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Ken Colyer

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England

Ken was the pioneer of British exploration of the New Orleans jazz idiom and has a great following even though he has gone to the gloryland. Ken Colyer ( 1928 - 1988) was a British traditional jazz revivalist and skiffle scenester who specialized in the New Orleans jazz and ragtime stylings. He first interfaced with New Orleans players when a young man in the UK’s Merchant Navy and fater long jaunts at sea, began looking up familiar names in a New Orleans telephone directory found in the Westminster Public Library. When Ken got to the US, he thought nothing of breaking the strict segregation lines in New Orleans and finally he looked up greats like George Lewis, Doc Souchon, Lizzie Miles and many others before finally over staying his visa. He eventually was deported from the Crescent City but brought back a newly invigorated appreciation for the old jazz sounds. Back in England he started his band the Jazzmen and in the 1950’s they became the preeminent New Orleans style UK jazz band, playing many concerts, pubs & festivals, and producing some notable records. The standouts are there work with Decca including “They all Played Ragtime,” “Club Session With Colyer” and “Colyer Plays Standards,” “Marching Back To New Orleans,” and “Colyer In Hamburg”. He retired eventually to France where he hoped to teach music, but died before fulfilling this quest, and a trust has since been established to carry on his musical legacy and distribute his recordings.

www.kencoylertrust.org

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  • frederickellis

    To the person who tagged Ken Colyer as "trad jazz" -back in his heyday of the 50`s this would have been a NO - NO. To the afficianados Ken was "Traditional Jazz". Trad was the pop music of the day i.e Dick Charlesworth & His City Gents, Kenny Ball, Utter Bilge & Terry Footlights....... In all fairness when you saw them live they were much better than their records- pop records.- except Dick Charlesworth,& his band genuinely were crap..

    5 Jan 2009 Reply

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