NIGHTHAWKS ORCHESTRA :- PERSONNEL. 2010

(Formerly the legendary Spencer's Washboard Kings 1964-1972)

Contact:- Carl Spencer Tel: 07836 258974 spencers.nighthawks@virgin.net

Carl Spencer Portrait_1

CARL SPENCER. Cornet, trumpet, piano vocals.
Carl encompasses a wide range of styles both "Hot" and "Sweet", being equally at home with the pretty Bix Beiderbecke-school of phrasing, the angular clipped syncopation of the Original Dixieland Jazzband, the biting attack and bitter blues feelings of Oliver, Keppard and Ladnier. He also portrays the many Dance-Band styles of the '20's and '30's, which allied to his mastery of mutes adds to his reputation as one of Britain's hottest players in the idiom.

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BRIAN HILLS. Outstanding Clarinet, soprano, alto, tenor (+ occasional bass) sax.
Brian has a complete empathy with and is master of all styles, both black and white, of the era. An original member of the Washboard Kings throughout '64-72, he has admirers and devotees throughout Europe. An encyclopaedic brain on early jazz!

RichardWhite

RICHARD WHITE. Clarinet, soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, piano, banjo, vocals, phonofiddle, percussion (inc washboard) & unless restrained, occasional trumpet. Joined the Nighthawks towards end of '02, having had wide ranging experience on both piano (was resident with Temperance Seven) and on reeds with a host of small and larger bands, and on banjo with others. Young, highly talented multi-instrumentalist, & excellent vocalist.

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HENRY DAVIES. Piano, cornet, arrangements.( also accomplished brass and string bass.)
Henry has been a leading light in the jazz world since the early sixties, playing with and writing for a host of name bands. A sensational pianist, highly inventive and with a unique style reflecting his study of many of the great players of the era :- Scot Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton, James P Johnson, Fats Waller, Earl Hines, Art Tatum and others. Several years with the Washboard Kings between '65 and' 72 in both the bass and piano chairs.

Mike_Parle

MIKE PARLE. Banjo and tenor steel guitar. Originally trained as a violinist, Mike is a fine player in both rhythm and solo veins.(especially early Ragtime) has played with and still deputises for The Temperance Seven, The Charleston Chasers, Bob Kerr's Whoopee Band, Keith Nichols Orchestra, Mike Cotton and many others. Has studied the legendary greats of the banjo, Ollie Oakley, Vess Ossman, Fred van Epps, and Harry Reser. Eddie Lang, Lonnie Johnson and Django Reinhardt are prominant as his favourite guitarists.

Chris_Hunt_Portrait

CHRIS HUNT. Trombone. From "Tailgate" to Tommy Dorsey, from rasp to whisper Chris embraces the spectrum of trombone styles throughout our era, being both a fine section player and melodic, inventive soloist.


MIKE LANCASTER. Sousaphone. Our recently acquired ex RAF star tuba player, has awe-inspiring technique coupled with a creative and fertile musical brain.

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TIM PHILLIPS. Percussion (inc washboard) banjo, guitar, vocals, (can also get entangled on string bass).
Another coup for the Nighthawks, was signing up "young" Tim in ' 01. His superb tasteful exploits on percussion are augmented by dazzling doubling skills on banjo guitar and vocals. Tim gained wide experience with many leading name bands, many of whom still call upon his services.

MARTIN LITTON Martin deputises for Henry Davies several times a year, often when a smaller band size is required.
Jazz pianist, Composer and Arranger
Born in 1957, Martin Litton studied piano from 1975 to 1978 at Colchester Institute, graduating with a BA (Hons) degree.
After leaving the Institute he joined Harry Gold's Pieces Of Eight. In 1982 he joined Kenny Ball for two years, with whom he toured Russia and the Middle East. Martin has also worked with many American musicians including Bob Wilbur, Scott Hamilton, George Masso, Peanuts Hucko, Joe Muranyi and Al Casey. He has recorded with Kenny Davern, Wild Bill Davison, Yank Lawson and Marty Grosz. His work with leading British musicians includes recordings with Humphrey Lyttleton, Wally Fawkes and Digby Fairweather. In November 2002 Martin joined the Pizza Express All - Stars.

Martin has toured Britain and Europe with Keith Smith's Hefty Jazz. He is also the pianist with Bob Hunt's Duke Ellington Orchestra and his own eight-piece band playing the music of Jelly Roll Morton, Martin Litton's Red Hot Peppers. He appears and records regularly with The Swedish Jazz Kings and has toured Japan, Australia and New Zealand in their company.

Presently he is working with Pete Long's Bebop Repertory Quintet playing the music of Dizzy Gillespie and is pianist and arranger for a series of CDs featuring singer Clare Teal. The latest of these, Orsino's Songs, has been highly acclaimed and has regular airplay on Michael Parkinson's radio show.

Martin's first solo CD, Martin Litton Jazz Piano, (on the American Solo Art label), was short listed in Jazz Journal's 1994 Critics' poll and his latest solo collection. Falling Castle, was called " a gem" by the Jazz Rag.

"Martin Litton is a strong, sophisticated soloist with an eclectic repertoire and an eye to presentation"- Jazz-the Essential Companion
"...a soloist of genuine quality, quick to see and seize a creative opportunity"- The Stage
" Litton excels as blues man, strider or swinger"- Jazz Journal
"His style comprises driving swing with gentle melodic invention. In addition he is a good accompanist"- Jazz Journal


A five-page profile of Martin Uton appeared in the Bulletin Du HCF (Hot Club of France and Paris) 1996 and Falling Castle was reviewed in their May 1999 issue.

Full details of Martin's recordings can be found in Martin Litton Discography, Eurojazz Discos No. 50, compiled by Gerard Bielderman (Leie 18, 8032ZG Zwolle, Netherlands).

See also-Who's Who Of British Jazz by John Chilton (published by Cassell).

TREVOR WHITING Also deputises at times when a smaller group is required.
Born in London 1959. After initially learning tenor horn in the school brass band at the age of eleven, he heard recordings of New Orleans clarinettist Sidney Bechet and immediately decided to switch instrument.

This was the beginning of a lifelong passion for Jazz in its various forms. Trevor taught himself the rudiments of clarinet and saxophone and by his late teens was beginning to do gigs with various traditional and mainstream bands around the London Jazz circuit. By the mid eighties he had formed his own group the 'Swingtet'which featured notable musicians such as trumpeter Ray Crane, pianist Martin Litton, guitarist Paul Sealey and drummer John Armatage.The Swingtet was regularly featured in BBC Jazz Club broadcasts.

Since the eighties, Trevor has often enjoyed working and recording with visiting Americans including Al Casey, Art Hodes, Scott Hamilton, Marty Gross and many others, in between a busy freelance schedule. In recent years he has appeared live and on recordings with new vocal star Clare Teal.

In January 2003 he toured Germany and Holland with the Big Chris Barber Band and subsequently joined the band on a permanent basis.
After an enjoyable eighteen months with Chris, he left to get married and to devote more time to his career as a soloist. His style on clarinet and saxophones is highly individual but reflects a variety of influences ranging from the classic New Orleans pioneers, through the Swing Era stylists such as Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw, to early 'Be-Bop'.

He has worked in many formats from duo to big band, but is most at home fronting his trio or quartet performing material drawn from the American Song-Book, the Blues and his own compositions.

Both Martin and Trevor feature on several tracks on the Nighthawks CDs