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Dick Heckstall-Smith

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Dick Heckstall-Smith (September 16, 1934 – December 17, 2004) was an English jazz and blues saxophonist. He played with some of the most important English blues-rock and jazz-rock bands of the 1960s and 1970s - including Blues Incorporated (Alexis Korner’s groundbreaking blues group), The Graham Bond Organisation (in the lineup that included bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker), John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, and the pioneering UK jazz-rock band Colosseum.

Heckstall-Smith was born Richard Malden Heckstall-Smith in Ludlow, England (his father then being headmaster of the local Grammar School), and brought up in Knighton, Wales. He learned to play piano, clarinet and alto saxophone in childhood. After refusing a second term at a York boarding school, he went to Gordonstoun, where his schoolmaster father, Hugh, had taken a job. Hugh soon fell out with the autocratic Kurt Hahn and the family retreated to Dartington.

Heckstall-Smith completed his education at the Foxhole school before reading agriculture – and co-leading the university jazz band – at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, from 1953. Aged 15, he had taken up the soprano sax while at Foxhole, captivated by the sound of Sidney Bechet. Then the smokiness of Lester Young’s sound caught him, and the music of tenor saxist Wardell Gray, a major early bebop musician.

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  • PedroGodfroid

    It always has fascinated me how this guy was able to play 2 saxs at the same time and that it sounded so good.

    24 Jul 2009 Reply

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