Jack Parnell and his Music Makers

We recently picked up a programme for this concert from January 9th 1954.

In the early 1950s drummer Jack Parnell started to lead his own big band and he employed and featured jazz musicians. Parnell was a talented musician, and a sensational soloist. He always employed other good drummers in his band including Phil Seamen, Allan Ganley and Kenny Clare. In the drum duets they played, always a big hit with the crowd, each outdid the other. It was marvellous show-business.

At their agents’ insistence, Parnell found himself having to lead from the front, so Phil Seamen came in to do the majority of the drumming, but the leader still kept his hand in. Parnell decided to do something different and thought up a double drum routine which really got the band noticed. They did it for the first time at the Jazz Jamboree at the Gaumont State in Kilburn, for the Musicians’ Benevolent Fund. Both drummers did the same thing throughout and it was a sensation, the same routine went into everything as long as the tempo was right.

After Seamen, virtually every British drummer of note passed through the ranks of the band, including Kenny Clare, Allan Ganley and Bobby Orr, and all did duets with Parnell. The other sections, at various times, featured top players like Jimmy Deuchar, Jo Hunter, Ronnie Hughes, Laddie Busby, Bobby Lamb, Bob Burns, Joe Temperley, Ronnie Scott, Pete King and Tubby Hayes. Tubby was still a teenager when he passed through the ranks.

Their set list includes some songs that were to reappear a few decades down the line, including “Hey Joe”, “Dancing on the Ceiling”, “Wish you were here” and “Bridge of Sighs” ;)