Dave Goldberg

Dave Goldberg ~ 1922-69

Electric Guitarist & Trombonist


Born in 1922 in Liverpool, Dave Goldberg‘s family settled in Glasgow and he took up the Guitar at the age of 14. He was playing professionally in 1940 playing Trombone as well as Guitar but later joined the RAF during the WW2 as a Pilot Instructor.

Dave Goldberg with Grimshaw G5 Orca? c.1955

On demobilisation he joined Ted Heath playing Guitar only. He made several trips to the USA in the late 1940s and worked with the Les Brown Band, rejoining Ted Heath when he returned to the UK. He was an early Bebop pioneer and the Flat he shared with fellow Guitarist Peter Chilver in central London was where many young musicians gathered in 1949 to hear and discuss the Bebop Records beginning to come from the USA.  Proof of his familiarity with the idiom can be found re-issued under the title “Melody Maker ‘Columbia’ Jazz Rally” recorded in June 1947. He sounds very much at home on Thrivin’ on a Riff made at a time when most of our local musicians were still playing in the Swing style.
Melody Maker’s Jazz Rally – 29th June 1947 (All issued on Columbia)
Frank Weir, Carl Barriteau (cl), Harry Hayes, Bertie King (as), Tommy Whittle (ts), Ralph Sharon (p), Dave Goldberg (g), Jack Collier (b), Jock Cummings (d).
Confessin’/C Jam Blues/Thriving On A Riff*.

After a further spell in the US in the early 1950s, (working under the name Dave Gilbert to help him obtain work in Los Angeles), he returned to Britain in 1954 and worked with the Dizzy Reece Sextet and the Phil Seamen Quintet in 1956.   He freelanced in the USA, UK & Italy working on Film Soundtracks and with many small Jazz Groups and Dance Bands before becoming a long-time member of Jack Parnell’s ATV Orchestra. Goldberg had worked with Parnell for several years in the Ted Heath Orchestra in the 1940s. He died in 1969 at the early age of 47.


Band work includes Ted Heath Band, Dizzy Reece’s Sextet, Phil Seaman’s Quintet and Jack Parnell’s ATV Orchestra.  Extensive freelance work in UK and US.  Film work included playing and writing.  Dave Goldberg is believed to have died of a drug overdose in 1969.

Michael Claxton: ….when I was trying to decide between music and advertising I wrote to Steve Race for advice and met him at the BBC a couple of times for a chat and a cup of tea (!). He invited me to 2 of his recording sessions – this would have been in 1965 – and I helped with handing out scores etc. The Guitarist was Dave Goldberg and boy was he good.  At one point Steve Race asked him – I don’t remember exactly but something like ‘Could you make that Bbmin 7th with a flattened 11th a flattened 12th instead and Dave said words to the effect, “Yes where would you like it?” and he played 4 inversions up the Neck in about 2 seconds.   When I expressed my admiration he just said the classic Carnegie Hall line – “Practice, man, practice!”… I have the LPs somewhere in storage; ‘Late Race’ and another one with Film Tthemes if I remember correctly.

There is some good Video of him on the Stephane Grappelli Double DVD also a 1965 BBC Jazz 625 Session on YouTube. Not much on CD as yet unfortunately.

Put on a Happy Face – With Dave Goldberg
From a 1965 TV appearance, here’s Benny Golson leading a British All-star band, featuring Alan Branscombe on piano, Dave Goldberg on guitar & Tubby Hayes on tenor, with sterling support from Allan Ganley on drums. Also visible in the clip are Jimmy Deuchar and Stan Roderick in the trumpets, Keith Christie and Ken Wray in the trombones and Don Honeywill & Frank Reidy with Bob Efford in the reeds.

Laurie Johnson with The London Philharmonic Orchestra and The London Jazz Orchestra – August 8th, 1969 (Synthesis – Columbia SLX 6412)
Stan Roderick, Derek Watkins, Kenny Wheeler, Cliff Haines, Paul Tongay (tp), Don Lusher, Nat Peck, Bobby Lamb, Ray Premru (tb), Joe Harriott, Roy Willox (as), Tony Coe, Tubby Hayes (ts), Harry Klein (bs), Stan Tracey (p), Dave Goldberg (g), Dave Richmond (b-g), Lennie Bush (b), Barry Morgan (d).
Prelude/Con Moto/Adagio/Allegro/Finale


Believed to be Joe Harriott & Dave Goldberg’s last recording date, this is a rather muddled attempt at a Symphony with jazz soloists.

Tom Lord’s Jazz Discography gives the recording date as 1970 but this is incorrect. Simon Spillett (Saxophonist) points out that Dave Goldberg died on 21st August 1969 and that this recording was made on 8th August, a few days before that date, at Watford Town Hall.

DaveGoldberg2Dress Designer Gina in 1954 married David Goldberg  She dropped out of formal employment but continued making to order pretty dresses for friends. The Goldbergs divorced in 1961, and she married Renato Fratini, a commercial artist from Italy. Gina Fratini had Irish parentage but was raised in Japan. Her father, the Honourable Somerset Butler, was twin brother of the Earl of Carrick. In 1947

Jack Parnell & his Quartet – July 29th, 1946 (Decca)
Reg Owen (cl), Ralph Sharon (p), Dave Goldberg (g), Jack Fallon (b), Jack Parnell (d).

Dave Goldberg was a great Guitar player. Unfortunately like other UK players such as Pete Chilver, Jack Llewellyn, Eric Ford, Ernie Sheer, Ike Isaacs, Brian Dayley, Judd Proctor, Roland Shaw, to name a few, sadly are not very well known outside of the UK.

One night Django was visiting the Flat on Charing Cross Road which Pete Chilver & Dave Goldberg shared at the time. The 3 of them were jamming and generally having a great time, but the noise was upsetting their neighbour. He was a burly fellow who had no love of Jazz whatsoever. He banged on the door and shouted at them to “keep that f***ing racket down” Dave Goldberg (who was bigger than Pete) was despatched to the door. He opened it and said to the man, “don’t you realise, that was Django Reinhardt is playing?”  to which the response was ” I don’t care if it’s the f***ing King playing”. The words vary slightly depending on which account you read, but the gist is accurate.  David Chilver


Above – Stork Club Band
Charlie Short Bass, Martin Aston Drums, Ralph Sharon Piano, Doreen Henry Vocals, Dave Goldberg Guitar (with Dark Glasses), Harry Klein Alto, Harry Roche Trombone, Ronnie Scott Tenor

Melody Maker Columbia Jazz Rally:
Frank Weir, Carl Barriteau, cl; Bertie King, Harry Hayes, as; Tommy Whittle ts; Ralph Sharon, p; Dave Goldberg, g; Jack Collier, b; Jock Cummins, d.
London, June 29, 1947

The Grappelli DVD featuring Goldberg is called A life in the Jazz Century (2002). It is still available from the producers I think, I will try to find a link. It is a double DVD with the 2nd part showing Stephan playing with several musicians including all the Django Film. The Group with Dave Goldberg on Guitar has George Shearing on piano and Ray Ellington on drums and Coleridge Goode on Bass, they play several numbers.
Dave Goldberg also played the Trombone and was a good Arranger. He was a Tteacher in Ivor Mairants Central School of Dance Music along with Roy Plummer, Bert Weedon and Ike Isaacs in the early ’50’s and also played with the Ivor Mairants Guitar Group.
  What a pity there is not much Dave Goldberg on CD, he made a lot of recordings as a Group member and Session Musician.
He also played with Geraldo & Jack Parnell of course. – Bob B

I’ve a great interest in all Jazz Guitarists and have realised that there are loads of 1st Class, World Class actually, guys that are just not well known, Dave Goldberg and many many more.  As a kid, maybe around 1960, I watched Dave Goldberg playing solo on the BBC programme, Tonight – with presenters Cliff Michelmore, Kenneth Allsop, Fyfe Robertson, on at 6pm-ish every night;  sometimes they had Rory McEwan or Robin Hall & Jimmy McGregor but a few times Dave Goldberg – I remember him being asked what he would play and he said ” A Little Blues“;  I thought that was the title but now I realise he meant ‘just a little blues’. I’d just got interested in the Guitar  but was already liking subtler stuff and I tried to remember/copy what he did, which I do remember was in Bb, because I thought how odd, why not E, D, G, A ? etc like you do when you’re learning. I think he was playing a blonde Guild.  I saw the Grappelli DVD the other day and it reminded what a great Jazz Chordist he was.  Regards  John D.

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)
1. Dave Goldberg
2. Diz Disley
3. Ken Sykora
4. Bert Weedon
5. Dennis Newey
6. Ike Isaacs
7. Bill Bramwell
8. George Kish/Judd Proctor
9 Tony Pitts
1. Ernest Ranglin
2. Dave Goldberg
3. Diz Disley
4. Alexis Korner
1. Dave Goldberg
2. Ernest Ranglin
3. Diz Disley
4. Alexis Korner
5. Terry Smith

One of the Guitarists on your website who I saw was Dave Goldberg, who did very occasional Jazz Gigs in London in between his Session work. I saw him playing with Phil Seaman just before he died – he was great. – Nick Powell