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Jazz name doubles

I have been thinking "why are people writing about this triviality of two jazzmen with the same name?" (See past issues of JJ.) But in the end I have to succumb, because this phenonmenon reminds me of the best period for hearing live jazz in my life – the early 60s.

I am surprised no one else has mentioned those two very fine pianists, the two Colin Bates. They played for a wide range of groups, but especially those of the type that appeared in the six-nights-a-week venue at the Six Bells in King's Rd, Chelsea. These included the Bruce Turner Jump Band, Wally Fawkes Trogs, Humph, and the Tony Coe/Tony Milliner quintet. This latter group was formed soon after Mr. Coe decided to concentrate on tenor sax – I still miss the beautiful sounds he used to make on alto.

My memory has become addled over the years as to exactly who played for whom (the Colins depped with everybody!). Tony Milliner was smoother and inclined towards the bop end of the spectrum, but both were really in command of their instruments, which could not be said of many jazz trombones in those days.

Thought of trombones reminds me of the seventh night of my week – Sunday night at the Marquee with the Johnny Dankworth big band spelled off by the Dudley Moore Trio. Both fabulous. However, I felt that J.D. had a bit of a blind spot regarding the trombone. He would keep featuring a pianist-arranger bloke, whose name eludes me, on jazz trombone solos – very rudimentary – when tucked away in the section he had the fabulous trombonist Ian McDougall.

Your correspondents have mentioned only two Benny Greens, omitting the most famous - the saxophonist who played with many groups including the avant-garde Lord Rockingham's Eleven. Benny also delivered for a number of years a radio programme with much chat about, and playing of samples of, the Great American Songbook, and the singers thereof. I'm afraid the current programme of that ilk on Sunday nights delves too far back in history even for my great age. I fear his audience must be listening from the graveyard!

Finally, perhaps someone could clear my confusion with the many John Williams(es). There seem to be a great many about, including the writer of blockbusting film scores, possibly an arranger of wind band scores, a guitarist and a pianist. I'm not sure if there are even more, and whether any of them are in fact one and the same. I am continuing to enjoy the new magazine. That the reviews are now more up-to-date is very helpful.

7 October 2011

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