A trumpet fanfare is an important part of the invitation to step up, step up to the Magical Mystery Tour. The necessary participation of trumpeter-for-hire Bert Courtley on these recording sessions by the Beatles gets him into the footnotes of '60s rock history, but like most of the studio horn players utilized by the Fab Four, Courtley's background was the long-established British trad jazz scene. During the '40s the trumpeter must have played with all the important British big bands; he also led his own group in the second half of the '50s and was part of Woody Herman's so-called "Anglo-American" band at the close of that decade.
Also on the short list for television and radio recording jobs, Courtley was apparently in his element improvising on jazz themes with small- or medium-sized nightclub combos. In one such outfit he met the woman he eventually married, saxophonist and bandleader Kathleen Stobart. Some of the most interesting music the trumpeter became involved in was a collaborative ensemble, Jazz Today, in which he joined forces with the younger, somewhat progressive fellow trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, among others. This ensemble did some recording sessions for the Nina label. Courtley also played in the Jazz Six with Don Rendell, evolving into a similar ensemble, the Jazz Committee.