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Tributes are paid to jazz trumpeter Kenny Ball

Tributes are paid to jazz trumpeter Kenny Ball

TRIBUTES have been paid to the jazz trumpeter Kenny Ball who has passed away at the age of 82.

During the 1960s, Mr. Ball had made a major contribution to bringing jazz to a wider audience. After forming Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen in 1958, he went on to record a string of hits.

The band’s recording of Midnight in Moscow (see below) reached number two in the British charts in 1961 and went to sell more than a million copies across the world.

Other hits included (I Love You) Samantha, March of the Siamese Children and I Want To Be Like You.

Mr. Ball became a familiar figure on television, appearing regularly with the band on such shows as Morecambe and Wise.

Born in Ilford in north-east London, Mr. Ball had left school at 14 to work as a clerk. But he learned to play the trumpet and by 1953 was playing professionally with top bands of the day headed by Sid Phillips and Eric Delaney.

He regarded one of the highlights of his career the opportunity to play support for jazz legend Louis Armstrong during his final European tour in 1968.

A later gig was to come with Royal approval when he was booked to play at the wedding reception of the Prince and Princess of Wales in 1981.

Mr. Ball had continued to appear with the band until only recently. His last gig was in January in Germany when he had apparently left hospital to make the engagement.

He passed away at a hospital in Basildon, Essex, where he had been receiving treatment for pneumonia.

Among the many tributes to be paid to the trumpeter was one from his old friend Acker Bilk. The famous jazz clarinetist, who was to have shared a stage with Mr. Ball later this week, said: “Every night with Kenny was different. He was a good lad, with a good sense of humour and a lot of fun to be with.”

To see Kenny Ball and the Jazzmen performing Midnight in Moscow, click here.

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