deeeeematerialise!' as he put it, from the London Jazz-scene and nobody knew where he'd gone...
I knew where was, he was in my bed in Southampton.
"A'm jos' takin' a break from de scuffle, mon!" he'd confide. It was very simple, whenever I left the UK for an overseas gig, or a trip round the world, on an ocean-liner, Joe would quietly disappear.
He lies buried in Peartree Church Grave-yard, (the same graveyard that Toni Goffe and I were once accosted by the police on suspicion of body-snatching....)

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