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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, November 08, 2017

RIP Frank Holder (1925- 2017)

Circa 1954, Newcastle Odeon, Sunday night jazz concert. Back then, the City Fathers (or was it the Lord's Day Observance Society?) wouldn't allow films to be shown on a Sunday, for what reason I know not. Fortunately, in their wisdom, they decided that whilst films were out, bands were in. This meant that, for a number of years, the Odeon and the Essoldo featured regular Sunday night band concerts showcasing the top bands of the day.
One of these bands was the Johnny Dankworth 7, probably the best modern group in Europe at the time. Apart from players such as Eddie Blair, Eddie Taylor, Eddie Harvey, Don Rendell, Eric Dawson, Bill le Sage and the leader himself, there was also a couple of singers - Cleo Laine and Frank Holder. I can't remember much about Cleo other than that she wore a tight skirt but Frank Holder, I recall, was astounding - not just singing but playing bongoes.
As a callow youth just beginning to discover jazz, I was amazed that one man could do so much with two small drums. A moment in time that has stayed with me for over 60 years!
I heard him again with various Dankworth big bands then, somehow, he slipped off my radar until maybe in the late '90s I was in London and happened to be having a pint in the Spice of Life. I knew it was a jazz pub and I casually asked the barman who was playing downstairs. He shrugged and nodded towards a chalked notice - FRANK HOLDER.
"I'm having some of that," I said and paid my £6 or whatever it was. I wasn't disappointed, the old magic was still there so that, when I belatedly learned today that he'd died on October 29, a little part of me died too.
Frank Holder was 92 and very sadly missed.
Lance.
LondonJazzNews Tribute.
YouTube link from Liz.

5 comments :

Russell said...

Was the Spice of Life gig well supported?

Lance said...

Absolutely packed!

Tom Henderson (on F/b) said...

What a lovely man, worked with him at Greys Club, sad loss. RIP.

Liz said...


I remember him, and what a beautiful number this is:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxW0azrg0F0

Lance said...

Yes Liz, great song, great singer. He was up there with the best.

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