George Elliott – Jazz Guitarist
George Elliott – or Felix Bartholdy Mendelssohn was born at Brondesbury Park in London on September 19, 1911, a great-grandson of the German composer. In a crowded career, he worked as a naval cadet, stockbroker, journalist, advertising agent, publicist, concert organiser, variety agent, film actor and agent in the dance band world. On leaving the Navy, he became an actor and then opened Club Felix in London, which became the haunt of stage personalities in the early 30s. In 1938, after visiting the South Sea islands and seeing how popular the films and music of the region were in the U.S., he realised his ambition to form a Hawaiian band. He said: ‘I believe soft music allied to glamour and showmanship is a sure recipe for success.’ With good organisation and appreciating the value of publicity, he popularised Hawaiian music in England during the late 30s and 40s. His band featured many prominent musicians of the time, including George Elliott, and Ernie Penfold well-respected Guitarists
George Elliott is pictured here with an Aristone Acoustic Archtop Guitar designed by Jack Duarte
Felix Mendelssohn’s Hawaiian Serenaders
Felix Mendelsohns Hawaiian Serenaders 2
Roland Peachey Hawaiian Guitarist with Felix Mendelssohn – (Piche) came to the UK from Canada in 1937, bringing with him a 7 string “Frypan” and Jack G. Abbott the Luthier of London made him a 3 neck Lap Steel guitar on which he used metal thumb and finger picks with a bar. One can assume that the electric pick-ups were either copied from the Rickenbacker or maybe even bought direct from the Rick’ company.. Felix Mendelssohn’s Hawaiian Serenaders Rhythm and Soloist Acoustic Guitarists included George Elliot and Billy Bell for commercial reasons only perhaps, but providing rare film of their performance.
The three neck Lap Steel guitar in the clip is an ABBOTT – check out ‘In The Mood’ for the guitar solo.
Billy Bell (Lower Right), Bert Weedon, Steve Gauna, Jack Llewellyn, Joe Fenton, George Elliott (Lower Left) along with Judd Proctor on Guitar and Bassist Joe Mudelle were all in the Big Ben Banjo Band inspired by Bandleader Norrie Paramor for easy listing and commercial success beyond his wildest dreams. Formed during the height of their popularity, from 1954 to 1958 by Columbia A & R man Norrie Paramor and were purely intended as a recording unit. Basically they were a Dixieland-style outfit with banjos predominant. Norrie had the pick of the top session musicians, and his original line up included George Chisholm on trombone, Tommy McQuater (trumpet) and Bert Weedon (guitar). They continued to record prolifically, right through into the 1970s. Nice little earner based on the former Banjoliers.
Excerpt from a concert recorded in autumn 1974 and broadcast on UK television as
BIX BEIDERBECKE AND THE KING OF JAZZ.
The New Paul Whiteman Orchestra
was made up of the best British jazzmen old and young: Duncan Campbell, Freddy Staff, Tommy McQuater, John McLevey, Dick Sudhalter, trumpet and cornet; Johnny Edwards, Harry Roche, Ric Kennedy, Keith Nichols, trombone; Harry Smith, Al Baum, Graham Lyons, Derek Guttridge, Ken Poole, reeds; Paul Nossiter, clarinet; John R.T. Davies, alto sax; Harry Gold bass sax; Pat Dodd, piano, celeste; George Elliott, guitar, banjo; Peter Ind, string bass; Martin Fry, tuba; Jock Cummings, drums, percussion; Reg Leopold, John Kirkland, Louis Harris, Kelly Isaacs, Bill Reid, George Hurley, violin; Chris Ellis, vocal; The New Rhythm Boys : Paul Nossiter, Keith Nichols, John R.T. Davies, vocal; Alan Cohen, conductor.
The songs performed are
BIG BOY (by a small group); LOUISIANA, ‘T’AIN’T SO, HONEY, ‘T’AIN’T SO, I FOUND A NEW BABY, THERE AIN’T NO SWEET MAN THAT’S WORTH THE SALT OF MY TEARS, and SINGIN’ THE BLUES