b. James Richard Skidmore, 8 February 1916, London, England, d. 22 April 1998, Welwyn, Hertfordshire, England. After teaching himself to play tenor saxophone when he was 20, Skidmore played with Harry Parry, George Shearing and others, becoming especially active in the years immediately following World War II. He attracted attention as a member of the Vic Lewis Jazzmen and in the 50s played with Kenny Baker and Humphrey Lyttelton, forming part of the latter’s non-traditionalist saxophone line-up alongside Tony Coe and Joe Temperley. During the 60s and 70s he continued to appear in clubs but with diminishing frequency. A combination of changing musical times and his own casual approach to his music militated against the success his talent deserved. In fact, it was his son Alan Skidmore who gained the lion’s share of public attention from the mid-60s onwards. In the mid-80s he still played in the London area and apparently took the jazz world a little more seriously than he had in the past. He celebrated his 80th birthday by appearing alongside his son.
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