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Bebop Spoken There

Anat Cohen: "With the tenor, it's so iconic with jazz. With the clarinet, I can improvise, but it doesn't have to be called jazz." - (DownBeat July 2019)

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Today Tuesday June 18

Afternoon

Jazz

Classic Swing - The Ship Inn, Front Street, Monkseaton NE25 8DP. 0191 251 3677. 1:00pm. Free.

Evening

Lickety Split - Fox Inn, West End Terrace, Hexham NE46 3DB.Tel: 01434 603681. 8:30pm. Free (donations).

River City Jazzmen - Block & Tackle, Blackthorn Way, Ashington NE63 8NW. Tel: 01670 813983 (info). 8:00pm. £5.00. (inc raffle). Line-up inc special guest Don Fairley (trombone).

To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Andy Hudson remembers Ken Gibson

In the early 70s, I managed to get some funds to try and “upskill” the Newcastle Big Band – some would say a vain hope. However we managed to secure a workshop weekend with Ken Gibson, Henry Lowther and Don Rendell which definitely worked. It also spawned a relationship with the three players who then occasionally guested with us.
Ken became a friend of the band and visited Newcastle to play with us including on the infamous album. Such were the vagaries of the MU rules at the time that they weren’t allowed to play unless they got “Rate” and so to avoid their embarrassment they appear  as Geno Binks (Ken), Ethel Wryhorn (Henry) and Dene. N. Droll (Don) on the Album – all quite apposite anagrams.
Ken, a scientist with perfect pitch and a sardonic wit made an excellent coach and also managed to slip a couple of his compositions into the Big Band’s catalogue. He joined the band on one of our excursions
His musical output in the last 4 decades has been prodigious, working as producer, arranger, composer, and engineer in Radio TV and for John Dankworth and Cleo Laine.
A great musical heritage.
RIP Ken.
Andy Hudson.
(Photo): Andy Hudson, Ken Gibson(Centre) and Sting at the Pau Jazz Festival.

3 comments :

algernonio said...

Is this the same Ken Gibson that originated in North Staffordshire (Stoke or Newcastle-under-Lyme)?

David Cain said...

I have to say that it is only today, 1st March 2019, that I found out that Ken had died in 2015. I probably knew him better than anyone else did in the late 1950's and 60's. We started Imperial College together hoping to become highly qualified mathematicians. In fact we both very quickly got involved in the college jazz scene. Ken already played trumpet and I took up the double bass. We played together in various jazz groups. The first was the Imperial College Big Band and then we started some small groups. The Jazz Consortium was the first and then we formed The Jazz Congress with Richard Rushton on saxes, Ken on trumpet, Dave Perrottet on valve trombone, me (Dave Cain) on bass, Clive Heath on piano and Al Higson on drums. Ken was already writing a lot and we played many of his compositions. Later the group reformed as a quintet with Ken on trumpet, George Khan on tenor, Clive Heath, me and a young Brian Spring on drums. Ken was also running his big band which rehearsed in the Balls Pond Road as an evening class so we had somewhere to practice! I was now working for the BBC as a studio manager and then in the Radiophonic Workshop. This gave me the chance to organise recording studios and we recorded both of the small groups and the big band. I still have the reel-to-reel recordings and have transferred them onto CD. We drifted apart at the end of the 60's. Ken was writing and working with the National Youth Big Band and I was deep into Radiophonics and writing music for radio drama. Then, in the early 70's, I went to write music for schools in Cumbria and we completely lost touch. I have many fond memories of our time together! We spent our last year in university living in a disused betting shop in Fulham Cross and crammed enough maths into our heads to get a degree. Ken had a motor bike and we went around a lot together, especially to the Six Bells in the King's Road to listen to the big names of the day, for example Humphrey Lyttelton and Wally Fawkes, and drink Watney's mild at a shilling a pint! Our best trip was in 1965 when we got into Ken's Austin A40 and drove all the way to Antibes where we had the amazing experience of seeing and hearing Coltrane play 'A Love Supreme'! Finally, back to the question at the start. Ken lived in Stoke-on-Trent and I lived in Newcastle-under-Lyme, maybe five or six miles apart, but didn't know each other until we met in university. We played together a bit in a local trad band in a jazz club in Burslem. I have lots and lots of pictures of our time together, he was a really good looking guy, a Potteries Elvis Presley, and the girls really fell for him, including of course the lovely Jenny! RIP Ken, I still have my memories of you and the music we played together..

Gordon Solomon said...

He was indeed an excellent coach. I remember discussing my various shortcomings on the trombone with him. He then took me off into a corner and proceeded to give me what I can only describe as a masterclass on trombone playing. We passed the horn to and fro between us, with him demonstrating various techniques then me trying to emulate him. He was very patient, a superb teacher. I learnt a lot.
Gordon Solomon

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