Humphrey Lyttelton died last Friday. As a trumpeter and bandleader he was a stalwart of the British Jazz scene. His Jazz was primarily of the Traditional variety, a style that, to be truthful, is not really my cup of tea. As well as being a jazz musician he was also a writer and broadcaster. For many years he presided over the madcap proceedings at BBC Radio’s “I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue”, and also presented a Jazz records program on BBC Radio 2. It was his Jazz program in particular that I will hold fond memories of. I must have started listened to his program in the 70s. My parents would tune in, and I sort of got hooked too. My taste for Jazz music comes and goes, and I wouldn’t enjoy all that Humph played, but I liked his presentation style, respected the depth of his knowledge and his undoubted love of the genre, and just loved the sound of his voice. If I found a few tracks that I liked along the way that was a bonus.
In that respect, thinking about it, he held the same attractions as John Peel did. I can’t say I have always listened to Humph’s Jazz program – the same way I didn’t always tune in to John Peel’s show. But it was always a comfort to know he was there, and when I did tune in the attraction was to listen to Humph talk at least as much as the music he might play.
Humph did play some great music of course, and broadened my knowledge of Jazz music. The track here I remember hearing on one of his shows, probably in 1980. I think I managed to capture it on tape. In any event I never forgot it and finally acquired the album it appears on a few years ago.
The album in question is “Blues For The Fisherman” on Mole Jazz. This was a live recording of a Ronnie Scotts date by pianist Milcho Leviev in a quartet that included Art Pepper on saxophone. I have featured this track before and it is definitely worth a “re-up” as well as being appropriately titled in the circumstances. Also appropriate were the words that finished the post that originally featured this track - so today let the applause at the end of this track be for Humph.