Randy Colville

b. 23 May 1942, Glasgow, Scotland, d. 15 January 2004, Gillingham, Kent, England. Clarinettist ‘Randy’ Colville began his diverse musical career as a graduate from, and later as a teacher at, the…
Read Full Biography

Artist Biography

b. 23 May 1942, Glasgow, Scotland, d. 15 January 2004, Gillingham, Kent, England. Clarinettist ‘Randy’ Colville began his diverse musical career as a graduate from, and later as a teacher at, the Northern School of Music (now the Royal Northern College of Music) in Manchester, where he earned a high reputation on the hectic 60s jazz scene with leading local bands the Jazz Aces and the Saints Jazz Band. Moving south in the mid-70s to take up a post at Kent Music School, Colville quickly found himself much in demand both in the classical and commercial fields, and on the jazz scene, working and recording regularly throughout the subsequent decades with Keith Nichols’ Ragtime Orchestra, the Midnite Follies Orchestra (with Nichols and co-leader Alan Cohen), Alan Elsdon and Humphrey Lyttelton, and with American artists such as Teddy Wilson, Billy Butterfield, Benny Waters, Yank Lawson, Ralph Sutton, and Al Casey.

Colville was also active as a classical soloist, appearing often at Kenwood House and other venues on the London circuit. His meticulous arrangements were featured by many of the bands he worked with, including his own Septet, the Colville Collection, whose repertoire spanned mid-period jazz to bebop. Colville often combined both worlds with jazz stylings for clarinet and string quartet. In addition to his main instrument, Colville was an accomplished all-round performer on soprano, alto and tenor saxophones, and while often labelled as a Matty Matlock stylist, saw himself rather as a ‘versatile player at ease in jazz of all periods’. He died from liver failure in January 2004.