Al Ferdman

Al Ferdman – Jazz Guitarist, 1922-2005

AlFedmanAbbottVictorGuitar

Contemporary of the Deniz Bros, Archie Slavin, Freddy Legon, and played with the Vic Lewis Orchestra. Harold (Al) Ferdman was a southpaw Guitarist in the days when such instruments had to be built specially. This bespoke Abbot Victor Archtop Guitar has an added pick-up masked by his left hand, with the volume control and Jack socket on the lower F hole and an ‘Abbott Victor‘ engraved Y trapeze. Block inlays to the fretboard and a scratchplate with binding.

Could be a Music Master edition.

Body length 22″
Body depth 3.25″
Body lower bout 18″
Body upper bout 12.5″
Body waist 10.5″
Scale length 25.5″
Headstock length 8″
Headstock width at neck end 4.25″
Headstock at distal end 3.75″
The body is maple (possibly sycamore) back and sides, with carved spruce top.
The neck is maple with bound ebony fretboard.

WeedonAbbottVictorBert Weedon was a proud owner of an Abbott-Victor Archtop which he used on many broadcasts.

Jack Abbott junior was the very first British maker who built archtops in the United Kingdom.

It seems he became a real expert and made very good stuff. He mainly built banjos but a few guitars as well.  His production was not very big so Abbott guitars are really hard to find.

At some point after the war he was associated with someone called Victor and designed and supervised a series of guitars branded Abbott-Victor.

IvorMairantsEmporer

Al Ferdman was taught guitar by Ivor Mairants seen left here with Jean Simmons 1949.

Al’s Luthier made guitars were relatively expensive because he was left handed. Al gave up as a musician when his son Alan was born in 1956.  Taking on a more reliable profession and migrating from being an ophthalmic dispenser into the expanding photography business. He took photos of Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers.  Al carried on working right into his 70’s , but eventually succumbed to Parkinson’s Disease and had to quit work.  He left his son Alan with an avid interest in Music

VicLewisBand

Vic Lewis and his Jazzmen – March 23rd, 1947 (Esquire)
Reg Arnold (tp), Laddie Busby (tb), Ronnie Chamberlain (cl,as), Jimmy Skidmore (ts), Frank Holmes (bs), Ken Thorne (p), Al Ferdman (g), John Quest (b), Peter Coleman (d), Vic Lewis (dir).
At The Jazz Band Ball/Pennies From Heaven.

Vic Lewis and his Orchestra – June 23rd, 1947 (Esquire#)
Johnny Shakespeare, Vernon Thompson, Bunny Layzell (tp), Fred Mercer, Ed Sweeny, Ruth Harrison (tb), Peter Howe (cl,as), Ronnie Chamberlain (cl,as,sop), Jimmy Skidmore (ts), Charles Granville (ts,voc), Frank Holmes (bs, voc), Ken Thorne (p), Al Ferdman (g), John Quest (b), Peter Coleman (d), Vic Lewis (dir).
Darktown Poker Club (vocal VL)/#For You Alone*/Eindayz*/Summertime/Red Top.
(*BMG CD – Vic Lewis – A Tribute to Stan Kenton)

Vic Lewis and his Orchestra – November 24th, 1947 (Parlophone)
Johnny Shakespeare, Vernon Thompson, Bunny Layzell (tp), Fred Mercer, Ed Sweeny, Jimmy Wilson (tb), Peter Howe (cl,as), Ronnie Chamberlain (cl,as,sop), Jimmy Skidmore (ts), Derek Knight (ts), Bill Collins (bs), Ken Thorne (p), Al Ferdman (g), John Quest (b), Peter Coleman (d), Vic Lewis (dir).
Laura/When Your Lover Has Gone/Come Back To Sorrento/Artistry In Percussion.

Vic Lewis and his Orchestra – January 19th, 1948 (Harlequin HQ3014)
Johnny Shakespeare, Vernon Thompson, Bunny Layzell (tp), Fred Mercer, Ed Sweeny, Jimmy Wilson (tb), Peter Howe (cl,as), Ronnie Chamberlain (cl,as,sop), Jimmy Skidmore, Derek Knight (ts), Bill Collins (bs), Ken Thorne (p), Al Ferdman (g), John Quest (b), Peter Coleman (d), Vic Lewis (dir), Stan Kenton (speaking-1).
Stan Kenton Speaks-1/Balbao Bash. (Twelve other titles recorded have not been issued).

Vic Lewis and his Orchestra – February 23rd, 1948 (Parlophone/DJM)
Johnny Shakespeare, Vernon Thompson, Bunny Layzell, Billy Riddick (tp), Fred Mercer, Ed Sweeny, Jimmy Wilson (tb), Peter Howe (cl,as), Ronnie Chamberlain (cl,as,sop), Jimmy Walker, Ken Beckett (ts), Bill Collins (bs), Ken Thorne (p), Al Ferdman (g), John Quest (b), Peter Coleman (d), Vic Lewis (dir).
Too Fat Polka (vcl VL)/They Didn’t Believe Me/Indian Summer/Body And Soul.

Vic Lewis and his Orchestra – March 15th, 1948 (Harlequin HQ3013)
Johnny Shakespeare, Vernon Thompson, Bunny Layzell, Billy Riddick (tp), Bill Sharp, Roy Bassett, Jimmy Wilson (tb), Ronnie Chamberlain (cl,as,sop), Peter Howe (cl,as), Jimmy Walker, Ken Beckett (ts), Bill Collins (bs), Frank Horrox (p), Al Ferdman (g), John Quest (b), Peter Coleman (d), Lynda Russell (vcl), Vic Lewis (dir).
I Wish I Didn’t Love You.

…………..on guitar at different times were Archie Slavin, Al Ferdman, Freddy Legon and Joe Deniz.

AlFedmanWartime

Wartime Al Ferdman in Infantry uniform – playing below a reference to the Squadronair(e)s (misspelt) and a Black Minstrel with musical notation – note the dangerous looking Amplification unit to left on the floor – definitely a home engineered device worthy of the early 1940s with lead trailing towards the Microphone near Al’s Round Hole Acoustic Guitar (re-strung for left hand) as a Rhythm pick-up, Vocals or perhaps announcing?
The Pianist, Drummer, Sergeant Saxophonist/Clarinettist and Trumpeter all need identifying. Note the Ammo box and the greatcoats so it looks like some impromptu NAAFI Dance. event Can anyone confirm the ‘yellow’ Crusader Battleaxe logo on the black background music stands as 78th British Army Battleaxe Amphibious Division 1942 – 1945 Africa to Italy Campaign? Landing in Algiers, Terbourba, Tunisia, Centuripe, Sicily, Termoli, Trigno Crossing, River Sangro, Cassino, the Gustav Line, Egypt to Austria, with some Veterans of Dunkirk. Looks like the Trumpeter may have been the leader in charge of the charts. Grand Piano? The Corporal Drummer has a minimalist kit. Is that a collection bowl at the front of the bandstand?

I’m the son of the guitarist Al Ferdman , his real first name was Harold. He played with Vic Lewis. Sadly my dad passed in 2005 and today have very little knowledge of his music career.- Thanks in advance for your help.- Alan Ferdman

Can anyone help Alan flesh out his father’s musical career further?