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Adler, Lawrence Cecil [Larry] (1914–2001), harmonica player and composer, was born on 10 February 1914 in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, the son of Louis Adler, plumber, and his wife, Sadie Hack. His family were of Russian descent and changed their name from Zelakovitch to ...

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Lawrence Cecil Adler (1914–2001) by Ida Kar, 1950s ? National Portrait Gallery, London

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Adson, John (bap. 1587?, d. 1640), musician and composer, may have been the Johannes Adson baptized at Watford, Northamptonshire, on 24 January 1587. Nothing else is known of his origins. By 1604, well before the usual age to finish an apprenticeship (which was about twenty-four), he was employed as a cornetto player at the court of ...

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Allan [Allen], James [Jimmy] (1734–1810), Northumbrian piper and rogue, was born at Hepple, Northumberland, probably in March 1734, and baptized at Rothbury, Northumberland, on 21 April 1734, the son of William Allan or Allen, also known as Wull Faa, a noted vermin hunter and performer on the Northumbrian small pipes. ...

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Ashley, John (c. 1734–1805), conductor and bassoonist, was probably born in London, although it is impossible to place or date this with certainty. Little is known of Ashley's musical training and his earlier professional years. He was a bassoon player of considerable ability and may have held an appointment in a wind band of the militia, for ...

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Ball, Kenneth Daniel [Kenny] (1930–2013), trumpeter, was born at 30 Mayesbrook Road, Ilford, Essex, on 22 May 1930, the youngest of nine children of James Daniel Ball (1888–1986), printer and master bookbinder, and his wife, Ethel Louise, née Glithero (1886–1962), a dressmaker at the time of her marriage. He took up the harmonica at ten, learned the bugle while a member of the ...

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Kenneth Daniel Ball (1930–2013) by David Redfern, 1970s ? Getty Images

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Carl Aldric Stanley Barriteau (1914–1998) by Alan Duncan, 1942 [dedicated to George Roberts, saxophonist] photograph by Alan Duncan; Val Wilmer Collection

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Barriteau, Carl Aldric Stanley (1914–1998), clarinettist and bandleader, was born on 7 February 1914 in Port of Spain, Trinidad, the elder son and eldest of four children of Josiah Stanley Barriteau, stenographer and journalist, and his wife, May (b. c.1894). Both parents were Trinidadian. He spent his early childhood in ...

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Bassano, Alvise (d. 1554), musician and instrument maker, was presumably born in Bassano, near Venice, in the late fifteenth century, the second son of Maestro Jeronimo (d. 1539?), known as Piva (‘bagpipe’). By 1515 he was playing in Venice, and he served in ...

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Bergmann, Walter Georg (1902–1988), composer and musician, was born on 24 September 1902 in the Lindenallee, Altona, Hamburg, Germany, the youngest of the three sons of Oskar Gustav Adolph Bergmann (1859–1936), a building engineer who worked for the German railways, and his first wife, ...

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Bilk, Bernard Stanley [Acker] (1929–2014), clarinettist and bandleader, was born in Pensford, Somerset, on 28 January 1929, the son of William John Bilk (1876–1941), journeyman carpenter and cabinet maker, and part-time church organist, and his wife, Lilian Lydia Amanda, ...

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Bond, Graham John Clifton (1937–1974), jazz and rock musician, was born in the area of Romford, Essex, on 28 October 1937 of unknown parentage. He was adopted from a Dr Barnardo's children's home in early 1938 by Edwin Bond, a civil servant, and his wife, ...

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Brown, Robert Urquhart (1906–1972), piper, piobaireachd player, and teacher, was born on 1 May 1906 in Strachan, Kincardineshire, son of Francis Farquharson Brown (1875–1955?) head keeper of Blackhall estate, and his wife, Margaret Dunbar (1871–1937). He was educated at Banchory Academy. He started piping at the age of eleven, and soon showed a love for piobaireachd, the classical music of the highland bagpipe. His early tutors were ...

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John Alexander Brymer (1915–2003) by Kevin Geary, 1977 ? Kevin Geary / National Portrait Gallery, London

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Brymer, John Alexander [Jack] (1915–2003), clarinettist, was born on 27 January 1915 at 92 South Woodbine Street, South Shields, co. Durham, son of John Alexander Brymer, builder, and his wife, Mary, née Dixon. An autodidact, he became interested in the clarinet at the age of four, after finding one of his father's old instruments lying around the house. With his father's music-making in his ears, he progressed quickly and played with a military band when he was eleven. While still at ...

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Cameron, Donald (c. 1810–1868), highland bagpipe player and teacher, was born probably at Contin near Strathpeffer in eastern Ross and Cromarty, one of three sons of Colin Cameron (c.1770–1862), a farmer, and his wife, Mary Cameron (c.1777–1865), also a farmer. On 9 December 1841 he married ...

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Grace Elizabeth Agnes Annie Cole (1924–2006) by Val Wilmer, 1986 ? Val Wilmer

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Cole, Grace Elizabeth Agnes Annie [Gracie] (1924–2006), trumpeter, was born at Ivy Cottage, Rowlands Gill, co. Durham, on 8 September 1924, the only child of Albert Ernest Cole (1904–1986), miner and musician, and his wife, Elsie, née Lee (1905–1972). Her four first names were those of two grandmothers and two great-grandmothers. Her father played cornet in colliery bands in ...

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Craxton, Janet Helen Rosemary (1929–1981), oboist and teacher, was born on 17 May 1929 at 8 Grove End Road, London, the only daughter and the youngest of the six children of (Thomas) Harold Hunt Craxton (1885–1971) and his wife, Essie May Faulkner (1890–1977)...