Oral history of jazz in Britain

Nurse, Rupert. (2 of 3). Oral history of Jazz in Britain

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  • Subjects

    Nurse, Rupert, 1910-2001, Hutchinson, Leslie "Jiver", 1906-1959, Lord Kitchener,. 1922-, Calypso

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  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home in Carshalton, Surrey, UK

  • Interviewees

    Nurse, Rupert, 1910-2001 (male)

  • Interviewers

    Wilmer, Val, 1941- (female)

  • Recordist

    Wilson, Paul

  • Abstract

    Part 2. Rupert Nurse continued playing around the West End of London, and possibly at Jigs Club (Wardour Street) through 1947-1948. Soon after (ca. 1949) he met and was in regular contact with Leslie 'Jiver' Hutchinson. By now Nurse was playing double bass in a trio with Fitzroy Coleman (guitar) and Cyril Jones (piano). He was already experimenting with electronic instruments, as was Lauderic Caton (guitar), with whom he played at the Caribbean Club. Discusses working with Leslie 'Jiver' Hutchinson, whose (mostly black) band included the white pianist Gordon King. In addition to regular gigging the group did around thirteen broadcasts for BBC Radio. Nurse compares Hutchinson with Ken "Snakehips" Johnson. He feels the latter was more of an "entertainer". After the Caribbean Festival Hutchinson's group played in Europe (Amsterdam etc.). Also worked with Cab Kaye and, later, Lord Kitchener. Recording band featured Cyril Jones or Russell Henderson on piano, Neville Boucarut (bass), Peter Joachim (trumpet), John Maynard (trombone), Norbert Payison on alto sax (later replaced by Bertie King), Wally Stewart (tenor saxophone) and a baritone player. Nurse had given up playing bass by this time, but still continued to work as a pianist outside Kitchener's band at nightclubs such as Churchill's with bandleader Lucky McKenzie. Featured soloists in Kitchener's band were the trumpeter, tenor saxophonist and guitarist. In later years Joe Harriott (alto saxophone) and George Tyndale (tenor saxophone) were brought in as replacements and, later still, Shake Keane (trumpet) and Pete Pitterson (trumpet). Willie Roach didn't go down too well because of his tendency to play in a more free style. Ironically he was replaced by Joe Harriott, who at this time was content to play charts. Nurse spent five years in Kitchener's band in all and made many records with him (78s and one LP). Recalls how Kitchener used to sing calypsos to him down the telephone from Manchester, so that Nurse could begin the job of orchestrating them.

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    Item notes: Contemporaneous photographs by Val Wilmer held by NSA jazz section.

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