Top 5 Greatest Jazz Musicians From England

It is very difficult to pick out the best jazz musicians from England as the country has countless jazz stars that has never failed to constantly impress with their music. But for the sake of this article, we are going to pick out the stars that plays our favorite tunes. Here is a countdown of the top 5 greatest jazz musicians from England:

Bernard  Stanley “Acker” Bilk

He was an English clarinetist and vocalist born in Pensford, Somerset, England, the United Kingdom on 28th January 1929. He is known as the “Great Master of the Clarinet.” His song “Stranger on the Shore” remains a standard of jazz and popular music alike. Acker was known for his appearance – goatee, bowler hat and striped waistcoat- and his distinct Clarinet style. Acker learned the Clarinet when he undertook three years of national service with the Royal Engineers. Bilk moved to London in 1951 to play with Ken Cooler’s band and soon returned West and formed his band in Pensford named Chew Valley Jazz men which was renamed “the Bristol paramount jazz band.”Bilk was part of the boom in Trad jazz in the United Kingdom in the late 1950s. He was internationally known in 1962 when his single became a big hit in the UK and also topped the American charts.He worked with Kenny Ball and Chris Barber as “The 3Bs”. In 2005, he was awarded the BBC jazz awards. Bilk died in Bath on 2ndNov. 2014 at the age of 85. His albums include stranger on the Shore, green sleeves, hello dolly, call me mister, vintage gold, feelings, amongst others.

Kenneth Daniel Ball

He was born in Ilford, Essex on 22nd may, 1930. He was an English jazz musician and belonged to a band known as “Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen.” He was the band leader, lead trumpet player, and vocalist. He started taking trumpet lessons at the age of fourteen when he left school to work as a clerk.  His music carrier stated a semi-professional sideman in bands, while also working so a salesperson. In 1953, he turned professional and played the trumpet in bands led by some artists before he formed his jazz band – Kenny Ball and his Jazzman- in 1958. In the early 1960s UK jazz revival, his band enjoyed was at the forefront. Kenny Ball and his band enjoyed one of the longest unbroken spells of success for the Trad bands. He continued to tour until shortly before his death in March 2013. Some of his albums include the swing code, it’s trad, live at the BP Studienhaus, just about as good as it gets, London jazz, amongst others.

Orphy Robinson

He is a 57-year-old jazz vibraphonist of British Jamaican descent. He was born in London, United Kingdom. He plays the saxophone, trumpet, drums, Mumbai, steel pans and marimba. His songs include sharimba’s song (2008), we are a  warrior  (2008), intros roots  (2008). He is a musician, composer, and an educator.  His music career began actively involved the 1980s and was a member of the big band jazz warriors and an original member of the British funk band savanna. As an educator, he works in schools and large-scale education projects where yet has led the music education department for over a decade and was nominated “jazz educator of the year” at the parliamentary jazz awards. He equally received an award for the “live entertainer of the year” at the 2017 jazz FM awards.

Steve Williamson

He was born on 28th June 1964 in London, England.  He is a 53-year-old English saxophonist and composer.  He is known as “one of the most distinctive saxophone voices in contemporary British jazz.” He plays the tenor, soprano, and also saxophones and keyboards.  He has been active since 1982. He began playing the saxophone at the age of 16. He studied at London’s Guildhall school of music between 1984 and 1985, where Lionel Grigson tutored him. Williamson was a member of the noted collective of British born black jazz musicians who came together as the jazz warriors in the mid-1980s. His albums include a waltz for Grace (1990), rhyme time  (1992) and journey to the truth  (1994).

Mike Cotton

He is an English jazz trumpeter born on 12th August 1939. Currently, Cotton plays with the stars of British jazz. He formed the Mike Cotton jazzmen in the early 1950s during the Trad jazz boom.He changed the group’s name to the “Mike Cotton sound,” and its musical direction changed to a more pop-based style in 1962. In the mid-1970s, the cotton returned to playing jazz and has remained that way at present.