Dave Copperwaite RIP
25/04/38 - 23/03/18

Photo by Fred Burnett taken at the funeral of Gabe Essien

From a cassette recording of Dave performing his “signature vocal” (That same old love)
 recorded at Eagley in 1993, by Graham Martindale lewisdvd


Dave's interest in Jazz began as a 14-year-old pupil at his school's Jazz Club, where he first heard Bunk Johnson's 'Dark Town Strutters Ball', which got him hooked for life.  Later, whilst studying at night school, he was given a cornet, at about the same time as he was seeing bands like Chris Barber's, The Saints, Johnny Dankworth's Seven, Mick Mulligan's and, above all, the Yorkshire Jazz Band, at Keighley Baths. 'I went for New Orleans' music preferentially, but listened to anything I could.'    Read more of this article by Andre Liddle from Just Jazz 2008


23/03/18 -

Our dear friend trumpet player David Copperwaite died today after a long illness.  We will post more information and funeral details later. -

Derek and Trish Galloway

23/03/18 -

I was much saddened to hear, via Derek and Trish Galloway's message, of the passing of David Copperwaite. I knew him well as we had played together on many band jobs.

Martyn Sharp


Although we knew Dave had been ill for some time it was still sad to read today that he had died. Dave appeared many times at the Harp in Albrighton with his own band, Louisiana Highway, or with Sarah Spencer's band, often with Derek Galloway on trombone.... always brilliant sessions. As is said about so many musicians he was not only a great player but also a lovely guy, it was a pleasure to meet him on so many occasions.

John and Marie Howell Jazz Club 90

25/03/18 -

I've known Dave nearly all my life, as he went to Keighley Grammar School with my elder brother, who was also a jazz lover, and they spent many hours listening and swapping 78s back in the early days. I picked up the bug also and we attended many jazz concerts around the area and beyond. Dave was not the usual fiery redhead, but quite a gentle person and passionate and loyal to his kind of music. He moved away and I moved over the Pennines 40 years ago, so had lost touch, but met him by pure coincidence in Blackpool at a jazz weekend and we had a good, old natter. He came to play for Norman Gibson and I in Overton when Sammy Rimington was on tour, and he had a dreadful cold that evening, but took his medication on stage and carried on as usual, without complaining once.  RIP Dave - and to his wife, you were a lucky woman.

David Wellock

25/03/18 -

So very sad to learn that Dave Copperwaite has passed away. We played together with the Milneberg ‘Boys’ Jazzband at ‘Fox & Barrel Inn’, Cotebrook residency and indeed many functions around Cheshire over several years. His trumpet lead was always strident lifting the rhythm section while ‘worrying’ bar staff for the safety of the optics with his top notes.

His Yorkshire wit was also never far away. Another great miss to the seemingly ever decreasing jazz fraternity.

Thoughts are with is family and fellow musician friends at this sad time.

Alan Davies

25/03/18 -

Saddened to hear of Coppers passing I first met Dave & Carol in the early seventies when Dave was playing with the Donohue band at the crown on Blackfriars street I enjoyed his company many times over the years.

Bill Clarke

25/03/18 -

I must admit that I shed a tear when Derek rang me to say that my good friend Copper had finally lost the battle. My initiation into northwest jazz scene started much later than most so I only met Dave in the 1980’s. For whatever reason I seemed to get on well with Carol and Dave and I often used to pop round to Kimberley Avenue just for a cuppa and a chat. When he became ill I visited whenever I could (as you know I live in France now) but not as often as a friend should, something I now deeply regret.

My little cassette player recordings have enabled me to listen to Dave’s wonderful intricate and flowery solos over the years, and his beautiful duets with Dennis Armstrong in the French Quarter Parade Band gigs still send shivers down my spine.


A short video of some clips from our Cork adventure in 1994, filmed at The Gadlys Hotel in Anglesey, a short while before our coach ground to a halt in the middle of nowhere on the way to the Hovercraft (**).

Derek has been a great friend to Dave over recent times but the best photo of Copper & Derek I can find is what is below. Also attached are photos of Copper & Sammy Rimington and one with Dave's best mate Tom Alker.

Graham Martindale



26/03/18 -  Dear Fred,

I am greatly saddened to hear this news. I used to hear Dave play regularly more than fifty years ago in two venues in central Halifax and, occasionally, at the Old King's Head, in Bingley. He always played New Orleans' music the way it should be played, with freedom and exuberance. The afternoon I spent with him for the interview about ten years ago was hugely enjoyable and informative and, fortunately, I still have the tapes as a memento of a great man. I think I got enough material from him to have written three articles. The affectionate anecdotes about the people he'd played with just poured from him. I don't think I have ever heard any other band play Where The Blue Of The Night, but he used to play it a lot in the old days - and I don't think I'll ever hear the song again without thinking of him.

Andrew Liddle

Louisiana Highway play In The Blue of the Night

Video © John and Marie Howell Jazz Club 90

28/03/18 -

So sorry to hear of Copper's passing.  Remember playing alongside Dave and Dennis Armstrong in the Spartan Brass Band in the late 50's and 60's .  and for many years the French Quarter at Keighley Gala.  Done sit down bands with Dave too over the years.  Many happy memories.  Rest in Peace mate.  Love to Carol.   

Jeff Milner

Dave and I played together in The French Quarter for some years, and later in the Milenberg (never quite sure of the spelling) Boys, weekly at The Fox and Barrel at Cotebrook as shown in one of Graham M’s photographs. I also depped occasionally with Louisiana Highway at the Arden Arms, Stockport. Although Dave had firm opinions on many matters (and true to his heritage did not hide them) he was very open-minded (and hugely knowledgeable) regarding jazz. His deep love of New Orleans music was very apparent, but he was not afraid to venture much further afield in instrumentation, repertoire and style. This surely is the essence of jazz. Meryl and I send our condolences to Carol, with many happy memories of Dave and sessions that were never dull.

John Muskett

Photo - Barrie Marshall at Jack Swinnerton's funeral

29/03/18 -

I first heard Copper on a week-morning BBC radio programme, presented by I think, Brian Redhead in 1973. I can't remember the name of the Yorkshire band, but I was impressed by the clipped off opening notes of the melody. As I was planning to start the first band in my own name along with Rod Chambers, Johnson and Ian Rose. I tracked him down and asked him if he was interested. To our surprise he jumped at it, left his job and moved to Manchester before he'd found another one. He didn't have a car, so he was homeless.

We got a Saturday night residency at The Nag's Head which was very successful, and Copper started working for the pub as the odd-job man. We found out that he was sleeping on the pub's padded benches, so started passing him around as a house guest.

In exchange for staying weekends at our house. I said he had to help me put posts and fencing in my hen pen. That was a flop. He was rubbish at fence posts and wire netting, and we spent most of our time stopping to drink beer, whilst shooting the breeze. We did however make time to practice new tunes for the band.

He eventually found an accounting job and shared a house with Derek Galloway, Johnson (the bass player) and David Woonton. (some good stories around those days.)

Then of course he met and married Carol. They found a nice home and from then on he never looked back. Farewell to a good ole boy.

Dave Donohoe

10/04/18 -

Sorry to hear of Dave's passing. I was at school, (KBG), with him in the early 1950s and played drums in the first band he ran, The Crescent city band, along with, among others, the late lamented Malcolm Webb. We must have made a terrible noise, as none of us could really play our instruments, but what we lacked in ability we made up in boundless enthusiasm!! I lost contact with him when he emigrated over the Pennines, but joined up with him again in the Eclipse parade band, which we both eventually had to leave due to a lack of “puff”.

RIP old buddy.

Peter Cridland.


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