Do visit this website, dedicated to the late Robert (Bob) Cornford… click here. Besides being a tribute to one of Britain’s unsung artists, the site is an invaluable resource of British jazz from the late 1970s and early 1980s, music that was so influential for my own generation of musicians.
The sad passing of Jeff Clyne, Peter King, John Dankworth and recently, Ken Baldock represents a distancing of the eras of jazz in Britain. It is worth considering the achievements of the pioneering jazz musicians in the post-war years, establishing bebop first-hand, producing several generations of formidable artists who, petty international jealousies aside, could hold their own anywhere in the world, and who ultimately bequeathed a recognisable sense of “British Jazz”.
The incredible richness of jazz talent to be heard throughout the UK today would have taken longer to establish itself if not for John Dankworth, Kenny Graham, Phil Seaman, Tubby Hayes, Ronnie Scott, Stan Tracey et al, followed by the developments of Joe Harriot, Chris McGregor, Michael Garrick, John Surman, Tony Coe, Gordon Beck, John Taylor, Kenny Wheeler, Bobby Wellins, Tony Oxley, Evan Parker and Derek Bailey – there are many more. Others will also point to the achievements of the Revivalists such as Ken Colyer and George Webb, while the music of Miles Davis music drew upon major contributions from Victor Feldman, Dave Holland and John McLaughlin.
You can start to find out more by investigating some of these links. Gordon Beck and Tony Oxley (Taunton 1991) – click here. Gordon Beck (on French television with Phil Woods in 1969) – click here. Gordon Beck (more with Phil Woods) – click here. Gordon Beck (even more with Phil Woods) – click here. British Modern Jazz – from the 1940s to mid 1960s – click here. Jazz Britannia (BBC TV) – click here. Ronnie Scott and Victor Feldman (BBC Jazz 625 recorded in1964) – click here. John Surman in Bergamo (Italy) in 2002 with John Taylor, John Marshall and Chris Laurence – click here. Kenny Wheeler (BBC Documentary 1977) – click here for part 1 and part 2. Kenny Wheeler, Stan Sulzman, Gordon Beck, Tony Oxley, Dieter Ilg – click here.
Wise person sayeth…
"Sometimes you have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself."... Miles Davis