Ken Woodman

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British trumpeter Ken Woodman is best-known as the musical director (i.e., arranger) of 1960s pop/rock hits by Sandie Shaw, Chris Andrews, Adam Faith, and Tom Jones. Those arrangements often highlighted…
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British trumpeter Ken Woodman is best-known as the musical director (i.e., arranger) of 1960s pop/rock hits by Sandie Shaw, Chris Andrews, Adam Faith, and Tom Jones. Those arrangements often highlighted a swinging, brassy sound with heavy overtones of jazz and light pop as well as rock. On Chris Andrews' hits, in particular, there were rhythms that gave the material an oom-pah marching-band flavor. These were perhaps ingrained in Woodman by his stint as a trumpeter and arrangement writer for the Bands of the Royal Marines during World War II (in fact, Woodman didn't leave the armed forces until the end of the 1940s).

In the mid- to late '60s, he also released two instrumental albums under his own name, That's Nice (1966) and The Kenny Woodman Sound (1969, issued only in Germany and Italy). These mixed his trademark full, brassy arrangements and stiff beats with some swinging London go-go looseness and organs. One of the songs from That's Nice, "Town Talk" (written by Phil Phillips, composer and singer of the 1959 American number two hit "Sea of Love"), gained wide exposure when it was used as the theme for Radio London DJ Paul Kaye, and later by BBC DJ Jimmy Young. Both of these rare albums were reissued on the single-disc CD compilation Town Talk! by RPM in 2002.

After the 1960s, Woodman continued to work as an arranger in various capacities, serving as the musical director for British singer Val Doonican's television series, and working with Spanish artist Camilo Sesto. He arranged José Feliciano's 1982 Spanish-language LP Escenas de Amor, as well as Shirley Bassey's Spanish-language album La Mujer. He also did some film soundtracks (including Letter to Brezhnev) and played jazz with his own band.