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Hampshire's Concorde boss pays tribute to jazz musician Kenny Ball
ONE of Britain’s best loved musicians has died less than a year after he headlined an international jazz night in Hampshire.
Trumpeter Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen had soared to fame with the chart topping Midnight in Moscow.
He died aged 82 after suffering from pneumonia.
Kenny Ball and His Jazzmen had been regulars at The Concorde in Stoneham Lane, Eastleigh, with their appearances stretching back to the sixties when the club was in the backroom of the old Bassett Hotel in Southampton.
Today Concorde boss Cole Mathieson paid tribute to the veteran band leader and said: “Kenny Ball, a wonderful trumpet player whose band, along with Acker Bilk and the Chris Barber Band who were known as the 3 Bs, kept traditional jazz alive in Great Britain. He will be sadly missed in the jazz world”
Kenny's last Concorde appearance – one of more than 20 at the club over six decades – was last May when he had been bravely battling against a chest infection.
But he went on to give a two hour plus performance of trad jazz at its best.
His eyes lit up when he was asked to autograph a prized Midnight in Moscow vinyl LP with the famous American Kapp Records label.
It was bought by a Southampton fan from a record store in Broadway, New York when Kenny Ball and His Jazzmen were as big as The Beatles.
In an earlier interview with the Daily Echo Kenny spoke of his own experience of Ballmania when he was cornered by fans at Southampton.
It was in 1955 at The Gaumont (now The Mayflower) and Kenny had just shared the stage with the Eric Delaney Band.
Kenny recalled: “I had sung and did a bit with my trumpet. I came out of the stage door and there were about 20 girls.
“They ripped off my shirt and it is the only time that has happened. So I will always remember Southampton.”
Kenny’s musical career began when his dad gave him £10 to buy a trumpet. He and his Jazzmen made regular TV appearances with comedy duo Morecambe and Wise.
The band had their first hit record, I Love You, Samantha, in 1961 and other hits included the iconic Midnight in Moscow, March of the Siamese Children and I Want To Be Like You.
Kenny supported his idol Louis Armstrong in 1968 during his last European tour and played at the wedding reception for the Prince and Princess of Wales in 1981.