Jazz Professional               



From every angle

Tributes from some of his colleagues


A born leader
From every angle
Stan - A tribute


Saxophonist Roy Willox
As well as having been a great player for a long time, he’s one of the great characters. There’s always something happening when he’s around; he’s great fun. In the section; he creates an atmosphere of real enthusiasm. But although he laughs and jokes so much, he’s dead serious when it comes to playing the parts. He never takes the music for granted; he’s trying hard the whole time.

I think he lives for his music. It’s the prime interest in his life; I’m sure he’d be a very unhappy fellow if he wasn’t as busy as he is now. He’s as enthusiastic as anybody you’ll find in the business.

He’s a great storyteller, with a very good memory for jokes, which he loves telling. But if somebody else is telling the joke and he knows it: he’ll guarantee to drop in the punch–line just as you’re about to say it and kill it stone dead. This is just the way he is: he plays lead as a rule, so he likes to be the lead storyteller, too.

If we’re listening to a playback and Stan actually manages to hear the saxophones playing for a change, he’ll say: “Dreadful balance.” He thinks something has definitely gone wrong if any saxes can be heard; all he wants to hear is trumpets. Roy Willox

Trumpeter Stan Reynolds
There’s no better player in the world. He’s got such an all-round command of the instrument, and he can adapt himself to any type of work. He has impeccable intonation. Probably his strongest point is that he’s such a first-class sight-reader. And he’s such a character off the trumpet, from every angle.

In spite of being so boisterous a person, he has complete control in the section. Then again, he can enthuse, particularly when it’s something he likes to play; he can sparkle a section to life. make it very precise. I rate him as one of the greatest. An American similar to him is Billy Butterfield, when he plays his nice bits. They sound alike to me—the control, you know.

A thing that used to knock me out in the old days with Ted (Heath) was the way he and Norman Stenfalt used to argue so heatedly about things, really got quite nasty. They’d finish up ten minutes later with Stenfalt playing real down-and-out piano and Stan blowing beautiful trumpet—to cool it all off. They’d go through this routine regularly.

One of the things about Stan outside the job is that he’s such a fantastic, non-stop joke-teller. I think he starts more jokes in the business than anybody else. Stan Reynolds

Trombonist Don Lusher
Stan is a born leader, one of the very best lead–men in this country. He has the happy knack of licking any sort of brass section into shape. This often happens these days when we’re called upon to play very mediocre music, on television variety shows and things like that. He’ll put as much into that as he would into beautiful music. Which is hard to do. He’ll still insist, in a very nice way, on getting things right and as good as possible.

He’s terribly conscientious, really. Also, he’s probably as keen if not more keen now than ever before about doing a good job. We have several very good young trumpet players on the scene, now and I know, even if Stan doesn’t know, that he is greatly respected as a player by all of them, although they can play quite a lot higher than him these days. People like Greg Bowen. Derek Watkins, Tony Fisher, Derek Healey, all considerably younger men, but they think the world of Stan.

He can be an extremely funny guy, too, in a way that can sometimes break up the tension on a session. For instance, he makes up ‘sayings of the day’ connected with our business, such as: ‘Never trust a drum break’, ‘Cheque in-the post’ and ‘Won’t be going over (into overtime)’.

As for his actual playing. he’s one of the most soulful players that I know. This is a reflection of his personality. because there are two sides to Stan. He can be full, of the joys of spring. but he is a very serious person in many ways, who has a great big heart. Don Lusher

Trumpeter Kenny Baker
This is a marvellous talent. He’s one of the most conscientious workers in the profession. Which is a good thing these days. Sometimes one gets a load of nothing to play. or it may be a good Quincy Jones score, but it doesn’t seem to matter to Stan what it is. He always does the job as well as he possibly can; this is a marvellous talent.

He’s a great player. We’ve worked together now since the beginning of the war. We were in the Heath band, and it’s gone on from there. A good guy to work with. Like me, he likes to lark about, but to do the job well. Things like throwing burning rag under the trombone chairs; there are plenty of them.

And he’s always coming in with new stories; I think he enjoys being the centre of attraction. The main thing is, none of this detracts from the job. You can fool around, but as soon as the red light’s on, that’s entirely different. He’ll turn up on time and play to the best of his ability, which is always excellent. I mean, we’re all in it to make a living, but it’s important to have such a professional outlook as Stan has, because it brushes off on others.

Actually, I think we’re very similar, our technical ability and the way we look at the business. We’ve also got an esprit de corps, which we’ve had from Heath band days. We always enjoyed the band and each other’s company; we worked entirely for the good of the band. As then, it’s a good association, and a very happy one. Kenny Baker

Copyright © 1969 Les Tomkins. All Rights Reserved.