TONY BILLINGSLEY,

TRUMPET & VOCALS


Tony’s was first inspired to play Jazz at the age if 17 by visits to a Jazz club in Walsall. Local musician Murray Smith first instructed him on improvisations based in chord structures.
The Tame River Jazz band was formed with the help of some local guys and performed successfully for a number of years.
Tony then moved briefly on to the Saratoga Band followed by the Phoenix Jazz Band run by pianist Bill Bickerton. The band played regular gigs at Wolverhampton’s Town Hall Hotel, and the March Hares Jazz Club.
At the age of 21 he played with Birmingham based Central City Jazz Band and for a short period ran his own outfit.
For several year Tony moved into Dance Band music with the Ross Allan Show Band In 1976 he returned to the Jazz scene and joined the Dixieland Stompers.
During the early Eighties, He had the opportunity to play with some of the great names in Jazz like Kenny Devine and Yank Lawson.
The Nineties saw Tony with first class Midland band like the Doctors of Jazz. In more recent years Tony has travelled extensively with the Antique Six both in the UK and Holland.
Over the years there have been some memorable events while playing with some of the famous names such as Humphrey Littleton, Bob Wallis, George Melly, Avo Aveson.
Tony recalls some of the early days when, while playing on a Canal Boat a policeman asked “Is that you playing trumpet sonny?” “Yes” says Tony awaiting a complimentary remark. The policeman then retorts” If you don’t shut up I will ram it down your ******* throat”. Fortunately for us Tony went on to become the excellent performer that he is today.

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