Sandy Brown Jazz


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Jazz Remembered


Dick Powell


Ian Simms writes: 'In a recent issue of 'What's New', cartoonist Jim Thomson asked about violinist Dick Powell. When I asked if anyone remembered the hot swing nights at the Gigi and borscht and tears, I forgot to mention the fantastic Dick Powell. He drove down from his home in Oxford several times a week to Knightsbridge, a great guy as well as a fab hot swinger. Sadly, he passed away from cancer in the early seventies.'

Dick 'Sweet' Powell was a swing violinist and double bass player who also worked as Richard Powell ARIBA, an architect specialising in model making. It is said that at one point he worked with Sandy Brown who was the acoustic engineer for Lansdowne Studios in London. Dick is also known for his violin playing on Rod Stewart's albums Every Picture Tells a Story, Gasoline Alley, Never A Dull Moment and Smiler. Apparently Rod heard him playing at Pizza Express and invited him to the Gasoline Alley sessions in 1970. You can see Dick by the right-hand goalpost in the gatefold of Rod’s 1972 album Never A Dull Moment and outside the pub with a pint in his hand in the gatefold sleeve of Rod’s 1974 album Smiler (click here).


Dick Powell Rod Stewart gatefold picrture


Dick also appears on a number of other albums including some with Diz Disley. Diz and his band of semi-pros played every Thursday at Bert Niblett’s Dick Powell Club Django in London with Nevil Skrimshire and Denny Purssord on guitars, Dick Powell on violin and Timmy Mahn on bass. Other albums featuring Dick include Clarinet Jamboree (Part 1 Bilk and Lightfoot) and Diz Disley's Dinette.

Dick Powell died relatively young at the age of 49.  He used to live in London but in the late 1970s he and his family moved to Windrush Farm, a barn conversion in Ducklington (Oxfordshire).

I am grateful to Gypsy Jazz UK for this information where there is a page with people's memories of Dick Powell (click here) andfor this photograph of Dick (Sweet) Powell with Joseph Reinhardt and Diz Disley.

Unfortunately, there seems to be very little music by Dick Powell online. That is unfortunate because if you listen to this one track we do have, we can hear what we are missing. Click here to listen to Dick Powell and Diz Disley playing Shine.

In 2011, the Daily Mail ran an article about the 'bad luck' suffered by several people associated with Rod Stewart's famous recording of Maggie May (click here). The article includes 'Rod’s violinist was Dick ‘Sweet’ Powell, a well-known figure on the London jazz scene. Legend has it that the star paid him £10 for his work on the song Reason To Believe. He died young, too, in his 50s, of a cerebral haemorrhage.' Click here to listen to Dick Powell's solo on Reason To Believe.


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