Gordon Stafford
RIP 11th Nov 2019

Photo supplied by Mike Lovell

12/11/19 - I have just been reliably informed by Mike Lovell, that well known and loved clarinet player, Gordon Stafford, died yesterday at the age of 81. Gordon had in fact been  playing with Mike Lovell since Mike moved down to Cornwall. Although Gordon was living in the South West, he was well known up here having played with Johnny Tippett's Jazzmen, who were based in Stockport., and according to Tony Pollitt in "The forty years of the Savannah Jazz Band", was one of its early members.

12/11/19 -

Just heard from local grapevine that Gordon Stafford has passed away.

 Being from Cheshire, he played with my band Delta Jazz  quite a few times near Chester then again when he joined the NW exiles in Cornwall  he contributed much to several band as here including The local Armada Jazzband and my own Tamar Jazz. He was indeed well thought of both up in Cheshire and more recently in Cornwall, especially the far west as he lived at Newlyn, Penzance.

Gordon's talent and personality will be sorely missed.

Alan Davies

12/11/19 -

That is sad news!

Pete Lay

12/11/19 -

Sad to hear this, I remember Gordon with great affection

Laurie Cooper

12/11/19 -

So sorry to hear this. I first got to know Gordon at the Cheshire Cheese, not long after I moved to Buxton. More recently, we often met at the Smugglers on my visits to Cornwall and it was a pleasure to meet up and swap news. We rarely played together but Gordon was always interested in what I was doing and gave me a lot of encouragement. It was a lovely surprise to meet Gordon in Cornwall, I didn't know he'd moved down there. We always had a chat about the old days. I remember Hayfield is another place where Gordon had connections. There was a jazz festival there for a few years, and Eric Brierley and Sheila Collier both lived nearby.

Sam Wood

13/11/19 -

Very sad. I sadly only had the opportunity to play with Gordon on a few occasions and he brought out the pyrotechnics in me. We were a bit like Pete Fountain and Al Hirt. Heaven knows what the punters thought about all that technique flying about (although there were never any complaints). Gordon really was a master technician.

RIP Staffie.
Ian Royle

14/11/19 -

Having only been in Cornwall for only a few months and wanting to start another band, it was suggested that I should contact Gordon a he was a good clarinet player.   “GOOD” he was an “EXCEPTIONAL” player.

Although we have only played together a few times, both with the Funny Feathers Jazz Band and with mine, The Kernow Swingtet, I got to know him a little bit. He had a lovely, wicked, sense of humour . travelling to gigs, even at the age 81, was never a problem . He was always very busy, playing with several bands down here in South West.

He will be greatly missed, not only as a fine musician, but as very nice man.
Mike Lovell

14/11/19 -

Sorry to hear about Gordon Stafford's death. I remember him depping for an ailing clarinettist with one of the major British trad bands in a Free Trade Hall concert in the 1960s. I think he was featured on High Society. Sadly, I can't remember which band. May be another of your subscribers was at the concert and has a better memory than my 79-year-old one.

Chris Lee

14/11/19 -

Sorry to hear about Gordon he played many a session with me at the Devonshire Arms and with the Harlems before moving down to Cornwall. A fine clarinetist.

Ian McCann.

17/11/19 -

We ran Sunday lunchtime jazz sessions in Hayfield for 21 years, finishing in 2004. Through the 1990’s these were at the Royal Hotel (where our current enterprise has just begun) and Gordon played with me alternating weekly with Brian Smith, I was so lucky.

Consequently I was able to enjoy Gordon’s quirky clarinet playing, friendship and wonderful amusing company through that time. At first he lived in Bollington but moved to Hayfield and we became ever closer.

We were both busy musicians and at weekends, together and separately we were working solidly. Come Monday we had what our friends called “Muso’s Holiday Monday” and we would set out to compensate for all the boozing we had missed over the weekend. This was largely a snooker and beer festival which started about midday and continued to mid evening when Gordon would say “time for solids” and we would stagger home.

At this time he met his beloved partner, Lesley, with whom he moved to Cornwall. She and Gordon made flying visits to Hayfield since then and we have usually managed to meet up.

With Lesley lie our deepest sympathies,
Eric and Maggi Brierley.


Photo of Gordon playing with the Peninsula Jazzband at
The 51 Club, St Erth Praze, Corwall. supplied by Alan Davis

28/05/21 -

Recently, I came across a magazine produced in Crail, Scotland, in 1957, when I was doing National Service and It brought to mind my time there when, among other things, I remembered playing jazz with Gordon Stafford in the camp hall, where we were both serving; he was a far better musician than I could ever be. I thought I would set about trying to find him and came across your page (https://jazznorthwest.co.uk/gordon_s.htm) - I cannot say that after so many years I would have recognised him. At that time, I was the trombone player in the Down Home Jazzmen, based in Hornchurch, Essex, although my place was taken whilst I was away and I never returned to playing regularly after my demob in 1959. I did play the occasional gig, but I think the last time I played was in the 1980s. Gordon was a fantastic clarinettist and found employment playing his instrument in the Music Box cafe in Crail village several times a week. After our seven months in Scotland and a further three months in Cheltenham we were sent to Maresfield in Sussex and then to Germany, where we were despatched in different directions and I never came across Gordon again. I did, in the early 1970s, when I had business in the Manchester area, try to find Gordon, but without the internet, which seems to enable you to find anything these days, my search proved fruitless. More recently, however, I was successful, in locating Harry Long, who was the trumpet player in the Down Home Jazzmen and is now resident in the Keighley area, where he still has a band. We spoke on the phone after 64 years!

I have found a picture taken in December 1957 in Crail. We were a motley crew. Gordon, with spectacles, is seated at the right hand end. I am the short fellow, immediately behind the guy in uniform on Gordon's right. You will probably understand why I said that I was not sure I would recognise him!

Peter Cottee

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