b. Patrick Cairns Hughes, 19 October 1908, London, England, d. 2 February 1987, London, England. In the early and mid-30s bass player Hughes was active in UK dance band and light music circles, playing and composing in a wide range of musical styles. Some of his compositions attempted to blend jazz with classical music - for example, his ‘A Harlem Symphony’ and ‘High Yellow’, a jazz ballet. After making some jazz-orientated records in the UK, Hughes visited New York where he led a recording session with a band organized for him by Benny Carter, playing several of his own compositions and arrangements. These records, on which outstanding musicians such as Coleman Hawkins, Henry ‘Red’ Allen, Chu Berry, Dicky Wells and ‘Big’ Sid Catlett appeared, proved that Hughes had fully assimilated what was still, for many Europeans, an alien musical concept. These 1933 recordings became, and remain, classics of big band music. As if aware that he had achieved a peak he could never surpass, Hughes played little after this, concentrating instead on journalism. He was for many years ‘Mike’ of Melody Maker and also wrote extensively on classical music as well as publishing two volumes of autobiography.
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