Diz Disley

Diz Disley – Jazz Guitarist & Artist

1931~2010

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– Stephane & Django’s  Renaissance Man

Sadly Diz Disley Passed away on Monday 22nd March 2010 but you don’t have to believe it if you don’t want to.  Alas no more ‘Sausage me a Gregory’ requests.

Think of it as a Reunion with the Master
William Charles “Diz” Disley, guitarist, born 27 May 1931; died 22 March 2010

His funeral was held on Wednesday, 7th April at The West Chapel, West London Crematorium at Kensal Green, Harrow Road, London  W10 4RA there was a procession behind the marching band.  Sadly, Diz was destitute and funds were needed for a fitting send off.

Didn’t Diz Ramble  Just a Closer Walk with Diz

The first ever recording of Diz Disley in a 1952 performance at the Royal Festival Hall – and Ken Colyer, Humph, and Alex Welsh. Diz is identified only as ‘Disley’. – Alex B

Diz Disley, supplementing his day job (as are other members of his group) playing Django’s music. Diz and his band of semi-pros played every Thursday at London’s Club Django. In his band were Neville Skrimshire and Denny Purrsord on guitars, Dick Powell on violin and Timmy Mahn on bass. Another point of interest is that a pre 16 year-old Diz learnt his Django licks from violinist Norrie Greenwood where at weekends they would go out to Norrie’s caravan in the country and play for hours into the night.

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I knew that he’d been ill for some time. It would be nice to invite eulogies on the website. So many were affected by him.  I remember fondly playing Nuages on his Selmer Maccaferri when I was 17. He accompanied me on a flat top, lent by an audience member. He was always supportive and encouraging and beneath that legendary wit lay a musician of calibre who loved his swing jazz and played the most tasteful chord progressions with rock-steady precision. He played a lot of folk clubs where at some point Django would always take over almost seamlessly!  I can only imagine what fanfare Django and Stephane are playing for him but they will all be jamming for a long, long time!   Paul Vernon Chester.

I only ever met Ike Isaacs once – when he was with Diz, guess it may have been around 1977 – and just after he had a blazing row with Grappelli. He was a gracious, thoughtful guy who gave me an interview for Radio Leeds. At the time I was with the University Jazz band and I was in awe of these men who seemed to be so understated and modest. I got the impression that he did not trust Diz Disley, simply because he never referred to him and evaded my questions about the trio. (Diz, Ike and Ron Chesterman, bass) – Alex B

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Phil Bates
Double Bass player Phil Bates was born in Brixton, London in 1931 and he took up the instrument in his teens. He played with Ronnie Scott and Tubby Hayes’ Jazz Couriers in 1958 after previous work at the 51 Club with Harry Klein and Vic Ash.  Through the 1950s and ’60s he worked with some top bands including the Peter King Quartet, Jack Sharpe Quintet, and the Ronnie Ross-Bert Courtley Jazztet (for almost a year from April 1961). A longer spell, from 1962 to 1968 followed with the Dick Morrissey Quartet where he also worked with Harry South both in the quartet and South’s own big band. He is heard to good effect as a soloist on the two Morrissey quartet albums recorded in 1963 and ’64.  From 1970 he was a successful freelance and worked with Sonny Stitt and Jimmy Witherspoon and other visiting celebrities. He led his own trio from the 1990s and was also active as a teacher.

I was 12 when I first met Diz.  It was the early 1950s and my father, Tom Cundall,  was co-editing Jazz Journal with Sinclair Trail. This was an early example for me of why not to get involved in Jazz as it involved trips to a pawnbroker’s in Kilburn High Road to raise the money to pay the printers bill.  Diz stayed at our home a few times, doing artworks for Jazz Journal.  He also had a guitar and a trumpet and I had a ukulele.  He taught me a couple of what might just about have been approximations of chords and so I had the rare honour of backing Diz while he was on trumpet and I was still in short trousers – until my father said we were upsetting the landlady, a hanging offence at the time. Diz always seemed larger than life to me, clearly enormously talented, always cheerful – although I have never forgotten one horror story he told me from his time in the army in Trieste.  I last saw him about 15 years ago, playing with Digby Fairweather at the Pizza Express in Dean St. He instantly called up memories from when he used to stay with us and told me he now had some land in Almeira which he hoped to get permission to turn into a golf course.  So I was very surprised to learn he was broke when he died.  – Peter Cundall

What a fellow Diz was. I used to run Folk Clubs in the sixties and early 70s around Northampton. One time I remember him turning up in a Rolls Royce which did not have a steering wheel but some sort of joy stick to steer it by. He enjoyed giving me a ride and showing it off. He is the only person who ever asked me if I took any money for myself form the folk club admission charge.  When I told him no he gave me a couple of quid. He would get paid about £10 for his guest spot. Mind you I was earning about £12 a week as a teacher. On  a couple of occasions with his £10 fee he took himself, me and 2 others for an Indian meal and still had change.  He was one of life’s greats and I’m sorry now I did not keep in touch when I stopped running clubs.      Wilfrid Feely

I knew Diz in the 60’s – met him at Corby Folk Club. He was very talented, very amusing & could be very unreliable! Besides his obvious musical talent he was an excellent cartoonist & his monologues were brilliant  Re: Wilf Feely – I was with Diz when we all had a meal after his appearance at  a Northampton Folk Club, 1964/5?  RIP Diz,  Mary, Rutland

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Diz Disley was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada but was brought up in Wales and northern England. In his childhood, he learnt to play the banjo, but took up the jazz guitar at the age of 14, after hearing the playing of Django Reinhardt.  Diz studied art in Leeds and it was a good time for music at the Leeds College of Art. There was Diz, Alan Cooper who later formed the Temperance 7, & from quite a different scene a lad called Frank Abelson who later became Frankie Vaughn. Diz played banjo in the college band – the Vernon Street ramblers – when he was asked to join the slightly more prestigious Yorkshire Jazz band, which brought him to London & the Mick Mulligan/George Melly rave-ups.
WHC-127 ALEXANDER’S RAGTIME BAND Proper Records
Yorkshire Jazz Band: Dickie Hawdon, cnt, Eddie O’Donnell, tb; Alan Cooper, cl; Tommy Dunn, p; Diz Disley, bjo; Bob Barclay, tu; Stan Bellwood, d.
Sheffield, September 9, 1949

In those days the band was playing for £4.50 a week. But they didn’t even consider the money, it was a pleasure to be playing Jazz in London. Melody Maker voted Diz Jazz Guitarist of the Year for a number of years. Diz has played with & continues to play with some of the great names in Jazz – Big Bill Broonzy, Louis Armstrong, Ken Colyer, Sandy Brown, Cy Laurie, Kenny Ball & Alex Welsh among others. Diz led his own quintet at the BBC & compered various folk & jazz programmes for years.

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It was while organising the Cambridge Folk Festivals in the early 70’s that Diz invited Stephane Grappelli to make an appearance. Steph had not played his style of Jazz since Django died in 1953 – mainly because he couldn’t find reliable acoustic guitar players. The best guitar players to suit his style of Violin Jazz were all gypsies – & reliability was a problem. It was for that reason that Steph had stepped out of the limelight for almost 20 years, before meeting with Diz. Stephane wanted a pianist to accompany him at the Cambridge Folk Festival, but Diz couldn’t get the piano across the field to the stage, so he suggested that he & Denny Wright accompany the legendary Stephane Grappelli. It was an outstanding success. When Diz formed the Diz Disley Trio with Ike Isaacs, Steph was asked to lead the band on a short tour.

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Melbourne Solo 1976                                                Diz with Naguine

Diz Solo 1982

Soho String Quintet – with Johnny van Derrick

Diz at Grappelli’s 70th Birthday

Musical Career Highlights.
Yorkshire Jazz Band 1949. Mick Mulligan Jazz Band 1953. Ken Colyer Jazz Band 1954. Cy Laurie Jazz Band 1955. Diz Disley String Quintette 1956. Sandy Brown Band 1956. Bob Cort Skiffle Group 1957. Nancy Whiskey Group 1958. Kenny Ball Jazzmen 1959. Alex Welsh Band 1960. BBC Radio Bandleader & Compere 1956-1963. Folk Clubs & Festivals 1963-73. S. Grappelli & Diz Disley Trio 1973-83. Artist: Melody Maker, Radio Times, The Spectator, Jazz Journal, Daily Mirror, record companies, advertising etc. Actor : (Hollywood LA), Heliotrope Theatre, Mark Taper Theatre. Has recorded 13 albums with Stephane Grappelli 1973-83. One album Soho String Quintet 1959 on Lansdowne label.

Attendance Local Gypsy Jazz Gig:-

Took Place on 20th Oct 2007
Woodcote Village Hall,
Reading Road 1
Mito & Fleco Loeffler + Gypsy Jazz – Ian Cruickshank, John Coverdale
Genuine Alsace Gypsy guitarists from the French / Belgian Manouche Gypsy Tribe, Mito & Fleco are highly respected guitarists, in the Django Reinhardt vein Mito Loeffler and his musical family live in a caravan in Alsace, speaks only Romany and some bad French and lives and breathes Manouche music of all lands from traditional waltzes to gypsy jazz.  Gypsies begin to play as soon as they can hold a guitar.  Mito’s playing was charming, honest, bewitching, utterly entrancing.  The mature but ever enthusiastic Diz Disley attended the concert and sat quietly and appreciatively nodding and voicing his approval of the Manouche tradition that influenced his own musical contribution in perpetuating the magic of Django’s Heritage. The band paid him due tribute for his supreme presence..

Diz Disley’s Guitar Sold at Christies July 1997
An acoustic guitar by Henri Selmer branded Fabriqué en France par H. Selmer & Cie/Mario Maccaferri and branded Maccaferri Pat No. 10431/Henri Selmer Paris on the headstock; the back and sides of calamander rosewood with single cutaway, spruce top, D shaped soundhole, slotted headstock with ebony veneer, walnut neck and 22 fret ebony fingerboard with snowflake and crescent moon inlay, ebony bridge, metal tailpiece with tortoise-shell insert, string length 25 9/16in. (65cm), lower bout width 15 11/16in. (39.9cm), in hardshell fitted case.  Sold with a receipt of sale from Diz Disley dated 21 February 1992 – now who did he borrow it from and where’s the Selmer Number – Was it a LouisGallo – Marco Roccia assembly MG?

Price Realized £12,650 ($21,182)

Odd that the highly professional Christies Auction House failed to quote the interior label manufacture Number and approximate date and simply chose to list a headstock part number?

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After leaving the English military service in the 1950’s, William “Diz” Disley enrolled in art school and became a skilled illustrator and painter, eventually doing covers and cartoons for the weekly magazine Melody Maker and the political journal The Spectator.

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Music entered his life some years earlier when he became a fan of jazz guitar playing in the style of Django Reinhardt and his group The Hot Club of France which featured Stephan Grappelli on violin. He mastered the guitar and before long Diz was on his way up in the world of jazz music. After joining Tony Crombie’s outfit (Britain’s first rock and roll band) in 1958, Diz performed with Acker Bilk (Stranger on the Shore), Humphrey Lyttleton, Beryl Bryden and others who would gain success on record like Chas McDevitt, Ken Colyer, Nancy Whiskey and Lonnie Donegan. Eventually he formed his Diz Disley Trio and made contact with Stephan Grappelli whose music career had stalled and was playing piano in a hotel bar in Paris. Through Diz’s connections with the British festival circuit he revived the violinist’s career during the 1970’s world-wide. In 1963 the guitarist, artist, had been given the honour of hosting a popular jazz radio program for BBC before a live audience.

Paul – I was sorting my CDs the other day and came across the CD: – ‘THE GYPSY JAZZ GUITAR FESTIVAL ‘98’.   This was a live recording, still available through Fret Records, where I saw Diz for the first time in years. He is represented on this compilation, which may be of interest to visitors to our website. It’s great to share CD space with him! There are photos of this festival with myself, Diz and other gypsy musicians which I will try to get to you. It was a very special day.

Diz in Retirement!

– in his frail maturity he could still be seen mingling with fellow Manoucheries at various live concerts given by those that have followed his creed.

He sits entranced by the passion and intricate skills of the new generations that seek to emulate the master as he did.

He could be heard sighing in delight and satisfaction that he was a torch bearer  in his time and kept the Django Legacy alive and thus restoring its glory to the ears of a rising generations of Listeners and Players alike.

He graciously takes a bow each time from the appreciative audiences that recognise this gargantuan effort to keep this music alive and vibrant – and what success he achieved!!.

Diz Performance Sydney 1975

The BBC had paid national insurance contributions on Disley’s behalf during the comparatively brief period he had worked for it. But otherwise the guitarist had made no provision for his old age and when he became ill in his last years he was impoverished. He spent the last two years in a home for old people.

Additions to the Appraisal.

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Like Diz, I was an art student and went down to London just at the end of the skiffle boom… Donegan had ‘gone pop’, but trad. and folk were quick to follow. We went to jazz clubs to keep warm and my mate was into guitars and banjos. He idolized Django like Diz… they got on well and he was often allowed to sit in on sessions… and I purchased Diz’s 10″ LP  released on Dobell’s jazz record shop’s 77 label and based on Django’s HCQ numbers…. one night at the 100 club, Donegan appeared as “Dustman” reached no.1 and I helped Lon. off with his coat… my mate, Diz and Lon. jammed on banjos…after the set we all went to a basement below Bunjie’s coffee bar off Charing Cross Road and ALL the greats of UK trad assembled there after hours — Melly, Mulligan, Acker etc etc, even Ken Colyer, plus a dwarf on harmonica who really swung. We left at dawn and kipped down at Diz’s after some of the best jazz I’ve ever heard! He was up a 10am to do an illustration for Radio Times. The Fishmonger’s Arms at Wood Green was another memorable occasion… Alex Welsh was playing, with Diz on guitar… a mass brawl ensued but Herr Lennie Hastings did his usual “Oooooh-yahs” while Welsh and Diz continued playing mounted on chairs above the melee of beer, blood and broken glass. Diz fixed his plectrum in one eye pirate- style and the pair rocked to the vocal of ‘After you’ve gone’. Diz commented “Did you hear the piss-ee-carto there? An Italian word meaning drunk…” . Fabulous! I went on to work for Decca Records and was flabbergasted to see Diz recording with pop instrumental group Nero &The Gladiators rocking up ‘In the hall of the mountain king’. Such versatility had our Diz…the measure of a musical genius and perhaps an unsung superstar. Farewell Diz, and I hope you meet your hero in the sky! – misterill

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I met Diz about  40 years ago in Stafford where he used to visit sometimes at the height of the folk club era. He would entertain us with humorous ditties and sometimes we would have a meal in the local Chinese restaurant. It was at one of these meals that he had us all in stitches ,relating his hilarious exploits on his way to entertain the troops in Malaya I think it was. One day he turned up at my mothers house ,where I lived and cadged some money for petrol . He was off to a gig in Manchester when his Rolls Royce ran out of gas ! True to his word the small loan was repaid.   On another occasion he was on his way to Immingham with a load of disco equipment bound for Sweden when his car broke down . The gear was stored in our garden shed until he collected it some time later. I later heard the Swedish disco venture ended rather ignominiously, but I’ll  leave the details to Diz!
I met him again some years later at the Cambridge Folk Festival and he introduced me to Stephane Grappelli . A memorable moment, Stephan played for us in the tea tent, we were awestruck that such an eminent musician should ask us what we would like him to play ,when he should have been relaxing between spots .
Two of life’s real gentlemen . I salute you!  Pete Richardson Stafford

There are other anecdotes about Diz I could relate but the person who knew him best was Ron Winkle, local banjo player and vintage car restorer. Diz commissioned Ron to paint his Rolls Royce yellow once I believe ! This was typical of Diz who had a rather cavalier attitude to his own personal road transport. I remember he had a large heavy saloon which would not go in reverse so any trip had to be accompanied by helpers who pushed when required . Ron told me that Diz parked this unwieldy vehicle in the Lord Mayors parking spot in Birmingham once when attending a gig.I can only imagine the kerfuffle that probably ensued !
Diz was unfailingly courteous in all the dealings he had with me and his memory was and probably still is prodigious . He never forgot my mother and sister ,and would enquire of their welfare ,despite the passage of many years and the fact that he only met them once.
Our association was very brief but I often think of the humour and fun he brought into our lives. I’d love to drop him a line but don’t have his address . One little anecdote that I never forgot was when I asked Diz how he kept so fit and slim . His reply was “It all goes in through the mouth son ” Pete Richardson Stafford

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An old friend of mine who is now in his early nineties and who’s name is Norrie Greenwood (violinist) claimed to know Diz Dizley in his very early days.  Norrie often recounted the story of how he was playing his guitar in his house in Settle, Ribblesdale when the postman rang the door bell and asked what kind of music Norrie was playing.  Norrie went on to give the postman a few lessons but was soon outclassed by him.  The postman turned out to be Diz.  Norrie would tell this story to anybody who would listen and most of us in the local jazz scene took it with a pinch of salt.  That was until all the local players including Norrie went to see Stephane G. with Dizley at the Annersley Hotel in Lincoln.  When Dizley saw Norrie he was said to be over the moon and insisted that he went back stage to meet Stephane. I don’t think Norrie, after shaking hands with Stephane, has washed his hand since!  Nobody knows if the story was correct but Diz’s reaction on seeing Norrie would lend some credence to the tale. – Best Wishes – Alan Davies – Lincoln

I  also know Norrie Greenwood and a few years ago met Diz Disley who was on his way to play a concert in Lancaster. He called in on Norrie at Hellifield, where Norrie was living at the time and played along with us .well I say along he was stunning  .the evening is on a video the fiddle player’s wife made.. He didn’t tell me Diz was coming he just said there was a special friend coming to the practice session …special indeed…Diz confirmed the postman story by the way….Doug Lawrence

Hi, ref Diz Disley. I used to see him at the Surbiton (Surrey) folk club quite often. He would sing gently ribald songs and play a lovely old Maccaferri type guitar. He can’t be that old now – why doesn’t he ever perform? Anyway, he made me fall in love with that type of guitar and it’s music. So I wish him many thanks. All the best Nick Weeks

I’m back-tracking to 1964/65 when I was also part of the Surbiton folk club audience. At that stage Diz always included one or two George Formby impersonations in his folk club performances and this led to the production of an LP featuring George’s songs. A number of recruits from the Surbiton audience attended the recording studio to provide choral backup and applause (myself included). Diz designed the record cover which featured a cartoon of George Formby sitting astride a huge stick of Blackpool rock, with the title “EEE, What a Whopper”. The record was a tribute to George Formby who had died in 1961 – though the rather risque cover meant it wasn’t a record for taking home to mother at that time! I recall Diz had great respect for the accomplishments of former generations, whether the subject be music, musicians, flying machines or cars. He heard about a 1926 Rolls Royce that someone was trying to sell. It wasn’t going but he was excited at the prospect of working on it and I lent him the £15 needed to buy it. He got it going and I later had some rides – feeling very high and mighty, sitting way above mere mortals in the 1960s London traffic. Best wishes to the very able star of this show.  – Linda Muldoon (in Canberra)

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When I lived in Corby, I remember Diz Disley was booked to play at the Nag’s Head in the old village, having played there myself on a few occasions, I asked him if I could sit in.  Diz , at the time was doing his solo folk club thing but called me on during the second set.
It must have gone ok as he invited me to his next gig in Market Harboro’, I turned up feeling quite nervous, however I felt a lot worse after the interval when he announced me as “boy wonder”!!  after the first number I got up to go and he told me in no uncertain terms to “sit down” so I ended up doing all the second set with him,  he then invited me to do a concert with him on the following Saturday in Leicester.
At the time I was a member of quite a successful local band called “The Midnighters” run by two brothers, Pat and John Casey, and I had a gig with them on the same night so I had to decline his offer, Diz was not the type to accept such a futile excuse so I remember him saying to me “this is not a pub gig dear boy, it’s a Concert in a Theatre, it’s your big chance” sadly it was a chance I missed, as much as I wanted to do it I felt I had to honour the first gig with the boys.
When he was in the area Diz called on me a few times after that, he had a big influence on my playing and certainly kept you on your toes, – playing with Diz was a great experience.  – Ade Holland Jazz Guitarist

I first met Diz in the late 60s/early 70s at a Bayswater pub called “The Redan” on the corner of Queensway and Westbourne Grove in London. I was playing jug band music and early 20s jazz with a loose collection of musicians called “The Egbert Souse All-Stars”. The pub landlord was an ex-muso called Johnny Watkins, and Diz was his tenant in the upstairs flat. Johnny had all kinds of jazz-based music going on – I recall Sunday lunchtime sessions with Frank and Laurie Denise, for example, and the “Egberts” played once a week. We weren’t particularly accomplished musicians, but we played with enthusiasm and gave a good performance for £2 each and a free beer! The band members would come – or not – as the mood took them and, one particularly sparse night, there were only 3 or 4 of us playing. Diz came downstairs for a pint, saw us struggling, and went upstairs for his Maccaferri. He jammed with us all night and turned it into a wonderful evening. When we’d finished, I asked if he would take a share of the kitty. He said “no”, he had a good gig the next evening. When asked where, he said “Carnegie Hall – with Stephane”. I last saw him when I was playing at a folk club in Arundel called “The Willows”. I turned up to watch. He saw me in the audience and asked me to come up and play “backing” guitar for him – which turned out as me taking as many solos as he did! He drove a huge hearse in those days, and wondered where he could fill up before going back to London. I’ve not heard of Diz for years – hope he’s OK…Mike Ainscough

Hi –  I served with him in Trieste in 1940 and was in touch till nearly 1950.  Diz gave us all instruments – spoons, comb and paper, harmonicas, and wash boards.  We ran Music sessions in the various Barrack rooms.  –  Lionel Morgan ex Sgt – Royal Signals

I tripped over this site while trying to search for Derek Sergeant who used to be resident compare at the Surbiton Folk Club which was mentioned by some of your other correspondents.  Anyway – back to Diz Disley – who was definitely a favourite of mine when he appeared at Surbiton. The main reason for this was that along with his Jazz Guitar and Folk Songs and occasions when he accompanied the likes of Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick, he was also capable of excruciatingly funny renditions of such favourite Humorous Monologues such as The Battle of Hastings and Albert and the Lion. Without fail, the entire audience, which at that time regularly included actor Michael Balfour, would be convulsed with laughter making for a very enjoyable evening.  The very last time I saw Diz at Surbiton, I asked if he would do the Battle of Hastings for me and he did kindly make a stab at it, but it seems he had not been performing monologues for some time and unfortunately he had to give up part way through because he could no longer remember the words to continue.  Thank you Diz for many super memories of the Surbiton Folk Club which in days gone by was held at the Surbiton Assembly Halls near Kingston upon Thames.  John Paine

I went to the Fishmongers Arms – Wood Green Jazz Club. He forgot to mention Thursday nights when Diz Dizley played there with the great Denny Wright.- Martin Guy
The Dark Side – Disley was always asking fellow musos play in his impromptu  all string quartets. Little is known what happened to his earnings which were quite substantial. He earned generous fees, but he was always broke. In about 1976 that he made $25000+ dollars for a 2 week tour of America with Grappelli.  He always worked. Grappelli had a reputation for being moody and stingy, but he always paid his sidemen generously. In 2005 Diz was living near the Enfield airfield, and often burst into bitter rants against Grappelli and Martin Taylor. He blamed them for everything. Even close friends disowned him in the end and still owed the odd £50 cajoled from them. He then had some three Macca’s one broken, one D hole and a small hole, and also a Gibson, which looked rather like Bill Bramwell’s…  All probably borrowed desperately for an urgent fictitous gig on a promise of care and conveniently not returned. Sausage me a Gregory! was his urgent call for cashing a cheque.
A Little Humourous Vocal from Diz and Bassist Ray Campi

Diz (centre) here with Ray Campi and Carl Perkins 1997

Diz once borrowed my favoured guitar, a hand built Italian cello style, which in truth was too mellow for Jazz, but hell, I was young! Eventually I had to travel to London to retrieve it. Kenny Baker once sacked Diz when he failed to turn up for a Nixa ‘Baker’s Dozen’ recording, I believe Roy Plummer was brought in a short notice. As a result he never played with Baker again and Baker subsequently blackballed Diz. Alex B 

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DIZ DISLEY MEMORIAL CONCERT, MARTIN CARTHY & DAVE SWARBRICK, LE HOT CLUB DE LONDRES, DICK LAURIE & THE ELASTIC BAND, BOBBY CLARK & DENNY PURSSORD, HYLDA SIMS, SIMON PRAGER & KEVIN STENSON

Thank you for the news on my old friend, Diz Disley –  we met in  1960s London, also meeting up in Bahrain with Acker Bilk in the 80s – and many more times. I was sad to hear of his frailty and accept that visiting him is out. Di Klein

In the late 1940s Denis Preston joined the pioneering Jazz magazine, Jazz Music which coincidentally employed the late Diz Disley as illustrator and cartoonist. Often covering the 100 Club reviews Denis was to befriend many Jazz musicians. – Alex B

During the mid seventies I ran Leeds Uni’s Jazz club and was also secretary for the folk club. I booked Diz to appear – as at the time he wasn’t touring with Grappelli. Diz rang me on the Tuesday as he was to perform on the Friday, and he informed me that he was booked at a Wakefield club the following day, however due to Licensing issue it had been cancelled.  So he couldn’t come, ‘Not worth it, cock…’ I said I would contact him as I had a friend who ran either a Jazz or a Folk club in Dewsbury; this I arranged and subject to formalities he agreed to fulfil his booking. I met him at the station and was surprised as he was not carrying his guitar. I originate from a fairly musical family and one scion of the tribe runs a music business, then in Leeds, now in Harrogate. I had acquired an Italian hand made guitar, rather like a Maccaferri but with a large oval sound hole. I had got it at cost, which was the only way I could afford it.  Needless to say Diz ‘borrowed’ it, for both the Dewsbury bash and my Uni’s do… He subsequently returned to Hammersmith, failing to return my guitar. As at the time I was playing with a Condonesque type band I needed my guitar. So I ended up having to go to London to retrieve it.  I met him several times during the intervening years and though he was always friendly …I never forgave him.  Diz, although he is held in great affection was ‘bitchy’. He ‘hated’ ‘that bloody Colyer’ ‘fake and about as plausible as Jellyroll Morton’ – ‘Grappelli was an arse bandit’ So was Diz – if it had a pulse he was not bothered which sex it was.  Mind, it beats being pursued around a Manchester nightclub by George Melly, wearing only long johns and waving a large bar of soap. Alex B

I knew Diz in the 60’s – met him at Corby Folk Club. He was very talented, very amusing and could be very unreliable!   Besides his obvious musical talent he was an excellent cartoonist & his monologues were brilliant
Re: Wilf Feely – I was with Diz when we all had a meal after his appearance at  a Northampton Folk Club, 1964/5ish
 RIP Diz,  – Mary, R