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Close-up photo of Humphrey Lyttelton, smiling, 1969.

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Close-up photo of Humphrey Lyttelton, smiling, 1969.
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Close-up photo of Humphrey Lyttelton, smiling, 1969.
Close-up photo of Humphrey Lyttelton, smiling, 1969.
$19.90

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SKU: SCAN-NOP-00450197

Close-up photo of Humphrey Lyttelton, smiling, 1969. Humphrey Richard Adeane Lyttelton (23 May 1921 – 25 April 2008), also known as Humph, was an English jazz musician and broadcaster from the Lyttelton family. Having taught himself the trumpet at school, Lyttleton became a popular figure of the trad jazz revival, leading his own eight-piece band, which recorded a hit single of Bad Penny Blues in 1956. As a broadcaster, he presented BBC Radio 2’s The Best of Jazz for forty years, and hosted the comedy panel game I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue on Radio 4, becoming the UK’s oldest panel game host. Lyttelton was also a cartoonist, collaborating on the Daily Mail’s long-running Flook series, and a calligrapher and President of The Society for Italic Handwriting. Lyttelton was born at Eton College, Berkshire, where his father, George William Lyttelton (second son of the 8th Viscount Cobham), was a house master.[1] (As a male-line descendant of Charles Lyttelton, Lyttelton was in remainder to both the Viscountcy Cobham and the Barony of Lyttelton.) From Sunningdale Preparatory School, Lyttelton duly progressed to Eton College. He was a cousin of the 10th Viscount Cobham and a great-nephew of the politician and sportsman Alfred Lyttelton, the first man to represent England at both football and cricket, both of whom also attended Eton. At Eton, Lyttelton fagged for Lord Carrington and formed his love of jazz. He was inspired by the trumpeters Louis Armstrong (who subsequently referred to Lyttelton as "that cat in England who swings his ass off")[2] and Nat Gonella. He taught himself the instrument, and formed a quartet at the school in 1936 that included the future journalist Ludovic Kennedy on drums. After leaving school, Lyttelton spent some time at the Port Talbot steel plate works in South Wales, an experience which led to him becoming what he termed a "romantic socialist". After being called up for war service, he was commissioned in the Grenadier Guards as a second lieutenant on 29 November 1941 alongside future politician Mark Bonham Carter,[3] and seeing action at Salerno during Operation Avalanche when he came ashore with his pistol in one hand, and his trumpet in the other.[1] On VE Day, 8 May 1945, Lyttelton joined in the celebrations by playing his trumpet from a wheelbarrow, inadvertently giving his first broadcast performance; the BBC recording still survives.[4] Following demobilisation after World War II, he attended Camberwell Art College for two years. In 1949, he joined the Daily Mail as a cartoonist, where he remained until 1956. Several of his cartoons have recently been on display in various branches of the Abbey National bank, as part of their new advertising campaign.[citation needed] He was one of the collaborators with Wally Fawkes on the long running cartoon strip Flook. Like many ex-servicemen, Lyttelton received a grant for further study. He went to Camberwell School of Art, where he met Wally Fawkes, a fellow jazz enthusiast and clarinet-player, also known as the cartoonist "Trog". It was Fawkes who, in 1949, helped him to get the job with the Daily Mail, at first writing the words for Flook, Fawkes's comic strip. They had both joined the George Webb Dixielanders in 1947. Webb was an important catalyst in the British post-war jazz boom.[5] In the late 1940s and early 1950s Lyttelton was prominent in the British revival of traditional jazz forms from New Orleans, recording with Sidney Bechet in 1949. To do so he had to break with the Musicians' Union restrictive practices which forbade working with jazz musicians from the United States. In 1956, he had his only pop chart hit, with the Joe Meek-produced recording of "Bad Penny Blues", which was in the UK Singles Chart for six weeks. As the trad jazz movement (not quite the same thing as revivalism) developed, Lyttelton moved to a mainstream approach favoured by American musicians such as trumpeter Buck Clayton. His band already had an alto saxophone player and by 1958 he had added tenor and baritone saxophone players to the lineup. Occasionally, with the help of Eddie Harvey, he assembled a big band for BBC broadcasts and records. In 1957 and 1958 blues singer Jimmy Rushing toured England with the band, as did Clayton, Vic Dickenson and Big Joe Turner in 1965. Clayton recorded with Lyttelton in the early 1960s and toured with the band on numerous occasions. Clayton considered himself and Lyttelton to be brothers. He also recorded with visiting Americans Al Casey, Buddy Tate and Kenny Davern. He was the subject of This Is Your Life in 1958 when he was surprised by Eamonn Andrews at the BBC Television Theatre. By now his repertoire had expanded, including not only lesser known Ellington pieces, but even "The Champ" from Dizzy Gillespie's band book. The Lyttelton band — he saw himself primarily as a leader — helped develop the careers of many now prominent British musicians, including Tony Coe and Alan Barnes. In 1983, Lyttelton formed his own record label, Calligraph Records, which reissued some of his old recordings, all future recordings by his band and recordings made by band members. In 2001, Lyttelton and his band added traditional jazz elements to the Radiohead song "Life in a Glasshouse" on the Amnesiac album. On 11 March 2008, he announced that he would cease presenting BBC Radio 2's Best of Jazz, after 40 years.[6] On 23 July 2008, Lyttelton was posthumously named as BBC Radio 2 Jazz Artist Of The Year, voted by radio listeners.[7] From 1958, Lyttelton's favoured line up was an eight–piece band with three saxophones, (alto, tenor and baritone) although this was reduced to seven occasionally to save money. But he would sometimes add the baritone again for broadcasts and recordings. Lyttelton's mainstream band usually included such established musicians as Jimmy Skidmore, Joe Temperley, Kathy Stobart, Jimmy Hastings, John Barnes, Roy Williams and Pete Strange along with new talent such as Tony Coe, Alan Barnes, John Picard, Karen Sharpe, and Jo Fooks. He also introduced Canadian vocalist Stacey Kent to British audiences. Lyttelton regarded his band as a family, with some members returning to the fold after periods away and/or staying for long periods (Bruce Turner, Stan Greig, Adrian Macintosh, Stobart, Hastings). The band maintained a busy schedule, frequently performing sold-out shows across the country. Performances occasionally included a guest singer, or a collaboration with another band. During the 1990s the band toured with Helen Shapiro in a series of Humph and Helen concerts. They also featured in several Giants of British Jazz tours with Acker Bilk and George Melly and John Chilton's Feetwarmers. Lyttelton had a long established professional relationship with UK singer Elkie Brooks. After working together in the early 1960s they rekindled their working partnership in early 2000 with a series of sold out and well received concert performances. They released the critically acclaimed album Trouble in Mind in 2003 and continued to perform occasional concerts in support of this work. Lyttelton's last band featured, apart from himself on trumpet and clarinet: Ray Wordsworth on trombone; Jimmy Hastings on alto sax, clarinet and flute; Jo Fooks on tenor saxophone and flute; Rob Fowler on tenor sax, baritone sax and clarinet; Ted Beament on piano; John Rees-Jones on double bass and Adrian Macintosh on drums. His last formal recordings, one track each on trumpet and clarinet, appeared on his last CD 'Cornucopia 3', (CLG CD 46) all of which he supervised. Trumpet on the other tracks was played by Tony Fisher. After his death, part of Lyttelton's appearance with his 2007 Band, (with Karen Sharpe instead of Robert Fowler), at the Brecon Jazz Festival, in which he was joined by American tenor saxophonist Scott Hamilton was shown by BBCtv as a tribute, (Humph's Last Stand). The band continues to give concerts performing his music. The trumpet part is played by Tony Fisher with occasional guest spots by singer Sue Richardson and ex–Lytteltonians such as Karen Sharpe. Lyttelton was married twice. His first wife was Patricia Mary (Pat) Braithwaite (b. 1929), whom he married on 19 August 1948. They had one daughter, Henrietta (b. 1949). In 1952, following his divorce, he married (Elizabeth) Jill Richardson (1933–2006), with whom he had two sons and a daughter, Stephen (b. 1955) and David (b. 1958), and Georgina (b. 1963). Despite his celebrity, he was intensely private. He designed his house in Arkley, Hertfordshire, with blank walls on the outside and the windows opening onto an internal courtyard. He hated using the telephone and kept his number ex-directory, changing it if anybody else discovered it. Given his dislike of the telephone, he communicated by post, including letters hiring and firing members of his band.

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