Pianist John Critchinson was born in East London in December, 1934 although his family moved to the West Country in 1939 and he played his first gigs during the 1950s in the Bath area including his first professional work in 1957. From 1961 to 1963 he was with the Avon Cities Jazz Band, a traditional jazz outfit. He was associated with the Icebox Club in Chippenham for a number of years in the 1960s and 1970s and led his own groups in the West Country at Bridport and Torquay before moving to London in October, 1978. After gigging with Kathy Stobart he joined Ronnie Scott in May 1979 and remained with him for sixteen years or so until Ronnie stopped playing in 1995, although in that time he only recorded on one occasion with Scott. He worked with the Morrissey / Mullen group for three years c1980 to 1982. He then led his own quartet at Ronnie Scott's club through 1995 and '96 and in 1997 following Ronnie's death the quartet became The Ronnie Scott Legacy ended with the sudden death of saxophonist Pat Crumly in 2008.
Then, at the invitation of Ronnie Scott's Club, the Quartet was reformed with Mornington Lockett replacing Crumly.
John Critchinson subsequently invited fellow Ronnie Scott Trumpet/Flugel Horn player Dick Pearce to join the Band for an appearance at the club, marking the start of the 50th anniversary celebrations in October 2009. Thus, the current Legacy Band was re-launched.|
Through the 2000's he has led his own quartet and trio and in 2005 started to work with the quartet led by tenor sax player Simon Spillett concentrating on keeping the music and memory of Tubby Hayes alive. Throughout his career he has worked with visiting American musicians including Chet Baker, George Coleman and Johnny Griffin. He died on 15 December 2017, just a few days short of his 83rd birthday.
John Critchinson had an excellent website which includes biographical information:
Dick Morrissey/Jim Mullen - c1980 (After Dark - Coda 2)
Dick Morrissey (ts), Barry Withworth (tp-1,flhorn-2), John Critchinson (p,el-p), Jim Mullen (g-3), Ron Mathewson (b), Martin Drew (d).
I Wont Last A Day Without You/March On (1)(3)/They Say It's Wonderful (2)/Pili Pili/The Way We Were (3)/Running Out Of Time (3)/Lou Grant (3)/Change Partners.
Dick Morrissey/Jim Mullen - 1981 (Badness - Beggars Banquet BEGA27)
Dick Morrissey (ts,sop,fl), John Critchinson (keyb,synth), Jim Mullen (g), Clive Chaman (b), Chris Ainsworth (d), Chris Fletcher (perc), Linda Taylor (vcl).
Do Like You/Dragonfly/Stay Awhile/Blue Tears/Badness/Pass the Music On/Slipstream.
Dick Morrissey/Jim Mullen featuring Carol Kenyon on vocals - 1982 (Life on the wire - Beggars Banquet BEGA33)
Dick Morrissey (ts,sop,fl), John Critchinson (keyb), Danny Schogger (synth), Jim Mullen (g), John McKenzie (b), Tony Beard (d), Chris Fletcher (perc), Carol Kenyon (vcl).
Life On The Wire/Takin' Time/Face Of A Child/Come And Get Me/Brazil Nut/Ships That Pass In The Night/Making Waves/Running Out Of Time.
(*Vocalion CD - Morrissey Mullen - Life on the wire & It's about time)
John Critchinson Trio - 1982 (Summer Afternoon - Coda 1)
Dick Morrissey (ts-2), John Critchinson (p), Ron Mathewson (b), Martin Drew (d), Chris Fletcher (perc-1), Claire Hamill (vcl-3).
Summer Afternoon (2)/5 For 3/Doin' It Right/Another Fine Mess/Yet Another Yesterday/Love Lies Bleeding (3)/Eype Down (3)/La Pigalle (1).
John Critchinson Trio - 1984 (New night - Coda 9)
Dick Pearce (flhrn-1), John Critchinson (p,el-p,synth), Ron Mathewson (b), Martin Drew (d), Simon Morton (perc-2), Claire Hamill (vcl-3).
New Night (2)/Jazz Waltz/All Those Long Days/Go Mash Me Some Peas/Back In Love Again (3)/Work It Out (2)/The Morning After (1)/Back In Love Again/So Much Time/Pieceful Jane.
Tony Crombie and friends - January 5th and 19th, 1989 (Tony Crombie and friends - Renaissance REN001)
Guy Barker, Tony Fisher (tp), Ronnie Scott, Nigel Hitchcock (ts), Stan Sulzman (sop), John Critchinson (p), Lennie Bush (b), Harold Fisher (d).
Guy Barker, Tony Fisher (tp), Chris Pyne (tb), Nigel Hitchcock (as), Stan Sulzman (ts) or Ronnie Scott (ts-1), Phil Todd (bs), John Critchinson (p), Lennie Bush (b), Harold Fisher (d).
Rabbit Pie/Viva Rodriguez(1).
Ronnie Scott Quintet - October and November, 1990 (Live at Ronnie Scott's)
CD and LP titled 'Never Pat A Burning Dog'.
Dick Pearce (tp), Ronnie Scott (ts), Mornington Lockett (ts-1), John Critchinson (p), Ron Mathewson (b), Martin Drew (d).
Contemplation*/I'm Glad There Is You (DP out)*/White Caps*/All The Things You Are*/This Love Of Mine (DP out)*/When Love Is New*/Little Sunflower(1) (DP out, title not on LP)*.
(*Jazz House CD - Ronnie Scott - Double Event)
John Critchinson / Art Themen Quintet - 1996 (First moves - Jazz House 52)
Art Themen (ts), John Critchinson (p), others not known.
First Moves/Cedars Blues/Soul Eyes/African Marketplace/How Insensitive/Blues For Sue/Takin' Time/I'll Close My Eyes/For All We Know/Firm Roots.
Barbara Jay - April 13th, 1997 (Spotlite)
Barbara Jay (vcl) acc. by Dick Pearce (flhrn), John Critchinson (p), Andy Cleyndert (b), Martin Drew (d).
Just Friends*/Speak Low*/East Of The Sun*/All About Ronnie*.
(*Spotlite CD - Barbara Jay - Just Friends)
John Critchinson Quartet - 1998 (Ronnie remembered - a tribute to Ronnie Scott - Jazzizit)
Pat Crumly (as), John Critchinson (p), Leon Clayton (b), Martin Drew, Mark Fletcher (d) with guest appearances from Georgie Fame and Flora Purim.
This Heart Of Mine*/Let Me Count The Ways*/Tuned Into You*/You Don't Know What Love Is*/Excuse Me Do I Know You*/Carib Blue*/Little Tear*/Nippon Soul*/Back In Love Again*/Weaver Of Dreams*/Seven Steps to Heaven*/Ssh Ronnie's Talking.
(*Jazzizit CD - Ronnie remembered - a tribute to Ronnie Scott)
Acker Bilk - Danny Moss Quintet - 2004 (Acker & Danny - Avid CD)
Acker Bilk (cl), Danny Moss (ts), John Critchinson (p), Cass Caswell (b), Eddie Taylor (d).
Sweet Georgia Brown*/Apex blues*/Rosetta*/If I Had You*/Strutting With Some Barbecue*/Mean To Me*/My Blue Heaven*/Undecided*/Sweet Lorraine*/Buddy Bolden's Blues*/When your Smilin'*/Passing Strangers*/Sugar*/Georgia On My Mind*/Please Don't Talk About Me*/When I'm Gone*.
(*Avid CD - Acker & Danny)
John Critchinson - March 19th, 2005 (Where's the tune Johnny? - Trio)
John Critchinson (solo p).
(16 titles including): Never Let Me Go*/So Many Stars*/Lullaby Of The Leaves*/Isnít It A Pity*/Two For The Road* + others.
(*Trio CD - Where's the tune Johnny?)
John Critchinson Trio - May 11th and 24th, 2006 (Remove all covers - 33Jazz)
John Critchinson (p), Dave Green (b), Tristan Maillot (d).
Get Out Of Town*/Midnight Waltz*/People Time*/Azure Serape*/Those Eyes*/Iíve Been Here Before*/Lament*/Night Has 1000 Eyes*/Speak Low*/So Near So Far*/Golden Green*.
(*33Jazz CD - Remove all covers)
Simon Spillett Quartet - August 31st, 2006 (Introducing Simon Spillett - Woodville Records)
Simon Spillett (ts), John Critchinson (p), Andrew Cleyndert (b), Martin Drew (d).
Make Someone Happy*/Off The Wagon*/Spring Can Really Hang You Up The most*/Gee Gross*/Another Setting*/Nobody Else But Me*/But Beautiful*/New Beginning*/howdy Doody*/Cherokee*.
(*Woodville CD - Introducing Simon Spillett)
Simon Spillett Quartet - September 24th and 25th, 2007 (Sienna Red - Woodville Records)
Simon Spillett (ts), John Critchinson (p), Andrew Cleyndert (b), Spike Wells (d).
Mini Minor*/Lifeline*/Souriya*/Peace Pipe*/Rumpus*/Ricardo*/Pint Of Bitter*/The Right To Love*/Sienna Red*/Oleo*.
(*Woodville CD - Sienna Red)
Bobby Wellins Quartet - 2010 (Time Gentlemen Please - Trio TR 587)
Bobby Wellins (ts), John Critchinson (p), Andrew Cleyndert (b), Mark Taylor (d).
Time Gentlemen Please*/I'm Wishing*/Quando, Quando, Quando*/It Never Entered My Mind*/St. Louis Blues*/My Shining Hour*/In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning*/Dream Dancing*/Willow Weep For Me*/The Shadow Of Your Smile*.
(*Trio CD - Time Gentlemen Please)
Simon Spillett Quartet - November, 2012 (Square One - Gearbox (Vinyl release)
Simon Spillett (ts), John Critchinson (p), Alec Dankworth (b), Clark Tracey (d).
Shepherd's Serenade*/Square One*/Yesterday I Heard The Rain*/A Night In Tunisia*/Bass House*/In the Still Of The Night*.
(*Gearbox vinyl LP - Square One)
Laurie Jacobs / Dick Pearce - Recorded live at the Ship Inn, Oundle, May 11th, 2013 (Full Steam Ahead!!! - Soultrane)
Dick Pearce (fhrn,tp), Laurie Jacobs (ts), John Critchinson (p), Arnie Somogyi (b), Dave Barry (d).
Lady Bird*/Stella By Starlight*/I Dig Of You*/I Fall In Love Too Easily*/On Green Dolphin Street*/One For Daddy-O*/I Hear A Rhapsody*/Blue Bossa*.
(*Soultrane CD - Laurie Jacobs / Dick Pearce Full Stem Ahead!!!)