Roy East

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Roy East, quite an obscure British woodwind player, may have made it into Leonard Feather's exclusive Encyclopedia of Jazz simply so that the enterprising Feather could plug one of his own projects, an…
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Roy East, quite an obscure British woodwind player, may have made it into Leonard Feather's exclusive Encyclopedia of Jazz simply so that the enterprising Feather could plug one of his own projects, an early-'60s album entitled One World Jazz combining jazz players from a variety of nations. Feather described East as an "alto player of exceptional intensity" and compared him to Phil Woods, although this opinion could have been part of the one-man hype. Of somewhat more interest, Feather touches on the legend that East had an identical twin brother who, like a good twin, played all the same instruments: alto saxophone, clarinet, flute, baritone saxophone, and tenor saxophone.

Feather does not identify the doppelgänger by name. The existence of both men may have been enough to cancel each other out in the mind of discographical führer Tom Lord: he makes no mention of East at all in his collected research. Stylistically, the brothers were not twins. East went for jazz and dance bands, working on the London music scene during the early '50s with bandleaders such as Oscar Rabin and Dizzy Reece. He toured the United States with Vic Lewis in early 1959. The mysterious twin brother, on the other bandstand, was more likely to be found in a musical theater pit band or cabaret. Johnny Dankworth made considerable use of East as a flute soloist.