The war years...
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The War years (1940 - 1945)...
Records 1940 to 1945
Ken Johnson One of the features of the late 1930s and the war years was the presence on the London club scene of a number of exiled West Indian swing/jazz musicians. They worked in the bands of Ken 'Snakehips' Johnson and 'Jiver' Hutchinson as well as other prominent groups. Full details.

With the demise of Ken Johnson's West Indian Dance Orchestra in 1941 bandleader Harry Parry started to use a number of musicians from the band - Frank and Joe Deniz (g), Dave Wilkins (tp), and Lauderic Caton (el-g) all appeared from time to time. Wilkins stayed for several years and in 1942 Yorke de Souza (p) also joined Parry and his Sextet. From 1941 to 1944 until Leslie 'Jiver' Hutchinson formed his big band. These musicians recorded many titles with Parry, and those listed under Harry Parry's name are all available on CD.

Kenny Baker made his first record in 1941. He was in the RAF during the second world war but recorded with The George Shearing Sextet, Buddy Featherstonhaugh and Harry Hayes, all early modern jazz pioneers. In 1946 he made his first record as leader and never looked back. In the 1940s he was very much a swing trumpeter and never became an out and out modernist. He recorded with many types of musicians and became the acceptable public face of modern jazz trumpet playing.

A major event during the war years was the opening of the Feldman Swing Club in 1942. all of the British stars played there as well as many visiting Americans from the service bands.

More on the Feldman Swing Club...
The war years were difficult and dangerous times for the London club musicians:
Tony Crombie: There were at least 50 clubs in Soho, probably more - bottle clubs where you were supposed to order drinks in advance - nobody obeyed the law. I worked in a first floor club all through the air raids - no stopping for bombs. People were fatalistic but tremendously happy - everybody had the feeling that death was on the doorstep so they all had a good time. As I walked back to Aldgate at 3 or 4 in the morning the whole of the City of London would be alight. We walked on through it almost every night, bomb stories were two a penny. It wasn't bravery there was nothing you could do about it - it just went on night after night.

After the early war year bombs there was another bad patch in 1944 with buzz bombs (V2s) which were the worst of the lot. It was a terror thing, pure chance - it's hard to believe the small amount of food you lived on. In the clubs there was money and food. There ws the open black market, if you had money something would appear from under the counter. There was a lot of boozing and an influx of Americans who had money to burn. You'd get the occasional Sir or Lord, but mostly it was servicemen on leave. The music was all jazz, every club featured jazz.

Musicians were walking round the west end all night, pop in a club and play for half an hour and move on. You got a lot of experience in a little while. People danced to whatever you played. We got very involved with the musicians from Sam Donahue's band, I got more advice, actual advice when that band was in London than I ever had before or since.
More on the musicians and the war years...
The Service bands...
World War II (1940/45)...
(A link is given to the full recording session data where necessary...)
Some of this music is now available on CD, details are available on the individual musicians discography pages.

Harry Parry came to fame via the radio and recorded regularly throughout the war years 1941 to 1944, always with a sextet, and he used many musicians who became prominent in the jazz world after the war. Full details of all the Harry Parry recording sessions are shown elsewhere...
Harry Parry and his Radio Rhythm Club Sextet - January 28th, 1941 (Parlophone)
Harry Parry (cl), Roy Marsh (vib), George Shearing (p), Joe Deniz (g), Tommy Bromley (b), Ben Edwards (d).
I've Found a New Baby/Black Eyes (2 takes)/Boog It/Softly As In A Morning Sunrise.

The Johnny Claes band made their first record for Columbia (FB2688) a few months after their formation as Johnny Claes and his Band. The band was now known as the Clae Pigeons. Pianist Tommy Pollard had by now replaced Art Thompson. The band made two further ecord dates in October, 1941 and in January, 1942... Full details
Nat Gonella presents Johnny Claes and his Clae Pigeons - 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.

With jazz becoming popular HMV recorded a number of titles recorded at a public concert featuring the 'hot' musicians of the day. Kenny Baker featured on many recordings made during the war years...
First English public Jam session - November 16th, 1941 (HMV)
Kenny Baker (tp), Lad Busby (tb), Carl Barriteau (cl,ldr), Buddy Featherstonhaugh (ts), Dick Katz (p), Frank Deniz (g), Tommy Bromley (b), George Firestone (d).
Tea For Two (part 1)/Tea For Two (part 2).

Leslie 'Jiver' Hutchinson (tp), Woolf Phillips (tb), Frank Weir (cl,ldr), Len Newberry (ts), Billy Munn (p), Jean Sasson (g), Jaap Sajet (b), Maurice Burman (d).
St. Louis Blues (part 1)/St. Louis Blues (part 2).

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.

This was recorded as a tribute to the second world war effort of Britain's Merchant Navy, the proceeds from the sale of the record went to provide comforts for the sailors.
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.

Buddy Featherstonhaugh began recording with his RAF Sextet in 1942, and later as the Radio Rhythm Club Sextet through to February, 1945. There were a number of recording dates, some being issued by HMV. After his last date in 1945 Featherstone left the music business and did not record again until 1956. Full details of all these sessions...
Buddy Featherstonhaugh R.A.F. Sextet - December 1942-June1943 (Harlequin HQ3011: Vic Lewis Jam Sessions Vol 4)
Don McAffer (tb), Buddy Featherstonhaugh (ts,cl), Harry Rayner (p), Vic Lewis (g), Frank Clark (b), Jack Parnell (d).
Woo-woo/Stardust/Cottontail/Soft Winds/What's New/Blues/Body And Soul/Sweet Georgia Brown/I've Found A New Baby/Washboard Blues.

The band was augmented for the following date eventually issued as a Vic Lewis Jam session LP...
Buddy Featherstonhaugh R.A.F. Sextet - December 12th, 1942 (Harlequin HQ3012: Jam session at Levy's)
Jimmy McMillan (tp), Don McAffer (tb), Harry Hayes (as), Buddy Featherstonhaugh, Jimmy Skidmore (ts), Harry Rayner (p), Vic Lewis, Ken Sykora (g), Frank Clark (b), Jack Parnell (d).
Angry/Squatty Roo.

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.

Vic Lewis and Jack Parnell formed their Jazzmen and they recorded a number of sessions until mid 1945 when Jack Parnell left to join the Ted Heath Orchestra. Full details of all these sessions...
Vic Lewis and Jack Parnell's Jazzmen - February 12th, 1944 (Parlophone)
Billy Riddick (tp), Ronnie Chamberlain (as,sop), Derek Hawkins (cl,as), Dick Katz (p), Vic Lewis (g,vcl), Charlie Short (b), Jack Parnell (d).
Johnny's Idea/Mean Old Bed Bug Blues (vocal VL)/Jazz Band Jump/I'm Coming Virginia.

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.

George Chisholm was a versatile trombonist who appeared as a sideman on countless recording sessions from the 1930s through to the 1960s. He could fit into all types of jazz group although he was probably at his best in a mainstream setting. During the war he was the star soloist in the RAF Squadronaires dance orchestra but found time to record commercially in the studios. Full details
George Chisholm and his Orchestra - May 23rd, 1944 (Decca)
Tommy McQuater, Kenny Baker, Stan Roderick, Alfie Noakes (tp), George Chisholm, Eric Breeze, Bruce Campbell (tb), Harry Hayes Dougie Robinson (as), Andy McDevitt, Jimmy Skidmore (ts), Jimmy Durant (bs,sop), Billy Munn (p), Ivor Mairants (g), Jack Collier (b), Jock Cummings (d).
Mood For Trumpet/All Is Not Gold That Glisters.

George Chisholm and his Jive Eight - May 23rd, 1944 (Decca)
Tommy McQuater (tp), George Chisholm (tb), Andy McDevitt (cl), Harry Hayes (as), Jimmy Skidmore (ts), Billy Munn (p), Ivor Mairants (g), Jack Collier (b), Jock Cummings (d).
Little Earl/Broadhurst Garden Blues.

Harry Hayes was discharged from the Army in late 1944 and he formed the band whose recordings for HMV between 1944 and 1947 caused a sensation. Their cool modern sound was unlike anything being played by others. He opened Churchill's Club in late 1945 staying till late 1947. He recorded regularly for HMV between 1944 and 1947. Full details of all these sessions...
Harry Hayes and his Band - November 15th, 1944 (HMV)
Kenny Baker (tp), George Flynn (tb), Harry Hayes (as), Bill Lewington (bs), Norman Stenfalt (p), Archie Slavin (g), Tommy Bromley (b), George Firestone (d).
My Love/Sequence.

The number of American servicemen in London gave an opportunity for playing together in the clubs and recording together. Many British musicians welcomed the opportunity to learn first hand what was going on in the US...
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.
Vic Lewis and Lauderic Caton (g).
Blues In E.

When Jack Parnell left the Vic Lewis and Jack Parnell Jazzmen to join the new Ted Heath orchestra the band became Vic Lewis and his Jazzmen and they were the first British group to visit Europe after the war, visiting Denmark and Sweden. They made a number of BBC broadcasts that were issued as LPs at a much later date. Full details of all these sessions...
Vic Lewis and his Jazzmen - July 20th, 1945 (Parlophone/DJM)
Billy Riddick (tp), Frank Osborne (tb), Ronnie Chamberlain (cl,as,sop), Jimmy Skidmore (ts), Ken Thorne (p), Vic Lewis (g), Bert Howard (b), Harry Singer (d).
Fidgety Feet/Dippermouth Blues/Bluin' The Blues/Ballin' The Jack.

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