Jazz Professional               


YOUR VIEWS ON THE WEBSITE - (comments may be edited).

Some of the many E-mails received....

Bottom of the page

6th June 2000
E-mail from Benny Bailey, Amsterdam

Hi Ron,

Just finished doing a long tour with our favorite guy (Max Greger). He's doing a quintet now with him me, Max Jr.on piano, Charly Antolini on drums and Rocky Knauer on bass.(He was with Chet Baker for 10 years.) Quite successful.

Max does his things, and lets me do my stuff with the trio, and we do about four tunes together: Perdido, One o`clock Jump, etc. etc. Also, I've added a couple of vocals to my rep. a la Satchmo.Then the irrepressible Antolini kills em with a 15 min.drum solo. A chance to rest the chops.

Max who is a few months younger than me, 74, is friskier than a sissy in the YMCA, even doing quite a few minutes of stand up comedy, Bavarian of course. He's got a pace-maker. Had it for about 2 years. Seems to be working real well.

Glad to hear that you're doing well, and get a chance to wrestle with the fiend---The trumpet---now and again. I'm mostly in Germany playing. The money is better there. Quite busy.

Well Ronald, guess I'll have to save the rest till later. My typing is laborious, to say the least. All the best to you and yours, Stai Bene, Benny B.

[Click here for a great photo of Benny, taken during a recording session in Munich.]

15th August 2000
E-mail from Clifford Johannson, Sweden

Hi Ron! 
I just wanted to say hi and thanks for coming to visit and to listen to bad readers like me trying to find the right dots on the right time and place...well there´s nothing wrong with rehearsals....
I will keep in contact, and I appreciate the website that you have made, but the only thing that´s missing is your own biography that´s needed for the site to get complete!
Take care  ......Cliffordsax, Sweden

Cheers Clifford! You can find my autobiography in the JazzPro Online subsite under Author! Author!

3rd September 2000 
E-mail from George Watts (Spain)

Hi Ron,
I have just spent over an hour on your revised site.   It's really tremendous  -  makes Amazon.com look like a pre-school reader!  There is so much info here that it's difficult to know where to start .  Liked the graphics - just right, I thought, and the quality of the photographic material was first class.  Saw a lot of faces I knew and know but didn't cover a tenth of the available material in the time that I was on the site. 
At first I was not sure that this was the site that I reached before - it looked very official!  Then, at the bottom of the Home page I saw your name with a hyper link and realised that all was well!  
Summing up Ron, both Ann and myself think that you have got a winner here.  When you put this much time in I think that you need to get rewarded for your time and expertise.
I'm going back to the site later on!

13th September 2000
Email from Ack van Rooyen (Holland)

Dear Ron and Conny,
Just saw your website.  I'm impressed.  I always knew you could do it.
We just spent a week with the Alfred Lauer Band in Greece.  Robinson (Majorca) again.  Nothing in common with Robinson Crusoe.
Beautiful country.  Very small club so you see yourself all the time.
And the music can be killing. But we found some rest in a far away cove also belonging to the club called "schweinebucht."
Keep online.
Love Ack

19th October 2000
Email from Gabriella Denicolo (USA)

Hi There!

I am a college student doing research on Louis Armstrong. I came across your website and was wondering if you have published any articles pertaining to him. Please let me know if it is possible for me to obtain those articles within the next few days and how I may go about doing so. I would greatly appreciate your help.
Thank You,

(Webmaster's note: Armstrong articles were posted on the same day to the website under a private entry code for Gabriella to download. What service!)

23rd December 2000 
E-mail from Ian Hamer, Brighton

Am progressing with the archives - I'm getting there.  I'm seeing a lot of names that I'd forgotten about years ago. 
The Archives are amazing,I just found a bit about Harry South having two five piece brass sections with Derek, Greg, Hank Shaw, Kenny Wheels, Les Condon and I, and I can't even remember it!!!
I would love to send you a testimonial. Maybe you should write it and email me, as you are much better at putting words together than me!!, and I will send it to you!! I am also looking forward to having a look at your new magazine.
Ian Hamer  

1st June 2000
E-mail from Roy Bull (Canada)

Dear Ron,

I wonder if you were able to help Murray (Pfeffer) at all, over there in New York. I guess there can't be too many people with your knowledge of the British Band scene. I sent him a couple of pictures (of us in the Rabin band), which he was kind enough to return, that are going to be forever on-line, for future unfortunates to stare at, and wonder. He seems to have quite a good collection of things on his site, and I guess it's growing all the time.
          Hey, I hope you are still having a great time over there, and getting lots of blowing. One of these days we must grab a plane and come over and spend a few days.
        Got to go, see you soon I hope, stay in touch.

P.S.  You mentioned drummers. When I started on my first Pro job (with Tommy Sampson) the drummer just happened to be Phil Seaman, and the second one was Kenny (Duff), after that where do you go?

29th September 2000
Email from Murray Pfeffer (New York)


I know that you think that I have forgotten all about you......  Never.

Well,.... the spell in the Hospital was chilling., and I am happy to hear that you are now better.  I still can't get over their giving you a wrong diagnosis... Wow.  Now that's what I call chilling.  As far as the computer goes, - we can always replace that.  I have suffered such crashes from time to time (Windows is notorious for crashing if you are running more than one application at a time.  That's why I have a Linux box. )

Many thanks for the link.  By the time you read this, your site should be listed online on our Legendary Artists page. - here's the hotlink:

         http://nfo.net/.LNX/lart.html#LEGENDS  and scroll down.

Regards,     Murray

T H E    B I G B A N D S    D A T A B A S E    P L U S
mlp@nfo.net                                                 http://nfo.net

2nd November 2000
Email from Heinz von Hermann (Austria)

Hi Ron,
Was looking at your webpage, awful lot to read! But nice and funny.
Hope you are well. Give my regards to Conny.


17th February, 2001
E-Mail from Diana and Don Lusher

Great site.  I've linked it to Don's   www.donlusher.com.  If you want to link it to his you could do it through the Don Lusher Big Band or The Ted Heath Band.

Diana Lusher

18th February, 2001
E-Mail from Diana and Don Lusher

I have now really had time to look at the website - it's great - thanks for linking us.  I've linked you via Ted Heath Band and Don Lusher Big Band

Diana Lusher

18th February, 2001
E-Mail from Dave Allenby

I've read the first few pages of the Site and it's very good.  I'll catch up on the rest over the next few weeks.
Drop a line if you have time.
Best wishes,   Dave Allenby

17th February, 2001
E-Mail from GVOX, Philadelphia (Encore Music Software)

Hi Ron,
The site is cool  - lots of good info!
I enjoyed the Oscar Peterson interview (We had sent him the latest version of Encore a few months ago. Coincidentally, he grew up in the same neighborhood as my mother - in Quebec.)

Lucille Wurtz

21st February 2001
E-mail from Ken Mackintosh


Thanks for the Web info, I had a quick scan through it and some of the stuff looks very interesting, took me back years......you've gotta good memory to remember all this.

21st February 2001
E-mail from Andy Mackintosh

Dear Ron,

Although we never met, I've been hearing about your great trumpet playing and wonderful character for years!

I was round my Dad's house yesterday, and he told me about your web site. I took a look and thought wow!
I've read a few pages, but realised it will take me a long time to read the whole lot! You have obviously spent a lot of time writing and preparing the site.

As you can see by the subject of this letter, I am writing on behalf of the MGA. (Musicians Golfing Association)

They have elected me Chairman in their stupidity!  I don't know if you ever played Golf, but we do our best to provide the cheapest golf for the Musicians.

Our Secretary, Quinny Lawrence, (great drummer) has already included your web site in our Links page.

How about you doing the same for us?

Our url (that's what Quinny told me to call it!) is:

Anyway, my dad says how come you don't have a page about him?

Look forward to hearing from you.


Andy Mackintosh.

22nd February 2001
E-mail from Angela Morley (USA)

Dear Ron,

Thank you for putting my stuff up on the web. At least I know that the facts are correct. In almost every other case when someone has written about me, something was incorrect! 

Warmest regards,

26th February 2001
Email from Ian Hamer

Dear Webmaster and M F Lead Trumpet Player of all time ( Put this on your web site because I mean it) IAN HAMER XXX

                          LOVE TO CONNY AND YOU
                                   Marion and Ian

13th March, 2001
Email from Vera Pokorny (Munich)

Hallo Ron,

Das ist eine wunderschöne Seite. Ich werde sie drucken und an meinem Schreibtisch aufhängen. Viele schöne Erinnerungen hast du damit wieder aufleben lassen.

Danke und liebe Grüße an Connie


[That is a wonderful page. I'll print it out and hang it over my desk. You've brought back very many lovely memories.
(Vera is a department head at the BMW works in Munich. She is referring to the page devoted to the memory of her father, the bandleader Eberhard Pokorny.)]

14th March, 2001
Email from Louis Barfe

Dear Mr Simmonds,

I am astounded at the breadth and depth of the information on the website. I'm a youngish (27 years old) collector of jazz and big band records, particularly the British bands of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. I'm pretty certain that I have all but three of the Ted Heath band's albums, as well as quite a few singles, EPs and 78s. I've also developed a great love of the Parnell and Dankworth bands, and something of an obsession with Tubby Hayes.

So, to find all of this first hand material from someone who worked with them all was an eye-opener. I chanced upon it yesterday lunchtime, and found it hard to concentrate on my work (I'm a journalist, writing mostly about the book trade) all afternoon. Then when I got home (quite late - I'd been to Pinner to collect some records from a dealer, including a Parlophone 78 of the fearsome Parnell band version of The Champ), I stayed up until 4am reading the rest of it.

My reasons for writing are to thank you very much for increasing my understanding of the whole scene - particularly the TV work with JP, which has long been of great interest to me, and to ask you if you remember playing with the Heath band on a short film made circa 1960, of which I have a copy on super 8 film. The identity of the lead trumpet had eluded me for a while, but seeing your picture on the site and now being able to work out which one you are on the back of the Peter Herbolzheimer Jazz Gala Concert album, I'm convinced it must be you. The band plays Rocking in Morocco, Bond Street from Fats Waller's London Suite and closes with the Dave Lindup arrangement of Cherokee.

Many thanks in anticipation,
Regards and respect,
Louis Barfe

As regards the Heath band film - I believe I mentioned this in Ron's Pages. This is the film the Herbolzheimer band all laughed at when we saw it on Belgian television, because the trumpet section did little more than clang some tiny finger cymbals together, in Rockin' in Morocco. I do have that film clip and it is a source of embarrassment to me. I only have that one title on the clip, and it's enough. But that Jazz Gala was something else, eh?
(Ron Simmonds)

From Heinz von Hermann (Austria)

I have a big band now in Salzburg, the Oy.Oy.Oy.Bigband. It started already a year ago, when a student of mine asked me I would do that, and I agreed, but with the condition that he does the organization like getting a rehearsal room, calling the musicians and so on.

That was how we got started, but then later some musicans lost interest - there is no tradition in Europe for rehearsal bands - if we wouldn´t rehearse I said I wouldn´t go on any stage with a band that couldn´t play! 

So we had some other musicians and some fundamental discussions and now it works better, and also some other guys in the band help with the managing. Now we play 4 times a month, every last Monday from March till June. Just for 80% of the door. If we are lucky we get the petrol for the guys from outside of Salzburg!

As another result of this, I am spending much more time, struggling with Sibelius, changing old arrangements or writing new ones. We started off with some of the 170 arrangements I still have in my basement, but on a long run of course I would play my own music. Like I said to the guys in the band: If I do all this for nothing, at least would like to have a reward as well, and this would be for me to have a band with which I could try out things. 

Sibelius still bugs me a lot with stupid things, but at least the Sibelius people respond to questions. There is a chat page on Internet and a German Sibelius user list, so I have a chance to get some help at least, while with Steinberg and Finale you are lost after you buy them.

From Heinz von Hermann (Austria)

By being in mail contact with the Sibelius people sometimes I have problems in finding the right English terms (the manual doesn´t help me there as I have the German version). So could you help me with some questions?
What do you call "Faulenzer"  the repeat signs like ./.  or .//.  and the thing used on unison lines, the waveline like a trill with the words saying "col....."?

What you call Faulenzer are usually called slashes in English. In Encore and Finale they are regarded as rests, and are muted on playback. In Sibelius they are regarded as note repeats. For a Faulenzer you would normally write a note or chord, then put the Faulenzer after it in order to tell the player to repeat that note or chord. You would also put the Faulenzer, or slash, under a chord symbol, for as many times as you wish him to repeat that particular chord.

In Sibelius the slash is formed by entering a quarter note, selecting it again and typing either the number 4 or 5 key, depending on whether you want a tail on the slash. This slash will play back as a single note. The trouble is that if you want to use slashes underneath chord symbols, as is common practice in jazz writing, the slashes will still play back as notes. The only way to mute such slashes on playback is by using Midi on and off commands. If you use the Symbol slash instead, it won't repeat with the SPACE key when entering a passage of chord symbols. There is no way around this. 

There is no such thing as a col~~~~~~ in Sibelius because it would make no sense if you print out the parts. With Create/Symbol you can construct it yourself, for student scores and examples, using the tr~~~~ symbol and substituting col for tr.  (Webmaster)

17th March 2001
Email from Ossi Dudek (Berlin)

... Ich habe übrigens in Deine Web Site reingeschaut, und habe mich sehr amüsiert, es ist wundervoll, ich bin begeistert. Ich habe Deine Web Site Adresse auch anderen Kollegen weitergegeben, Andy Großmann hat mir schon gesagt, dass er schon reingeschaut hat und es sehr toll findet. Ich bin begeistert, allerdings habe ich erst München und Berlin runtergeladen, bei Gelegenheit sehe ich mir noch den Rest an, was Du da schreibst ist Musikantengeschichte, mein Kompliement lieber Ronny

[I've looked in your website and was very entertained. I am very impressed. I've given the address to other colleagues. Andy Grossman told me he has already looked at it and found it great. I've only looked at Munich and Berlin up to now (in Ron's Pages) but when I get the time I'll look at the rest. What you have written is a History of Musicians. My compliments, dear Ron. (Ossi was a member of the great trumpet section at Radio Free Berlin)]

18th March 2001
Email from Pete Cater

Hi Ron, I took a long look at the online magazine and was most impressed, you've obviously put in a great deal of hard work and it knocks the terrestrial (magazines) out of the ball park in every respect, not the least of which is that people will actually see it!
I am of course very grateful for all the positive publicity that you have showered on the band and myself and I'm glad you enjoyed the last album. It's reviews like yours that make me get off my ass and get on with it.

Very best regards,

Pete Cater

1st April 2001
Email from Dave Allenby

I saw your other site, now I seem to have just been in one called Jazz Professional which is JUST BRILLIANT and will take me several months to explore. It even says April 2001 and that only started 16 hours ago. When the hell do you ever sleep ?

Regards, Dave

21st April 2001
Email from Richard Young

Ron - what a wonderful site - I've just discovered it. Really useful and interesting reading. I was born well after the bands era really (1966) but in the UK here there is still a lively interest in bands.

We have a good Saturday afternoon of jazz of all kinds on BBC R3 but very little, if any, television jazz related coverage. Such a shame.

I enjoyed reading about the Rabin band. I see Marjorie Daw sometimes at Christmas as I'm very friendly with her sister June, who I saw just this week. I'm thrilled to read about Angela Morley. Gordan Langford on his site says that she is 'incomparable', and I totally agree. I am a huge fan and she is my musical idol. I have a 10" Lp going back donkey's years of Gershwin arrangements from Phillips - although probably forgotten by Angela - I've owned since I was 8.

Please pass on my best wishes - she is certainly not forgotten here in the UK - even though the despicable BBC axed the fine Radio Orchestra.

Regards and best wishes, Richard Young

Thanks Richard. Meanwhile, I've lost your email address. Please contact me again at your earliest convenience. Ron

26th April 2001
Email from a 'magazine' subscriber (name protected)

Dear Mr Simmonds,
I have enjoyed your side–splitting articles in Crescendo since I was a kid.
Congratulations on the most wonderful marketing strategy: ie getting Dennis Matthews to disassociate himself from you in Crescendo.
On reading it, I immediately logged on to your site and am very impressed!! How much did it cost?
Maybe I can get him to warn people never to go and dig any of our bands!!!
With thanks,
Kind regards

A 'magazine' subscriber

3rd May 2001
Email from HighChops (LA) (name suppressed)

I have not bought a Crescendo Magazine for at least twenty years. I didn't know it still existed until I started logging on to your CrescendoJazz website. I found the magazine boring apart from some things Les Tomkins and yourself did but I am amazed at the way you have now been treated by Mattthews: it was the best publicity he ever had. He must be mad or, as some of the guys in the band so admirably put it, a complete a......le. Your web site is terrific so don't worry about people like him. You were always a great writer and an even better trumpet player.

Regards from HighChops (Don and Chuck say hello)

20th May 2001
Email from Harold Barbour

Just acquired a PC and logged onto your web site. Quite stunning and one to which I can relate. I'm 65 years of age. You refer to my uncle, the trombonist Mac Minshull (Ramsey MacDonald Minshull).What can you tell me about him?
Anything would be appreciated. I've spoken with Jack Parnell, Stan Tracey, Bobby Wellins, Alan Ganley, Eddie Harvey, Danny Moss, Eddie Taylor, John Chilton and many others. I'm trying to find out what has happened to him.

The anecdotes you relate about the British Big Bands are fascinating.Why don't you put them into book form? These tales should be preserved for future generations in order to let them know what it was like in the days gone by. Again, my sincere thanks.

Harold "Harry" Barbour.

Mailto: Harry Barbour

29h May 2001
E-mail from Tom Johnson (Finale Product Manager)


Reading your review (thank you, Ron!), I hopefully will help a bit and clear up some things.

To convert Encore files, it is important for Encore users to realize that not only Finale will, but also PrintMusic! which, at $69, is a lot less expensive. The files could still be placed on the web and played back as they were in Encore - all this for $200-400 less.

Finale 2002 will be out soon and it has some features that Jazz arrangers will LOVE. I can't go into detail, but invite you to keep checking our website.

All the best,

Tom Johnson
Product Manager
Coda Music Technology
6210 Bury Drive
Eden Prairie, MN 55346
Phone: 612-906-3659, 800-843-2066 x-3659, 612-937-9611
Fax: 612-937-9760
E-mail: tjohnson@codamusic.com <mailto:tjohnson@codamusic.com>

5th May 2001
Email from Tony Savery

It was great that you could reply to me so quickly. I have discovered now that your website is much easier to connect to now. In the beginning I had indeed been on the old disused one. However with so much to read on your site It will take make a little while longer to explore it completely but it certainly is just what I was looking for.

As I did tell you I had a great respect for Cyril (Narbeth) and with you being such good friends with him I am very happy to have contact with you. I would certainly like to meet you some time.

The Frits Bayens Big Band that I play lead trumpet for, has it's own website www.fbbb.nl giving some information as to what I am doing here. Your wife is Dutch I understand so you have your own translator. We went to the Montreal Jazz Festival and played in 1998 for a crowd of 16,000 they told us. That was probably my finest hour up till now. Currently I am looking for work on the cruise ships or maybe resorts anywhere in the world. Would you happen to have a connection for me?

Good health Ron and look after yourself,

Tony Savery

7th July, 2001
Email from Sheila Tracy

Dear Ron,

I've just had a go at accessing your web site and got it and it looks fascinating.......this is terrific, now I know where to go for all my info for my two hour weekly show, Swingtime, on PrimeTime Radio. www.primetimeradio.org Sundays 3pm to 5pm BST.

Might as well get a plug in for that! It's only on digital radio at the moment but Saga launch on FM at the end of the year.

Regards Sheila

8th July 2001
Email from Helle Sampson (Tommy's daughter)

Dear Ron,

Dad has seen the website, is obviously very chuffed and takes great delight in carrying around a copy of it to show friends!



13th July 2001
Email from Bud and Linda Shank

We were recently informed of your site by friends on a jazz network, and were very pleased to see the huge profile of Bud Shank......Bud has a great website at www.budshankalto.com with a lot of current information...

...Thanks for covering Bud. Your site is getting a ton of hits out here on the West Coast, based upon the number of emails we have received regarding your site.


Linda Shank

24th July 2001
Email from Milt Bernhart

Dear Ron,
I've enjoyed your articles since before we met at The BBC. I'd like to believe that you and I are really writers who didn't have the guts to go all out and instead took the easy road ... brass instruments. At least that's what I'd like to believe. I hope all is well with you and I will surf over to your Web-site right now. I have a page of my own with the beginning of my whodunnit "The Bandleader Murder Case" inscribed. It's at the address below. Good to hear from you and I'm sure we'll talk some more.

Regards, Milt


3rd August 2001
Email from Colin Campbell

Dear Ron,

I've downloaded many of your Big Band stories and I find them all riveting. They really bring the musicians to life. Any writer who can do this has a special quality which I hope will never diminish.

Regards, Colin

3rd August 2001
Email from Stan Reynolds

Dear Ron,

I was knocked out with your web site. and will send you some lies about myself in the near future...( I am sure you know most of them.)

Love, Stan

12th September 2001
Email from Jack Dawkes - Dawkes Music, The Woodwind & Brass Warehouse

Dear Ron

I am contacting you via the firm's e-mail facility for convenience this time. David my Grandson is doing it for me due to my ignorance of such matters!

I was with Bobby Orr & Frank Griffith last night - Frank was the guest tenor player & was excellent with some good ideas. He said he was in touch with you & was very impressed with your website, so next time I am at the shop I'll ask David To show me.

Bobby Orr keeps banging on about you being the best lead trumpet in the business so I treated him to a Scotch on your behalf.

I see Jiggs Wigham (Spelt correctly?) is doing a lot of work over here now - has he moved to UK?

If you need to contact me via the firm's e-mail etc., David can give you the details - also the website.

Cheers for now.

Jack Dawkes

e-mail: info@dawkes.co.uk
Web: http://www.dawkes.co.uk (Great website!)

29th September, 2001
Email from Malcolm Robb (BBC engineer)

Ron, I'm a BBC sound engineer whose interest in sound recording was started by listening to and recording interval music on BBC television in the 1960s and 1970s.

...I have found that many of the tracks were played by bands mentioned on your fascinating site, including the various RIAS orchestras and the Sender Freies Berlin Band - (Paul Kuhn is mentioned on most of them). Indeed several of my favourite tracks were recorded while you were in that band, so your trumpet playing is most probably part of the music which I have enjoyed for all these years - so thanks for that! I am also a fan of Ted Heath, Don Lusher and Jack Parnell, whose music I remember from the heyday of ITV - good old days indeed!

...Thanks again for the site - at last I can now read about other great bandleaders such as Max Greger and Peter Herbolzheimer. And the photographs are very good too.

Best wishes, Malcolm Robb

6th October, 2001
Email from singer, songwriter, composer Marilyn Harris

Dear Ron:

I'm thrilled that you're using my photo of Manny Albam for your tribute. I met him at Eastman the summer of 1978 and he was a terrific teacher and a wonderful mensch!

... some of your readers may be interested in some of the other candid photos I've taken over the years of (mostly jazz) musicians!!

The rest of your site is SUPER - and will take me a long, enjoyable time to peruse!! :-)

Best Regards - Marilyn

Marilyn's Photo Pages

7th October, 2001
Email from Harold Barbour

What can I say? Thank you seems totally insufficient for all your efforts in locating Mac's solos on the Jack Parnell CD....
...Regarding what you say about Mac (Minshull), I am certain that he considered you one of his good friends. I appreciate what you tell me about him—of all the musicians I have spoken with who knew him and played alongside him, not one of them has had anything detrimental to say about him, and when you are researching like this you must be prepared to accept the bad with the good.

I deeply regret never knowing him and would dearly love to know what has happened to him and his family. I will continue to log onto your fascinating web site and hope you have no objection if we keep in touch. Should I hear anything I will of course let you know. My grandmother used to tell me that the Minshull family, and in particular Mac's side of same, were related to the Tollemarsh (spelling may not be correct) family, who were family of stature in Cheshire. There must be something in this as Eddie Taylor related that Mac told him this on occasions. Probably something to do with "the wrong side of the blanket".

Well thats all for now from a very wet and windy mid Wales. If you let me have your address, you have mine, then I can put you on our friends mailing list for Christmas cakes.The cakes are sent from Texas and are something else. It's up to you.
Harry Barbour.

8th October, 2001
Email from composer, arranger, trombonist Dick Lieb

Hi Ron,

I visited your website and it reminded me of a lot of people I know. I once had the privilege of studying with Milt Bernhardt for a few months many years ago when he lived in Denver, Colo. for a short time. I also went to Eastman with Ray Premru although I didn't know him that well. I used to do some original tunes for Muzak, and my publisher did his sessions in London and always used Ray on bass trombone when he could.

I played with Wayne Andre and Carl Fontana in 1956-7 in the Kai Winding Septet---I still see Wayne occasionally. Marilyn Harris is a very old friend---I think she's one of the best songwriters on Earth! We communicate regularly by email. Milt Bernhardt's article is yet another tribute to what a jerk (and bad human being) Benny Goodman was.

... let's stay in touch. I will go back to your website to read more interviews, etc., which I enjoyed doing.

My best,


10th October, 2001
Email from Helle Sampson (Tommy's daughter)

My what an epic letter!! I shall print this off and send it up to Dad asap.
Hope you are keeping well.
Bye for now

18th October, 2001
Email to Dave Allenby

Dear Dave,

Thank you for the birthday greeting. You have the same birth date as Heinz von Hermann. I've been invited to celebrate it with him in a Greek cafe in Vienna (it's a secret rendezvous, arranged by his wife) but I won't be going because it's too expensive just for one day. He is touring Romania at the moment with his group, then he'll be on tour with that marvellous trumpet player Claudio Roditi - one of my favourites. Dusko Goykovic had his 70th birthday on 14th, so you really are in a good month.

Regards, Ron

20th October, 2001
Email from bandleader, composer, arranger, pianist Eduardo Lisavetsky

Lieber Ron!

Ich bin Eduardo, der argentinische Pianist beim SFB nach Eugen Cicero.

Ossi Dudeck gab mir vor ein paar Tagen deine Webadresse und ist es auch gut so, weil ich finde deine Seiten einfach wunderbar.

Ich nehme an Du bist immer noch in Spanien.

Ich war bis zum letzten Jahr - nach SFB - zusammen mit Ossi Dudeck und Adrian Cicero beim Polizeiorchester beschäftigt - man muß halt von irgendwas leben - und jetzt bin ich ab 01.01.02 Gott sei Dank in Rente.

Ich glaube, daß das letzte mal wo wir zusammen gespielt haben, war bei Slide Hampton´s Big Band.

Übrigens ich habe mir dein Link von Heinz von Hermann angeschaut. In seine Biographie nennt er die Band Salsancó; die war meine Salsa Band in die auch u.a Greg Bowen, Barry Ross gespielt haben. Es war eine tolle Salsa Band mit 5 Bläsern.

Ron, es hat mir sehr gefreut nach so viele Jahren Kontakt mit Dir zu haben.

Herzliche Grüße, Eduardo

[Dear Ron, I'm Eduardo, the Argentine pianist who took over from Eugen Cicero in the SFB (Sender Freies Berlin - Radio Free Berlin). Ossi Dudeck gave me your Web address a couple of days ago, and that's good, because I find your pages simply wonderful.
I take it that you are still living in Spain. Up until last year, after the SFB job, I was in the Berlin Police Orchestra, together with Ossi and Adrian Cicero - one has to live from something - and now, thank God, I'll be pensioned off on 1st January 2002.
I believe that the last time we played together was in Slide Hampton's Big Band.
I've taken a look at the link to Heinz von Hermann's site. In his biography he talks about the Salsancó Band: that was my Salsa band, in which, among others, Greg Bowen and Barry Ross played. It was a great Salsa band with five wind players.
Ron, I'm really pleased to have contact with you after so many years.
Warmest greetings, Eduardo]

29th October, 2001
Email from tenor saxophonist Pete Warner

Dear Ron, Nice to get a good long e-mail from you. Like you, I can also remember Cyril's (Narbeth) address. I was sorry I had not been in touch with him for a while before he died.

It was he who gave me a shove into the biz with Teddy Foster, May 1950. I was with George Rowe at the Casino in Radford (Coventry) before then. Indeed both Cyril and I both were. Bunny (Roberts), Bernard Clarke, Ricky Gerngross and I all went down to Brighton Aquarium and we were to replace our opposite number in his band, but I was the only one to get a telegram--remember them ? Cyril was already with Teddy.

Pete Winslow was on lead trumpet and we all went to his wedding on Derby day which also coincided with my first broadcast from Maida Vale 3. Hence the old story-- the saxes had one number up and the brass a different one. As you know it was live in those days, so we had to start again.---Good old Ted !

...Yes I did see the Sampson page. Very good. The last gig I did was last March at Wisbech with the old Joe Loss band. It was dreadful but we always get a present and I get to play Splanky!!!!! The trouble with me is that I have insulted all of the bandleaders, including Don Lusher, to whom I gave my notice, which was a first for him. In all fairness though he did offer me a further Ted Heath concert after that. If I play in any of the present day bands I don't know many of the guys. They look at me and say---"Who's the old chap?"

You will be pleased to know that I had a band on Mecca in 1960 in Glasgow and had occasion to give Mike Smith the bullet. His wife never forgave me.

I always thought that you were a lot younger than me. I was 74 in September and I can only remember Tommy Edwards and Johnny Pearman, Jeff Liquorish and of course Dave Usden and the cartoon of him hanging on to Ronnie Scott's coat tail.

Take the best of care---There are not many of us left.

Pete Warner, ( The Coventry Kid ) see Pete Warner interview

6th November, 2001
Email from Peter Courtley (son of Bert Courtley and Kathy Stobart)

Dear Ron,

Just read your memorial page for my father Bert Courtley and, I must admit, it brought a few tears to my eyes.

I'm currently building a simple site for Bert and wonder whether, with your permission and a ref/link to your site, I could include your piece as I think it is one of the most touching things I've ever read about dad.

Even though it's a long time ago, it's very easy to concentrate on the last two traumatic years of his life as they had such an impact on Kath, David, Paul and myself (let alone all his close pals). What you wrote has reaffirmed the feelings and memories of the gifted and highly intelligent person he was, I only wish that I'd had more time to experience all that.

Yours, Peter Courtley

16th November, 2001
Email from Ann Morris (Webmaster of Coventry Web - great site, with an article on the Coventry bands.)

Dear Ron,

I read with great interest your letter and from a 'real' live musician of that era too! Could I please use part of your letter, plus your Forword page on your site to do an article on it all? I would of course include your URL telling people they can read further about Great British Bands...Or you could write your own article???

Hope to be hearing from you.

Take care,

[My article is now on there at: http://www.coventryweb.co.uk/editorials/writers/writersindex.html]

17th November, 2001
Email from Dusko Goykovic, Munich

Munich, 17 Nov.2001

Hello there,my old "KUMPEL"!!! Thank you very much for nice letter for my birthday - what a pleasant surprise!..Didn´t see you in a LOOOOONG time, damnit, wish we could get together, and have some laughs, and a nice cold drink to go with it...

...I have been reading ALL of your articles in "Crescendo" and have tremendously enjoyed them! I think you should collect all of that and put out a book one day, hey?..and call it "Ron´s bones" or something(in B flat!)...

...Best regards, adios muchacho - companero, muchas gracias, and
don´t take no wooden pesetas!!!


(My memoirs were given to the editor of Crescendo several years ago. He told me later that he had read half without finding anything interesting. You'll find them all on this site in Ron's Pages and A Minstrel's Tale. Ron Simmonds)

9th December, 2001
Email from Pete Myers, Hollywood film composer

...the web-site is terrific.


Pete Myers

14th December, 2001
Email from Bob Curnow

Hello to a great website. My first visit. I enjoyed what little I had time to read and see. Much more to do.

I did read the article about the Kenton mellophoniums. I played on the last mellophonium band for a year, sitting between Jiggs and Jim Amlotte in a wonderful trombone section. ... Sure there were pitch problems, but that was true of every section to some extent. And those guys really worked HARD at playing in tune.

Check out Ray Starling's solo on Artemis & Apollo, and you'll never doubt the value and beauty of that instrument. In fact, the entire recording of "Adventures in Time" demonstrates that better than my words can. I hate to hear/read the continuation of these "folk legends" about the horns. ...I loved playing with them when things were right. And that happened much more often than we are led to believe. If you heard the band in '63 in England, you heard what I'm talking about. As dismal as that tour was (no audiences, the Kennedy asassination, lousy traveling, etc.), the band was hot! And the mellophonium section played a BIG part in that. Keep up the good work.

Best wishes..... Bob Curnow

Email link

18th January, 2002
Email from Peter Boatman

...I love the website and know that you must have put a great deal of work into it, well done!

If my father were alive today I know he would love to be able to track old friends and fellow jazz colleagues.

Thank you...

Best Regards

Peter Boatman

[Peter is the son of the late Sid Boatman, Dickie Valentine's pianist.]

23rd January, 2002
Email from Dusko Gojkovic, Munich

Hello dear Ron!

Thank you very much for putting my famous fotos with C.T (Clark Terry) and Stan Getz /Stan the Man) into web site. Praise and congratulations.

You´re doing an EXCELLENT job! Must buy you a double, next time I see you...

Latest news: From January on, I am a BANDLEADER of a Jazz orkestra of Radio Belgrade.Will be flying over there once a month, rehearsing & recording, whenever I have a time between my "regular" gigs over here.We'll see what happens.

My Japanese manager-promoter called the other day: next tour is in October. HUREEEEEYYYYYY!!!
All the best for now, keep kool (how do You say that in Spanish:"LOS KEEPOLOS KOOLOS"???)

Bye for now, adios muchachos......DUSKO

21st January, 2002
Email from Holly Foster-Wells, Peggy Lee Enterprises

Dear Ron,

No problem on using the three photos. I didn't mean to imply that you could only use one.

The tribute is lovely!

Best regards,

Holly Foster-Wells

25th January, 2002
Email from Allison Rushby


I'm trying to find out who owns the copyright to the song 'Es gibt kein Bier auf Hawaii'. I think it might be Paul Kuhn, but am not sure. If you could tell me, it would be a great help.

Thank you,

Allison Rushby

(I was able to give Allison Paul Kuhn's email address and she asked him. Allison is the author of All Men are Bastards. Take a look at her website at http://www.allisonrushby.com)

29th January, 2002
Email from Katrin Kowalski

Hi Ron-
It took me ages to find the time and the pleasure to sit and read your wonderful homepage. I always thought, mine is good, but...... your´s is ......just great!

...Our Jazz ahead Quintet goes on a nice short Mexico tour for playing some concerts.
We will go with:

Heinz von Hermann : reeds
Ines Reiger : vocals
Uli Langthaler Bass
Erwin Schmidt:piano
Christian Saalfellner : drums

So You see a typical Austrian band!
I´ll comeback to You after the tour (or maybe before!!!!Just for talking!)
Hugs to Conny
Jazz Ahead Management

(Katrin is Heinz von Hermann's wife)

5th February, 2002
Email from Ken Clark, UK

... looking for information on what kind of mouthpiece Tubby Hayes used...

Ken Clark

(I was able to supply Ken with that information within seconds. What service! Webmaster)

18th February, 2002
Letter from Colin Campbell

Love your writings about getting started in bands, and, of course, the work you did in Europe. I liken you to Samuel Pepys and Charles Dickens, who wrote in their own time, and similarly to yourself. You have written and recorded, for all time, events which happened. If any young musicians or historians were to enquire how it was then to be a musician, your transcriptions vividly show events brought to life.

Kind regards,


23rd February, 2002
Email from Sid Mitchell

Hi Ron,

Thank you for your email. I would be very happy for you to use the photo of Ronnie (Verrell) as you have suggested. It was taken by me during a Jazz Curry Night at an Indian restaurant in Stoneleigh, Surrey ( The Brasserie ), where he accompanied Neville Dickie and one of a number of different reed players. The place was always packed to capacity, and Ronnie's vigorous solos were always eagerly awaited. He will be sadly missed.

Sid Mitchell

6th March, 2002
Email from Vivian Pattison, Michigan USA (Jack Parnell's niece)

You Ron are a saint. There's no way to repay you other than a heartfelt thanks. I may not find the answers I'm looking for but at least I will have tried and I won't be left wondering.

In my search, I have indeed learned a lot about Mr. Parnell's career. I really had no idea of his stature in the Jazz world. My mother of course had told me he was a band conductor and that he had worked on the Tom Jones tv show. While impressive I guess it never registered at the time she told me, (I was pretty young. ) Now if she'd told me he was a drummer, that would have impressed me as I played the drums myself! (drove my mother mad!)

Thanks Ron, for providing your wonderful website. I've learned a lot of fascinating things about jazz and jazz artists in general. If all goes well I just may find some "lost" family to boot. The internet is a wonderful thing!

Many thanks,


11th March, 2002
Email from alto saxophonist Dick Spencer, California, USA

What say old buddy? Ran into the site and it was really a nice surprise to read your piece on Munich and the Max Greger gulag. Boy did you bring back some memories. What a time that was. It took me a while to recover from that when I got back to the States.

When I got back to N.Y. I stayed there until l970. Spent a stint with Maynard Ferguson, working around the East Coast with him and also doing dates and night club stuff (the Copacabana for a long while).

Went to L.A in l970 and shortly thereafter spent a year with Harry James. It was fantastic listening to him every night. He was the best ever.

Worked around LA doing dates and working with Toshiko Tabackin Band and Louie Bellson. Did many recordings with each of them. In 73 joined the Tonight Show Band (Doc Severinsen) and stayed there until l990, when I decided I had enough of the business and went to Colorado and bought a 10 acre ranch and hung it up. Stayed there until I got sick of the snow and moved back to California 3 years ago, bought another 10 acre place with horses and the whole shot and love it. I don't miss playing at all.

I really enjoyed your writing. Take care and drop a line


15th March, 2002
Email from Les Johnston, Australia

Just come across your site. This is what I hoped I might find but never thought it possible! My name is Les Johnston and, although I was never a pro, I have been a devotee of 'our kind of music' since the mid 1940s.

In Edinburgh I was a founder member of the Edinburgh Rhythm Club where such jazz luminaries as Sandy Brown, Alex Welsh, Al Fairweather, etc., started out. My association with the club gave me the priviledge of meeting many of the mussos who visited Edinburgh. It was great to read about the Tommy Sampson re-union. What a great bunch of players he had on the stand in the early days at the Eldorado Ballroom Leith. I can't remember if it was Tommy who followed Carl Barriteau as the resident band or the other way about.

In the 1940's and 50's Edinburgh was well served by the profession. The West End Cafe had a policy of bringing in well known small groups for a week's engagement. Nat Gonella, Johnny Dankworth, Ray Ellington, Kenny Graham, Tubby Hayes, Norman Burns, Joe Daniels,Ralph Sharon and a host of others all played the West End Cafe.

Trad Jazz outfits were also featured such as Mick Mulligan, Freddie Randall. Graham Bell with his Australian Jazz Band gives it an accolade in his book "Australian Jazzman". The Astoria on Princes Street was a Sunday night venue. Local and visiting musicians appeared in great jam sessions. Johnny Keating will probably remember these occasions organised by local alto player Tony Fusco.

I emigrated to Australia in 1956 and was lucky that in my new job with QANTAS I was able to visit London from time to time and catch up with some old aquaintances such as Cliff Townshend and Ronnie Aldrich with whom I'd become friendly when the Squads played the Edinburgh Empire.

I mentioned Carl Barriteau earlier in this piece. We had become friends from his Eldorado days and I can't tell you how surprised I was one day in 1974 to see him crossing George Street in Sydney. He had emigrated to Australia and was doing a solo comedy/music act on the New South Wales club circuit. I retired in 1983 and moving to Queensland's Gold Coast I lost touch again with Carl until, one day, there he was sipping on a beer at a Surfer's Paradise cafe. Turned out he, too, had moved here and was now living not far from me.

You can imagine the memories that were brought back in our many subsequent meetings. Unfortunately Carl and his wife (vocalist Mae Cooper) left for that great ballroom in the sky a couple of years back.

Anyhow, I still have your great site to refer to when I want to delve back to the halcyon days when musicians could read music. Nowadays a few chords on a guitar and a mountain of amplifiers seems to be all that's required.

Keep on swinging and regards from Les Johnston.

31st March, 2002
Email from Fred Duligal (Toronto, Canada)

I can't tell you how thrilled I was to see the piece about Tommy Sampson. Before I was called up in 1948, I almost lived in the Eldorado Ballroom in Leith. My perception of a British name band at that time was from the pictures on the fronts of sheet music: i.e., palm trees on the bass drum, butterfly collars on the musicians, C melody sax and so on. Imagine walking into the "Eldo" and seeing seventeen ultra-hip guys sitting on the stand! If they hadn't played a note, I still would have loved them — they were my kind of people. Arranger Edwin Holland had transcribed a lot of American charts. The first thing I recognized was Sam Harding, on piano, playing the intro on Woody's Blowin' up a Storm.

I was hooked, and was there every night — never danced once. I could sing all of their arrangements; it was fantastic. When I was in the army 1948-50 I was stationed on the Isle of Wight and in the whole battalion I had one mate who was a jazz fan. I used to rave with pride about the Sampson band and he of course poo-pooed that. Then, one day, he came to me and said guess who is coming to Ventnor — TOMMY SAMPSON. I couldn't believe it.

We went to see the band and I knew the piano player Andy Dennits — he used to take lesssons from my father; and I knew of Johnny Keating, who was also in the vocal group.

I didn't start my playing career till 1954; came to Canada in 1957 and have been active as a Jazz tenor player ever since. I do what I do because of Tommy Sampson. The next time I go back to Edinburgh, I am going to try to meet him and tell him what an infuence on my life he has been, I never did meet him but I love him anyway.

Love your site.

Fred Duligal

18th April, 2002
Email from Tina Pratt, Australia

Dear Ron,
The site is great and it is good to hear about old friends.
All the best to you and your wife,
(Tina is the widow of the great Bobby Pratt)


29th April, 2002
Email from Tommy Murphy, Eire

Hello Ron,

Greetings from the Emerald Isle. Thank you for a GREAT site.

I only found the site today and was saddened to read of the death of that great drummer Ronnie Verrell. I was a drummer back in the good old days of the big bands. I still play with a small jazz group here in Ballina every Tuesday night in a pub. Just before Xmas we had Duncan Lamont as a guest; he is still playing very well. Over here on the west coast of Ireland we don't get to hear many of the musical visitors.

Went to the Cork Jazz Festival last November; some fine young players coming into the business. I work part time with the local radio and present a 2 hour show on Monday night, 10 pm to 1 am. It's a mix of Big Band, Trad Jazz, Music from the Shows/Movies.

I have fond memories of Ronnie. When I lived in London in the 50s I went to hear and see the Heath band whenever possible. I would love to be at that (Salute to Ronnie) concert, but it's not possible.

Thanks again. Keep in touch.

God Bless, Tommy

(Tommy is Honorary Mayor of St. Patrick, Missouri, USA. He has a regular radio show on Ireland's Mid West Radio. His website is well worth a visit, especially if you are from the Emerald Isle, and you can contact him through his Email link)

5th May, 2002
Email from Chris Burton

Dear Mr Simmonds, though Ron sounds much friendlier!

Suddenly discovered your website which is superb: at last a truly knowledgeble person talking about the great musicians working in Germany during the sixties and seventies.

Chris Burton

25th May, 2002
Email from Densford Cartledge, Stone Mountain GA

I have enjoyed reading from your website so very much. Any one who has ever played in a big band can get a real kick out of Rons pages.
I do wish you would do a feature article on Bobby Pratt. As a trumpet player, he was one of my heroes. Many trumpet players in the States feel the same way.

Densford Cartledge

16th June, 2002
Email from Tony Carter, UK

Dear Ronnie,

George Watts put me on to your site and what a great site it is! George and I have known each other since I started in the business - in fact he sold me my first saxophone. Over the years we have done a lot of work together and most notably sat next to each other for the last two years of the Midland Radio Orchestra.

I am currently enjoying working with the new augmented Chris Barber band. I first saw them as a child of 12 years and it's total nostalgia to be on the band with Chris and Pat Halcox, both 72 (and Me fifty-something!) - Pat has been there for 48 Years!! The band does around 180/200 concert dates a year mostly in continental Europe where Chris has an enormous following.

Since leaving Birmingham in '82 I have settled in Hampshire where, when I'm not with Chris, I run a Quintet with Ronnie Horler, Trumpeter and Father of John and Dave. Ronnie was with Ronnie Playdel and Eric Delaney over the years and I have to report that he is in robust health and, at 83 years - is still blowing beautifully (or at least he was last night!!). We took a few days vacation in Cologne together last autumn where Dave plays principal trombone with the WDR Big Band. Had a magnificent time at the studios listening to James Moody with Bill Holman and the Band.

Nostalgia again reading the letter from Bob Efford. He came to Weston Super Mare with the Ted Heath Band when I was doing my first Summer Season at age 17. I had supper with him and Johnny Edwards. I asked the inevitable question - " How do you play Jazz?" - He said "Go down to your local Jazz Club and Play 32 bars of a Ballad, you'll fall flat on your face! Then do it again the next week and so on until the penny drops or you'll pack it in" - I suppose the penny has almost dropped now!

Anyway I will be a most ardent visitor to your site - it's superb!

Every best wish

Tony Carter

1st July, 2002
Email from Heinz von Hermann at Jazz Ahead

What you say about those score-program programmers is absolutely right, they think that they know better about the needs of professional arrangers and just don´t take care about the faults of their programme. It was exactly the same with Cubase, they always seemed to be grateful for my comments but in reality, they never changed anything for the better.

With Sibelius it´s exactly the same. I mailed them samples of my own chord fonts, which I made with Fontographer and had put them on practical shortcuts, likewise Band-in-box, but of course I didn´t know the internal procedures of programming to make them transposable. They found this very interesting, but this was it.

The German 2.0 version is supposed to come out in the beginning of July, I really wonder what bugs will be eliminated and what new bugs they produced again. But anyway, for me it is faster and easier to handle than Finale. According to the time I had invested into Finale and Sibelius, I had ten times more usable results than with Finale and meanwhile I know my tricks to overcome the faults in the 1.4 Version. Scorch I never tried out so far, I wouldn´t know anybody who wants my scores over the Internet. But I´ll try Photo score pretty soon to see what it can do.

Regards, Heinz

8th July, 2002
Email from Ken Clark, UK

What an excellent magazine and site! I only found it while trying to locate a source of photos of Tubby Hayes but I certainly glad I did. The interviews alone are worth hours of internetting!

8th July, 2002
Email from Bob Curnow


What an honor to hear from you. Thank you for your generous comments. Normally, the idea of 3, 4 or 5 sopranos playing together makes my skin crawl, but the sound seemed just right for this piece. I had a great time with the SWR band, and I'm looking forward to the time when we can do it again. I hope you are well. Your website is amazing. The only drag is that I spend too much time on it (smile).

I hope we can stay in touch.

Best ...... Bob Curnow

[I had written to congratulate Bob on an outstanding open-air television concert, recently transmitted, that he had written for, and conducted, with the SWR - Stuttgart Radio Band. In a breathtaking score of River Dance he had used three soprano saxes in unison - something I had not seen or heard since the wartime Squadronaires band. Click here to read a very interesting email I received earlier from Bob.]

27th July, 2002
Email from Conny Simmonds (Benissa, Spain)

Great website. Your dinner is ready, dear.



29th July, 2002
Email from Wally Wrightman, Sydney, Australia

Hi Ronnie,
Found your website the other day and I have to say I really enjoy the articles and the writing. I am 68 and used to be a bass player in London until I emigrated to Australia in the middle sixties.
I especially enjoyed the stories on Leon Roy and Basil Kirchin.

I grew up with Leon and his sister Shani Wallis; they lived in the same street in Tottenham as I did, also Lennie Metcalfe the pianist who lived opposite. They started the Bebop shop at the Rose and Crown High Cross with Leons brother Jimmy on bass, Buddy Kaye on accordian and Arthur Golding on guitar.

Many years later Arthur emigrated to Australia, and his daughter Lily is one of our finests jazz singers. By coincidence she works with me on Eastside Radio - a community jazz broadcasting station in Sydney.

We have a number of wellknown Brits living here including former bandleader Tony Osborne and singer Alan Dean both still active on the music scene.

I remember the Band of the Kirchins very well, Tottenham Royal was the home ground for them, and I can remember writing to the Melody Maker pleading for them to write a story on my favourite band. When Basil came to Sydney in the 60's I missed him, but managed to catch up with Keith Barr the wonderful tenor player who died in mysterious circumstances.

Lennie Metcalfe now lives in New York and we correspond by email. Leon Roy died a few years ago, but sister Shani and brother Jimmy are still alive and well.


Wally Wrightman

29th July, 2002
Email from Keith Watts, Portsmouth

Have just found your website; absolutely wonderful and so very, very much to read...

Being a fan (and who wasn't?) of the great Tommy Sampson Band I naturally turned to Ron Simmonds article first. One small incorrect piece of information re Phil Seaman—he was indeed with Johnny Smith's band but it was resident at the late lamented Savoy Ballroom in Southsea when Phil joined Tommy.

Throughout the post war years up to the late 1950's/early 60's, Friday night was RADIO BAND NIGHT with all the big names appearing. Tommy Sampson was the big band attraction that night and Phil joined him then from Johnny Smith's band.

A great drummer and a good mate.

Sincere regards,

Keith Watts

[I am indebted to Keith for this information and have corrected my article accordingly. Many thanks, also, to Mike Senn, who was in the band at the time, and saw things from the inside. Alas, I wasn't there myself on that auspicious occasion. Ron Simmonds]

1st August, 2002
Email from Densford Cartledge, Stone Mountain GA

I just read the page on Bobby Pratt that I had asked for. It was such a waste for that very talented man to go so young.

Your web site gets better and better. I just finished A Minstrel's Tale. You tell it very well and you have certainly led an interesting life.

Thanks again,
Densford Cartledge
Stone Mountain GA

1st August, 2002
From Basil Kirchin, film composer, drummer, bandleader, Hull, England

I'm driven to write to you...there have been a few other 'special' ones, soulmates from way back, that have drawn me to face the horrors of writing, and, although you wouldn't know it, to me you are one such... I can still hear your blistering attack leading the section...

Just had to tell you, I'm so impressed...it's your website...how about you! Did you do the layout yourself? Did you design it? To use film terminology - the story board is great...talk about details! To take me up and make of me what you have, I really am unable to express in semantics.

Love, Basil

See Profiles

13th August, 2002
From Andre Routh, New Jersey

Dear Ron,

I accidentally just read the whole of your history of all the bands you ever worked with. I was following a trail for Freddy Mills (the boxer) when I linked through to your biography.

I couldn't stop! You have a wonderful writing style and your anecdotes are full of humor and compassion.

All the very best,

Andre Routh
Medford, New Jersey

16th August, 2002
From Peter Herbolzheimer, arranger, composer, bandleader, Cologne, Germany

Dear Ron,

I just had a look at your home page - it is really great and I will look it up regularly.

Love, Peter

24th August, 2002
From Lorri Hafer, singer, USA

Dear Ron,
I came upon your web site last night and found it fascinating. My parents were both with the Big Bands. My Dad, Al Ham, was with Artie Shaw and Tex Beneke and my mom, Mary Mayo was with Tex Beneke as well.

I sang with the Glenn Miller Orchestra US in 1984-85, and currently tour the US with my husband on piano and a small group playing the standards and jazz of the 1930's-1950's. This fall we will be doing our second Big Band Cruise of the year with Holland America. This past April was with The Sammy Kaye Orchestra and this November will be with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.

The "Music of Your Life" radio network recently released a CD of mine, "LORRI HAFER AND THE MUSIC OF YOUR LIFE QUARTET: THE VERY THOUGHT OF YOU". It has received airplay in the US as well as New Zealand and I believe this fall will be featured on a radio station in Great Britain.
Lorri Hafer

27th August 2002, 2002
From Jim Evans, UK

I love your site and find the interviews with musicians of particular interest. It would be even better if you could date the interviews so that readers could know in which era the musician was speaking.

Best wishes, Jamie Evans (UK piano player)

Good idea. Thanks for the tip.

4th September, 2002
From Leonie Cohen, Sydney, Australia


Firstly, great website.... Stumbled on it through a search I was doing to find out some Sibelius info.

The Sibelius info is helpful.. A more obscure question - do you know how to convert a score that comprises two seperate staves (one treble, one bass, not joined) into a piano score (ie. joined with brace etc...).

If you can shed any light, please let me know.

Thanks Leonie (Cohen)
(Sydney based jazz pianist)

Hi Leonie,

Pull down the menu Create and click on Brace. Move the mouse arrow to the top of the left-hand end of the treble stave and click it. You'll get a small brace. Now hold the left mouse button down while pointing at the bottom of the brace and drag it down to the bass stave to stretch it out and cover both staves.

To join the barlines: point to the bottom of any barline in the treble clef stave, hold down the left mouse button and drag the line down to the bass stave. All other barlines throughout the score will move with it.

Do you know Mac Minshull and Tony Osbourne? They are musicians in Sydney, both about 74. A younger pal of mine is Bob Coassin, trumpet player - used to play lead with Buddy Rich, also in Sydney now.
Glad you like the website.

Regards, Ron

21st September, 2002
From Adrian Barry, London

What a great site! Loved hearing about Leon Roy and Basil Kirchin. How I wish I was a part of that time. Leon's sister - the wonderful Shani Wallis writes to me often and is very much alive and well, living and working in L.A and is now a very proud grandmother! This lady literally colours my world!


14th September, 2002
From Bruce Crowther, Malaga, Spain

Dear Ron,

Just to tell you how deeply impressed I am with your site. Excellent in every way. I knew that my own site was amateur night incarnate, but this proves it!

I have passed on details to many friends - although judged by the site's range and the number of visitors, odds are good that everyone I know has already been there.

Nice to see a bit by Bob Efford. He won't remember, but I was at his LA solo debut (at Carmelo's in 1980) and recall his playing every woodwind known to man. I was taken along by Bill Berry. I also went with Bill when he was accompanying Bob's wife (Joan?) at her LA solo debut. Or was that the same night? I think 22 years allows me to be vague.

Bill B, incidentally, is still working with youth bands (just back from Japan and at Monterey this weekend) but no longer playing cornet due to rather unpleasant illness.

Best wishes,

Bruce Crowther

Bruce is a prolific writer of jazz and movie books. Some of his works are biographies of Gene Krupa, Benny Goodman, Robert Mitchum, Burt Lancaster, Laurel & Hardy and Michelle Pfeiffer. His site Swing 2 Bop contains much previously unpublished material.

23rd October, 2002
From Jonny Cooper, South Africa

Hi Ron,

Great site, just been introduced to it via my trombonist Clive Sharrock (ex Ken Mac). I can see I will have many hours of entertainment reading through all the info. I invite you to visit my site www.bigband.co.za.

I lead the Jonny Cooper Big Band in South Africa. This year we celebrate our 10th anniversary. This is a full time 19 piece Big Band and we are fortunate to be fully booked through to the end of July 2003. We are based in Cape Town but tour the entire country from the Cape to Gauteng to Mapumalunga to Kwa Zulu Natal. We hope to visit Europe towards the end of 2003 or early 2004.

Once again, greeeeaaaaatttttt site!

Kind Regards


5th December, 2002
From Doug Bristol, North Carolina


A friend alerted me to your site. It's a treasure and I've never seen anything like it. Thanks so much for your outstanding effort.

Best regards,
Doug, AKA Dr. Slide

23rd December, 2002
From Lee Harris, London

Dear Mr.Simmonds,

I have been reading with great interest some of your articles for Jazz Professional. My dad was a big band musician throughout the 1940's, which I suspect was just before your time. His name was George Harris and he played tenor sax with Geraldo for about 10 years from 1940-1950. From what I have read about the band it was the tops at that time, althogh probably surpassed by Ted Heath later. Two of his particular friends in the band were Wally Stott[Angela Morley] and Dougie Robinson. It was the sax section that was responsible for Gerry getting Wally from Oscar Rabin. He was a great arranger and has gone on to have a glittering career in America composing, conducting and arranging. Dougie married singer Jill Day and I have heard that he now lives in Portugal. Another friend was trumpeter Dave Loban from the Vic Lewis band. Dave moved to Las Vegas in the early 60's, giving up playing eventually to become a croupier. He returned to Glasgow a couple of years ago but only lasted one winter before going back to Vegas. My mother and I are still in contact with him. I would welcome any memories of my dad that you may have if you knew him, or if you have any contact details for any survivors of the 40's Geraldo Orchestra. My dad died in 1985 aged 69. He didn't share some musicians love of a drink but he certainly liked a bet. Most of them are still running!

Yours sincerely,

Lee Harris

(I was able to put Lee in contact with both Dougie Robinson and Angela Morley. [rs] )

2nd January, 2003
From Les Johnston, Australia

Hi again Ron this is Les from Australia's Gold Coast. Just want to say thanks for giving Col Campbell my Email address early last year. This has been tremendous for both Col and myself. Although we never, to our knowledge, ever met back in Edinburgh in the 1950s we have found that we frequented the same venues and that we both knew most of the local musicians of the time. We reminisce about Tommy Sampsons time at the Eldorado Ballroom and the great instrumentalists that were in that band. Most of the guys went on to become even better known as time went on and some are even prominent today.
It is great to know that so many of us who were part of the scene in those halcyon days still have the opportunity of keeping in touch and also, through your site, keep so many wonderful memories alive. Col is still very active around the south of England doing stage musicals as well as big band work. His emails are always informative about guys we both knew who are still active in the business and we both enjoy our exchanges of news.
Thanks Ron, sincerely, Les Johnston.

12th January, 2003
From Vic Flick

Hi Ron

A great Web Page with some fascinating stories. Our paths crossed once or twice in the music world and I have always admired your playing. Ron's Pages are very good.
The News Just In segment mixes good news with bad and makes for some tearful reading with all those wonderful musicians, many of them friends, now departed.

Thank you for all the work you put into the Site.

Very best wishes.


Vic was the original guitarist with the John Barry Seven, and played an important role in the making of the music in the James Bond film series. See his website at www.vicflick.com

23rd January, 2003
From Geoff Leonard, UK. John Barry biographer

Dear Ron,

I just wanted to write and tell you how much I've enjoyed reading your site over the last few weeks. I'm not by any means a jazz or big-band expert, film music is more my passion, but nevertheless I found much to enjoy and savour.

I co-wrote a biography of John Barry a few years ago and it's getting an updated re-launch this autumn. So I was especially interested to learn just how many of his various session orchestras included folk from the various line-ups on your site. Indeed, Bill Russo's London Jazz Orchestra included at least six musicians I know of who played for John, though maybe that's not surprising in view of their earlier connection.

Best wishes,
Geoff Leonard


23rd January, 2003
From Marlene and Billy VerPlanck

Dear Mr. Simmonds:

What a wonderful find. Bruce Crowther hiped me to your wonderful site. Thank you for being here.

Health, Love, and Music Billy & Marlene VerPlanck


6th February, 2003
From Gordon Brisker, Cincinatti, USA

Hi Ron,

Great site! I wonder what took me so long to find it?

All best,

Gordon Brisker

(Gordon played lead tenor in one of the great Woody Herman Four Brothers bands.)

19th February, 2003
From Alan Dean, Sydney, Australia

Your Web site was passed on to my by my good friend Wally Wrightman. My congratulations for a wonderful Web site.


Alan Dean

(Full coverage of singer Alan Dean's life and career will (hopefully) be published shortly in Jazz Professional)

20th February, 2003
From Paul Flewers, UK

Dear Ron

I'm a non-playing jazz fan, and thanks to the advent of the CD I've been able to listen to many of the early British modern jazz albums that have been re-released. Your site, particularly your autobiographical section, has provided much background information on many of the musicians, many of them long gone, who produced such great music back in the 1950s and 1960s, and has enabled me to get an idea of the atmosphere of the jazz scene of the time, which the music alone can't do. Well done!


Paul Flewers

11th April, 2003
From Lorri Hafer

Hi Ron,

Thank you so much for putting that in!! In addition to our tours stateside, Mike and I have been involved in several Big Band cruises since I last wrote and have been fortunate enough to be asked to do several more. Last November we performed on a cruise with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra conducted by the legendary Buddy Morrow, and we just got back in March from performing on a cruise with Les Brown Jr. conducting the Music of Your Life Orchestra.

In September we are recording a CD Live in Italy onboard the MSC LIRICA with our quartet. In November, we do the Harry James cruise and then Mike and I are onboard the LIRICA performing on back to back cruises to the Caribbean for the month of January 2004. I am not sure yet who will be the featured band on that cruise. We had several British and European fans onboard our cruise in March. It was so great to meet them.

If you need any more information on any of these things please visit the Music Of Your Life website at www.musicofyourlife.com. You can visit my webpages and purchase my CD there as well.

You have a wonderful, informative site! I am thoroughly enjoying it. Thanks so much for your help on all of this.


(Lorri is the daughter of Al Ham, bassist with the Artie Shaw and Tex Beneke bands, and Mary Mayo, who also sang with Tex Beneke.)

Lorri Hafer with the Harry James Band
Remembering Al Ham

12th April, 2003
From Alex Jackson

Dear Ron,

Just discovered your webpage. I met you in El Cisne, Benidorm last summer and was twice since there (I was with Eric Delaney) and he told me of your website. He did not tell me how good it is, so well done mate.

I was out there last week and did look for you but guessed you were busy. Keep writing, Ron, as you have a very great talent for it .... as well as a love and very great knowledge of music that's so good of you to pass on.

Yours in music,

Alex Jackson (Big Al )

24th April, 2003
From Heathcliff Blair

Dear Ron

Just a quick word or two of appreciation for your superb site which I have just discovered. As a media composer, I was delighted to find the wonderful archive interviews with the likes of Alex North, Jerry Fielding, Ron Goodwin, Jerry Goldsmith, and the rest. What a treasure trove!

...and Spike Milligan to boot!

Blessings on you, sir.

The Media Music Company

8th May, 2003
From Dougie Robinson, Portugal

Hi Ron,
How marvellous to hear from you. It's a long time since we were together at ATV Wood Green, we have both played a few notes since then! I telephoned Stan Reynolds immediately I received your E mail, consequently I am going over to his Hotel in Villamoura on Monday, apparantly thats their ``rest`` day !! Thank you for letting me know . I haven't visited your Web sight yet, I thought I wuold get this off to you first. As you say, we don`t know what Eric Delaney is on but it must be similar to what Artie Shaw was on in his rampant period. I have been here almost nine years, I came to visit a very dear friend of mine, and stayed. I play some Jazz every week with a couple of other musicians, not too much, the huffin`and puffin`gets a bit much. Anyway Ron, keep in touch, now we have each others Email address
Dougie R.

Dougie was Geraldo's great lead alto for many years, later switched to work with Jack Parnell's ATV Orchestra.

12th May, 2003
From John Altman, Hollywood film composer, Los Angeles

Have a big band gig in June at the Jazz Bakery, probable personnel as follows:

Trumpets: Wayne Bergeron, Warren Luening, Jeff Bunnell, Dan Savant;
Trombones: Andy Martin, Bob McChesney, Craig Weare, Bruce Otto;
Tuba: John Norieko;
Saxes: Bill Liston, Gary Foster, Greg Huckins, Pete Christlieb, Bob Efford;
Piano: Tom Ranier;
Guitar: Grant Geissman;
Bass: Chuck Berghofer;
Drums: Joe La Barbara;

Can't wait!!!!!!! Back in UK this weekend to score a movie. Love the site.
John Altman

May 15th, 2003
From Colin Campbell, Southampton

Hi Ron,
Not much to report these days, however I do hope that you are keeping well and keeping that fabulous website up-to-date. I've been playing a lot of Lead Alto these days and have realised just how thrilling it is to lead a section, which brings makes me think, how wonderful it must be, to be lead a big swing band, playing lead trumpet. Thats a situation few of us will ever know and I bet you always got a thrill out of it as the top man in your day.
Take care
Kind Regards Colin

May 29th, 2003
From The Magnificent Delaney

Hello Ron, it's e.d. here. Done the rehearsal—were your ears burning? Looking forward to the gig Saturday night. They are all John Keating's 1963/4 arrangements.

Back to Spain Wednesday—what sort of car do you want me to bring back?


Eric Delaney (on Big Als computor)

(Eric is referring to John Keating's Birthday Concert in Edinburgh on May 30th - John's 76th Birthday will be in September)

29th July, 2003
From Dick Spencer, California

Hi Ron
Nice to hear from you again, and get a little dirt on what's happening over there. Wow, Benny (Bailey) is 78, How time flits by. I guess im still a baby at 67.
I hear from Don Rader now and then. He hates it in OZ, but he is married to an Aussie, so that explains that. I havent seen (Don) Menza in 15 years. I dont get to L.A. often, and when I do it's with family. I sort of laid down the horn, and forgot about all the music biz and so forth. Don't, and haven't missed the whole scene at all.
We sold the little 10 acre place recently, and moved to a smaller house on the Central Coast (close to the ocean) The country life of l5 years (in Colorado) became tiring, so we boarded the horses and came to the city life.. (Town of 20,000) if you call that a city. Sounds like all is well with you, so take care, and I still read your website all the time.
All the best - your former prison mate in the Greger Gulag,

Dick played lead alto with Harry James, Maynard Ferguson, the Toshiko Tabackin Band and Louie Bellson and spent 17 years with Doc Severinsen and the Tonight Show Band. The Greger Gulag refers to the time Dick, Benny Bailey, Don Menza and myself played in the Max Greger ZDF Television orchestra in Munich in the early 1960s.

28th August, 2003
From John Keating, composer, London

Dear Ron,
I was recently sent a 3-page portrait of me, beautifully written by yourself. I thank you for this fine presentation.

Your old mate, JK.

3rd September, 2003
From Rick Selvin, Philadelphia

Loved your site ...

Rick is the son of the late Ben Selvin. See Ron's Pages and Red Hot Jazz

29th October, 2003
From John Keating, composer, London (Author of From Holyrood to Hollywood)

...meanwhile you are at liberty to call me ''Dithering John." I always thought that Stan Reynolds was the lead trumpet (with The Vic Lewis band) and so I do apologize for this dreadful, unforgivable error. If I indulge myself with a completely new print-job I will fix that. But don't hold your breath.

Kindest Regards, JK. (See Ron's Pages/Vic Lewis)

31st December 2003
Email from Michael Gillispie, photographer, Washington, WA - Re: Webster Young

Hello Ron:
Thanks for your note. You are welcome to use the photo--it would be great if you could include a credit and/or link, but however you normally do such things is fine with me. I look forward to checking out your site, and appreciate your work on behalf of the community.

Webster has been a friend for a number of years, and in addition to being a monster musician, he was a very beautiful human being who touched many lives in a positive way. I was able to spend a few days with him at the hospice in Vancouver, and the number of callers from throughout the Jazz world--and their comments--bore witness to the way Web lived his life.

My best for a great 2004.

Michael Gillispie Studios

20th February, 2004
Email from Richard Jessen, Grand Island, NE, USA

Dear Sir;
I noticed with keen interest your articles which cover just about everything on the jazz scene.
I noticed the passing on of many artists and saw that you had mentioned Preston Love. I just talked with a friend of Preston's last night and was informed that he had been quite ill since last fall. Both my friend and his son last saw him some time ago in hospital and said he didn't look good. He was a most talented guy. I will always remember his controversial articles in the Omaha World-Herald's Sunday entertainment guide which really nailed things on the head.
Keep up the great work on reporting the jazz scene!
Yours very truly,
Richard Jessen

22nd February, 2004
Email from Colin Campbell, Southampton

Hi Ron,
I had a phone call from Bobby Orr yesterday. During the conversation your name was mentioned and as I said I was in contact with you, Bobby wished to be remembered to you. He thought you were one of the finest lead trumpets he had ever played with. Being a trumpeter himself, I'm sure Bobby knows what he is talking about.

He reminded me of a story when both of you were in the Parnell Orchestra and Jack called out two numbers, which were not in the general running order and Bobby noticed that you had your pad closed, but you played both numbers note perfect! In Bobby's book (and in mine ),that takes a lot of doing. Well done!. Thought you would like to know how high fellow musicians held you in esteem.
Take care. Kind regards Colin.

30th April, 2004
Email from Gordon Sapsed, Southampton

Hi Ron,
I am one of those fans who used to occasionally chat to you during breaks between sets ... we last spoke when you were part of John Dankworth's Band, although I forget the venue. These days like many others, I am an avid follower of your website.
Apart from the inevitable THANK YOU and CONGRATULATIONS I can also say that I have recommended the website to dozens of people over the last couple of years.

Gordon Sapsed

9th May, 2004
Email from Nancy Marano, New York

Hi Ron,

I just discovered your site and asked Bruce Crowther for your email. What a great site! It is huge, and I think I have probably only just begun to really get into it.

Thanks for doing a great site, having such a lovely career, and I hope you will respond to this email when you have some time.

All the best -


28th May, 2004
Email from Wolf Kerschek, Hamburg

Dear Ron

In one of those rare occasions of a free evening I ran into your magnificent webpage and realized that I never had the chance to thank you. About 15 years ago you were giving me the great honour that you analysed one of my compositions "Latino Friends" in the magazine Crescendo and Jazz Music.

In the past years I have been doing a lot of bigband work and lately achieved a position as a professor at the Hamburg Musikhochschule and I finally get to a point to be able to look back and think of the ones who really helped me to get to where I am now. Through your confidence and recognition you really gave me an essential help to go on with the path that I was on and which has not always been easy in between.

So I like to thank you from the bottom of my heart and congratulate you on your page and hope that there will be chances to talk to you again in the future.

With warm regards and best wishes for you

Wolf Kerschek

Wolf played vibes in Peter Herbolzheimer's German Youth Jazz Orchestra (BuJazzO) and contributed two outstanding scores for the band's tour of Russia on the CD Bujazzo Vol.3 AM - 1095-2. My analysis of his Latino Friends helped him get on rather more quickly than usual at the Berkeley School in Boston. RS
See Latino Friends

29th May, 2004
Email from Jack Fortin, Vancouver

Hi Ron...Just finished reading all your e mails and must say I am enjoying your site. Noted an email from Fred Duligal from Toronto, a friend of mine, his son played in my stageband at school in Toronto. We now live in Vancouver and am bashing away at the horn again at the young age of 72.
So many things about your site brought back memories...I was in England from 1952 to 54 in the Canadian Airforce, had a 12 piece band and we played the NAAFI on the base...lead alto was a Jock Bell from Glasgow; played a Grafton Alto Sax (Plastic...Johnny Dankworth used to advertise them in the Melody Maker.)
We spent four years in France when I was in the RCAF and I got out in 1968 and was smart enough to go back to University and ended up teaching music in High School....Was on loan to the Canadian Forces in Lahr, Germany at the military High School.
Played with a quintet in Saarbrucken at Fasching..(Guy Leblanc, piano, and myself on trumpet) and three German players on Bass, Tenor and Drums...also an American Girl singer...went downstairs at intermission and was blown away by the Max Greger Band..with Don Menza, (Don grew up in Buffallo NY with Sammy Noto..I had the good fortune to play a number of danceband gigs with Sammy who is one of the most fierce bop trumpet players in the business) Dick Spencer, Benny Bailey etc. (Recently burned a CD from my Vinyl copy of Maximum..The Max Greger Band...with a wonderful trumpet solo on "Falling in Love" by Rick Keiffer.
I played with a German big band in the Lahr Area (Heiligenzell Big Band) and also did a weekly jazz radio show on the Canadian Forces network and went to many jazz festivals in Berne Switzerland..interviewed Freddy Hubbard, Doc Cheatham, Milt Hinton, Phillipe Catherine, Neils Pedersen, Panama Francis etc.....all the interviews I have here on tape. Also met Banny Bailey very briefly and am glad to see he is still wailing......Senor Bailey was his feature with the Greger Band.
In the 50s in England I often went to hear the bands at the Astoria Ballroom in Nottingham and also in London....Ted Heath's band with Lita Rosa and Dickie Valentine and the Johnny Dankwork small band with Jimmy Deuchar (I flipped when I first heard him) on Trumpet. Also heard a good bit of 'trad' while in England and my favourite player was Freddy Randall...wonderful sound.
I worked in Toronto with a well known Scots musician, Jim McHarg, who sadly passed away recently...we had fun doing quartet gigs with Bass, Clarinet, Cornet and Guitar....trying to stump each other with old tunes. Jim was originally from Scotland and was one of the founding members of the Clyde Valley Stompers...then the Metro Stompers in Toronto.
My wife is from Glasgow and we are going to Edinburgh in august for the Tattoo and some guid Scottish jazz (and a pint!).
Keep up the great work...a truly enjoyable and informative site.......
Best Regards....Jack Fortin

27th July, 2004
Email from Jack Peberdy and Betty Smith, Loughborough

...You are a busy chap Ron. All those write-ups you compile. Our past days were varied, as you might know. Bet did a lot of solo work...cabaret and shows. and I found myself doing a lot of writing and MD-ing, and we drove ourselves mad with a couple of agencies... so much work...so we packed up most of it and returned to the village in which she was born. Still...we had a great time!

Best wishes, Jack

(Composer, arranger, bassist Jack is Betty Smith's husband. Betty was featured tenor saxophonist in The Best of British Jazz before retiring.)

14th September, 2004
Email from Julian Diaz, Tenerife, Canary Islands

Hello Mr Simmonds,

I found your site the other week and just wanted to say I think it's fantastic. I am a professional trumpet player/arranger, living and working here in Tenerife in the Canary Islands. I was born in Preston, but moved here with my wife (Juany, who was born here) to be with the rest of my family. The stories are great and all the technical info is superb. I am only 32 (young for the music biz!) but some of your experiences reminded me of a few things that happened to me over the years.

Anyway, keep well and if you ever come to Tenerife give us a call.

Warm regards, Julian Diaz

[Julian was a member of the outstanding trumpet section of the Wigan Youth Band on the recording Yesterdays Today, made in 1998.]

12th October, 2004
Email from Dave Allenby, UK

Speaking of your reputation ---
Last night was the augmented band at Meadowfield and Denny Boyce was there again because he actually likes to listen to the band - he said. I was chatting to him at half time and somebody had told him I was in regular touch with you. He said to tell you that your web site is a mine of fascinating information and he has spent hours studying it. He said to give you his kind regards and told me this tale.

Some years ago he had decided to visit Ronnie Scott's. "Just my luck, when I got there the name on the bills didn't mean anything to me but I went in anyway and almost straight away bumped into my old mate Ronnie Hughes. I listened to the band for a while - it was this German band - Peter Herbol something - and it was excellent. I commented particularly on the sparkling lead trumpet and Ronnie says ' Well you know who that is don't you? It's Ron Simmonds.' "

See? It's not just us semi-pros what admire you, it's the pros as well.

Best wishes,


22nd November, 2004
Email from David Jones, London

Hi Ron,

Well it was great to hear from you and it has stirred up a few fond memories of Dad. Those few words that you said about him showed a little of how he might have been outside of the family. One of my fondest memories is of sitting at his feet in the living room at home watching him playing on the TV. I was very young and couldn't quite get my head around the concept of recorded television so I could not understand how he could be in two places at the same time. I remember his laugh. I can also remember him trying unsuccessfully to teach my brother and I how to get a note out of a trumpet mouthpiece. I've promised myself that one day I'll pick one up and learn how to play something in his memory (assuming I'm able!).

Probably my most moving memory is of him playing The Last Post on a bugle in the back of a draughty church at someone's funeral. I'm afraid I have no idea whose funeral it was but I can clearly remember Dad fussing about the coldness of the church and about not being able to warm up his instrument. Then came his time to play and he made the most beautiful sound I have ever heard, I always think of that moment whenever I hear The Last Post played - maybe that's what I could try to learn..

Thanks again Ron and by the way I just received the photos that you sent through, they're great.

Best wishes


[David is the son of the late Basil Jones, lead trumpet in many famous British big bands and a valued member of the brass section of Jack Parnell's television orchestra.]

9th December 2004
Email from Camille Russo - USA

Dear Mr. Simmonds,
What an amazing web site!! I am looking at a copy of my father's album "Russo in London" and I see your name!! I've been trying to contact various British jazzmen, preferably people that knew my father. I am researching his time in England in particular because I am hoping to write a book about my year in London with him (1963-1964). I would love to be in touch with you and any other British musicians that worked with my father. Thanks for the nice write up of my dad. The photograph of you and my sister Condee Nast Russo is very cute. I am now going to study the rest of this exhaustive history of British jazz. As my dad would say, "Bravissimo!!"

Merry Christmas to all, and please write when you are able.

Camille Davis Russo

[Camille and her sister Condee are the daughters of composer William Russo]

11th December 2004
Email from Leslie Burgess - USA

Hello Ron,

It is very kind of you to want to help me in my quest to hear stories, anecdotes about my father, but to know about the legacy of his playing and if it and he made a difference to how you played your music, your instrument, this is at the heart of my search.

I am in the process of writing memoirs about my father. His life was rich and fascinating, with rare opportunities known only to a musician of his caliber.

I have heard many stories, some so ludicrous, but stories I know that had to be true because I understood my father so well. He was a true character, one of a kind. From his early, ‘wild’ years, with no sense of responsibility to the teacher he became which filled his last years. I clearly understood his deep and abiding love affair he had with his horn. I believe this comes through the clearest when he would play a solo, closing his eyes, and letting his soul come through…. your arrangement of Mac Arthur Park while with the SWR Big Band and how he played it shows this so well. He was warm, loving and generous with his friends and students.

Indeed I would love to have all that you have and anything that might come your way, please? In addition, would you be able to put me in contact with Ack Van Rooyen and Rolf Ericson? I would love to hear those stories as well as about their feelings for ‘the man and musician’, my father. I look forward to searching your website and reading the Jazz Professional articles about my father.

Bill Russo, my God, a name from the past. An artist of brilliance.

Have you ever thought about the men that made up the 1950’s Kenton Orchestra, the huge amount of talent and sheer genius that was gathered in one orchestra? When I listen to that music they played, it just blows me away. I know my father made lasting friendships from those few years and the stories, oh my!!! I am a friend of Noel Wedder who has become a mentor and instrumental in putting me in contact with some who are still with us from those years.

I am grateful to John for putting you in touch with me, he has grown to be a treasured friend in my search about my father. I would love to hear from the guys in the Bobby Burgess Big Band Explosion group, who have reformed and cut a CD… I know they loved dad and I am proud that my father’s musical legacy is living within them.

Warmest Wishes,


[Leslie is the daughter of Stan Kenton's great lead trombone player Bobby Burgess]

23rd April, 2005
Email from Dennis (Bill) Sykes, Port Rowan, Ontario, Canada

Hi Ron,

Great site with dedication unsurpassed. Where did it all go to, so quickly? Your band nostalgia and detail is superb, the peripheral info really challenges ones memory.

One band that deserves some recognition in the time frame of the 50s is the Arthur Rowberry Band. What a character he was, but was one of the most dedicated band leaders and I guess that ultimately led to his demise. He won Melody Maker, Musical Express Dance Band Competitions as semi-pro and went pro with some good musicians, such as Johnny Hughes, Don Pashley, Laurie Monk, Harry Smart, Reg Tilsley. Rosemary Squires was the 'Female Girl Singer' as Arthur used to say!!

I was with the band for a year or so, from 51 to 52, touring and resident at the Astoria in Nottingham. I left to join Vic Lewis, replacing Roy Sidwell.

I would appreciate hearing from any former members of the Arthur Rowberry Band. Some new members were recruited in the band to accompany Sarah Vaughan when she toured Britain in 1953. This band nurtured some good musicians at the time and deserves a bit of recognition. Lots of stories to tell of this band - ask Rosemary about the seances in Sunderland!!! Once again your dedication, Ron, is much appreciated by all. Thank you!

Email Dennis

23rd July, 2005
Email from Doug Connell, Rockford, Il.

Hi Ron,

What a great site. I don't think I have ever seen a better documented or more informational site in all my web surfing.

I have a quick question for you concerning your friend Richard Krueger that I hope you can answer. Your site came up while I was searching for information concerning flying bombs of WWII. I was intrigued with the experiences that Richard had with the V1 as I have never heard many first person accounts.

Do you think he would be interested in answering a few questions about that time in his life ?

Keep up the great work - I love to see life so well documented.

Thank You,

Doug Connell

[Alas, Richard died in 1995. See A Minstrel in Spain]

Rockford Register Star

7th August, 2005
Email from Jack Dawkes - Dawkes Music, The Woodwind & Brass Warehouse

Ron, The power of the internet was revealed to me recently when a James Bond addict from America contacted the shop and asked if I would autograph some photos- stills from "Goldfinger"-in which there was a night club scene and yours truly had a small band and I was fronting on TAMBOURINE!!! He had presumably read the precis on your website and identified me in the film somehow. It shows that you are well read around the globe!!

Cheers Jack

7th August, 2005
Email from Colin Campbell, Southampton

Re Sibelius - glad you haven't lost the ability for straight talking, its a pity the powers don't listen to what one of the top lead trumpets has to say. I cant operate Sibelius, perhaps I am not used to its peculiarities of not being Finale, and, like many others, including yourself, once I have started a programme I intend to stick to it - but it's probably due to which software supports your requirements.
Be that as it may, I do support you when you are critical about not being able to change notes to rests and vice versa - it is an excellent part of entering notes.


11th August, 2005
Email from Ken Windsor

For two years I sort of hung around the internet world, establishing a reputation as a Photographic critic, writing a world-wide column which extolled the virtues of some of the greatest images to be found on the net. Of course, to get to the images you have to first visit the actual sites themselves, and during the course of time the thousands upon thousands of sites you see kind of numbs the senses, and you become almost immune to the great and the good.

It therefore takes an exceptional site these days to “stop me in my tracks” - but your site not only did that - it sort of hit me right between the eyes.

My good friend Alton Douglas sent me the link - and I think that whatever the local drink is these days in Birmingham, then I owe him a full brewery.

Congratulations on the best jazz site in the universe (well this side of the Met. Office anyway)

Ken Windsor.

Greetings to you all from your Webmaster
Remove the brackets [@]