Dickie Hawdon
27/08/27 - 24/06/09

 

 "Daves Departure" written and played by Dickie Hawdon with the Terry Lightfoot Band 

 

25/06/09 - "I had a phone call this morning at 6 am from one of Dickie Hawdon's daughters, saying that Dick had died suddenly of a heart attack. We met nearly 60 years ago, and he and his wife Barbara have stayed in touch ever since. I spoke to him on the phone only a few days ago. I'll miss him a lot. Cheers" - Dave Stevens

26/06/09 - I've been told this weekend that trumpeter Dickie Hawdon has died. Born in 1927 in Leeds, Dickie Hawdon played trumpet, flugelhorn, tenor horn, string bass and cello. He started as a traditionalist in the late 1940s when he formed the Yorkshire Jazz Band, and then he went to London in 1951 and played with Chris Barber and the Christie Brothers Stompers. It was with the Terry Lightfoot band that I first came across Dickie Hawdon. On a CD called "British Traditional Jazz Collection Volume 1" there is a 12 bar blues track called "Dave's Departure", written by Dickie, and a number which made the hairs stand up on my back with the beautiful harmonising of trumpet and clarinet by Hawdon & Lightfoot. In the late 90's I was lucky to make email contact with Dickie Hawdon and we had some good chats. John Westwood tells me from Spain, "The 'Dave' referred to in the 'Departure' was indeed Dave Stevens, and it marks his departure for Oz - where he's lived ever since, but does a 'World tour' each year. 

26/06/09 - "He was a great driving force from the beginning and will be missed by very many. The 'Dave' referred to in the 'Departure' was indeed our Dave Stevens, and it marks his departure for Oz - where he's lived ever since, but does a 'World tour' each year. He's here again in Sept. and gig-organising goes on apace†as you can imagine. He'll be spending a couple of weeks in the UK early Oct. - you might perhaps make this fact known to the News-readers, some of whom may remember Dave from when he, in the '50s, played with Dickie Hawdon's Band, then Mick Mulligan, Sandy Brown and most famously, Alexis Korner right into when†he set up†his 'Blues Incorporated'. I'm sure a get-together would be popular all round!". - John Westwood

29/06/09 - "Fred - thanks for the Dickie Hawdon piece. I knew Hawdon well in the days when he played with Don Rendell - post trad days! They had a residency at the London Jazz Centre - London's first 7-days a week venue. He was a super guy and loved all branches of "our" music. A fine musician. Best wishes". - Brian Harvey

02/07/09 - "Hi Fred. I had the pleasure of meeting up with Dickie Hawdon in Glasgow during his Terry Lightfoot days. Apart from his superb musicianship, stretching from traditional to modern to big band with John Dankworth, he was also a mad keen golfer and always brought his clubs on tour. On one occasion, after an extremely late night party finishing around 5, we arranged a game for 9am. He went round in two over par - for each hole! He was also head of light music from 1974 till 1993 at Leeds College of Music, a fertile source for many of today's up and coming younger musicians. Quite a set of achievements for a great guy". - Ian Boyes

05/07/09 - Hi Fred, Gavin Hawdon here - the late Dick Hawdon's son. Hope you don't mind me contacting you but I was looking through some of my father's recorded works and was trying to do some research on a recording by John Dankworth to find which tracks my father played on when I happened upon your website.

Anyway, the long and short of it is, I'd never come across the song Dave's Departure before and I had no idea my father had written it! I must say it was a nice surprise to hear such a good recording and my father playing so well. His funeral was last Wednesday and the Crematorium very kindly allowed us to give him a 'New Orleans' send off with some of the local musicians (... and when I say this I mean the few ones left alive on our side of the Pennines, including Ed O'Donnell!) doing the honours.† Keep the website going and thanks for making me smile on a Sunday Evening!† Gavin M Hawdon Dave Stevens was Dad's best friend in London before he moved to Australia

07/07/09 - I noticed the sad news about Dickie Hawdon I studied at Leeds College of Music and had many a good chat and comparison of styles about Double Bass with him - Keith Rae

16/08/09 - Ewan Mains - Just found your page on Dickie. Many thanks for putting all your info online.

For information, I was the last trumpet student that Dick taught at Leeds - I graduated in 1992. Dick taught me things that heavily affected my life considerably since.

I remember going down to Leeds for my audition in February 1989, I was only 17 at the time and was living in the small Scottish town of Lanark. After sitting my written entrance exam in the morning, I had a 1:30 audition with Dick. I met him in the old college bar, where he was rapidly finishing his lunch (a half of Guinness). We then went on a quick tour of the practice rooms to see which were free - we eventually ended up in a fairly small room. I had prepared a couple of audition pieces - one which I remember was 'Muskrat ramble' & was just a straight transcription of a Louis Armstrong piece. I asked Dick if he wanted to see the music as he decided to accompany me on piano for this - " no need" said Dick " I think I can busk it" came the reply. After a fairly short audition, he said something quite unusual to me- -" Listen, you're not quite breathing right - can you come back at half three & I'll give you a lesson?" I was quite taken aback by this openness. Of course I said yes. Dick later told me that afternoon I was "in" and that he could tell from the way I took my trumpet out of the case if I was any good or not!

Anyway, for my first couple of years at Leeds, I was taught by one of the normal teachers (Bob Taylor), but by my final year, I was the only trumpet left (the rest had dropped out), so Dick took me under his wing for that year. I have to say that final year was one of the most enlightening of my life. We were only meant to have an hour for my lesson, but they invariably took two or three hours, & quite often ended up in the college (civic theatre) bar. One of my most vivid memories was when we were working through a transcription of Clifford Brown's solo on "Donna Lee", the final page of the ancient photocopied part was missing, so Dick in his esteemed wisdom, proceeded to write a further full page of solo and said " well, this is how Clifford would probably have finished it" - I've still got it somewhere & it works seamlessly with the original transcription!

I also have Dick's Flugel mouthpiece, he gave it to me just before I graduated & told me I might need it one day. It looks like it was a Bach 10 1/2C trumpet mouthpiece at some point until Dick got his hands on it and cut it down, drilled out the throat of the thing & turned the shank down to fit his old & rather battered Couesnon Flugel that he kept in his college office.

I remember one year at the college's annual jazz festival ( I think it was Feb 1990). The snow was horrific in Leeds, I remember leaving my house, only to find that I couldn't see my car in the car park as snow drifts had covered it pretty much up to the roof. Anyway, I made my way into the Civic Theatre by bus for the evening show, when I got there, the show had obviously been cancelled as the guest was unable to make it due to the weather. There were quite a few people there, so the decision was made to go ahead with the show with whoever was there. Dick was on his usual double bass, Joe Palin was on piano, Ronnie Bottomley on drums with Al Wood & Trevor Vincent on horns, they did basically what was their 'raison d'Ítre' - play their hearts out - it was one of the most amazing performances I've ever seen - they were all busking the arrangements as well - no dots.

Toward the end of the second half, Dick left the stage and re- appeared with his flugel - I think Trevor and Al had been cajoling him all night to do this. Dick later told me that had given up playing trumpet/flugel in public a couple of years prior to that night as he said that he wanted to give it up before anyone thought his 'chops' were going! They did a few tunes for the finale with Dick leading on flugel - the most memorable one was 'Joy Spring' - Dick roared through the piece, trading fours with Trevor and Al & devastated the pair of them - they just couldn't keep up with him! He finished his last chorus on the piece with a sustained double C on flugel - an amazing feat for someone who said they hadn't really played much for the last couple of years, but absolutely true to the way Dick was.

As a side note, I was originally taught trumpet by Derek Brackpool, who was one of the first students to be taught by Dick at CLCM. I attended Dicks funeral at Lawnswood with Derek, as I not only felt a great debt to Dick but also that it was fitting that one of his first students was there along with his last.


I would also be eternally grateful if you could pass this email onto Dick's wife and 3 children, as I only had the chance of a fleeting visit during his funeral, and no time to properly introduce myself to Barbara and their children.

Anyway, I hope my ramblings haven't bored you too much.

Best regards

Ewan Mains


Paul Lacey - I heard from my friend pianist Martin Litton that Dickie Hawdon had died. 

Reading the tributes from ex-pupils and fellow musicians on your website brought back memories of my audition for a place on the Leeds College of Music's famed Jazz course. 

Having concluded two years on a music foundation course at the Colchester Institute (where I was threatened with expulsion for playing Jazz!) I spotted an advert for the Leeds Jazz Course and thought it might be worth a shot. After a not inconsiderable train journey up from Colchester to Leeds, I walked into the old Civic Theatre Building - which then also housed the Leeds College of Music. Having arrived on time, I wandered around baffled as to where everyone was. A jolly roaring sound floated out from a set of double-doors which I duly pushed open - it was the bar, of course! A kindly gent - Bill Charleson - spotted me and asked if he could help, I explained that I was up for an audition and he hailed Dickie Hawdon. Bill bought me a drink, a half of an awful keg bitter called 'North Country' ; he and Dick opted for the bottle of Guinness (the preferred tipple of CLCM lecturers) Dickie Hawdon asked me if I had played any jazz, and I said "yes", "Oh, well - that's a relief!" . He went on to ask me who my favourite trumpet players were and I answered "Louis Armstrong and Clifford Brown" - which was true. "Well, you've got a place!" was Dick's response. 

I was to discover later, when I joined the Jazz Course that those two trumpet players were Dick's personal favourites. I remember listening to the Louis Hot Fives & Sevens in Dick's office at the college; records that he always kept to hand. Unfortunately, by the time I became a pupil of Dickie Hawdon's he had largely given up the trumpet in favour of the bass. On the rare occasions when he did get out that horn he played some really great jazz trumpet. By the way, I remember telling Dick that I had sat-in with a great early Louis style trumpet-player called Jim Fuller at a Leeds pub. "Jim is a really good player" said Dick, and he was right.

Paul Lacey - 

ex-pupil of Dickie Hawdon and student at Leeds College of Music 1977-80 director of the award winning Back to Basie Orchestra and a consumer of a few pints of Tetleys in those days....

 


 

Richard Hawdon: Jazz trumpeter and bandleader

By Steve Voce

Saturday, 1 August 2009


I'd like to be a jolly extrovert," said Dickie Hawdon. "I look as miserable as sin on the stand, even when I'm having a ball." Despite the lack of "showbiz" panache, Hawdon went on to be one of the most accomplished musicians to grace British jazz. "I might do better if I could jolly about a bit, but I'm sure that if you force it, that shows too, so I do as little as possible."

Hawdon began his playing career in the traditional style and rose to be a valued soloist in the more sophisticated bands of John Dankworth and Tubby Hayes. He went on from that to eventually become an eminent teacher at the Leeds College of Music.

Hawdon was invariably ahead of the game, probably because he was originally taught to play the cello, with everything after that coming easily to him. After switching to trumpet, the first band he joined, in 
1949, was called the Twin City Washboard Beaters, which soon mutated into the Yorkshire Jazz Band. Hawdon's trumpet idol throughout the rest of his life was Louis Armstrong, but he was also influenced by the trumpeter Clifford Brown and, like Brown, he achieved an incredibly smooth articulation.

Moving to London in 1951, Hawdon formed his own band, and later that year, played in the Chris Barber band. He worked for a time on the jazz record counter of the International Bookshop on Charing Cross Road.

As the "trad" revival began he found himself replacing Ken Colyer in the Christie Brothers Stompers, where he played from 1952 to 1953. The two brothers had both left Humphrey Lyttelton's band, and the paths of Hawdon and Keith Christie were to cross later when both became outstanding figures in the modern jazz field.

Hawdon made his switch when he joined the quintet of the tenor saxophonist Don Rendell in May 1954. The band included another saxophonist, Ronnie Ross, and achieved a particularly mellow sound when Hawdon switched from trumpet to flugelhorn.

He joined Tubby Hayes' group in February 1955 as trumpeter and arranger, his early training on the cello enabling him to write high-quality scores with ease. Tubby Hayes hadn't yet reached the height of his fame and times on his cross-country tours were hard, with the band often playing dates to about 20 paying customers. The first big band Hawdon joined was that led by Basil and Ivor Kirchin. He was there for seven months before joining John Dankworth's big band.

His long stay with Dankworth began in March 1957 and he was one of the outstanding soloists in that band, rising eventually to become lead trumpeter in the months before he left finally in May 1963. He wrote many distinguished pieces for the band and appeared on some of Dankworth's finest records, recording his compositions "Cool Kate" and "One for Janet", dedicated to his two daughters. On a television broadcast, with Duke Ellington sitting before the band listening, Hawdon played a beautiful trumpet solo on Ellington's composition "Mood Indigo". Ellington afterwards asked Dankworth for a copy of the arrangement.

In a brief hiatus from Dankworth, Hawdon returned to traditional jazz with Terry Lightfoot. He rejoined Dankworth for the final time in January 1963. In the middle of that year he began playing at London nightclubs, and he was in the pit band at the Prince of Wales theatre for a year.

When he moved back to Yorkshire he took on the role of musical director at the Batley variety club, an unlikely setting for appearances by some of the biggest acts in the world. In an amazing piece of luck, the top of the bill in his first month was Louis Armstrong.

Hawdon stayed at Batley for a year until in 1968 he moved into full-time musical education, taking a teaching post at the Leeds College of Music. He was appointed head of the Light Music department there in 1972.

In his later years he played most often as a bassist in local jazz groups. He led his own quintet throughout the Eighties and retired from full-time college work in 1993.



Richard Hawdon, trumpeter, bandleader, teacher: 
born Leeds 27 August 1927; 
married Barbara Moran 1950 (one son, two daughters); 
died Leeds 24 June 2009.


 

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