The Glorious 74th Entry RAF Halton Aircraft Apprentices (The Coronation Entry).

Nights at the Turntable: Page 1.

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Andy's Jazz.

Modern Jazz: where my interest in Jazz began.

Photograph: Man playing a saxaphone.

[photo: 1954 - Jerry Mulligan playing baritone sax with his quartet.]

When I joined the RAF as an aircraft apprentice in 1953, I lived in a barrack room with 15 other lads all of about the same age. At that time pop songs were not really invented and we didn't think too much about music.

But one of the lads had brought along an old wind up gramophone and a few records that he played constantly. Most unusually these records were modern jazz numbers, a type of music that I hadn't really heard of before. It sounded so strange at first; he would play the records at every spare moment and gradually, what was originally painful to my ears, now started to sound quite pleasant.

My favourites were Gerry Mulligan and Dave Brubeck - real cool man.

I was particularly attracted to melodic numbers with beat and especially small combo groups where I could identify the part played by each instrument. One of the records I remember vividly was Dizzy Gillespie's 'Ooh Bop She Bam', what was called the cool school.

I took a liking to a wide range of artists, even the raucous sounds of Earl Bostic that many would not attribute as jazz. As long as it had a beat and a melody I enjoyed it. I liked the whole range of jazz from trad, rag time, bee bop and through to big bands. However, my love has always been for the small groups with melody, a beat and improvisation. But I'm afraid the wailing avant-guard stuff is a bit beyond me, perhaps it's my age.

American West Coast Jazz records were readily available in Singapore.

man standing infront  of an LP record display.

[photo: 1958 - A display of some of my first jazz records at RAF Tengah, Singapore.]

My first posting was to Singapore where I spent many a happy hour in the air-conditioned record shops. Slowly I built up my collection, most of which I still have today. Occasionally I even ordered records from England, such was my desire to get exactly what I wanted. American West Coast Jazz records were readily available in Singapore many of which were not imported into the UK. I got myself a Leak Amplifier for my Hi Fi system and built a speaker unit from cast off boxes from the bomb dump where I worked then fitting it with tweeter and woofer.

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Andy Anderton (74th).


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