British jazz musician Ken Colyer

This video is called Ken Colyer & The First Traditional Jazz Band.

From British daily The Morning Star:

A unique era in British jazz

(Tuesday 24 July 2007)

ALBUM: Ken Colyer’s Jazzmen – Live at the York Arts Centre 1972
(Upbeat Recordings)

WHY is it that the sound of Ken Colyer‘s Jazzmen’s records still holds true, waxed as they were such a long time ago?

Take this latest live discovery of a taped night in York in 1972. Colyer‘s admirers were legion during the 1950s and ’60s, ardent trad jazz aficionados who frequently took their precious tape recorders to his concerts and club appearances all over Britain – and almost every new year brings a newly found recording jewel.

Colyer, a Great Yarmouth native, was also the first British jazz musician to live in New Orleans.

He jumped ship there in the early ’50s after a period as a merchant seaman and stayed and played there among the city’s black and creole jazz pioneers, paying his tribute to them and developing his own Crescent City trumpet style which, when he returned to London, held a certain Delta aura and a peculiarly hybrid Norfolk-Louisiana sound.

He was also a working musician who identified with working-class people and their causes.

Those who marched towards Aldermaston would remember Colyer’s marching band adding their vibrant sound to the anti-nuclear protests.

For me, errant enough as a teenager to prefer the sounds of New Orleans jazz to those of Elvis, the Everly Brothers or Adam Faith, Colyer was my first musical hero.

Jazz musician Joe Zawinul: here.

The art of Oscar Peterson: legacy of a jazz piano virtuoso: here.

6 thoughts on “British jazz musician Ken Colyer

  1. African Liberation Jazz Suite Sessions present
    Thurs 16 August 2007

    Kevin Haynes’ GRUPO ELEGUA

    Promoted by Ebge Oduniyi Productions
    @The Myth bar 123 Acre Lane, Brixton, SW2 5UA

    Contact 07737820509
    Doors open 7.30pm – 1pm

    Tickets on the door £8
    Buy tickets in advance with Paypal: or go to

    Recipe for the night:
    The main event kicks off @ 9.30pm with KEVIN HAYNES’ GRUPO ELEGUA who
    will be playing two 45 minute sets, tracks from his new album Ajo se
    po (unity).

    Other attractions include an exhibition: works from Nigerian Painter
    Ramon Olugunna which will be located in the venues wall as framed
    works and as projected images on a projector.

    Jazz DJ Seymour Neuse will be spinning his Jazz African Latin tracks &
    guest jazz dancers Jerry Barry will perform old UK jazz dance styles
    created in the 80s & 90s by the young men from African Caribbean
    London community dance scene which was big crazy in those days. This
    crazy dance scene inspired many people to form there own jazz clubs
    where they could dance to live bands or DJ tracks which is now a
    popular theme in the salsa and hip hop DJ dance club scene today.


    GRUPO ELEGUA’s music is a varied selection of rumba and bata jazz,
    with modal vamps, spoken word, and even two traditional ‘orishas’, or
    prayers to the African gods. It’s deep and spiritual music that is not
    standard Latin jazz, and therefore requires you to listen a little
    harder. But take time to do so and you’ll be rewarded from start to
    finish with quality musicianship and compositions.

    Kevin Haynes is a multi-talented British born
    percussionist/saxophonist/dancer of Trinidadian descent who has been
    active on the UK jazz scene for over 15 years. For the last 10 years,
    his major project has been Groupo Elegua, a band who fuse post-hard
    bop modal jazz with folkloric Afro-Cuban and Nigerian rhythms, in
    particular the rumba, but also bata drumming used in the Yoruba
    descended religion of Lucumi.

    This is their third album, and it is a giant leap forward – the band
    has never sounded more cohesive and together, now playing as one
    integrated unit as opposed to two sections, jazz and Afro-Cuban. Kevin
    Haynes has matured as a saxophonist, displaying a clear, pure tone and
    sharp attack on the alto, reminiscent of Jackie MacLean’s ‘Destination
    Out’ Blue Note era.

    Add to this his mastery of the bata drum and sweet but gruff lead
    vocals, and you have
    one very talented individual leading an inspiring the band.

    Luby “Slavoloco” Jovanovic – Straight No Chaser Magazine


  2. Thanks for taking the time to write about Ken. One of the most popular artists in London and a great idea for our own label at Good Music Records. I have to go produce a Ken compilation now! Thanks! Ed – The Music Man


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