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Jazz Remembered

 

Albert Hall

 

The Other Albert Hall

 

Albert Hall

Picture courtesy of Amber Hall

 

 

Albert Hall

Over past years, information has crept in to this website about trumpeter Albert Hall. His is not a well-known name in jazz circles and in truth, it is his name that is intriguing. What is surprising is that having come across his name, various readers have sent in more information about Albert. Much is still unknown, so if you can add to his profile, then please contact us.

Eddie Sammons first mentioned a trumpet player named Albert Hall when he wrote to us about singer Marion Williams.

Eddie says: 'Albert was with Geraldo from late 1952 to mid 1954. He replaced Syd Lawrence and Albert himself was replaced by Stan Reynolds when Eric Delaney pinched Albert for his new band'.

'Albert Hall was one of the founder members of the Eric Delaney Band,' says Eddie. 'He was a very fine trumpeter and often did duets with his peer, Bert Courtley. Eric recorded the two on an early Mercury disc by the band – Sweet Georgia Brown.  When Bert left to form the Courtley-Seymour Band, Albert had Kenny Ball as his new partner.'

 

Here is a Delaney recording featuring Albert with Bert Courtley.

 

 

 

 

Eddie continues: 'Just browsing through Delaney stuff  on YouTube and came across this - It is the full US album (12” against UK 10”) but track 11 is of interest to your piece on Albert Hall. It is One O’Clock Jump and was recorded in London, England on 15th October 1957. Albert (present on the whole LP) is to be heard blowing with Kenny Ball who had replaced Bert Courtley. The tenor saxes are Jimmy Skidmore and Vince Bovill'.

 

 

 

'Albert’s real name was Arwyn (possibly Welsh?) but the Albert connotation was probably inevitable. There are a number of “Albert Halls” around and I include a certain building. It is thus not easy to find information about him. He did make a commercial LP for Columbia to display his undoubted technique. It is rather pop orientated. I made a CD of it from Eric Delaney’s copy which I suspect he had as he was probably the drummer on it in addition to his obvious support for the musician he admired.'

 

According to the discogs.com website, Arwyn Hall was born in South Wales on September 21st, 1929 and died on January 3rd, 1980 in Greenford, Middlesex, England. During his life 'he worked with Teddy Foster, Jack Jackson, Billy Ternent, Tito Burns, Jack Parnell, Ambrose, Eric Delaney, Buddy Featherstonhaugh, Kenny Baker, Don Lusher, Harry South and others'.

 

'I have a Jazz Club broadcast by Eric in which Albert is featured but, frankly, other than as a session man, not that much exists. He was part of the Jack Parnell Big Band and recorded with Jack in 1952/53. He moved to Geraldo again about 1952/3. As Eric was with Geraldo at that time, I suspect Eric induced Albert to join his new band which was just a year away. Albert passed away some years ago'.

Eddie has also found this nice recording of Albert Hall with Mike Nevard's Jazzmen. It is a bit crackly but displays Albert's talent well - King John 1 (John Dankworth) (alto sax), Don Rendell (tenor sax), Albert Hall (trumpet), Ralph Dollimore (piano), Alan Ganley, David Murray (drums), Johnny Hawksworth (bass), Harry Klein (baritone sax)'.

 

 

 

 

Geoff Leonard continues: 'Just a bit of trivia about trumpeter Albert Hall. It's almost impossible to verify without official records, but Albert is listed as playing on the original version of The James Bond Theme in 1962, arranged and conducted by John Barry (click here). The brass section is believed to have been:

Bert Ezard (trumpet), Albert Hall (trumpet), Ray Davies (trumpet), Leon Calvert (trumpet), Don Lusher (trombone), Wally Smith (trombone), Maurice Pratt (trombone), Jack Quinn (trombone), John Edwards (trombone)'

No doubt the other names will stir some memories in jazz circles!'


 

 

 

On the discogs.com website at the time of writing there is an LP by Albert Hall for sale named Harlem Nocturne. It looks as though it was released in Italy in 1974. The tracklist: The Magnificent Seven; Go Now; Last Tango In Paris; Harlem Nocturne; Every Picture Tells A Story; The Resurrections Shuffle; Bonanaza; Stormy Weather; Superstar; I Want You Back; Latins Anonymous; Son Of A Preacher Man. (Latins Anonymous is an Albert Hall composition).

There is no information about other musicians on the recording and it is not possible to read all the sleeve notes, some of which are unclear, or to see who wrote them, but they contain some useful information about Albert:

Albert Hall Harlem Nocturne

'Albert is a quiet, modest fellow to talk to but when a trumpet or a flugelhorn is at his lips he really blows up a storm and this LP contains positive and conclusive proof of just how good he is. Actually the album is long overdue because Albert is one of that select number of top-class session musicians, unsung heroes without whose anonymous support our hit parade idols would get absolutely nowhere on record, radio and the box. Now Albert has at last stepped into the limelight with a truly Grand Slam of brass brilliance'.

'His musical aptitude was inherited from his father, a stalwart of brass bands in South Wales and London who started passing on his knowledge and ability to his son when Albert was 6 ½ years old. He had a very willing pupil because Albert can remember clearly awaiting the arrival home of his father from work and pestering him eagerly for the next trumpet lesson before Dad had a chance to get his coat off. Albert also learned violin and piano during his later spell at music college, but the trumpet was the instrument as far as he was concerned and he was determined to make a professional career with it before he reached his (?)'.

'Albert’s first professional engagement came when he was 14 in 1943 with Maurice Little’s band at the Tottenham Royal and he graduated into the ranks of the leading British big bands towards the end of their era.....'

John Chilton's 2004 book Who's Who of British Jazz gives much the same information but with a little more detail of dates: 'Played in West London Silver Band from age six. Worked in Maurice Little's Band in Tottenham (1944) and with Johnny Brown's Band at Astoria Ballroom, London (1946). Briefly with Johnny Claes, then worked with Teddy Foster (1947) prior to a brief period in the Armed Forces. Again with Teddy Foster (spring 1948). Also worked with Les Ayling, Jack Jackson and Billy Ternent before joining Tito Burns from May 1948 until November 1950. With Cyril Stapleton (November 1950 to March 1951), then rejoined Tito Burns from April 1951 to September 1952. Radio work with Steve Race then briefly with Jack Parnell (September 1952 to November 1952) then with Geraldo from November 1952 to August 1954 (also worked with Dave Shand in May 1954). With Eric Delaney from September 1954 until March 1957. Briefly with Buddy Featherstonhaugh (spring 1957), and Kenny Baker, then freelance session work for radio, television and recordings. Often with Joe Loss in the 1960s and 1970s, and occasionally with Frank Weir, and Don Lusher's Big Band. Albert's brother Cliff is a professional pianist and organist'.

Although these dates give us clues to other recordings that might be available I have not been able to find other examples on YouTube.

 

It does raise the question of which Cliff Hall might be Albert's brother? A Cliff Hall has been session pianist for The Shadows, Top Of The Pops, etc. but I am not sure whether it is the same person. Does anyone know? Here he is on YouTube at Retreat Recording Studios. (I have been unable to find other information online about Cliff).

 

 

 

Searching online for information about trumpeter Albert Hall is difficult. Inevitably the things that come up are about the concert hall and jazz trumpeters that have played there. That is a shame, it would be good to know more about Arwyn / Albert. So if you have any memories of him or any pictures you could share, please contact us.

Mike Durrell writes: 'Albert also had another brother - Ken Hall,  who played drums (I used to work with him with John Burch and Dick Morrisey in the  early 2000s).  He also played trumpet and would  bring his trumpet  (which had belonged to Albert) along to gigs sometimes  and play a couple of numbers'.
2017.11     

 

Albert's family have been in touch to add more information to his Profile. Albert's son, Stephen, corrected the spelling of Albert's middle name shown elsewhere as 'Alwyn' but actually 'Arwyn'. Steve says:

'I have read the  notes about my father with great interest. His middle name is Arwyn (not Alwyn). When I was a young boy much fun was made of his name because of the famous building. I asked my grandmother why call him Albert? She replied when he was born in Llanelli, Wales, nobody in those parts had heard of the Albert Hall building so it seemed a reasonable name for the time. My father may not have been well known in jazz circles but he was widely regarded  by his peers as the best trumpet session musician in the country'.

Albert Halls Grand Slam album

Albert's granddaughter, Amber, writes: 'I’m just contributing to information regarding Albert Hall the trumpet player. He made this LP and it’s awesome. I have an original copy, but looks like it’s hard to find anywhere else. Thanks for keeping the memory of him alive. Sadly I never met him as I wasn’t born until 1991. He is one of 5 brothers. Henry recently passed away but Cliff is still alive and playing piano professionally'.

Amber and Steve also send information about another album of Albert's - Albert Hall's Grand Slam. The album was released in 1974 on the EMI label with sleeve notes written by Nigel Hunter and the track listing reflects some of the popular music of the time arranged for a big band: The Magnificent Seven, Go Now, Last Tango In Paris, Harlem Nocturne, Every Picture Tells A Story, The Resurrection Shuffle, Bonanza, Stormy Weather, Superstar, I Want You Back, Latins Anonymous, Son Of A Preacher Man.

The personnel on the recording with Albert: Greg Bowen, Derek Healey, John Huckridge, Bert Ezzard (trumpets); Chris Pine, Bob Lamb, Pete Smith, Jack Thirlwell (trombones); Mick Barker, Eric Ford (electric guitars); Les Hurdle (bass guitar); Harry Stoneham (organ), Bobby Orr (drums); Stan Barrett (percussion).

 

At the time of writing, a copy of the LP is available at Discogs (click here).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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