“With sparkling arrangements by several members of the band, this was a splendid performance of the highest order”. Brian Payne, Jazz Journal, July 2023
“Just to hear the all-female sax section booting through ‘Mezzrow’ was to revisit the pleasures of swing”. Peter Vacher, Jazzwise, September 2023
“I’ve waited all year to hear a band like this! Maybe waited all my life or at least since I first heard the Lyttelton band in Camden Town Hall – the one that had Coe, Skidmore, Temperley and Pickard alongside Humph in the front line. This band exuded the same amount of class – the ensembles were something else. What a sound! ” Lance Liddle, Bebop Spoken Here November 2021
“an invigorating tribute to a hero but more than that, a chance to hear present-day soloists responding valiantly to a past masters inspiration. Let’s hope there’s more of the same to come” Peter Vacher, Jazzwise, September 2022
“The salute, a thoroughgoing labour of devotion”. Nigel Jarrett, Jazz Journal, September 2022
“And it was quite a band, graced by Henry Lowther on trumpet alongside Hodgkins, and contributing new arrangements of a couple of Lyttelton/Buck Clayton pieces that indicated devotion to the style Lowther fans may not have been aware of. A great way to finish an eclectic, engaging festival”. Jon Turney London Jazz News July 2023
In November 2021 an ensemble of jazz musicians from the UK and USA embarked on a 17 date tour, in celebration of the legendary trumpeter, bandleader and BBC broadcaster Humphrey Lyttelton, on what would have been his 100th birthday anniversary year. Rising to prominence in the early 1950’s, Lyttelton’s hit single ‘Bad Penny Blues’ was the first-ever British jazz record to achieve top 20 status, and remained there for six weeks. Its success was largely due to a very catchy boogie piano riff, which was later used by Paul McCartney as the basis for the Beatles’ song ‘Lady Madonna’. Throughout his career, he blazed a trail with diverse presentations of jazz music and unique collaborations. In 2002, he performed (in front of 42,000) and recorded with Radiohead, engaging an entirely new audience with his music and providing a rare platform for fellow jazz musicians to play on a world stage.
In addition to his influential role as leader of the jazz revival, Lyttelton, affectionately known as “Humph”, was also a much-loved broadcaster, hosting BBC Radio 2’s ‘Best Of Jazz’ programme for many years, as well as BBC Radio 4’s hugely successful and still running) comedy show ‘I’m Sorry, I Haven’t A Clue’ (later hosted by Jack Dee).
To do justice to Humph’s life and heritage, Chris Hodgkins, himself a stalwart of the British jazz scene, put together an impressive ten-piece band featuring top UK musicians who will perform Humph’s compositions and arrangements, as well as some brand new pieces.
The band features, Chris Hodgkins – trumpet, Henry Lowther – trumpet, Charlotte Glasson – sax, Diane McLoughlin – sax, Mark Bassey – trombone, Alison Rayner – double bass, Buster Birch – drums, Alex Clarke – sax, Andrea Vicari – piano, Max Brittain or Chris Spedding – guitar
A travelling exhibition on Humphrey Lyttelton’s life and times accompanies the tour and consists of a media presentation and visual archive display based on Humph’s writings and journals.