Oral history of jazz in Britain
Wright, Denny. (1 of 8). Oral history of Jazz in Britain
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1989-7-17 and 1989-10-16
Denny Wright's home, north London, UK
Wright, Denny, 1924-1992 (speaker, male), Fairweather, Digby, 1946- (speaker, male)
Clark, Christopher, 1952-
Part 1. Denny Wright (DW) discusses the current state of his health; has been suffering from cancer for past six years, but has kept playing. Discusses first jazz records in the early thirties, and his early guitar influences; came to playing guitar through combination of friends and the records he heards; mentions his early reputation as the “British Django Reinhart”. First guitar an Epiphone at age eight, sold to him by father of John Williams. His first band formed 1937, played south-east London; DW’s brother on rhythm guitar, while DW gravitated to lead. Member of Auxiliary Fire Service during Blitz, suffered injuries and convalesced for three months in Morcambe; there met guitarist Alan Metcalf and started playing together; on return to London started playing at Jigg’s Club with Beryl Bryden. Remembers other bands, players, and venues in the 40s. Memories of Jigg’s Club; working with Carl Baretta and his orchestra; anecdote about gig in Dundee; memories of members of the Carl Baretta Orchestra. Gradual collapse of orchestra – end of era of big band orchestra in theatre venues, move first to holiday camp gigs, then to smaller ensembles at clubs again. DW begins performing alone in both clubs and recording studios; joins Decca Records house-band under Phil Green; works with Glenn Miller Band; “shortage” of guitarists in London during the war benefited DW. Memories of Jamboree Club in Wardour Street.