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Friday, 25 January, 2002, 13:05 GMT
My Music: Chris Barber
Chris Barber
2002 will mark Barber's 53rd year as a bandleader
Trombonist Chris Barber formed his band in 1949, at the age of 19. He turned professional in 1954 and has been one of Europe's most successful traditional jazz bandleaders ever since.

Barber was an important part of the "skiffle" boom and founder of the Marquee club - the incubator for much of the great British rock of the 60s and 70s.

And, despite having played more than 10,000 concerts and made 100 CDs since 1949 the Chris Barber Jazz & Blues Band is still busy touring and recording.

What was the most recent album you bought?

Twenty double CDs - the complete Duke Ellington, 1924 to 1947.

Where do you most like listening to music - and why?

On stage with my band, playing, naturally - it is the nearest to my own taste!

What songs do you sing in the bath?

I don't.

What song always makes you cry?

Louis Armstrong singing Sleepy Time Down South - the first piece I ever heard him play live, in Paris, in 1956.

What were the first single and album you ever bought?

The first single was Body and Soul by Coleman Hawkins, that was in 1944. But I don't remember the first album - there really weren't any jazz albums until years later.

Which is your favourite song? And your least favourite song?

Mostly, I just enjoy the piece I am playing at any given moment.

Which song by another artist do you wish you had written?

Basin Street Blues, by Spencer Williams.

Do you prefer CDs or vinyl?

CDs, because they are more convenient in so many ways.

Roughly how many records are there in your collection?

I have about 10,000 78rpm records, 2,000 LPs - and I don't know how many CDs.

How long do you spend browsing in record shops - and what's the best record you've ever bought on impulse?

I only browse when I'm checking to see what jazz and blues they stock (with particular reference to ours, of course). I can't remember what I've bought on impulse.

Which song from the past 12 months is most likely to gain classic status?


Which artists do you currently most admire ?

The pianist Dr John.

If you organised your dream music festival, who would have as headline act - and any supporting acts?

Louis Armstrong with his 1959 All Stars, and Dr John (with my band, as we love to play with him).

The Big Chris Barber Band and the VIPs of Jazz tour the UK from 4 - 28 February 2002.

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