Chris Barber - what a man!

05 May 2009

I know this is straying from education but I have just returned from listening to the Chris Barber Big Band. Fantastic. I know I should be too old to have heroes, but Chris Barber - now 79 and still in great form - is mine. 

 Ever since I was 11, I have tried to play jazz trombone like him. Needless to say I have never come anywhere near. The man is a legend. His band produced the skiffle sound (when Lonnie Donegan was part of the Chris Barber Band in the 1950's) and Barber was the first British jazzman to bring over legendary American blues musicians like Muddy Waters.

 He stills plays with great energy, mixing spirituals with Duke Ellington, New Orleans with the blues. And he comes out and chats, at length, before and after the concerns and during the interval. I told him about my efforts to play Mack The Knife, note for note as he had improvised it years ago, and instead of looking at me pityingly (as he'd be entitled to) he told me at great length about that piece of music.

Anyway, I finally found an excuse for  writing about him on this education blog: his latest band includes an ex-head teacher and a former school head of music.

Learn more about Chris Barber at and catch him at one of his many live concerts while you can. 


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