The group, reckoned by some to have made the first be-bop style record in Britain, began life as Ilford Rhythm Club Jam Group, with Ronnie Chamberlain on alto and soprano saxes. He, of course, late became a stalwart of the Ted Heath Band. During the second world war they played for Red Cross concerts and were featured in 'Picture Post' magazine whilst at 'The Piccadilly Rainbow Room'.
A cutting from 'Melody Maker' (c1946) indicates the interest in the Jive Bombers as they were now known, despite their uncompromisingly 'modern' outlook. The band had by then got 26 individual awards and seven honourable mention in various contests. In the 1945 'Melody Maker' Jazz Poll they came 25th in the small combo section, whilst Ken Franklin was fifteenth in the alto section. Not bad, as this was an international poll and not just for British musicians.
In 1947 they won the 'Melody Maker All-Britain Dance Band Championship' and one of the prizes was the recording of the first record in the discography below. This was later described as 'musically superior to anything in the bop line by British musicians at that time'.
The following year they were second in a similar competition and another record was made in October 1948 with the same personnel.
One commentator describes the overall sound of the band as 'showing that they had really worked at the music both playing and listening', and another that the records are 'remarkably good'. One writing about 'Tea for two' describes 'particularly fine alto playing, good piano and commendable trumpet playing a la Diz. Interlude is actually 'Night in Tunisia' which is played slower than usual.
The above is condensed from the Jazz Information column in 'Jazz Journal' magazine from 1970.
Jive Bombers - October 25th, 1947 (Regal Zonophone MR3799)
Kenneth Sommerville (tp), Kenneth Franklin (as,cl), Stanley Walker (p), Stanley Musgrave (g) Ronald Arrowsmith (b), Sidney White (d).
Jive Bombers Re-bop/Groovin'High.
October 23rd, 1948 (Regal Zonophone MR3818)
Personnel as October 25th, 1947.
Tea For Two/Interlude.