Oral history of jazz in Britain
Chilkes, Jack. (1 of 4). Oral history of jazz in Britain
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Chilkes, Jack 1922-2004 (male)
Simons, Andrew (male)
Part 1. Born 1922. Grew up listening to dance bands, including those of Ambrose, Nat Gonella, Henry Hall. Distinction between 'jazz' and 'dance' bands. Early influence of Danny Polo's clarinet playing. Melody Maker (in 1930s). Saw Louis Armstrong at Hackney Empire. Influence of late 30s records by Bunny Berigan and Tommy Dorsey. Took up clarinet on leaving school. Inspired by tone and playing of Benny Goodman. Learned solos from records. Took up alto sax and got interested in the great swing and mainstream alto players. Social attitudes to jazz musicians and sax players in 1930s/1940s Britain. Stigmatisation of saxophone players. Reliance on Melody Maker. Around 1940 took job in a Palais band, but was called-up (for War Service) in 1941. Joined RAF as a service musician and based in Dundee. Stationed in Cairo and toured Forces camps in Middle East. Learned much from Hugo Rignold. Spike Hughes. Glenn Miller. Syd Lawrence. Not keen on Bechet. Love of Ellington's Blanton-Webster band. Switched from alto to tenor (ca. 1943). Conflicting attitudes to different jazz styles among musicians and critics.
Performer notes: Tenor saxophonist and Melodisc label manager, Jack Chilkes, interviewed by Andrew Simons, 29th September 1994.