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Monday November 23

HAPPY BIRTHDAY RON AINSBOROUGH & JORDAN ALFONSO.

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Thursday, August 05, 2010

Harry Klein - very much a jazz death

I've learned, rather belatedly, of the death of British baritone player Harry Klein aged 81. The first of the British baritone hierarchy, that continued through Ronnie Ross and John Surman, Harry died on June 30 but his obits only seem to have appeared this week in Jazz UK and Wednesday's Guardian. A fine player who moved in the very fast circle of Tubby Hayes, Ronnie Scott, Vic Ash, Jimmy Deuchar and other stalwarts of the British '50s/60s modern scene. Sadly missed.
Obituary. Lance.

3 comments :

Trevor said...

I loved Harry's playing - in an age of Mulligan soundalikes Harry had his own very individual style. His playing always cheered you up. Even ballads were always cheerful -nothing maudlin as you could so often get in the work of Mulligan and Lars Gullin.
There is an especially ungrateful obituary written by Mark Gilbert in the September 2010 Jazz Journal. As Mr Gilbert probably wasn't even born when Harry's career was at it's peak, I think it can be taken with more than one grain of salt.
Even in 2010 there are players who try to sound like Mulligan, not themselves. One British player, who out of pity, I won't name, has even made four CDs trying to recreate the Mulligan quartet.
RIP Harry.
Trevor

Lance said...

I have an old 10" lp by Kenny Baker called Operation Jam Session. During the course of a Ballad Medley Harry plays a sumptuous version of 'Sweet and Lovely' - magic!
I'll have to check the JJ obituary out - why speak ill of the dead?

Trevor said...

I know the record, Lance (it also came out as an EP on its own, the ballad medley that is.)

Earlier this year some 1955 Harry Klein was reissued by Vocalion on "Jazz Today" (CDNJT 5314), two EP's "Brash Baritone", a quartet session and "Baritone Saz" a quintet with Vic Ash. The rest of the CD has tracks by Vic (on clarinet throughout) and Buddy Feartherstonehaugh(ironically "doing a Mulligan").

The part of Mark Gilbert's obituary that offended me was
in mentioning that Harry was placed third in the Melody Maker Poll of 1955 behind Gerry and Lars,"the latter accolade, some would say, skewed on account of Klein's high visability at the time among London-based readers of the MM".

What Gilbert doesn't seem to understand is that the 1955 Poll, for example, would have been based on the jazz scene of 1954 and in that year though Ronnie Ross had come onto the scene, he was for much of that year, playing tenor sax, he switched to baritone when he worked with Don Rendell. In any case, with all due respect to Ron, he was very much a Mulligan-type player, as his first two records "Double Event" (1958) and "Jazzmakers" with Allan Ganley (1959) - he really didn't find his unique voice till the 60s, and "Cleopatras Needle" (Fontana, 1968) proves that, but back in 54/55 Harry was unique in having an individual sound

Trevor

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