In January 2008, Humphrey Lyttelton celebrated sixty years as a bandleader, leading a band which he ranked as one of the very best of his career. It’s hallmark is versatility,reflected in a repertoire which extends from early traditional to modern by way of Ellington and Basie. Humphrey died in April 2008, but the band bearing his name continues to play to appreciative audiences around the country.
The band’s range is also shown by the cast-list of artists whom it has accompanied on disc or in special presentations over the years,among them instrumentalists Buck Clayton and Buddy Tate and singers Jimmy Rushing, Big Joe Turner, Marie Knight, Elkie Brooks,Helen Shapiro and Stacey Kent. Perhaps surprising is an appearance on a CD by the esoteric pop group Radiohead.
The band has had many distinguished arrangers, including Kenny Graham, Buck Clayton, Eddie Harvey and Pete Strange, whom Humph introduced on-stage as ‘our staff arranger’. Not to be forgotten are Humph’sown compositions, of which he recorded well over two hundred, including ‘the medley of his hit’, Bad Penny Blues.
It’s little surprise that the prevailing reaction from audiences was ‘We never thought a jazz concert could have such variety!’
The most important ingredients are, of course, the musicians, all stars in their own right!
Tony Fisher– Trumpet
Mick Foster –Baritone Sax, Tenor Sax and Clarinet
Jimmy Hastings – AltoSax, Soprano Sax, Clarinet and Flute
Ray Wordsworth –Trombone
Adrian Macintosh –Drums
John Rees-Jones –Double Bass
Ted Beament – Piano