The much-admired trumpeter and flugelhorn player Harry Beckett died this afternoon after a stroke on Tuesday. His last gig was Big Band Britannia with Guy Barker's orchestra last month.
The roll-call of bands he was in makes him a central figure of the 60s/70s British scene: Ian Carr's Nucleus, the Brotherhood of Breath and The Dedication Orchestra, London Jazz Composers Orchestra, John Surman, Octet Django Bates Ronnie Scott's Quintet, Kathy Stobart, Charlie Watts, Stan Tracey's Big Band and Octet; Elton Dean's Ninesense. He also toured with Charles Mingus.
Mike Westbrook writes:
We were very sorry indeed to read about the death of Harry Beckett. An incomparable loss, personally and musically. He was one of our greatest, and most distinctive trumpet players, and a totally committed jazz musician. We worked together a lot in the 60s and early 70s, especially in my orchestra. His solo on the last track of the Metropolis album is one to treasure. Thereafter Kate, I and Chris Biscoe often ran into him on the road, always a delight. Chris, of course, has been working regularly with Harry in small groups. At one point the two of them did a two-year stint with the Orchestre National de Jazz, in Paris. We are all going to miss him terribly.
(Harold Winston Beckett, born Barbados May 30 1935, died London July 22 2010)
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