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GERRY SALISBURY

Photo of Gerry Salisbury

© Photo courtesy of Gerry Salisbury 2007

Gerald William Anthony Salisbury was born in London on the 7th August 1929. Gerry’s dad, William ‘Jock’ Salisbury was also a multi-talented musician who played trumpet, drums, piano and vibes.

When he left school, Gerry worked at the London Palladium as a page-boy before he went to the Middle East with the Army for his National Service.

It was then that he took up the playing jazz. A friend took him to hear Freddy Randall’s band at the Cook’s Ferry Inn and Gerry was so inspired that he went out and bought a trumpet. A mix of aptitude and commitment meant that Gerry played his first gig two months later. He did not know at that stage that he would later play in Freddy’s band himself.

Returning home from the Middle East, Gerry began to play jazz on a regular basis with Johnny Parker, Paul Simpson, Jim Bray and Bob Dawbarn before joining Mike Collier’s Chicago Rhythm Kings in 1952. Then came periods with Charlie Galbraith, Norman Cave and Bobby Mickleburgh in the early 1950’s before travelling to Europe with Jo Daniels.

Gerry did not read music at all, and when he joined Bobby Mickleburgh’s nine-piece band on second trumpet, he found that all the others were reading music. It turned out not to be a problem as Bobby said that Gerry could play a better harmony than Bobby could write anyway, and so Gerry managed O.K. and nobody got hurt!

Gerry then took up the double bass in addition to his trumpet.

Freddy Randall’s one-time piano player, Mike Bryan, phoned Gerry to say that he was starting up a band to play at the United States Air Force bases throughout France. Lennie Hastings, Tony Coe, and others had signed up but Mike needed a bass player – was Gerry interested? Gerry had just two weeks to learn. Mike offered Gerry an old string bass that was at Mike’s house, and two weeks later, Gerry went to France and stayed for six months playing with the band.

He came back to England to play for Teddy Foster but soon moved to play bass in Freddy Randall’s band. Fred used to play a two-week session in Green’s Playhouse, a ballroom in Glasgow, and augmented the band to around sixteen musicians. Fred, like Bobby, did not find it a problem that Gerry didn’t read music.

Gigs followed with Teddy Layton on valve trombone.

From 1959 to 1961, Gerry played bass and trumpet with Monty Sunshine and then for year played bass with Johnny Wiltshire and the Trebletones.

Through the 1960s and early 1970s Gerry worked with a number of bands including Alex Welsh, Diz Disley, Charlie Galbraith and Dick Sudhalter, For five years he often played with John Richardson at the Tally Ho pub in London, before forming his own band.

It was during this period that Gerry played with Sandy Brown’s Band. Playing cornet he joined Sandy at a live session at the Country Club in Hampstead in London on 17th December 1971 with drummer Phil Seaman’s Band to record Alen’s Alley, It’s A Wonderful World, When Sonny Gets Blue, and Just Squeeze Me. Sandy and Gerry played together again in 1974, recording two unissued sides (Those Were The Days My Friend and President’s Blues) with Sandy on clarinet, Gerry on cornet and bass, and with Brian Lemon (piano), Bobby Mickleburgh (trumpet/trombone) and Bill Bramwell (guitar).

Gerry and Sandy seemed to really hit it off. Gerry remembered an occasion when Sandy had been abstaining for some time, and feeling down that particular evening he came to the pub in Holborn to ‘have a blow’ with Gerry’s band. He was so low that the availability of alcohol broke his period of abstinence. Whether it was the pint Gerry bought him, or the evening playing with Gerry and Keith Christie, who knows, but by the end of the evening Sandy was back to his old self again.

Co-incidentally, in around 1967 Gerry helped to build the Trident Recording Studios that Sandy had designed when he was working at the B.B.C.

In 1972, Gerry moved to Norfolk, joined drummer Dennis Buck’s Trio and then formed his own quintet in Norwich.Photo of Gerry Salisbury and Lennie Hastings

 

In 1975, he moved back to London working during the day at a recording studio but also playing with Stan Greig’s Trio, Digby Fairweather’s Friends, Tony Lee’s Trio and occasionally his own Trio.

Gerry with Lennie Hastings playing with the Stan Greig Trio
© Photo courtesy of Gerry Salisbury

 

 

 

In 1979, Gerry suffered a heart attack and in 1981 he moved back to Norfolk. He went on playing during the 1980s and 1990s, mostly on trumpet, with Jack Parnell, the Vintage Hot Orchestra and with Pete Oxborough.

Gerry then moved to Spain and now lives in the Dordogne in France.

In October 2007, Gerry returned to Norfolk to play at the 10th anniversary of the Jazz club he started in East Dereham, but which is now held at the Ling country club. Alan Barnes was the main guest and as well as having the opportunity for a great blow, the occasion gave Gerry a good chance to catch up with some old friends.

Gerry Salisbury band in Spain

 

Gerry playing with a band in Spain with Mike Hogh guesting on trombone.

(Click on the pictures to enlarge them
and then click your back arrow to return to Gerry's Profile
) .

 

© Photo courtesy of Gerry Salisbury

gerry at jazz club 10th birthday 2007

 

 

 

 

2007 - Alan Barnes and Gerry Salisbury at 10th birthday of the Jazz Club Gerry established in Norfolk.

© Photo courtesy of Gerry Salisbury

 

 

 

In December 2009 the website featured the track 'Love For Sale' and mentioned how African American singer Elizabeth Welch took over the role of the prostitute in the show 'The New Yorkers' from Kathryn Crawford after objections that the song was 'in bad taste'! This prompted recollections from Gerry Salisbury:

'When I was 14, I worked at the London Palladium first as a page boy showing people to their boxes with Dickie Valentine as the other page boy, then I got promoted to Call Boy backstage knocking on the doors and shouting "Overtures and Beginners". Tommy Trinder had a show that ran for 18 months and Elizabeth Welch was in the show. I fondly remember her as a lovely, kind lady who always had a smile and sang on stage with a large orchestra conducted by Debroy Somers who always wore white tie and tails. When I tell you that thirty two chorus girls gave me sixpence a week to go to the various pubs around the Palladium and give them a shout to give them time to get on stage, and that Debroy Somers gave me half a crown every time I opened the door for him - well in those days half a crown was a huge tip. After 18 months, Tommy Trinder gave me 10 shillings for calling him and getting him on stage in time! In 1943, Irving Berlin came to the Palladium with his big successful show This Is The Army and the orchestra was made up of American service men - I often wonder who they were as they probably included some of my heroes - does anyone know?'

Gerry Salisbury celebrated his 80th birthday in 2009.

Gerry was back in the UK in June 2010 when Dereham Jazz Society staged a special gig under the title 'The Bull's Head Revisited'. Richard Nelson said: 'It is a real pleasure to have cornettist Gerry Salisbury back at the club he founded 12 years ago. The night will be doubly special as Gerry is joined by the great tenor player Jimmy Hastings recalling their times at the Bull's Head in Barnes'. Gerry says: 'It will be great to play with Jim again. He is an amazing player who uses circular breathing which means he does not take a breath at all!' The other musicians at the gig were Phil Brooke (guitar), Ivars Galenieks (bass) and Bob Doré (drums).

In October 2010, Gerry Salisbury's wife, Jean, wrote to tell us that Gerry had a stroke on Sunday evening 19th September and was admitted to Perigueux hospital.  Thankfully it has been a mild one and after tests and observation he returned home.  His speech was affected and he had weakness in his right hand, but he expected to make a good recovery. Gerry was feeling OK, but still had a way to go. It was a good sign that Gerry has had the trumpet out for a short while each day.

In October 2011 we were delighted to hear that Gerry had arrived back in the UK. After some years living in France, Gerry and his wife returned to live in Norfolk. Gerry has not been well of late and he has had a few visits to hospital, but despite that and frozen fingers you can't keep good musicians down! Gerry writes: 'I am trying to play and it's quite difficult, but I am getting there slowly. I am playing with some old friends - Ivan who plays alto sax and is 88 and Eric who plays trumpet with a Bobby Hackett sound who is 94. He is my new hero - he stands up when he plays a chorus - amazing - and he is five feet tall!'

(I am reminded of a story from Alvin Roy of the eighty year old trumpet player who was driving home after a gig at 2.00 in the morning. Pulled over by a policeman, the policeman asks: 'Where are you going at this time of the morning, sir?' The trumpet player replies: 'I'm going to a lecture on drinking too much and staying up late'. 'Who on earth is giving a lecture on that at this time of night?' asked the policeman. 'That'll be my wife,' comes the reply.)

© Gerry Salisbury and Ian Maund 2007-2015

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