Tommy Pollard

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b. c.1918, England, d. 8 October 1960, England. While still a teenager Pollard became proficient on piano and accordion, later adding the vibraphone. In the late 30s and early 40s he worked with a succession…
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Artist Biography by

b. c.1918, England, d. 8 October 1960, England. While still a teenager Pollard became proficient on piano and accordion, later adding the vibraphone. In the late 30s and early 40s he worked with a succession of established band leaders in the UK, among them Tito Burns, Johnny Claes, Roy Marsh, Derek Neville and Harry Parry. From late in 1942 he served in the British armed forces, playing as member of Ralph Reader’s touring show in various parts of the world. After leaving the military in 1946, Pollard played with a band led by Ray Ellington and was then briefly with Buddy Featherstonhaugh before joining a band that played on board the Queen Mary, an engagement that took him to the USA where he heard bop at first hand. Back in London he worked again with Burns and also with Cab Kaye, Ronnie Scott and Victor Feldman.

Around late 1948, he participated in the founding of Club Eleven, which became a hotbed of the emerging British bop scene. After a spell playing in the Netherlands, Pollard rejoined Scott and also worked with Tony Crombie and Joe Muddell. He was also a frequent member of a studio band led by Frank Weir. By the late 50s, Pollard’s health had deteriorated and he worked only little in the last few years before his untimely death. A gifted player with a vivid style, Pollard was a significant contributor to the growth of understanding of modern jazz in Britain.