Who first influenced me as a musician


16/07/20 -

I am happy to admit that the first musician I heard that made me want to learn to play the trumpet was Eddie Calvert and I have met really good, admittedly older, jazz trumpet players who admit the same. Next for me came Humph then Louis.    Nat and Eddie had something important in common. The ability to help people love music.    I would be very interested to hear from other trumpet players who their very first influence was.

A bit more to add to my musical schooling. Started on trumpet at about age 15yrs at school in about 1956. The music teacher gave me my instrument at the end of term ready to start lessons next term. I couldn't wait so started at home during the holiday. Humph in a book advised to always play in front of a mirror to look like your hero. I naturally play downwards so to look like him I filed my mouthpiece on a chamfer to angle the instrument upwards (I only heard of asymmetrical mouthpieces very recently). My tutor had a fit when he saw it, so back to the downwards embouchure more like Tommy McQuator. He said don't follow Humph or Dizzy because they do it wrong! Methinks they did it wrong quite well!

I joined a London County Council student dance orchestra c.59 and learned to read hot music tutored by Bert Wilton who I recently discovered played 1st Tpt. With Harry Roy in the 30's. I could not busk anything and only began learning to improvise later with Charlie Prince, banjo player with Ken Ames in the River City Stompers.

Peter Boswell

16/07/20 -

In Reply to Peter Boswell question about favourite trumpeters, for me you couldn’t go past .”Freddy Randle” Humph, Louis, and of course “ Harry James” to name a few. magic moments listening to Freddy’s version of “ At the JazzBand Ball” ..Humph recorded “ Come on Stomp, Stomp, Stomp” on my 5th Birthday, the brilliant Stop Chorus after the 2 clarinets solo. it was one of the first solos I learned to play and I used to go along when I was a teenager to the New Orleans Club and play with “The Clem Avery Jazzband “and use that solo every week until some one said “ Hold on, you played that last Week..” -

Derek Dalton

When asked if he played trumpet, Derek replied, "Yes, after many years working with the Phoenix Jazzmen in Newcastle  I played lead trumpet in Blackpool for a time with Jack Hawkins at the Blackpool Locarno, then joined Ken Mackintosh at the Hammersmith Palais in London, I ended up Emigrating to South Australia and joined  the “Band of the South Australia Police” as the principle trumpet soloist ,I  appeared in 2 Edinburgh Tattoos with the SAPOL band , 1990 .2000. at the end of the 1990 Tattoo I was the Bugler on the “Castle Wall” great memories".


23/07/20 - Regarding Pete Boswell's note on Eddie Calvert - Eddie was a terrific horn man and a nice guy to boot. He was a brass band player and had a fabulous tone but he freely admitted that he was never a jazzer. However he really admired the great jazz horn men and was really chuffed when Harry James recorded a cover version of Oh Mein Papa for the US market.

He was good to be in digs with and used to talk of his time as a sideman and featured soloist with Gerry Bright (Geraldo) and Stanley Black. However it could be a bit disconcerting when he used to open the windows in the digs and blow out to the street. He was that good that I don't ever recall anyone complaining and of course you don't get that good without a heck of a lot of practice !

Dave Moore

26/07/20 -

It’s a long time ago now, but I think the first ‘live’ one was Humph, and the way his band powered along with well arranged cohesion really impressed me. I bought my first trumpet when I was 15. The musician I still regard as my favourite, though, was Henry Red Allen Jnr. who I heard live both in New York and UK. A trumpet tutor at a seminar I attended some years ago asked me if there was anything I wanted to learn. I said I’d like to be able to growl and glissando like Henry Red. ‘So would I, next question!’ said the tutor. Influences is a slightly different subject to favourites, though, and I think sometimes it depends on the mood you are in as to how you play, and it could be anyone from Miles Davis to Louis.

Richard Knock



19/07/20 -

My interest in music started when I was 11 and I joined my school’s recorder band. Somewhere around 1955 I saw the Benny Goodman Story at my local cinema. I actually saw it every day of the week and twice through on the Saturday. A clarinet looked similar to a recorder so, on the Sunday, my dad and I bought a second hand instrument for £25. I had to pay dad £1 a month for a year to own half of it! The tune in the film that grabbed me was ‘Memories Of You’ and, in 1976, when I first visited New Orleans, I actually met Eubie Blake - the song’s writer. From those days I joined a local amateur Jazzband and have been lucky enough to be in a variety of bands ever since - leading to my present leadership of the Pedigree Jazzband.

Chris Walker


22/07/20 -

Early influences Al Rex slap bassist with Bill Haley swinging alongside Cliff Leeman . When I first played with the John Keen River City Stompers I remember being told I must have based my playing on Pops Foster and surprised the approacher with “Sorry , Never  heard of him”. True at that time !!    Bob Casey -very under mentioned bassist. 

 Guitar wise Django , Denny Wright - aspiring guitarists  all went specifically to see him with Johnny Duncan. Later Tiny Grimes is my top man. 

Incidentally ,Hello to Pete Boswell another River City member as seen on the early influences page. . 

Ken Ames

24/07/20 -

It may be hard to distinguish between heroes and influences. My mouth organ heroes were Ronald Chesney, Larry Adler and Max Geldray. Taking up the guitar in the skiffle craze, I got into blues and jazz a couple of years later and heroes were Django Reinhardt and Big Bill Broonzy. I quickly realized that I would never remotely approach Django's technique, so didn't waste time trying. After quite some years I got the hang of Broonzy's Hey Hey Blues, Guitar Shuffle and House Rent Stomp, but a boy of about the same age from Surrey had mastered these very quickly and Eric Clapton is rather better appreciated.

The first jazz I listened to was traditional. Basses were often poorly recorded, but the Dutch Swing College's output was remarkably clear, so that I somehow absorbed the logical accompaniment of Bob van Oven. Thus when I took up the double bass I had an idea of what to do, although I never copied any of his lines (to my knowledge). Only gradually did I begin to appreciate the playing of other bassists, from Bill Johnson and Chink Martin, through the wonderful music of Jimmy Blanton and Ray Brown to Charles Mingus, Scott LaFaro, Christian McBride and many others, not forgetting British bassists Alec Dankworth and Steve Berry.


John Muskett

27/07/20 -

There was a London bass player called Sammy Stokes, and many years after he influenced me I read that he'd taught Jet Harris, the original leader of The Shadows (but I'm sure he taught him double bass, not bass guitar). When I was lad growing up we had an Alan Lomax LP at home which opened with an amazing, swinging rendition of This Train is Bound for Glory – a couple of bars of solo harmonica (played by Johnny Cole), and then in came Sammy's bass. Other instruments ‘faded in’ at about the same time, but it was the bass – pizzicato, two to the bar – that gave the sense of completion. This was what we had been waiting for, and I’ll never forget the thrill of it. I have since met people who knew Sammy Stokes, but I never met him or learned any more about him than that. The first time I got my hands on a double bass (having stolen into the music room at school without permission), I listened to that harmonica opening in my head and came in, bang on time, with those descending fourths. I was away.

The first time I heard a pizzicato double bass ‘sing’ was when I saw The Jaques Loussier Trio at Birmingham Town Hall in the early seventies. Before that I’d always thought of it as more of a percussive sound: you heard it, but then it immediately died. But that night Loussier’s bassist, Pierre Michelot, played a solo that absolutely blew me away – producing a much more beautiful sound (to my way of thinking) than a bowed bass simply by applying increasing pressure and vibrato with the left hand as the plucked note faded. I’ve incorporated it as appropriate in my own playing ever since, and on more than one occasion a front-line player has turned round in surprise, thinking I was using a bow!
Pierre Michelot is the bass player with Dexter Gordon’s band in the unmissable 1986 film Round Midnight. Everyone over a certain age will have heard him on the 1960s TV advert for Hamlet cigars in the Loussier version of Air on the G String.

Allan Wilcox


27/07/20 -

 I first became interested in jazz before the ban on American musicians playing in the UK was lifted so I was totally dependent on records. The problem was that the early records I listened to like the Okeh recordings of King Oliver were acoustically recorded and I couldn't hear the drummer. So it was no drums or a demented woodpecker tick tocking away. I couldn't understand this as the very first jazz recordings back in 1917 had Tony Sbarbaro { Spargo ) knocking seven bells out of his kit and the Victor recording men handled it no problem. Gene Krupa was the first to record his kit in 1927 although it didn't sound influential to me at the time. So my first influence was Ray McKinley with the Dorsey Bros. Orch. ( 1935 ) He was perfectly recorded and had a number of drum fills. From there it was a short hop to George Wetling and Ray Bauduc , probably the greatest Dixieland drummers along with Nick Fatool. Then I stumbled across Art Blakey followed by Elvin Jones Max Roach etc. So I have an eclectic mix of N.O, Dixieland and modern drumming. One final point ; I never cared for Buddy Rich. He had a phenomenal technique but always sounded mechanical to me. " wind him up and watch him go " Even in his later years when illness had restricted his technique I much preferred Gene Krupa who I still think was one of the best.

Moe Green.

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