Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Derek Wadsworth (1939-2008)

I just read of the death of Brit Jazzman Derek Wadsworth. Admittedly, I only know of Wadsworth through a handful of recordings he made with Georgie Fame's EXCELLENT 1967 backing group which also featured (at times) Johnny Marshall, Eddie Thornton, Jon Hiseman, John McLaughlin, Lynn Dobson, plus many more of the best "jazz refugees" of that time from the UK R&B/Soul circuit. As great as the Blue Flames were, Fame really out-did himself putting this band together. Wadsworth was definitely up there with the rest of them. Here's a clip of the group performing "live" in Germany some time in early 1966. Yes, Fame is uncharacteristically playing a guitar:

Want to hear more? Some kind person has posted one of the group's best instrumental tracks here for all of us to enjoy.

Vaguely interesting historical note: this would have been more or less the same line-up of the group that was playing at the Bag O' Nails Club in London that Paul McCartney famously met Linda Eastman. Macca always remembers it as a "Georgie Fame & the Blue Flames" gig, but we know otherwise. And to my High School Senior Year Economics teacher out there: yes, I am a Beatles Buff.

Now where were we?

Derek Wadsworth. Not only does it turn out that Derek and I share a birthday (February 5th), but he was also responsible for the music for the second season of Space: 1999. I was a huge fan of this show when I was a tike. Now this was long before I knew anything about Gerry Anderson or the genius of Marty Landau. I haven't seen an episode in years but I know I still have very strong memories of the moody, thoughtful alternative to Star Trek. Where am I headed with this? Well, the music of Derek Wadsworth is there in my memory early on - as early as anything else really.

Rest in Peace Derek Wadsworth, I hardly knew ya!

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