Pete Strange

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Jazz trombonist and longtime Humphrey Lyttelton sideman Pete Strange was born December 19, 1938; his first instrument was the violin, but as a teen he migrated to trombone, making his professional debut…
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Jazz trombonist and longtime Humphrey Lyttelton sideman Pete Strange was born December 19, 1938; his first instrument was the violin, but as a teen he migrated to trombone, making his professional debut at 18 behind banjoist Eric Silk in his Southern Jazz Band. Developing a clean, stout tone inspired largely by Duke Ellington sideman Lawrence Brown, Strange aspired to a more contemporary approach to jazz, and when Silk's clarinetist, Teddy Layton, left the Southern Jazz Band in 1957 to form his own group, Strange followed. He would subsequently support Sonny Morris, Charlie Gall, and Ken Sims before joining saxophonist Bruce Turner's band in 1961, remaining with the group for three years.

After leaving Turner, Strange essentially retired from full-time performing for about a decade -- he occasionally resurfaced behind a series of Dixieland bandleaders, including Freddy Randall, Joe Daniels, and Ron Russell. He rejoined Turner on a permanent basis in 1974, four years later co-founding the Midnite Follies Orchestra with trumpeter Alan Elsdon; in 1980, Strange also rounded up four of his fellow trombonists for a group he dubbed Five-A-Slide.

Three years later he joined trumpeter Lyttelton's swing band; nicknamed "Worried of Banstead" by bandmates, the famously pessimistic Strange nevertheless flourished under Lyttelton's leadership, eventually adding composing and arranging to his duties, most notably authoring "The Strange Mr. Peter Charles," its title inspired by an overseas visa form filled out by the trombonist. Strange remained with Lyttelton for over two decades, moonlighting with his own Great British Jazz Band all-star revue; he died on August 14, 2004.