Died 31st December 2011
- Sad news Fred....Dave passed away peacefully early this afternoon.
Sad new indeed, a great man, a great musician and a wonderful sense
31/12/11 - it was helpful to know Dave's whereabouts so we could send a letter to the hospice, which we hope reached him in time. Dave was a fine musician and a kind and witty man, who Jon and I have both had the pleasure of sharing a bandstand with on occasions - we're sad to know he's gone.
news to hear about Dave Savill. He was a true professional in
every way and a rare joy to play along side, he was always
immaculately dressed and ready to perform at the drop of a hat.
Dave will be very sadly missed.
Dave Savill often said to me that the best musical advice he had ever received was, when putting a band together, to always book the best musicians available! By including me in his plans, I humbly recognised the compliment! From quartets around Cartmel and Flookburgh, to a six-piece 'Dave Savill and friends' at the Whitewater, and some longer journeys to Keswick, Cockermouth, Carlisle, Leeds, Northumberland, I got to know not just Dave the entertainer , but also a quiet man who listened a lot, enjoyed company, and thought about life.
He had a great love of playing 'third cornet' in the award-winning Flookburgh Band after coming to live in the South Lakes. At their Christmas concert a few years ago he was sent forward from the cornet section to play a 'jazz' solo on an arrangement of 'Mood Indigo' - the audience (including myself and my wife Ann) were surprised and delighted-and proud to witness this truly professional performance.
Dave had some 'favourite tunes'. He loved to play solo, without spoken introduction, or accompaniment, the verse to 'Tea for two', and then ask the audience if they knew the title of the tune! He splendidly demonstrated the possibility of singing an entire chorus of 'Up a lazy river' on one note. He had perfect pitch, and unaided, would sing ' Won't you come along with me' to start 'Basin Street Blues.
Dave recently recorded with Mike Lovell's band, and in October 2005, Mike invited Dave and I Norman Field, Keith Nichols, Louis Lince, & Nick Ward to play a concert at Thornton Little Theatre which was expertly recorded by Peter King ,and released !( PEK label CD-286.)
At a 'Dave Savill and friends' gig Dave would introduce the evening by saying that "actually I haven't got any friends"! Well any-one should be allowed at least one error of judgement!
Some thirty years or so ago I was booked to play at a little pub in Bedfordshire, well known for its regular Sunday evening jazz sessions. I was slightly surprised when an immaculately suited, ‘Brylcreem’ haired, bespectacled, school teacher-like young man approached the stand and asked for a ‘sit in’. This was my introduction to the multi-talented Dave Savill, superb trumpeter, Max Wall impersonator, master joke teller, alcohol connoisseur and all round good fellow. On hearing him play, my surprise turned to pleasure and a firm friendship was formed
As the years passed Dave and I often played together on local gigs. Although his main source of income was from teaching, he occasionally dipped into the professional ranks by joining such outfits as the ‘Midnight Follies’, the ‘Pasadena Roof Orchestra’, Terry Lightfoot’s Band and a well documented, albeit brief, sojourn with Pete Allen.
At the end of Alex Welsh’s too short life, I had short spells with various bands before taking up cooking for a living to enable me to settle down with my new wife and child and was thus employed when, in 1987, Dave and I were reunited for the longest spell of our working relationship. Sousaphone player Bob Bates was getting more and more gigs with a Band called the ‘Barra Boys’. The gigs were as varied as they were numerous: dressed as Cockney Costermongers, Toy Soldiers, Dickens characters and even clowns, we played for civil receptions, business functions, garden parties, race meetings, private parties, shop openings and fun days. There could have been no one better to play the lead than Dave. His musical knowledge and repertoire was second to none and I remember playing requests as varied as Ravel’s ‘Bolero’, ‘Mull of Kintyre’ and the ‘Dam busters’ Theme all on the same evening. We ended up going all over the U K opening refurbished Woolworth stores and entertaining the spectators at World Cup cricket matches and round Britain Cycle races.
I don’t intend to dwell on Dave’s private life. He had marital problems and his drinking led to brushes with the Law, but as far as I’m concerned they were his business.
I was personally disappointed when he and his teacher partner Sue decided to retire, sell up and move to Grange over Sands, although something inside me told me it was for the best. He was drinking too much, and his health was deteriorating. It was so sad to learn on the grapevine of his separation from Sue and her subsequent early demise, and of his battle with pancreatitis. I saw him only one more time, some years ago now, at the Keswick Jazz Festival. He looked pale and thin but ensured me was well on the way to recovery.
It comes as a real shock to me to learn of his passing. I am proud to have made a couple of CDs with him. One is with the ‘Barra Boys’ and the other a live session recorded with Roy Williams, Al Gay, Pete Skivington and Graham Scriven. As always his playing is wonderful.
Dave Savill - A study by Barrie Marshall
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