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Jazz Remembered

 

Albert Hall

 

The Other Albert Hall

 

Albert Hall

Picture courtesy of Janet Kemm

 

Over past years, information has crept into this website about trumpeter Albert (Arwyn) Hall. His is not a well-known name in jazz circles and in truth, it is his name that is intriguing. Searching online for information about him is difficult. Inevitably the things that come up are about the Royal Albert Hall concert venue in London 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.

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 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 Hall

 

 

'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'.

 

Albert Hall
Picture courtesy of Amber Hall

 

'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)'.

 

 

 

 

James Bond theme album

 

 

 

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. 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!'

[Unfortunately we are unable to embed a video of the Jame Bond Theme by the John Barry Seven and Orchestra but you can hear it if you click here].  

 

 

 

 

 

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 Hall family

 

'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.....'

 

Albert Hall and his family. Albert was the eldest of 5 boys.
Photograph courtesy of Janet Kemm

 

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.

 

John Chilton's book mentioned that Albert's brother Cliff is also a musician. Cliff's daughter (Albert's niece), Janet Kemm, writes:

 

Ray MacVay band

 

 

'Albert was the eldest of 5 boys, all musical as their dad, my granddad, was a music teacher teaching brass.  Albert and my dad Cliff Hall with Lonnie DoneganCliff who is 79 now and still playing jazz gigs and writing music and doing arrangements for people were the only two professional musicians.  After Albert, came Alan who is now 89, and plays organ and brass. Henry who passed away a few years ago also played trumpet in the British Airways band. Then Cliff (my dad), and  then Ken, who also sadly passed away about 5 years ago.

My dad Cliff played as a session musician. He started in the Ray McVay band, then was Lonnie Donegan’s pianist, then Cliff Richard for 5 years, Leo Sayer, and  then The Shadows for 20 years.

Cliff Hall with Lonnie Donegan
(picture courtesy of Janet Kemm)

 

He writes library music and wrote the little jazz piece at the beginning of Toy Story 2 - Episode 8 in the Pixar Luxo Jr series of shorts: Luxo Jr Goes Bowling with the little lamps (click here). Cliff was Top of the Pops resident pianist in the ‘70s early ‘80s and was also on the Des O’Connor show and Terry Wogan show. If you search Google ‘Randy Crawford Almaz’ on ‘Top of the Pops’ it’s Cliff playing (click here). If you search my dad 'Cliff Hall Shadows' online it somehow gets him confused with another Cliff Hall, a black American jazz pianist - we’re not too good at all this IT stuff to manage to change it all! [But click here for Cliff taking the piano lead on The Shadows’ Nut Rocker, the band’s take on the theme from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker– Ed].  

 

A better example of Cliff's jazz style can be seen in this video of him at the Retreat Recording Studios:

 

 

 

 

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).

 

 

John Tobin writes recalling Albert:

'In '67/68, I was a student and during vacation worked as barman at the Litten Hotel in Greenfield. It was a small 12 bed hotel and opened as a pub in '66. Albert lived nearby and would often call in returning from London, having walked from the local tube station, in the early afternoon. The bar closed at 3.00, but Albert would stay on drinking. He told me of his drinking days in London, in earlier times, when his favourite tipple was a large vodka and Dr. Collis Browne. The latter being a cough mixture containing morphine. He played with Judy Garland in the early '50s and remembered her husband, Sid Luft, having a loaded gun in a shoulder holster. Albert was a very pleasant, entertaining man'.
2019.5

[Ed: I had not heard of Dr Collis Browne. Wikipedia tells us: 'Dr. John Collis Browne MRCS (1819–1884) was a British Army officer, inventor of items for yachts and the originator of the medicine Chlorodyne. Browne first used the remedy in India in 1848, when there Dr Collis Browneswas an outbreak of cholera, whilst he was serving with the 98th Regiment of Foot as their surgeon. In 1856 he left the army and went into partnership with John Thistlewood Davenport, a chemist, then at 33 Great Russell Street, to whom he assigned the sole right to manufacture and market Chlorodyne which, since the Medicines Act of 1968 has been known as 'J. Collis Browne's Compound'. It was still marketed by J.T. Davenport & Sons - the same family - up until the 1960s. Dr Browne died at Mount Albion House, Ramsgate, on 30 August 1884. He is buried in St Laurence-in-Thanet churchyard, Ramsgate'. It seems that something of the same name is still available online, which raises questions if Davenport's stopped marketing it in the 1960s. The website medicines.org.uk gives a lot more information about it and its current marketing company - but check out Paragraph 4.3 onwards regarding possible problems!]

[Ed: As far as Sid Luft is concerned, the Daily Mail carried a news item in 2017 (click here) in which 'The former husband of screen legend Judy Garland (Sid Luft) claims that the actress was molested by some of the 'munchkins' on the set of her classic film The Wizard of Oz. They thought they could get away with anything because they were so small,' wrote Luft according to The Sun'. 'Luft and Garland were married in 1952 and had a daughter Lorna and son Joey before divorcing 13 years later in 1965, with Garland claiming at the time that Luft was a drunk and abusive'.

 

 

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