[Dixielandjazz] Fwd: Harry Gold

Bob Romans cellblk7 at comcast.net
Fri Dec 2 08:51:48 PST 2005

Jude Eames and Tony Davis, who I was visiting for a few days in England, 
took me to the "100 Club" in downtown London where Harry Gold was playing 
and signing his new autobiography. When we arrived, he was playing bass sax 
on stage sounding fantastic! I was amazed to find out his age!
I bought his book and he autographed it...it's a prize in my library!
Thanks to "The Kaminsky Connection"!!
Warm regards,
Bob Romans,
Cell Block 7 Jazz Band
1617 Lakeshore Dr.
Lodi, Ca. 95242
Cell 209-747-1148
Because I play trumpet, I envy no one.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Barrie Walter Marshall" <walter.marshall at tiscali.co.uk>
To: <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>; "David W. Littlefield" 
<dwlit at cpcug.org>
Sent: Friday, December 02, 2005 8:46 AM
Subject: Re: [Dixielandjazz] Fwd: Harry Gold

> What is amazing about Harry Gold and the bass saxophone is he was a 
> diminutive 5ft 2in tall and used the instrument slung round his neck on a 
> sling!
> His autobiography is a good read, I read it in two days.
> Gold, Doubloons & Pieces Of Eight
> Barrie
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "David W. Littlefield" <dwlit at cpcug.org>
> To: <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
> Sent: Friday, December 02, 2005 3:40 PM
> Subject: [Dixielandjazz] Fwd: Harry Gold
>> >From another list.
>> --Sheik
>>>A prolific bandleader, musician and arranger, he was at the heart of the
>>>jazz world for more than 70 years
>>>John Fordham
>>>Thursday November 17, 2005
>>>The Guardian
>>>The bass saxophone, an Alice In Wonderland instrument that looks like a
>>>hookah for giants, is the kind of musical folly you might expect even
>>>normally proportioned musicians to avoid, let alone one who struggled to
>>>reach 5ft 2in in his socks. Yet for Harry Gold, the East End saxophonist 
>>>heard the Original Dixieland Jazz Band - the first jazz musicians ever to
>>>make a record - in person, became one of the most popular figures of the
>>>postwar Dixieland revival and was still touring well into his 90s, the 
>>>sax was the instrument of choice.
>>>Perhaps as a diminutive individual, Gold, who has died aged 98, liked its
>>>big, cavernous sound and spectacular presence on a stage - the cartoonist
>>>Trog even depicted him standing on a chair to play it. But if Gold had a
>>>passion for an instrument that has mostly belonged to jazz's jauntiest, 
>>>carefree age - when a brass band feel still clung to much of the music, 
>>>the double-bass had not yet come into its own - he was also a musician of
>>>considerable sophistication who played several saxophones, and with a 
>>>of theory rare for Dixielanders.
>>>He was a skilled arranger, a quality that lent distinctiveness to his own
>>>bands and those of others, as well as providing him with a fallback 
>>>in difficult years. He was also a tenacious campaigner for jazz 
>>>inside and outside the music business. In the 1940s, he was one of a 
>>>group of jazz musicians to shift the Musicians' Union policy over pay 
>>>away from its classical bias. He loved playing all his life, and relished
>>>any opportunity at any age.
>>>He was born Harry Goldberg, to a Romanian mother, Hetty Schulman, and a
>>>German father, Sam Goldberg. The family had first emigrated to England, 
>>>lived briefly in Dundrum, County Dublin, which is where Harry was born, 
>>>eldest of six children. His father was a tailor who loved music, often
>>>sewing while sitting cross-legged on a table to gain better proximity to 
>>>gaslight, and singing arias and popular music-hall songs. He also played 
>>>piano by ear, and sang with a remarkably wide range, which Gold always 
>>>as his first introduction to music.
>>>Shortly before the outbreak of the first world war, the family moved to
>>>Leystonstone, and then to the East End. The headteacher of the local 
>>>Street school was a music-lover whose principal interest in his pupils 
>>>whether or not they could sing in tune. Gold was thus fascinated by music 
>>>his early teens, and when he was 14 - by then out of school and working 
>>>the overtime he could in his father's business - he bought an alto
>>>He also persuaded his father to take him to hear the Original Dixieland 
>>>Band during their long residency at the Hammersmith Palais in 1919. Gold
>>>recalled that he did not understand what they were doing, but that the
>>>music's energy had such an effect on him it made up his mind to become a
>>>musician there and then.
>>>He learned the saxophone, the clarinet and the oboe under Louis Kimmel, a
>>>professor at the London College of Music, and the relationship was 
>>>for five years until Gold began to experiment with the jazz saxophone 
>>>he heard on the radio.
>>>He responded to an advertisement in the local paper, placed by a then
>>>unknown violinist called Joe Loss. After unsteady beginnings with a 
>>>who could only play on the black keys, the group improved to become the
>>>Magnetic Dance Band. Gold's relationship with Loss would continue down 
>>>years. Gold also formed the Florentine Dance Band with Polish guitarist 
>>>Mairants, and gave up his day job at Christmas 1923 - a two-week 
>>>at the Palais de Dance, Rochester, was sufficient incentive - never to 
>>>Joining a cooperative band that came to be called the Metronomes, Gold 
>>>began to flower as an arranger, using Kimmel's meticulous instruction, 
>>>continuing to attend music college. He spent almost three years with the
>>>Metronomes (marrying his first wife, Annie, during this period) and, 
>>>doing a job in the West End, heard American musician Fred Elizalde's 
>>>featuring the formidable bass saxophonist Adrian Rollini.
>>>Gold bought his first bass sax from Rollini, a battered instrument that 
>>>fallen out of a car, and which he had to spend a fortune on putting 
>>>With Mairants and trumpeter Les Lambert, Gold also formed a vocal trio, 
>>>Cubs - he liked the vocal music of the Boswell Sisters and Bing Crosby's
>>>Rhythm Boys - and when the American bandleader Roy Fox heard the three
>>>singing at the Princes restaurant, Piccadilly, he invited them to join 
>>>Gold would remark that his socialist convictions were reinforced by
>>>comparing his own background with the wealth of the clientele at Fox's 
>>>at such venues as the Cafe de Paris, where the regulars included the Duke
>>>and Duchess of Kent and the Prince of Wales. But he enjoyed touring with
>>>Fox's band, and the conviviality of musicians' lives on the road. He 
>>>frequently find himself on the same bill as comedians like Max Wall, or 
>>>eccentric tapdance trio Wilson, Keppel and Betty.
>>>But, in 1936, Gold and Mairants parted company with Fox, in a dispute 
>>>contracts and pay - the experience led Gold to become an active trade
>>>unionist, devoted to extending Musicians' Union policy (primarily geared 
>>>orchestral and theatre players) to include jazz musicians as well. In 
>>>touring in the north, he also met his second wife Peggy, a jazz fan and
>>>member of the Bradford Rhythm Club.
>>>Having been rejected for active service on fitness grounds, Gold did not 
>>>combat during the second world war, though he did have periods of 
>>>work. In between those breaks, from spring 1939 to 1942, he played with 
>>>Latvian-born bandleader Oscar Rabin. The band was good, but needed more
>>>variety to broaden its appeal, and so Gold offered Rabin a band within a
>>>band - this was the group that came to be known as Harry Gold's Pieces of
>>>Eight and that worked in a broadly Dixieland jazz style, with various
>>>line-ups, until its leader's last years.
>>>During the latter stages of the war, Gold worked for two of the most 
>>>British dance bands, Geraldo's and Bert Ambrose's. He also began to find
>>>more work for the Pieces of Eight, and also freelanced as an arranger for
>>>the BBC, on occasion collaborating with the young Norrie Paramor, later 
>>>become a producer of early 1960s pop hits for Cliff Richard, Frank 
>>>Helen Shapiro and Billy Fury. In Paris with the services entertainment
>>>troupe, Ensa, on the day the war ended, Gold was one of a group of 
>>>asked to broadcast to a home audience from the grounds of the British
>>>embassy, with the sound of the celebrations behind them.
>>>In December 1945, the Piece of Eight recorded for the first time, and 
>>>regularly appearing on the BBC's Music While You Work radio show, an
>>>experiment to see if Dixieland jazz could work on a predominantly
>>>light-music repertoire. By now, Gold's saxophonist brother Laurie was in 
>>>line-up as well.
>>>The group also almost became one of the earliest British bands to perform 
>>>television when the Alexandra Palace broadcasting station went on air 
>>>in 1946. Their number was pulled because the producer refused to allow
>>>Gold's black trombonist, Geoff Love, and the band's white singer, Jane 
>>>to perform a duet together on television. The group's status and 
>>>was, however, unaffected - one of their public admirers was the
>>>singer-songwriter Hoagy Carmichael, who warmly commended the Pieces when
>>>they accompanied him on tour in 1948.
>>>With Love, Paramor, and his brother Laurie, Gold expanded his activities
>>>into freelancing, arranging services, and, for a brief period, general
>>>theatrical management, before more powerful operators squeezed them out.
>>>Gold's determination to negotiate fair deals also ran him into 
>>>with a new broom in BBC Variety radio, his regular employers as an 
>>>In one particularly heated discussion between the saxophonist and the new
>>>producer, Gold found himself being frankly asked: "Are you a red?"
>>>In 1955, Gold turned the band over to Laurie, in order to stay at home 
>>>often with his family, and concentrate on session jobs and office work 
>>>for a
>>>Soho music publisher. He also began playing in a classical saxophone 
>>>and worked at EMI as a staff arranger, with his son David.
>>>But when EMI retired an indignant Gold on age grounds in the 1970s, he 
>>>ready to start performing all over again. He found much pleasure in
>>>cornetist Richard Sudhalter's band, formed to celebrate the music of Bix
>>>Beiderbecke and Paul Whiteman - with Gold relishing the bass-sax parts
>>>originally played by his old model Adrian Rollini. In 1977, he re-formed 
>>>Pieces of Eight with a new line-up, and the band toured again into the
>>>1980s, often in eastern Europe.
>>>Though he wound it up again after internal arguments, he regularly 
>>>to performing - frequently at his London local, the Yorkshire Grey, in
>>>Clerkenwell - and recovered an interest in live work to fill the gap left 
>>>the death of Peggy, his partner of half a century. In 1998, he played in
>>>California, Connecticut, New York and at the Cork festival. "Have sax, 
>>>travel," Gold would say. He was as open to doing that in his 90s as he 
>>>ever been.
>>>His autobiography, Gold, Doubloons and Pieces of Eight (co-written with
>>>Roger Cotterrell) appeared in 2000. He is survived by Morton and Leslie, 
>>>twin boys from his first marriage, and by Andrew and David, the sons of 
>>>second marriage.
>>>7 Harry Gold, jazz musician, born February 26 1907; died November 13 2005
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