UK Gypsy Swing Pioneers

Gypsy Jazz & Swing Guitar Pioneers


Can anyone name this guitarist with Billy Butterfield and George Chisholm

Noel “Chappie” D’Amato 1897-1976 will be remembered by jazz enthusiasts as a brilliant guitar player, heard with many bands before the war.  He also played reeds and was a vocalist for Jack Hylton,  Chappie D’Amato was also deemed a very average band guitarist. He played a variety of instruments competently but not exceptionally well.  He subsequently became better known as a Compere and Broadcaster. He was, of course, the Compere of the 1938 “Melody Maker” Cambridge Theatre concert where the Hot Club Quintet topped the bill with the Mills Brothers on its first visit to the UK.
Jack Hylton Orchestra
Jack Jacksons Orchestra Personnel 1934: Noel “Chappie” D’Amato (guitar, alto saxophone); Stan Andrews (violin, alto saxophone); Colly Eisner (violin); E.O. Pogson (flute, clarinet, alto saxophone); Allan Warner (clarinet, oboe, tenor saxophone); Freddy Mann, Harry MacFarlane, Jack Jackson (trumpet); Tony Thorpe, Eric Tann (trombone); Harry Rubens (piano); Percy Hampton (drums).

Those Guitarists We Need To Resurrect

Chappie D’Amato was a very average band guitarist. He played a variety of instruments competently but not exceptionally well.  He subsequently became better known as a compere and broadcaster. He was, of course, the Compere of the 1938 “Melody Maker” Cambridge Theatre concert where the Hot Club Quintet topped the bill with the Mills Brothers on its first visit to the UK.

Jim Douglas (1943-) Best know as guitarist for the Alex Welsh Band, he completed 19 years with the group. One of Britain’s most fluent, experienced and eloquent guitarists, he continues to perform today – undated?

Ernest Cranenburgh BA (Hons) DipHE – Jazz Guitarist –

Roland Shaw Guitarist
Born Roland Edgar Shaw-Tomkins 26 May 1920 is an English composer, musical arranger, and orchestra leader.   Shaw attended the Trinity College of Music and served in the Royal Air Force in World War II leading RAF No 1 Band of the Middle East Forces. Following Wartime Service he arranged music for Ted Heath, Teddy Foster, Mantovani and many others. He became an arranger and record producer for Decca Records with his orchestra recording for that label and Phase 4 Stereo. His orchestra performed on the albums Mexico and Westward Ho. In December 1964 his orchestra released an album of cover versions of Themes from the James Bond Thrillers to coincide with the American release of Goldfinger.

The popularity of Shaw’s arrangements of Bond themes led to More Themes from the James Bond Thrillers for the release of Thunderball with tracks from both albums released on a UK album called James Bond in Action.   In 1966 Shaw’s orchestra performed Themes for Secret Agents. Themes from the James Bond Thrillers Vol.3/More James Bond in Action followed the release of Casino Royale and You Only Live Twice in 1967. Shaw came back in 1971 for The Return of James Bond/The Phase 4 World of Spy Thrillers for the release of Sean Connery’s return as Bond in Diamonds Are Forever. Shaw recruited guitarist Vic Flick to repeat his guitar playing on the Gypsy Camp track

AlAshtonAristoneAl Ashton Guitarist from Manchester –
played with Billy Ternant Orchestra during 1944.  In 1939, Billy Ternent was appointed conductor of the BBC Dance Orchestra or ‘The Dance Orchestra‘ as it was then called. He conducted the first ITMA broadcasts with Tommy Handley, worked on ‘Variety Bandbox‘, and had a weekly slot on ‘Music While You Work‘.

When he resigned from this post in 1944, he handed over the baton to Stanley Black, who conducted the band until its demise in the early 50s.  Billy continued working with his Orchestra until the late 70’s

Jazz Guitar Solos, arranged by Dick Sadleir
Doctor Jazz, Cake walking babies from home, Cushion foot stomp, The Jazz me blues, Papa de da da, Someday Sweetheart, Kitchen Man, West End Blues

Alan Ferguson Guitarist – Spike Hughes – bass. Bill Harty – drums. Tracks 2 and 3. Dave Wilkins – trumpet. Leslie “Jiver” Hutchinson – trumpet
Billy Mason – piano. Duncan White – trumpet. David Shand – alto sax. Buddy Featherstonhaugh – tenor sax. Alan Ferguson guitar

George Kish Jazz Guitarist – (On Wes Montgomery): `This is something we’ve never heard before, and are not likely to hear for the next 20 years . . . his timing, his whole conception, the way he builds a tune. Each chorus is always better than the one before. He’s the kind of man who, had he taught himself any other instrument, would be just as brilliant.”

was probably the first jazz guitarist living and performing in Walsall and extolling the virtues of Django’s Artistry.  . .. My father was much loved and respected and should be up there with the rest of the Walsall jazz contingent. – Paul Degville

Fred who as you will recall was one of the leading lights carrying the Django torch in the West Midlands and a unique guitarist. He played at the Wheatsheaf pub in Walsall for many years and then his own pub, The Crown on the A5 near Brownhills. I also seem to recall Paul telling me that Eric Clapton had called in there years ago, which wouldn’t surprise me,. but would need verifying. Diz Disley would often jam there and it’s where I earned my spurs as a kid. – Paul Vernon Chester

PaulDegvillePaul Degville, guitar, b. Walsall (West Midlands), England, UK. Paul started his career at the age of 11 playing rhythm guitar. From age 12 to 17, he played guitar in his father’s trio at the Wheatsheaf pub in Walsall. His father, (Fred Degville) then took over the ‘Crown Inn’ Brownhills which became a famous jazz haunt. He also taught Noddy Holder the guitar when Noddy was 15. Through the years, Paul has played alongside Bud Freeman, Ruby Braff, and the venerable Stephane Grappelli. In 1980, ‘The Paul Degville Trio’ (Degville (gtr), Roscoe Birchmore (bs) Nick Ward (dm)) was formed, and has since been featured on BBC Radio 2, and played all over the world, playing a varied repertoire of 1930’s and ’40’s standards.  Paul too has passed on.

Paul Degville Trio
In his early 20’s Paul performed with such illustrious names as Stephane Grappelli, Bud Freeman, Ruby Braff as well as countless traditional and mainstream bands.  He has been a member of the Pete Allen Jazz Band as well as performing with the late Duncan Swift. In recent years Pauls ‘Django-esque’ trio has been featured on BBC Radio 2. A virtuoso on his instrument.

BMG – Magazine – Back Issue – 1942 – 11 Archie Slavin
BMG – Magazine – Back Issue – 1943 – 05 Terry Usher
BMG – Magazine – Back Issue – 1943 – 07 Lauderic Caton
BMG – Magazine – Back Issue – 1944 – 05 Geoff Sisley

AlShaw1937lAl Shaw (UK)  Banjo and guitar player. Al Shaw’s first known recordings are with Jay Whidden. Shaw replaced Barry Lindhorn in May 1927 and stayed with Whidden until late 1929. According to the British Dance Bands discography (Rust & Forbes) he recorded one session also for Marius B. Winter in late Dec 1928 or early Jan 1929. Whether he was a regular member of Winter’s band at this time is not yet known.  During 1930 he played at the Bat Club in a band lead by saxophonist Arthur Hetherington. The band included (at various times) well known pianists Barry Mill, Bobby McGee and Bert Barnes. The Melody Maker lists Shaw as playing banjo, guitar and cello.  In the first half of 1931, Al Shaw played guitar in the band Roy Fox created for the Decca company. This was essentially a Studio band, though they may have appeared publicly, supporting the gentle cornet playing of Roy Fox.  Early 1930s Melody Makers list Al Shaw as leader of a band at the “Not” restaurant (part of the Cafe Anglais) in London.  A photograph in Melody Maker for November 30th, 1935 shows Shaw in the small band backing singer Val Rosing, recording for Columbia earlier that month as The Radio Rhythm Rascals. The other members of the band were Pat Dodd, piano; Len Fillis, guitar; and Don Stuteley, bass.   A Radio Pictorial for 1937, includes a broadcast for Radio Luxembourg of “Al Shaw and his Strings”, but doesn’t describe exactly what Instrumentation Orchestra this is.

Dance Band Encyclopedia

Bob Rogersa top working guitarist. His first gig was in 1942 and he subsequently “played on 100’s of BBC broadcasts, films, shows and recordings” including as a member of the John Barry 7, Don Lang’s Frantic Five – even a session with Jimmy Page! Films including 6.5 Special and Beat Girl and, most recently as a Skinnerette on the Frank Skinner show in 2001!

Alan Johnson – He is a Londoner, played with a band called Sun of a Gun in the 70’s before going on to Brotherhood of Man with Johnny Goodison.  Did a lot of sessions for Goodison too before joining the band Goodison founded called Rock ‘n Roll Circus with Ian  Murray who was the drummer for 15 years.  He left the RnR Circus to go solo and now lives with his lady in Ebbw Vale.  Currently doing a lot of jazz gigs in and around South Wales – Bristol with Django and Les Paul influences.  John Goodison vocals and keyboards died in 1995

Melody Maker Jazz Polls – Guitar

1957 Guitar
1. Ken Sykora (1923 votes)
2. Dave Goldberg (1234)
5. Ivor Mairants (410)
6. Ike Isaacs (324)
10. Cedric West (40)
11. Roy Plummer (31)

1958 Guitar
1. Ken Sykora (49.4%)
4. Dave Goldberg (6.7)
5. Ike Isaacs (6.4)
6  Ivor Mairants (4.2)
10. Roy Plummer (0.7)

1959 Guitar
1. Dave Goldberg (28.0%)
3. Ken Sykora (22.5)
4. Ike Isaacs (6.8)
8. Ivor Mairants (2.2)