I would like to inform you of the death my father - John Graham RMBX/1430
on the 5th May, 2005.
My father joined the Royal Marines as a musician at Deal Barracks in
Kent approximately 1939/40. He served on H.M.S. EAGLE between 1940/42
where he was ships bandleader. Indeed I have many photos of him and
the band at the fleet club in Alexandria. I also have what remains of
a daily diary he kept dated from June - October 1942 which makes very
interesting reading. When the Eagle arrived back in Greenock Glasgow
on the 26th October 1942 my father disembarked and went into barracks.
He spent some time in the Scarborough area.
His next ship was HMS Howe from 1943-45. I also have many photos of
the band on board. It was on the Howe that my father forged a friendship
with Arthur Cooper (Jazz was his nickname) which was to last a lifetime.
Arthur passed away some years ago but I still have ties with his immediate
family in Deal. Other photos include him with R.M. Band HMS Scotia in
1944. The London tour February 1944, conductor Mr. Charles Hotham, RN
Tokyo Express Co. July 1945. My father made numerous broadcasts with
the band and played at various concerts.
After he left the service in 1945, he had offers to join many professional
big bands throughout the country but declined due to family commitments.
He was certainly a very gifted and talented musician being able to play
all saxes, clarinet, flute and violin and indeed all to the highest
standard of musicianship.
My father was lead alto with the Tommy Sampson big band for many years
and made quite a number of radio and T.V. broadcasts. He also performed
at the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival over the years as recently
as 2002 with Danny Moss, Ted Heath's tenor player, and received rave
reviews, comparing him with the late great Johnny Hodges! - not bad,
considering he was 86 years old at the time.
My father was always very proud that he served in the Royal Marines
and was a regular for many years when on holiday in Deal at the R.M.
Club in Walmer where his friend Arthur was Secretary.
If you are interested in any photos etc, I would be pleased to forward
them to you.
course I was at the gig with Ken's band playing Buck Clayton, Buddy
Tate and even a Dickie Wells arrangement. Jock's alto saxophone playing
amazed me, and I mentioned the gig as part of an apology for not having
been able to attend Ken's concert the following year. I had a good excuse
for not being at Ken's gig -- I would have preferred to be there, but
I reviewed a concert by some very young Scottish musicians instead.
think I said about everything I could then remember of the 2002 gig,
at which Danny Moss played as guest soloist with Ken's band. The one
thing I didn't mention was that when Jock was beginning a solo (and
he played exclusively alto) he had a way of digging in with a low note
on the alto, so that if I wasn't looking it wasn't clear whether it
was Jock's alto or Danny's tenor. Of course Jock just started with the
dig in note and then proceeded to play with a bigger sound than I have
heard from anybody born on this side of the Atlantic. I did hear Johnny
Hodges when I was a schoolboy!
was of course very enthusiastic about Jock, and quite apart from how
well he played there was also the matter of needing only to put the
sheet music in front of him and out came the performance. I can't remember
the other members of the band, apart from Colin Steele on trumpet.
have obviously brought me good luck, since just as your mail came in
I found the diskette to which I had cut and pasted some draft material
for an article that has been postponed a long time. I should have copied
and pasted but to my dismay the original seemed to have (seemed -- it
bleedin well HAD) disappeared from the hard disc.
starting to get a yen to take up saxophone again myself, if I can work
out an embouchure -- the last horn went when the latest repair to something
a nasty person did with a spanner skewed my front teeth. And I was very
broke at the time. Never sounded like Jock though, a most memorable
the very best,