Aubrey Frank...
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Aubrey Frank jazz discography...
Tenor sax player Aubrey Frank was born in in London in 1921. He started playing alto sax at the age of fourteen switching to tenor a year later. His first job was with Jack Harris at the London Casino. He joined the RAF in 1941 and despite his service commitments he worked with Ambrose, Johnny Claes, Geraldo, Lew Stone and George Evans. He was in the first Ted Heath band as well as being a member of the RAF Fighter Command Band. During the war he had the opportunities to play with members of the US service bands of Sam Donahue and Glenn Miller, which he regarded as career highlights.
In December 1945 he left the RAF and worked again with Ambrose, until 1947, as well as the Skyrockets and Squadronnaires. From 1949 to 1954 he was with Jack Nathan's band fitting comfortably alongside Ronnie Scott and Harry Klein. He also freelanced and appeared on a number of important early British bebop dates playing tenor sax. His dislike of touring meant that he sought work in the London night clubs as well as prolific film work and studio recording sessions where his adaptability enabled him to play in any type of band from dixieland to modern jazz.
He recorded, and is prominently featured, with the George Shearing Sextet in 1944 and replaced Tommy Whittle in the Harry Hayes band in 1947 when modern jazz was emerging in the British band scene.
He also featured with Alan Dean's "All Star Sextet" in 1948. He had a long career with many top notch name bands and was regarded as the epitome of a first class session man but at heart was always a jazzman with his name on many small group 78rpm records in the 1940s.
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Aubrey Frank (1948) continued from bottom left...
With the advent of bop his style changed little but as his records with the All Star Sextet show his playing is both exciting and with subtle shifts in note placement fits perfectly into a real bop group. In 1950 he was leading 'The Aubrey Frank Modern Music Sextet' playing tenor sax, plus Hank Shaw (or Wyatt Forbes) (tp), Harry Klein (as), Andy Denits (p), Stan Wasser (b), and Douggie Cooper (d). Jazz Journal writing in 1950 describes them as 'receiving great ovations in this citadel of bopdom' at the Feldman Club. For the last fifteen years of his life he concentrated mainly on teaching, passing on his many skills to the next generation. He died in a London hospital from emhysema in 1993 on his 72nd birthday.

Musician Jamie O'Donnell studied with Aubrey Frank and says:
I was one of his students in the last five years of his life and have such fond memories of him.
He spent his life living in the White House on Regents Park and when I knew him, he was teaching in a room in the Trinity College practice annex overlooking Marylebone High St. He used to teach from the Otto Langey method book and take saxophone sectional rehearsals. He used to write tunes out (I still have 'Tenderly' and 'I'm in the mood for love') and have me play them for months, every lesson. The only time he actually played (he was quite ill at this time) was on my Selmer alto. He put his Meyer on it and the sound was just huge, despite his emphysema. He always talked about sound and wanted his students to avoid getting too much edge in their tone.
One day, he arranged to meet me at Bill Lewingtons shop and spent all day choosing the soprano sax that I still play - I remember the huge respect that the staff gave him and afterwards we sat in a cafe on Shaftesbury Avenue while he told me story after story - I wish I could remember more of them.
I met Aubrey at just the right time and he inspired me to be serious and studious about music. I was travelling from York for lessons where I was studying Psychology and when I graduated, he really wanted me to be sure that a music career was right for me. I then joined the Guildhall Post-grad Jazz course (he gave me a reference) and he died soon after. A great teacher.
I often bump into other saxophone players who also studied with Aubrey. One recently told me that Aubrey talked too much in lessons, but I used to love the chats. Ronnie Scott once told me that Aubrey was the smartest musician in London and you would bump into him on Regent Street carrying a new suit.
Funny enough, last year I had a commision to write a Big Band piece for a student band in Holland, I called it 'One for Aubrey' and told the students about him.
Aubrey told me that he became friends with Art Pepper when Art was a military policeman in London during the war. He also told a story about bumping into Roland Kirk in Paris at night-Kirk was blind so Aubrey was able to help him cross the road.

About Jamie O'Donnell...

From Ted Rockley, another of Aubrey's students:
"I went to Aubrey from about 1962 to 1969, starting clarinet lessons with him at the Dinley Studios, which later became the Trinity College annexe, when I was still at primary school. Some years later I went to Trinity College and it was decided that Aubrey would start me on saxophone. Magic!

Often, I would have the last lesson of the evening, so Aubrey would leave with me and my Dad, who in the early years would wait for me, would chat with him for (what seemed to me) ages on the pavement outside. Aubrey spoke of his annoyance and refusal to play 'out of tune' at some rock'n roll recording sessions. He related how they did 76 takes of Cilla Black's 'Anyone who had a heart' and then still cut together the best ones (he had little respect for the pop stars, which has been seared into my own attitudes too). He spoke despairingly of arrangers who wrote impossible things for bass clarinet, (if he couldn't play it no-one could). He badgered me to see the Ellington Band at Hammersmith Odeon, and Goodman at The Festival Hall. I'm so glad he did!
I remember Aubrey as being easily the most refined and intellectual person within my circle of people. But as I look back, I regret not being old enough to really appreciate what a great teacher he was, although I now know how lucky and privileged I was to have him as a teacher.
I last saw Aubrey at the London College of Music at a Buddy deFranco evening sponsored by Bill Lewington. I saw him briefly as I was leaving and exchanged a few words, looking back I'm amazed he recognised me".

All Star Sextet 1948
The All Star Sextet - 1948 (Aubrey Frank - left)

Lew Stone and his Stonecrackers - March 17th, 1941 (Decca)
Archie Craig (tp), George Chisholm, Eric Breeze, Woolf Phillips (tb), Andy McDevitt (cl), Aubrey Frank (ts), Jack Penn (p), Ivor Mairants (g), Charlie Short (b), Jock Jacobson (d), Lew Stone (dir).
Missouri Scrambler/Wednesday Night Hop/Singin' In The Rain*/Ja-da*.
(*Vocalion CD - Lew Stone Vol 7, My kind of music)

Lew Stone and his Stonecrackers - May 22nd, 1941 (Decca)
Dave Wilkins (tp), George Chisholm, Eric Breeze, Abe Walters (tb), Andy McDevitt (cl), Aubrey Frank (ts), Jack Penn (p), Ivor Mairants (g), Charlie Short (b), Jock Cummings (d), Lew Stone (dir).
Aunt Hagar's Blues*/Beale Street Blues (two takes)/At The Jazz Band Ball*#/Get Happy (two takes).
(*Timeless CD - George Chisholm - Early Days)
(#Retrospective CD - George Chisholm The Gentleman of Jazz - A Centenary Tribute)

Johnny Claes And His Claypigeons - July 12th, 1941 (Columbia)
Johnny Claes, Nat Gonella (tp), Harry Hayes, George Harrison (as), Aubrey Frank, Gerry Alvarez (ts), Tommy Pollard (p), Ivor Mairants (g), Charlie Short (b), Carlo Krahmer (d), Benny Lee (vocal).
How Am I To Know (vocal BL)/Stompin' At The Savoy.

Johnny Claes And His Claypigeons - October 18th, 1941 (Columbia)
Johnny Claes, Nat Gonella (tp), Harry Hayes, Gerry Alvarez (as), Reg Owen, Aubrey Frank (ts), Norman Stenfalt (p), Joe Deniz (g), Charlie Short (b), Carlo Krahmer (d), Benny Lee (vocal), Irene King (vocal).
I Heard (vocal BL)*/Do I Worry (vocal BL & IK)/Fascinating Rhythm (vocal IK)/My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean (vocal IK, Gonella out).
(*Proper Records 4CD Box set - Jazz in Britain 1919 - 1950)

First English public Jam session - November 16th, 1941 (HMV)
Dave Wilkins (tp), Woolf Phillips (tb), Harry Parry (cl,ldr), Aubrey Frank (ts), Art Thompson (p), Joe Deniz (g), Charlie Short (b), Bobby Midgley (d).
Honeysuckle Rose/I've Found A New Baby.

Johnny Claes And His Claypigeons - January 15th, 1942 (Columbia)
Johnny Claes (tp), Harry Hayes, Gerry Alvarez (as), Andy McDevitt (cl,ts), Aubrey Frank (ts), Norman Stenfalt (p), Ivor Mairants (g), Charlie Short (b), Carlo Krahmer (d), Benny Lee (vocal), Irene King (vocal).
Chattanooga Choo-choo (vocal BL)/Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen (vocal BL)/Watch The Birdie (vocal IK)/The Whistler's Mother-In-Law (vocal BL).

Melody Maker's Competition Band - May 31st, 1942 (Decca)
Dave Wilkins, Kenny Baker, Tommy McQuater (tp), George Chisholm, Woolf Phillips (tb), Harry Parry (cl), Harry Hayes, George Evans, Aubrey Frank, Reggie Dare (ts), George Shearing (p), Joe Deniz (g), Tommy Bromley (b), Jock Cummings (d).
Red Duster Rag*/Red Duster Rag.
(*Hep Records CD - Kenny Baker, Birth of a Legend '41-'46)
(*Proper Records 4CD Box set - Jazz in Britain 1919 - 1950)

Josephine Bradley and her Jive Orchestra - November, 1943 (Decca)
Josephine Bradley (vcl) acc by Chick Smith, Kenny Baker, Les Lambert (tp), Jock Bain, George Flynn (tb), Nat Temple (cl,as), Bill Apps (as), Aubrey Frank, George Harris (ts), Pat Dodd (p), Ivor Mairants (g), Tommy Bromley (b), Carlo Krahmer (d).
Take The "A" Train/Rockin' The Blues/Kansas City Moods/Torpedo Junction.

Ted Heath and his Music - February 8th, 1944 (Decca)
Kenny Baker, Max Goldberg, Arthur Mouncey, Cliff Haines (tp), Harry Roche, Jock Bain, Woolf Phillips, Les Carew (tb), Les Gilbert, Harry Smith (as), Aubrey Frank, Norman Impey (ts), Bill Lewington (bs), Ronnie Selby (p), Freddy Phillips (g), George Garnet (b), Jack Parnell (d).
South Of The Border/Jeannie With The Light Brown Hair/Caravan/I've Got Sixpence.

George Shearing Sextet - February 14th, 1944 (Decca)
Kenny Baker (tp), Harry Hayes (as), Aubrey Frank (ts), George Shearing (p), Tommy Bromley (b), Carlo Krahmer (d).
Cymbal Simon*/Riff Up Them Stairs*/Five Flat Flurry*^/Trunk Call*.
(*Hep Records CD - Kenny Baker, Birth of a Legend '41-'46)
(^Proper Records 4CD Box set - Jazz in Britain 1919 - 1950)

(*JSP 5CD set - George Shearing - The Early Years)

Vic Lewis and Sam Donahue's Navy Band - March 12th, 1945 (A.E.F. broadcast)
Kenny Baker, Arthur Mouncey, Johnny Best (tp), Lad Busby, Woolf Phillips, Tak Takvorian (tb), Ronnie Chamberlain (cl,as,sop) Derek Hawkins (as,cl), Ralph LaPolla (cl), Aubrey Frank, Sam Donahue (ts), Pat Dodd, Rocky Coluccio (p), Vic Lewis, Lauderic Caton (g), Joe Nussbaum (b), Carlo Krahmer (d).
Yellow Dog Blues*.
(*Candid CD - Vic Lewis 'The Golden Years' 1938,1945 and 1946)

Vic Lewis Jam Session - March 12th, 1945 (Harlequin/Esquire)
Johnny Best (tp), Derek Hawkins (cl,as), Ronnie Chamberlain (as,sop), Stephan Grapelly (vln,p(1)), Vic Lewis (g), Tommy Bromley (b), Carlo Krahmer (d).
I'ts The Talk Of The Town*/I Never Knew*/I Found A New Baby*/Tri-colour blues(1)*.
(*Candid CD - Vic Lewis 'The Golden Years' 1938,1945 and 1946)

Vic Lewis Jam Session - March 15th, 1945 (Harlequin/Esquire#)
Johnny Best (tp), Aubrey Frank (ts), Vic Lewis (g), Bert Howard (b).
Johnny's Blues*.
Johnny Best (tp), Lad Busby (tb), Ronnie Chamberlain (cl), Aubrey Frank (ts), Gerry Moore (p), Vic Lewis (g), Bert Howard (b), Carlo Krahmer (d).
Mean To Me*/#Down By The Old Mill Stream*/#Rosetta*.
(*Candid CD - Vic Lewis 'The Golden Years' 1938,1945 and 1946)

Carlo Krahmer Chicagoans - March 15th, 1945 (Esquire)
Johnny Best (tp), Lad Busby (tb), Ronnie Chamberlain (cl,as), Aubrey Frank (ts) Gerry Moore (p), Vic Lewis (g), Tommy Bromley (b), Carlo Krahmer (d).
Down By The Old Mill Stream/Rosetta. (Both titles unissued until the 1980s - Carlo Krahmer memorial album ESQ306)

Harry Hayes and his Band - April 24th, 1947 (HMV)
Leo Wright (tp), Harry Hayes (as), Aubrey Frank (ts), Bill Lewington (bs), George Shearing (p), Alan Ferguson (g), Arthur O'Neill (b), Norman Burns (d).
(# Harry Hayes 2 CD set - Harry Hayes and his Band - HMV recordings)

May 5th, 1947 (HMV)
Alan Franks (tp) replaces Wright.
Ol' Man Rebop#/Lucky Number#/Dubonnet#.
(# Harry Hayes 2 CD set - Harry Hayes and his Band - HMV recordings)

Harry Hayes and his Band - July 22nd, 1947 (HMV)
Alan Franks (tp), Lad Busby (tb), Harry Hayes (as), Aubrey Frank (ts), Bill Lewington (bs), George Shearing (p), Alan Ferguson (g), Jack Fallon (b), Norman Burns (d), Lawrence Jackson (vcl).
Dinner Jacket#/The Be-bop (vcl).
(# Harry Hayes 2 CD set - Harry Hayes and his Band - HMV recordings)

Alan Dean and the All Star Sextet - April 17th, 1948 (Esquire)
Aubrey Frank (ts), Reg Arnold (tp), Ralph Sharon (p), Tommy Pollard (vib), Jack Fallon (b), Norman Burns (d), Alan Dean (vocal).
Oop-pop-a da#/Disc Jockey Jump.
(#Hallmark CD - Basement Bop - British jazz in the 1950s)

April 29th, 1948 (Esquire)
Personnel as April 17th.
Galaxy*/I Can't Get Started*#/First Gear*/Confirmation*.
(*Charly/Esquire 4 CD box set - bebop IN BRITAIN - issued in 1991 currently only available second hand...)
(#Hallmark CD - Basement Bop - British jazz in the 1950s)
(#Proper Records 4CD Box set - Jazz in Britain 1919 - 1950)

May 8th, 1948 (Esquire)
Personnel as April, 17th
My Baby Likes To Bebop*/Disc Jockey Jump*/Fallonology*/Jack Fiddles While Norman Burns*.
(*Charly/Esquire 4 CD box set - bebop IN BRITAIN - issued in 1991 currently only available second hand...)

January 15th, 1949 (Esquire)
Personnel as April 17th, 1948 except Kenny Baker (tp) replaces Reg Arnold.
Gabardine And Serge/First Gear.

This page was last updated during September, 2015.
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Jamie O'Donnell began playing alto saxophone at the age of 17 after falling in love with the music of Charlie Parker and grew to love the playing of the great alto players Phil Woods, Jackie McLean, Cannonball Adderley, Art Pepper and Sonny Stitt. He is also heavily influenced by the playing of pianist Bill Evans. He is a prolific composer for his own bands.

In 1990, he graduated from the University of York with a Psychology degree and moved to London and studied with saxophonist Aubrey Frank (between 1988 and 1991) before auditioning for and joining the post-graduate Jazz course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (1991-1992). At the Guildhall, he was able to study with Jean Toussaint, Simon Purcell and Stan Sulzmann and Pete Churchill.
After leaving college, he continued lessons with many players including Barry Harris, Rick Margitza, Iain Ballamy, Bob Martin & Julian Arguelles and he continues to study regularly with pianist Barry Harris.
Jamie has worked around Europe with Big Bands including the Pasadena Roof Orchestra, The Piccadilly Dance Orchestra and in more contemporary settings such as the Frank Griffith Big Band and the Gareth Lockrane Big Band. His own quartet "S.A.O.L.E." have been together since 1998 playing a mixture of original compositions and standards. This band features Mike Outram on guitar, Matt Home on drums and Dominic Howles on Bass and perform at many London venues including the 606 Club and the Lower Ground Bar. Recently, Jamie formed a quintet with fellow altoist Bob Martin, Mike Gorman, Steve Brown and Dominic Howles.
He is a founder member of the yearly 'Paradise Jazz Festival' in Pomos, Cyprus which has run for the last 10 years. Currently he maintains a busy teaching schedule with a faculty position at the American School in London.

His quartet can be seen on the Youtube link below: