Friday, October 28, 2016

Bobby Wellins RIP

British star of the tenor saxophone Bobby Wellins has died aged 80.

Born in the Gorbals, Glasgow, he learned the alto from the age of 12, taught by his father who was in the Sammy Miller Show Band. He took a three year course at Chichester College of Further Education studying keyboard harmony; and then joined the RAF School of Music in Uxbridge, studying clarinet. From the RAF, it was on to dancehall bands, and then liner trips. That was where he met Lester Young - and perhaps that's where the permanent switch to tenor locked in.

Bobby’s recording career started in 1956 with a quintet led by Buddy Featherstonhaugh, featuring Kenny Wheeler on trumpet. In the 60s he met pianist Stan Tracey in Tony Crombie's band - a partnership which flourished in the great recording of Under Milk Wood.  Bobby had a battle with addiction; he shared a flat with Tubby Hayes, and remembers wearing a waistcoat "full of phials of cocaine and bottles of heroin tablets"; Stan Tracey has talked about a sort of "junkie brotherhood" of jazzers in the 60s. Bobby took ten years away from music, to beat drugs and depression.

Here's Bobby in later, cleaner times with Dave Newton, recorded at a private party in 2010.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Other people who read this.......