‘Giant’ of British jazz Chris Barber dies ‘peacefully in his sleep’ at 90 after battle with dementia as tributes pour in for pioneering bandleader
- The trombonist, double bassist and band leader was a key figure of British jazz
- He was known as one of the Three Bs in trad jazz with Acker Bilk and Kenny Ball
- His embrace of R&B and skiffle inspired 1960s bands such as The Beatles
British jazz legend Chris Barber has died aged 90 after a battle with dementia.
The trombonist, double bassist and trad jazz bandleader was a major influence on mid-century pop music.
The musician was one of the Three Bs along with Acker Bilk and Kenny Ball who led the Trad revival of the 1950s and 1960s, whose R&B and skiffle sounds inspired The Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton in the guitar-pop revolution of the 1960s.
British jazz legend and trombonist Chris Barber has died aged 90 after a battle with dementia
The trombonist, double bassist and trad jazz bandleader was a major influence on mid-century pop music
A number of famous figures in British music including Billy Bragg, Sir Tim Rice and Gary Kemp have paid tribute to Barber
His record label The Last Music Company said he died ‘peacefully in his sleep’ after suffering with dementia.
A post was also made on the official Twitter account of The Last Music Company, which read: ‘Chris Barber died peacefully in his sleep on 1st March 2021. He had been suffering from Dementia for the last couple of years. We are saddened by his loss.’
Singer-songwriter Billy Bragg said: ‘Sorry to hear of the death of Chris Barber, one of the giants of UK jazz, but also a founding father of British guitar-based rock.
‘Played a crucial role in the birth of the skiffle movement + brought US blues artists to British audiences in the 50s & 60s.’
Lyricist Sir Tim Rice also paid tribute to the musician, saying: ‘The great Chris Barber has died. Formidable influence on British post-war music & beyond, not only jazz – blues, skiffle, rock.
‘Did so much to enable US & UK musicians to cross boundaries & bring their work to new audiences. Star player too. Honoured to have known him. RIP Chris.’
Barber was born in April 1930 in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire to a statistician father and headmistress mother.
He was educated at St Paul’s School in London before attending the Guildhall School of Music after showcasing his musical talent.
His record label The Last Music Company said he died ‘peacefully in his sleep’ after suffering with dementia
The musician was a defining figure in traditional British jazz and led the Trad revival of the 1950s and 1960s
Barber is pictured on the Morecambe and Wise Show with the Beverley Sisters (front) and Ottilie Patterson (back left)
Barber formed his first band in London during the 1940s but it was only when he and clarinettist Monty Sunshine formed a co-operative band in 1953 under Ken Colyer that his career took off.
He also shared a long-standing partnership with trumpeter Pat Halcox, who worked with him from 1954 to 2008 in his various bands.
The band would find success with singer Ottilie Patterson – who he was married to from 1959 to 1983 – as they progressed from small jazz clubs to concert halls
Barber enjoyed chart success when he played the double bass on the 1956 record Petite Fleur as the song reached the top five in both the UK and the United States.
Barber, pictured with Frank Ilfield (right) formed his first band in London during the 1940s
Barber enjoyed chart success when he played the double bass on the 1956 record Petite Fleur as the song reached the top five in both the UK and the United States
Chris worked closely with Lonnie Donegan, the band’s original banjoist and the pair often included a short set of skiffle – American country blues and folk songs – in their concert sets.
The pair’s version of Rock Island Line in 1955 became the first debut vocal recording to become a certified Gold Disc in the UK.
Skiffle, a genre played by The Beatles in their early years, paved the way for the 1960s guitar pop and rock revolution.
Barber even recorded and performed with Paul McCartney after the singer gave him an instrumental composition called Cat Call.
He was awarded an OBE for his services to music in 1991 and only announced his retirement in 2019, having led a band for almost 70 years
Barber found success with singer Ottilie Patterson (pictured together) – who he was married to from 1959 to 1983 – as they progressed from small jazz clubs to concert halls
A recording was compiled on the album The Song Lennon and McCartney Gave Away.
Barber was a central figure in the blues revival of the 1960s and introducing performers such as Sister Rosetta Sharpe, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee and Muddy Waters to Britain.
He added electric guitarist John Slaughter to his band, which became the Chris Barber Jazz and Blues Band.
He was awarded an OBE for his services to music in 1991 and only announced his retirement in 2019, having led a band for almost 70 years.
Source: Read Full Article