Tributes paid to pioneer of traditional jazz in the 1940s from Northamptonshire

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Owen Bryce ABCDE ENGNNL00120120821130617

Tributes have been paid to a jazz musician from Northamptonshire who has passed away at the age of 95.

Owen Bryce was a pioneer of traditional jazz in the UK in the 1940s with the George Webb Dixielanders. His band included Chris Barber and Humphrey Littleton.

For the past 30 years, he was a keen croquet player and one-time chairman of Northampton Croquet Club and was still playing several times a week until he was first taken ill last season.

Mr Bryce passed away at Northampton General Hospital earlier this week.

In 2012, the Chronicle & Echo spoke to Mr Bryce as he was preparing to pack away his trumpet for the final time at the age of 92.

Owen Bryce started playing the trumpet at the age of 11 when his grandfather passed on the instrument to him.

After playing in the Dixielanders, he went on to set up a band in his own name.

Mr Bryce, who lived in Blisworth, told the Chron in 2012 that he was now prepared to call time on his public performances, although he admitted he would continue to practice at home.

Mr Bryce said: “I won’t be playing professionally anymore. I have never been a fully professional musician, but I have decided because I am not getting many jobs my lip is probably not good enough to play in public anymore. It is inevitable I suppose. I am 92 and one assumes you are not going to be playing forever and ever.”

Mr Bryce started playing the trumpet in 1931 when he was just 11. However, by that time he had already started playing the piano.

He said: “My father taught me music when I was three years of age and by the time I was five or six I could play reasonably well on the piano.

“I was then left the trumpet by my grandfather. I learned to play it at school and I was in the school orchestra.”

Mr Bryce said he will probably still practice the trumpet at least once a day and intends to keep playing the piano.

He said: “Being a musician is like being a writer or a painter, you don’t just give up.

“Once you play the piano you always play the piano, which I myself shall do.”

Mr Bryce said one of the most memorable moments of his career in music came when he was asked to judge a prestigious festival in Europe.