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Basil Kirchin

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Experimental composer Basil Kirchin was born in Great Britain in 1927. He made his professional debut in December 1941 at London’s Paramount, playing drums in his father Ivor Kirchin’s band, and remained a fixture of the group throughout the remainder of World War II, playing 14 shows per week.

After the war ended, Kirchin joined Harry Roy’s newly-formed New 1946 Orchestra (one of the first true British s) as a featured soloist, gaining national exposure via the band’s regular appearances on BBC radio. As the decade drew to a close, Kirchin signed on with the Ted Heath Big Band, at the time arguably the most popular big band in all of Europe.

In 1952 he returned to London to form his own group, installing his father as co-leader and recruiting trumpeters Tony Grant, Stan Palmer, Bobby Orr, and Norman Baron; saxophonists Ronnie Baker, Duncan Lamont, Pete Warner, John Xerri and Alex Leslie, pianist Harry South, bassist Ronnie Seabrook, vocalist Johnny Grant, and arranger John Clarke. The Kirchin Band made its debut on September 8 with a year-long residency at the Edinburgh Fountainbridge Palais, followed in November 1953 by an engagement at the Belfast Plaza Ballroom that extended into the spring of 1954. At the same time, the group also backed singer Ruby Murray during a 13-week series for Radio Luxembourg. In mid-1954 Ivor Kirchin was critically injured in an auto accident, and Basil attempted to lead the band on his own. Without a head for business, however, he struggled to keep the operation afloat before ultimately dissolving the line-up.

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