Wally Fawkes

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b. 21 June 1924, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Fawkes moved to the UK while still very young and in the mid-40s was recruited by George Webb, leader of one of the first bands to attract popular…
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Artist Biography by

b. 21 June 1924, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Fawkes moved to the UK while still very young and in the mid-40s was recruited by George Webb, leader of one of the first bands to attract popular attention during the trad-jazz boom. In 1947 he left Webb along with fellow sideman Humphrey Lyttelton to become a founder member of the latter’s new band. This musical relationship lasted until 1956 and was rewarding for musicians and fans alike. After leaving Lyttelton, Fawkes played with several other leaders, including Bruce Turner and Sandy Brown, with whom he recorded in 1954 and 1956, respectively (both sessions being reissued on a single 1989 album), and he also led his own semi-professional band, the Troglodytes, a more loosely swinging band than many of his contemporaries in the sometimes staid UK trad scene. Later, Fawkes, a gifted, Sidney Bechet -influenced clarinettist, whose musical abilities have made him a major name on the trad circuit, chose to play freelance, usually showing a marked preference for obscure pubs in the London area. For several decades, Fawkes, using the byline ‘Trog’, drew the strip-cartoon ‘Flook’ in the Daily Mail, the script for which was written by singer George Melly. Fawkes continued his sporadic jazz career into the 80s and 90s with several excellent records, including reunions with Lyttelton and Ian Christie, another sparring partner from the heyday of British trad jazz.