Monty Sunshine

8th April 1938 - 30th Nov 2010



30/11/10 - Fred I heard today that Monty Sunshine passed away at 12.45pm today, Tuesday 30 November, with his wife Jackie at his bedside. He was 82.  

01/12/10 - Monty Sunshine's funeral will be at Golders Green Crematorium, Hoop Lane, Finchley, at 11.00am West Chapel. Band meet at 10.45am Thursday 2 December.  -  Mike Murtagh 

30/11/10 - Sad news indeed. Monty was the best bandleader I ever worked for". - Louis Lince.  

30/11/10 - What terribly sad news about Monty Sunshine. He really was the nicest bloke you could ever wish to meet. A beautiful player, huge fun to be with, and an absolute gentleman. Always tremendously encouraging to younger musicians, he will be very sorely missed by jazz fans around the world. Rest in peace, Monty" - Les Bull.

30/11/10 - Monty rose to fame with the Chris Barber band in the 50s and led his own successful band until ill health forced his retirement a few years ago. I played a number of gigs with him as a guest and in his band in the 80s. I met Monty at George Webb's funeral for the first time in 20 years and was delighted that he remembered who I was. A nice chap and a pioneer of traditional jazz in the UK. See Monty playing 'The Old Rugged Cross' in 1990 with Colin Bowden and members of the Chris Barber Band   RIP Monty". - John Petters

30/11/10 - Sad news that Monty died earlier today aged 82, his wife had read extracts from 'Goin' Home' to him in the nursing home which he very much enjoyed.

Kay & Tony Leppard
Ken Colyer Trust

30/11/10 - I am so sad to hear of Monty Sunshine's passing. He was the first jazz claimed player I ever heard, and for some time, until I discovered George Lewis, I only bought Chris Barber records to listen to him,  Monty had a big influence on my playing.  I went to see the Barber band at Kendal Brewery and asked Monty if I could have a quick word.  When I told him I played an E. J Albert Albert System clarinet he took me see his E. J Albert instrument. We had short natter then he had to go back on stage.

I bought Petite Fleur when it was a hit. I was not interested jazz, but like many I bought the 78 and I played it for ages, not bothering to listen to the B side, and when I did I was knocked out with what I heard - I'm almost sure it was Whistling Rufus.  I fell for the clarinet playing and rushed out to my local record shop to see if I could find anything else. He just had an EP called Chris Barber Plus One Minus One (Ben Cohen was the plus), and I still have this worn out 45rpm disc. That was it! I had to have a clarinet, and fortunately my sister and her future husband bought me one.  In those days I could just about whistle every Monty Sunshine clarinet solo. In my teens and early twenties, I listened to the Barber band constantly just to hear Monty.  I recently bought an iPad and I have been downloading tunes from iTunes, the majority of  which are early Barber with of course Monty on clarinet.  He's still getting to me after all these years. Farewell Monty and thanks.

Barrie Marshall

30/11/10 - Sad news indeed Fred
Monty was a great character and will be sadly missed.
I would like to add my sympathies along with the hundreds of Monty Fans
Thank you Monty for the Good Times.
Pete Darwin

01/12/10 - Hi Fred,
Sad news - and of course I will play Petite Fleur - thanks for letting me know.
Anne Hopper at:
BBC Radio Cumbria's Barrow Studios

02/12/10 - Dear Fred, 

Dreadful news regarding Monty, always a delight to hear. Petite Fleur was good but Hushabye, the original one with Lonnie. was always my favourite. Were I in UK, I would request that one too. 

Regards Mike Walmsley 

04/12/10 -Dear Fred, 

I should like to add this memory regarding the sad news of the loss of Monty Sunshine. I had an important interview at the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin on a snowy day in the early 1950's when I came across him in Grafton St. He asked me where he could get the best jewellers to buy an initialled signet ring. I was able to take him to the best, and I was with him buying a smashing ring! The incident was able to distract me after what had been an anxious interview, and I have always remembered that afternoon. 

Chas Parry-Jones


Sometime around the beginning of the 1970īs Monty and his band came to Leeds Jazz Club, and when the gig was over, as we the audience left, he stood at the door and shook hands with every one of us and thanked us individually for coming. What a gentleman!

Very Best Wishes,
James Hall (In Mallorca) 

13/12/10 - Hi Fred,

I would like to add a bit to the Monty Sunshine tributes, it shows how highly jazzers were regarded then, as the big pop stars are today.

Once, it must be back in the sixties, the Chris Barber band was playing a concert in Dublin, and Monty was the only band member to call in to our little jazzclub on Stephens Green.

A pretty fan (where is she now?) asked him for his autograph, but not having pen or paper to hand he obliged by signing his name in lipstick on her arm.

A photo of this appeared the next day in the local paper with the caption "I'm never going to wash it off."

Oh the price of fame, but what a lovely man.

Sid Bailey

See also Telegraph article

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