The Jack Parnell Orchestra
|After many successful years on drums with the Ted Heath band,
Jack Parnell formed a small band in 1951 to play in the London West End
show Fancy Free.
Line-up in 1951 for Fancy Free:
When the show folded Jack continued to run this small combination as a touring band.
Line-up in 1952:
Line-up July 1952:
October 1952: add Ken Wray (trombone); Albert Hall (trumpet) Jimmy Watson out.
After the walkout Henry Shaw, Laddy Busby, Bob Burns, Ronnie Keene, Kenny Graham, Allan Ganley replace Deuchar, Wray, Humble, King, Klein, Seamen. Add Marion Keene (vocals)
In 1953 Parnell formed his first big band and retained that formation from then on.
Line-up Dec. 1953:
Feb. 1954 add Annie Ross (vocal); Tubby Hayes (tenor)
Kenny Clare (drums) joined around this time. As in most of the touring bands, there were a great many personnel changes.
In 1958 Jack disbanded his touring band and took over as director of the Associated Television Orchestra at London's Wood Green Empire.
Line-up August 1958 for ATV studio orch. (Associated Television):
Jock Cummings (drums) and Tommy Whittle (tenor) later replaced Midgely and Adams.
Bobbie Pratt replaced Ron Simmonds in 1960 (Simmonds left to join Ted Heath). The orchestra moved to the Elstree Film Studios to continue the ATV work.
Jack Parnell was a superb drummer. A feature of his show was a two-drum special, where the two drummers were on a stepped podium, one behind the other. This was moved downstage while they played an established routine. Jack did this, in succession, with drummers Phil Seamen, Allan Ganley, Kenny Clare and Bobby Orr. He was also a very good vocalist and the band made many commercial recordings. Around 1954 he added Dennis Hale and Irene Miller (vocals) for a tour of South Africa with the singer Eve Boswell. (Upon retiring from the business Eve later taught singing in Durban, together with Darius Brubeck, son of Dave.)
In later years Jack Parnell conducted The London Jazz Orchestra, run by arranger Laurie Johnson.
The top photograph was taken at the Villa Marina, Isle of Man in 1956. Shortly afterwards the band made a tour of South Africa with the singer Eve Boswell, with yet another change of personnel. As usual, the picture quality leaves much to be desired.
The lineup in the picture
The lower picture of the trumpet section shows, left to right: Terry Lewis, Ron Simmonds, Ronnie Hughes, Jo Hunter.
Click the pictures to enlarge