MY OWN JAZZ BACKGROUND (for what its worth!)

Its time I said a little more about myself.

I was a huge jazz fan from around 1955 (aged eleven) right through the enthralling period for British jazz up to and through the 1960s. I have to confess that from the mid to late 60s other things also became important to me: things like also falling in love with classical music (Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Mahler, Bruckner, Sibelius etc.. etc.,), and increasingly feeling a call to Christian ministry, but I never actually took my theology degree until in my 50s (1995-98). Now in my 60s and as a regular internet-user (my ministry is largely internet-based - ever heard of 'UK Apologetics'?), I am again listening to a lot of music and my jazz roots have been seriously re-awakened from about 2001-2.

My instrument was the trumpet which (at one time) I had been able to play jazz on to a certain level (not pro) and I sometimes feel I would like to play again, but I quickly dismiss such thoughts! Okay, I have already mentioned my classical tastes, what about my jazz tastes? Well, I am a big Dizzy Gillespie/Charlie Parker man, also Clifford Brown, Art Blakey, Horace Silver, Fats Navarro and many others. I am also a huge big band fan: Kenton, Herman , Basie of course and Elllington. Here in the UK, I was a huge fan of the original Johnny Dankworth Orchestra (the one with the 'seven section'). Within the last year I have been in touch with Dickie Hawdon (who played trumpet with Dankworth). Dickie told me he does not play anymore because (in his own words), "I am too old!" - of course, during the last year of his life (having no idea it was the last year of his life, of course, as is so often the case), I made contact with Ron Simmonds, one time lead trumpet with both Ted Heath and Dankworth. Ron shared one or two amusing anecdotes with me and a warm rapport developed between us (albeit by e mail).

As I write this, this little jazz site is very new and - as time progresses - I am sure I will add other little things about my life and how important jazz is to me. I'm afraid that, in common with Dickie Hawdon, I am no great fan of much current jazz and so this site will be heavily nostalgic. Dickie told me he just enjoys his garden and King Oliver these days. Well, I still like a bit of traditional jazz, but I am overwhelmingly a lover of early 'bop' and also the 'big bands.' I find that much of the newer jazz seems to have lost much of its original 'bite.' Great modern jazz was still produced throughout the 60s and even into the 70s but much of what I now hear no longer appeals to me. Having said that, I am certain that some real jazz 'gems' of performers are still around.
Robin A. Brace, 2006.

To my own amazement at the grand age of 73 I have suddenly returned to playing the trumpet! a number of things caused this to happen, mainly hearing the great Australian trumpet player James Morrison guesting on a BBC Proms concert - what a player! Also, finding some great videos of the one and only Derek Watkins (a fellow Welshman of mine) on YouTube. Being retired now and finding much time on my hands (especially in winter - what a dreadful bore the winters are!), I suddenly thought: what is to prevent me dabbling on the trumpet once again? My wife - not in great health anymore - gave me full support on this, even to the degree of buying a new cornet for me! After an amazing 47 years I find I have not lost the 'lip' at all, although it might take me a while to get my range back.
Robin Brace. January, 2018.