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In the current climate we are doing our best to keep everyone up to date. All gigs, as we all know, are off.

However, good old YouTube has plenty to offer both old and new to help us survive whilst housebound. Plus now is a good time to stock up on your CDs.

Also, keep an eye out for live streaming sessions.

Alternatively, you could do as they do in Italy and sing from your balcony.

Today

As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

IKE ISAACS by Maurice Summerfield

Ike Isaacs (1919 –1996) was born in Rangoon, Burma. He started playing the guitar professionally while he was a chemistry student at university. In 1946 he moved to England, where he freelanced for many years; and played in the Leslie Douglas Orchestra, the BBC Show Band led by Cyril Stapleton and with the Ted Heath Orchestra for 12 years. He was also the resident guitarist with Chappie D’Amato’s orchestra at Hatchett’s in London in 1949 In the mid-1950s, at the age of 16, I was an aspiring jazz guitarist, and listened every week to BBC Radio ’s Guitar Club programme. Introduced by Ken Sykora, the programme featured many leading UK guitarists of the day, including Ivor Mairants and Ike Isaacs, in various small groups. I applied for audience tickets to the BBC for an upcoming broadcast and was delighted when these arrived. I travelled to London and attended a marvellous session. At the end I introduced myself to Ike, told him of my passion for the jazz guitar, and I was delighted to find he was very friendly and hospitable. He was very keen to help me in any way that he could – and within a few weeks I was a guest at his Wembley home for a fabulous curry dinner – prepared by his lovely wife Moira. We kept in touch and when I extended my family’s business to the distribution of musical instruments and accessories, in 1964. I began to see Ike quite frequently. Our friendship grew. I asked his advice on certain products and used him in demonstrations and to attend exhibitions. In the 1960s we distributed the Ike Isaacs string line made by British Music Strings Ltd. In the early 1970’s we published an Ike Isaacs guitar solo book as a promotion for Ibanez guitars and in the late 1970s we investigated the possibility of producing an Ibanez Ike Isaacs jazz guitar model. The attached photograph shows Ike and I in London shortly after I passed on a first sample of his Ibanez guitar. In the late 1970’s as a founder of the Guitar Appreciation Society of N.E. England I was pleased to have the opportunity to present in concert Ike with a very young Martin Taylor at the Peoples’ Theatre in Heaton. Martin of course initially studied with Ike and still quotes Ike as a major influence. I first met Barney Kessel in person at an evening with Ike. Barney lived in London for a year in the late 1960s early 1970s and lived in apartment rented from Ike. Barney told me many times that Ike’s knowledge of the guitar fingerboard was unsurpassed. Ike later recorded and played in concert with George Chisholm (1956) and Barney Kessel (1968). He was a busy studio guitarist and played on dozens of film scores. In 1975 he joined Stephane Grappelli and the Diz Disley Trio. In the late 1970’s and early 1980s Ike came to Newcastle several times and was a guest in my house. By that time he loved to call me his ‘brother’. He gave an in store demo for Ibanez at Jeavons of Percy Street in the late 1970’s Ike moved to Australia in the 1980s, where he taught at the Sydney Guitar School. We kept in regular contact until his death there, of cancer, in 1996.
Maurice S.

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