Leslie 'Jiver' Hutchinson

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b. 18 March 1906, Crossroads, St. Andrews, Jamaica, West Indies, d. 22 November 1959, Weeting, Norfolk, England. Schooled on the trumpet in Jamaica’s West India Regiment army band, Hutchinson appeared…
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b. 18 March 1906, Crossroads, St. Andrews, Jamaica, West Indies, d. 22 November 1959, Weeting, Norfolk, England. Schooled on the trumpet in Jamaica’s West India Regiment army band, Hutchinson appeared in London with them at the 1924 Empire Exhibition, Wembley. Fellow WIR bandsman Louis Stephenson had moved to England in 1935 with saxophonist Bertie King and pianist Yorke de Souza, and in 1936 Hutchinson followed, joining them in drummer Happy Blake’s band at Soho’s Cuba Club. He played with trumpeter Leslie Thompson’s Emperors Of Jazz, who were fronted by dancer Ken ‘Snakehips’ Johnson, then recorded and performed intermittently with Johnson’s West Indian Dance Orchestra when the dancer took over the leadership. At Mayfair’s Florida Club he played with Nigerian pianist Fela Sowande and led the same band in the Rialto film Traitor Spy (1939). During the war he played with leading dance bands, attaining prominence as star soloist with Geraldo and broadcasting frequently.

Hutchinson formed his own band with former Johnson sidemen and, until his death in a road accident in 1959, struggled to remain a band leader and, in particular, to maintain a visible black presence on the UK jazz scene. His musicians included pre-war Jamaican settlers Joe Appleton (saxophone), Coleridge Goode (bass), Clinton Maxwell (drums), and later arrivals George Tyndale (saxophone), Peter Pitterson, Bushy Thompson and Frank Williams (trumpets) as well as UK-born black singers Cab Kaye and Marion Williams. He appeared in the film The Captain’s Paradise (1953), worked with American pianist Mary Lou Williams during her extended London sojourn and recorded with his own band in Czechoslovakia (‘I Can’t Get Started’, 1947) and accompanying Jamaican vocalists Tony Johnson (1958) and the distinguished folklorist Louise Bennett (1950). He was also the father of singer Elaine Delmar. (This artist should not be confused with the pianist Leslie ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson who played in London during the same period.)