Monday, 3 November 2014

Acker Bilk 1929-2014

Sad news yesterday, announcing the death of Acker Bilk.

I was a big fan of Acker. In my teens, when I should have been wasting my time and ruining my ears listening to eighties pop I often used to play my dad's old trad. jazz records instead, which included a goodly number of discs cut by the late, great Acker Bilk. (Such eccentric taste earned me the nickname 'Acko' Bilk at school for a while...)

There's another rather tenuous personal connection with Acker - or at least, with his Paramount Jazz Band. My father (of the jazz record collection) used to work with Ernie Price, who was Acker's first double-bass player back in the '50s.

He (Price) was a solicitor by the time by father knew him. They once went on a course in Leeds together. Ernie went by car; my father caught the train and was therefore surprised on the journey home that evening to find Price travelling back on the same train.

'Where's the car?' my father asked.

'Don't know,' Price replied. 'Parked it somewhere in Leeds and can't for the life of me remember where.'

Thankfully, dear reader, it was a two-day course and I believe Ernie and his car were happily reunited at the end of day two.

In fact, that reminds me, as an erstwhile double-bass player myself, Ernie once said to my dad that if I ever wanted the odd lesson, he'd be only too happy. I had better things to do back then like watching the effing television or writing god-awful poetry, so I never quite got round to it, much to my regret.

And Ernie Price is dead now, too. So with Acker's passing yesterday there are at least two members of the legendary band booked for the celestial reunion tour of eternity.

After four: a-one, a-two, a-one-two-three-four...

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