Beccles

ZZ Oct18 meeting with Ray Simmons

We thoroughly enjoyed an afternoon with Ray Simmons - former principal trumpet with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and also Jazz Maestro.
Ray ran briefly through his career in orchestral music. This started by finding a cornet in a cupboard at school and then experimenting to learn to play it. He went to music college and there received formal training. He moonlight gigged in these early days - mainly dance band music. Ray mentioned an ELO member wanting some classical working to a pop/disco tempo of some music - the "switched on" era.
Ray used lots of music to illustrate his points as he went along.
Ray also arranges music and 3 variations on the tune Swannee River were demonstrated - in Big Beiderbecke, Duke Ellington and Miles Davies styles - all unmistakable!
Ron remembered playing with a jazz pianist friend - (John ??) along with Phil Brooke (guitar) and Ivar (??) Bass. They made a CD - called the St Malo Suite - and we are hoping to get a copy shortly from Ray.
Ray mentioned a trio - "Palomar" - Ron Hockett (Clarinet and Alto Sax, Craig Hipperson (drums) and Ray (keyboard and trumpet) - CD's were available! Ron was American and had come across unknown to the region and was "discovered" busking in Norwich - it was not long before he was hooked into the local jazz fraternity.
Ray concluded with a piece of jazz piano by Andre Previn, which Ray said was crying out for a solo - so he accompanied live, Andre on his trumpet - wonderful!!!!