Phil Yates
15/06/1950 - 02/09/2017

Photograph supplied by Richard knock

03/09/17 -

I was on my way home from a lovely weekend away, when I received this devastating news from Rachael Yates - "This is Phil Yates' daughter. It is with sadness that I must inform you that Phil Yates passed away yesterday,  from a feared heart attack (we are yet to find out. I know that he was a big follower of your website and played a big part in the NW jazz community playing clarinet (such as The Mathew StreetDowntown DixiesYarrow River and Jazzin' It). I thought it would be nice if you could mention this on your website, so as to spread the word as well as celebrate his life? ".     

Phil was just 67 on 15th June, and was a giant of a man with a most gentle nature. I know he read this site daily because as soon as I put a request on the site, Phil was invariably the first to answer if it was something he was able to help with. I first met Phil at the Wray Village scarecrow festival near Lancaster, where the New Riverside Jazz Band were playing, and Phil was chatting to fellow reed player, Barrie Marshall. Phil invited us to go over to see the Mathew Street Jazz Band, in Mathew Street Liverpool, which we did.  Barbara & I send our condolences to Rachael and the rest of her family.

Fred Burnett

03/09/17 -

Very sad news. Phil Yates died suddenly yesterday. The local music scene has lost a real talent. Phil was one of the best New Orleans style clarinetists I have ever played with. He was also a very dear friend and we always travelled to gigs together.
I have known Phil for more than 30 yrs. The photo shows The Rioters in the mid 80s. A very young Jeff Lewis. James Lucas on trumpet and his son Phil Lucas and his daughter Rachael in the background. The other young girl is my daughter Louise. Roy Swift on drums and Wilf Jenkinson in banjo.

My thoughts are with Jocelyn Yates and their daughter Rachel Xin. We will never forget

RIP - Phil Lucas (Facebook)

04/09/17 -

Sad news Fred.

Pete Daniels


Very sad to hear about Phil Yates, he was a founder member, like myself, of "Jazz 'n it" the band was formed through members of your Jazz northwest web site. Our thoughts go to Phil's family.

Gerry & Margaret Clayton

04/09/17 -

Phil's daughter Rachel rang me yesterday morning to give me the sad news about Phil. It was such a shock it's hard to know what to say. Phil was an accomplished musician and good friend. He joined the Yarrow River band in December 2003, and was still with us on a recent private gig in May of this year. Of course he was well known on the Liverpool scene with a number of bands, and I was always particularly happy when I was asked to dep and knew that Phil was on the gig. He recently played with the Tuxedo band both in Wallasey and Southport depping for Gerry Owen. My thoughts are with Jocelyn and Rachel at this sad time for them. Phil's untimely passing is a loss to us all.

Richard Knock

05/09/17 -

So sorry to learn of Phil’s death he did a couple of dep jobs for me/Tuxedo early this year and I played in other bands with him. It is another genuine loss to Merseyside of a dedicated musician.  Condolences to his family from me and all the Tuxedo band and supporters/followers of jazz.

Brian Woods

06/09/17 -

 Like many others I am still in shock about Phil's sudden death. He and I played together for more than 30 yrs since he joined The Rioters Dixieland Jazzband in the early 1980s. After that we have both been members of The Dobbs Gutter, The Yarrow River and Downtown Dixieland jazz bands. Because we both live in Crosby we always shared the travel to gigs taking it in turn to drive. Little did I think at 1am the other Friday after playing with Phil at the Caledonia that I would never see him again. He was a gentle giant and a truly gentle man. His knowledge of music was amazing. Not only could he immediately tell you the name of a jazz number he could also tell you who was playing and when it was recorded. We had so many great discussions in the car. He was a great Dylan fan and also loved Wagner. He and his daughter Rachael went to the whole of the Ring Cycle!

I loved Phil's gravelly singing voice and he did great interpretations of St James Infirmary Blues and It's a Sin to Tell a Lie. He was also an excellent Clarinet player and could do feature numbers like Stranger on The Shore and St Phillip's St Breakdown. I am going to miss him so much. My thoughts are with Jocelyn and Rachael.

RIP Phil

Phil Dorgan

06/09/17 -

Dear Fred,

I was so shocked and saddened to hear the news of the passing of my good friend and music associate Phil Yates. He was such a lovely guy and no mean clarinet player.

We played together in lots of bands over the years, beginning with The Dobbs Gutter and Alt River bands in Formby and Southport some 30+ years ago and most recently for many years with the Rioters Dixieland Jazz Band with other casual jobs in between.

It was always a pleasure to be on the band stand with him, his clarinet playing and singing being a great asset to any band.

A genial giant of a man. We had many memories, among which was "We were in the last Dobbs Gutter band which closed the last ever Formby show".

Thoughts and sympathy to Jocelyn and Rachel.

Roy Swift


Saddened to hear about the untimely death of clarinetist Phil Yates, whom I knew well from gigging in Liverpool with the Dowtown Dixieland Band etc. He will be much missed on the Liverpool jazz scene by those who knew him.

Peter Fryer

18/09/17 -

I met Phil Yates several times at The Shrimper in Southport, when I was playing and he had come to listen and support. As others have remarked he was a humorous, sociable, knowledgeable and gentle man, and I much enjoyed our conversations. Eventually we played together at one (possibly more) of Arthur Pedder’s Monday night sessions some years back in Kelsall: most enjoyable. He could wield the pen with devastating wit.   His death is a sad loss to many.

John Muskett


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