Oral history of jazz in Britain
Nurse, Rupert. (3 of 3). Oral history of Jazz in Britain
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Nurse, Rupert, 1910-2001, Hutchinson, Leslie "Jiver", 1906-1959, Lord Kitchener,. 1922-, Calypso
Interviewee's home in Carshalton, Surrey, UK
Nurse, Rupert, 1910-2001 (male)
Wilmer, Val, 1941- (female)
Part 3. Rupert Nurse discusses the arrival of soca and how it changed the calypso scene, and the demise of the Caribbean Festival. Nurse then began doing backing tapes on electronic instruments such as electric piano. Met the "Young Kitch", Leonard Joseph, in London in the late 1950s. Eventually took a job as a cataloguer in the PSA Library and worked beyond retirement age, finally retiring in May 1976 at the age of 65. He continued to play regular gigs, now with steel pan player Hugo (Gunning), with whom he had a three-year restaurant residency. By this time Nurse had switched to organ. Also played sessions with Coleridge Goode (double bass) and pianist Iggy Quail, and regularly dep'd for Goode in Quail's trio in the 1970s-. Recalls how (back in the 1950s?) he often went to hear jazz groups at the Flamingo club. He enjoyed listening to jazz but never tried to play it at that time. Did a BBC Radio broadcast with Coleridge Goode, who he considers to be one of the few bassists who can "really play without tricks and showing off". In the 1970s Nurse also sometimes dep'd for bassist Clive Davis in pianist Russ Henderson's Trio, which had a regular Sunday afternoon gig at the Coleherne pub in London's Earl's Court. The group also featured Stirling Betancourt on timbales. Also recalls working elsewhere with pianist (Zed) Taylor. Recorded with Russ Henderson and Henderson played on Nurse's calypso sessions. Discusses his current keyboard equipment and amplifiers etc. His views on the contemporary calypso scene. Nurse feels the scene hasn't changed much, apart from the rhythms and subject matter. He says people are coming around to the electric keyboards because of their versatility and portability and because they don't need tuning. Nurse's interest in the latest musical technology continues unabated. He says he believes in looking forward and nowadays composes on computer. Feels England is reluctant to change and is too conservative. In support of this view he cites the Japanese motorcycle companies pushing out the UK companies by modernising when the latter were reluctant. Closes by discussing his last calypso playing experiences. Some additional names mentioned but omitted from the summary: Randolph "Ranny" Hart (trumpeter), Eustace Callender (pianist), Tommy Eytle.
Item notes: Contemporaneous photographs by Val Wilmer held by NSA jazz section.