By chance today I learnt of the death of Owen Bryce at the age of 95. Woolwich should be proud of Owen, not just because he was a shopkeeper here but because he was one of the people who started revivalist jazz in Britain. ‘Trad jazz’ – played by a group of lads from Woolwich in wartime Barnehurst.
We don’t hear much about ‘trad’ these days. The history of popular music tends to be written in terms only of rock and roll – but, for the discerning teenager in the late 1950s, ‘trad’ was what it was all about. We knew about Owen Bryce, same way that we knew about Chris Barber, Terry Lightfoot and people like that – and we knew Owen had been one of the first. We rather looked down on any band that became too popular. [Read more…]