Charles Wilson RIP 28th June 2015


28/06/15 - News Item - With deep regret I must inform you and therefore all those who knew Charles Wilson, that he passed away in Wrexham Hospital, we believe on 27th June. Charles had been unwell for some time but this comes as a considerable shock to us all. He will be greatly missed by all his musician friends in the Tuxedo Jazz Band and all those who support jazz.  With sadness. - Brian Woods

29/06/15 -

Just to let you know Charles Wilson, trumpet player with the River City Jazz Band, The Tuxedo Jazz Band and many others passed away on Sunday morning.  I still am in shock and unable to believe that my great friend, musician and work colleague is no longer with us. I met Charles around 20 years ago through work and at the time could not believe my luck in finding someone who shared such a passion of jazz as well as being such a fine trumpet player.

At that time he ran his own band, The Upper Quadrant Jazz Band and they played Saturday night at the Jenny Jones in Llangollen. I remember being amazed at Charles' ambition and determination; always selecting difficult and obscure tunes and always being meticulous about putting on a good show.

Charles was a very precise and fastidious person. Always immaculately turned out and any chords or lyrics sent to me would be in made with fountain pen in beautiful handwriting. He insisted on always performing different tunes, always with the verse and revived many obscure tunes from the 1920s.

The Upper Quadrant Jazz Band disbanded and Charles became a regular performer and dep with many bands. The River City Jazz Band, The Tuxedo Band, The Walled City, The Deeside Dixies to name a few. In the last year or so he had joined the Llangollen Brass Band and was relishing the opportunity of playing difficult pieces and developing his technique.

Charles also had a fine singing voice. He loved Al Jolson and Clancy Hayes and at one time used to play around pubs and clubs with a pianist performing a tribute to Al Jolson.

Although he had suffered from bad health for a few months, he was optimistic of recovery. Last week he seemed to become a lot worse and was admitted to Wrexham hospital on Saturday. Charles was a huge fan of Laurel and Hardy so when I visited him at hospital on Saturday evening I told him 'I've bought you some hard boiled eggs and nuts' we both had a good laugh. I stayed for a couple of hours and he seemed in good spirits and told me he would be going home in a few days. I promised to visit him again on Monday. Then at Sunday lunchtime I received the devastating news that Charles had passed away on Sunday morning.

Charles was a great, great friend, someone I spoke to every day and someone completely devoted to performing and preserving classic jazz. I will miss him enormously.

Duncan  Ledsham

29/06/15 -

So sorry to hear about Charles Wilson. I never actually played with him but it's so sad to hear of the death of another jazz musician. Condolences to his family, the River City & Tuxedo Jazz bands.

Peter Swensson.
Savoy Jazzmen.

29/06/15 -

You will already know about the sad loss of Charles yesterday, and although I did not know him personally I loved his style. We used to see him in Llangollen, and he also came to Cliff Crocket'Fs 100th birthday to play.

Geoff Inwood

29/06/15 -

I was so sorry and shocked to hear about the death of trumpeter Charles Wilson. I played with him about a month ago in Llangollen with the Deeside Dixies and he appeared ok then. Charles never played with the Merseys but I knew him well and played with him a number of times.

Pete Fryer

29/06/15 -

So sorry to hear the sad news about Charles Wilson. It is several years now since he last played for Jazz Club 90 at the Harp in Albrighton but we remember him well with his Upper Quadrant Jazz Band. Like so many he was a true “Gentleman of Jazz” an another sad loss for the jazz world and for his family.

John Howell.

01/07/15 -

We were deeply shocked to hear that he had passed away ,especially as he was such a brilliant young man and an excellent trumpeter, notably on the Armstrong Hot 5 & 7 style -amongst others, that we heard at the River City venue in Conwy! He would have held his own and more amongst the superb trumpeters we see and hear at the various Jazz weekends we and you attend . I think Ken Colyer would have liked him too!!

He had a special little vocal that was not at all PC for this age but he did it brilliantly, as it was written in 1913 .....Bimbo......brings a smile to me and will remind me of him for a long time!

Tony Talk

01/07/15 -

I was very shocked to learn of the death of Charles Wilson, a musician whom I greatly respected. My main contacts with him were when I depped with The Tuxedo Band at Wallasey. Charles had evidently taken advantage of brass band training on cornet, and produced a lyrical, chiming yet slightly wistful sound so typical of the instrument. Even though he played mainly trumpet for jazz in recent years, I still think of him as having the tonal approach of a cornettist. And he was a good singer.

He had an enquiring ear (as Duncan has noted) and was always keen to explore the lesser-trodden path. On several occasions I was able to help him with the dots and the chords of what are now comparative rarities. On 11th June this year I sent him the chords to Mississippi Delta Blues (Jimmie Rodgers), and notes and chords for There Ain’t No Land Like Dixieland To Me (Walter Donaldson, recorded by Bix and others). Characteristically he replied on the same day: little did I know that this would be my last contact with him.

About nine months ago on a television programme (I think on BBC) about preserved railways, particularly in North Wales, I saw Charles being interviewed briefly in a signal box, I guess on the Llangollen Railway: another bond, although I’m not sure we ever discussed the Iron Horse.

Can I offer condolences to relatives and friends? I shall miss Charles.


John Muskett

04/07/15 -

So nice to see that lovely smiley picture of Charles Wilson on this page. I met Charles about 5 years ago when I sang for the very first time ever with a jazz band (The Tuxedo) and he was very kind to me on that night and forever onwards. Our paths crossed many times after that and I think I embarrassed him once when I said how lucky Isabel (Toner) was to be standing behind him looking at that lovely bum of his. He was a lovely man totally dedicated to his music and always wanting to play and sing his very, very best and coming up with new and usual songs on so many occasions. My favourite song of his was My Little Bimbo which always made be laugh. Like everyone else I was shocked and upset to hear of his passing. I had seen him two weeks earlier and I had absolutely no idea he was so poorly and he played SO well on that particular night. He was of course remembered by The Tuxedo this last Thursday with tributes by members of the band who were very obviously distraught about the whole thing. He will indeed be very sadly missed.

Sue Reid-Povall

05/07/16 -

I just want to say how deeply saddened I was to hear of Charles Wilson's untimely demise. He was not only an excellent trumpet player, he was also one heck of a nice guy. Here's hoping he's managed to locate his old friend and mentor Billy Edwards, among the heavenly throng, and that the two of them are making the sweetest music ever heard in heaven.

Fred McCormick.

05/07/15 -

Exceedingly sad to learn of Charles Wilson’s death. It was some years ago when I last played with The River City Jazzband in North Wales and Charles was on trumpet. I recall well to this day his easy musical lead and gentlemanly personality. It was not surprising that he was ‘in demand’ with several bands.

Indeed another sad loss to the jazz fraternity, up country.

My condolences to his family and all musicians who had pleasure of being associated with Charles and his musicianship.

Alan Davies (Cornwall)


Writing about Charles Wilson is going to be difficult, I know. When I first read the terrible news that he had died, I was literally left speechless. I've played with him a number of times in the last nine years while depping with The Tuxedo, the River City and the Deeside Dixies, and I always thought of him as part of the next generation - the one that would keep the flame burning when we'd gone. How could he have gone first? I loved his playing, and I loved his singing. I loved the way he knew all the verses and all the details of who wrote the lyrics and the music, and when and where the music we played was first recorded. I loved his inclusion of Al Jolson songs in his repertoire, and the skill with which he interpreted them – the perfect balance (as it seemed to me) between imitation and mimicry, admiration and wry amusement. When he took the lead, he struck the perfect balance there too – between authority and modesty. I wish I’d known him longer, and that we’d played together more often. Sadly, it will not be possible for me to attend his funeral, as much as I’d like to, but Helen joins me in sending our warmest condolences to his family and friends.

Allan Wilcox,

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