In The News

Tributes are paid to jazzman Tommy Whittle

Tributes are paid to jazzman Tommy Whittle

TRIBUTES have been paid to jazz saxophonist Tommy Whittle who has passed away at the age of 87.

Mr. Whittle became one of the best known British jazz musicians in the post war era, but his early musical experience was gained in some of top dance bands of the time.

Born in Grangemouth in Scotland, Mr. Whittle had first started to learn the clarinet before a neighbour gave him a tenor saxophone. He played his first gig at 15 and by the early 1940s he was touring with the Lew Stone Orchestra. Having been rejected for military service because of an old shoulder injury, Lew Stone arranged for his young band member to be registered as a forces’ entertainer with Ensa.

In the immediate post-war period he played with a series of dance bands before joining Ted Heath’s band in 1947. His great interest in jazz was developed further during this period when he led a seven-piece outfit which was made up of Heath’s musicians. The band went on to record several of Mr. Whittle’s jazz compositions in 1951.

His position as one of Britain’s best-known jazz musicians was cemented after joining the BBC Showband. The band’s broadcasts brought him to the attention of a national audience on a weekly basis and by the mid-1950s he was being named as Top Tenor Sax in the readers’ polls of top music magazines of the period.

Apart from playing with the BBC Showband, he also had plenty of time to form his own jazz quintet and play gigs in and around London. He later ran a weekly jazz club in Wembley which soon established itself as one of the key venues of choice by serious jazz musicians. By this time he was playing with Jack Parnell’s ATV orchestra.

Over the years he toured extensively both as a jazz soloist and in bands. He also recorded a number of albums (see below).

In 2005 he was awarded the medal of the Worshipful Company of Musicians for his lifetime achievement in British jazz.

Mr. Whittle passed away after becoming ill while on holiday in Spain. He was predeceased by his first wife and is survived by his second wife, the singer Barbara Jay, and his two sons.

To listen to Tommy Whittle’s Things We Did Last Summer, click here.

To hear Tommy Whittle perform Misty, click here.

To view footage of a session featuring Mr. Whittle, click here.

View previous In the News items: Singer Noel Harrison passes away, Former US politician Tom Foley passes away, Tributes are paid to actor Kumar Pallana, Character actor Ed Lauter passes away, Chemist Malcolm Renfrew passes away, Campaigner for child proof packaging passes away, Writer Oscar Hijuelos passes away, Former astronaut Scott Carpenter passes away, Veteran actor Paul Rogers passes away, Former Aussie criminal Chopper Read passes away, Tributes are paid to chemist Ruth Benerito, Photojournalist Bill Eppridge passes away, Tributes are paid to author Tom Clancy, Wolves football legend Peter Broadbent passes away, Tributes are paid to Australian author CJ Koch, Actress Jane Connell passes away, Photographer Harry Goodwin passes away, Tributes are paid to singer songwriter Jackie Lomax, Former car company chief Eiji Toyoda passes away, Tributes are paid to singer Joan Regan, Audio engineer Ray Dolby passes away, Tributes are paid to Susan Fitzgerald, Cancer remains the number one killer, Appeal to find grave in China, Broadcaster David Jacobs passes away, Funeral takes place of poet Seamus Heaney, Tributes are paid to broadcasting legend Sir David Frost, Former rugby international Cliff Morgan passes away, Tributes are paid to comedian Mike Winters, Actress Julie Harris passes away, Furniture designer Charles Pollock passes away, Tributes are paid to actor Lee Thompson Young, Dispute over burial plans for King Richard III continues, Rugby centre to be named after tragic young star, Tributes are paid to stuntman Mark Sutton, Drummer Jon Brookes passes away, Singer Eydie Gorme passes away, Tributes are paid to actress Karen Black, Wizard of Oz munchkin Margaret Pelligrini passes away, Webcam is set up at the grave of Andy Warhol, Broadcaster and music critic John Amis passes away, Businessman Berthold Beitz passes away, Actress Eileen Brennan passes away, Singer and songwriter JJ Cale passes away, Fracking pioneer George P Mitchell passes away, Security to be increased at City Cemetery, Tributes are paid to former boxing champion Emile Griffith, Actor Dennis Farina passes away, Tributes are paid to former Welsh footballer Phil Woosnam, Olympic medalist Todd Bennett passes away, Tributes are paid to actor Paul Bhattacharjee or Acouostics pioneer Amar Bose passes away

If you have a relative or a friend who has passed away and feel they should be mentioned in our In the News section, then please email us.