Jack Emblow

b. c. 1930, England. Emblow began playing accordion at the age of 11, swiftly impressing with his remarkable technique. Becoming a professional musician at 15, he drew his repertoire from a wide range,…
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Artist Biography

b. c. 1930, England. Emblow began playing accordion at the age of 11, swiftly impressing with his remarkable technique. Becoming a professional musician at 15, he drew his repertoire from a wide range, encompassing many areas of popular music as well as light classics. He appeared on record with artists of all genres and eras, including the Beatles. Emblow has affinity with jazz musicians recording in the 60s with George Chisholm, in the 70s with John McLevy, Don Lusher, Ronnie Verrell and Ike Isaacs In the 80s he recorded with Alan Barnes, Gordon Beck, Gary Potter and Toots Thielemans; in the 90s he was often with Martin Taylor, recording with him and Stéphane Grappelli, and he was also with Taylor’s Spirit Of Django band. In the early and mid-00s, he played with Tony Compton, a long-standing associate, and also with Claire Martin. Among other singers with whom he had earlier worked are Ann Burton and Sandra King. Emblow has appeared at many jazz festivals, notably that at Cork, and has played concerts around the world. In 2005 he appeared at the Reading Real Ale and Jazz festival with the band Swing Something Simple, which also featured clarinettist Dave Shepherd and vibraphonist Roger Nobes. This show’s title reflected Emblow’s decades-long association with Cliff Adams’ BBC radio show, Sing Something Simple, which began on the Light Programme in 1959 and on which Emblow led the accompanying quartet.

A respected session musician, Emblow has not only worked on radio, but also in films and on television, including composing incidental music for the 1967 television series, The Old Campaigner, and for 1976’s The Canal Children. He also recorded theme songs and background scores for shows such as A Year In Provence, Maigret, Bergerac, ’Allo ’Allo and Last Of The Summer Wine. His long and fruitful career has brought him the British Academy of Songwriters Composers and Authors Gold Badge of Merit For Music. In 2001, he was appointed as Honorary President of the National Accordion Organization of the UK, the appointment recognizing his remarkable lifelong contribution to the accordion. Emblow occasionally experimented, playing an electronically enhanced instrument, the transichord. Although Emblow recorded few own-name albums, he has appeared on many hundreds of recording dates, including some under the direction of Ted Heath, Michel Legrand, Henry Mancini, Jack Parnell and Nelson Riddle.