|Steve Lane (second from right) in 1952|
Roger Trobridge has written in with sad news:
The pioneer traditional band leader and cornet player, Steve Lane, died on Saturday, 22 August, 2015, aged 93.
He was a cornet player, guitarist, composer and arranger, as well as being a director of VJM Records from 1960 with Brian Rust and John Wadley.
Steve led his own Southern Stompers jazz band in the early 1950, and also led and recorded with his Red Hot Peppers and the VJM Washboard Band for over 50 years.
He was a a very traditional jazz player in the Ken Colyer style and he established the Ealing Jazz Club in the Fox and Goose, Hanger Lane, Ealing in 1952. Lots of good musicians passed through his band.
The photo here is from the Ealing Jazz Club, Fox and Goose, Hanger Lane, 1952, which Steve started. Steve on cornet, with Colin Kingwell on trombone, Ian MacDonald on piano, Jim Forey on banjo, Doug Grey on sousaphone and Johnny Milton on clarinet.
UPDATE 27th August from Roger Trobridge:
The funeral will start promptly at 12 o’clock on Monday 7 September, at
New Southgate Crematorium
Brunswick Park Road
London N11 1JJ
Travel details are on the WEBSITE
After the short service we can move on to a local pub.
Sad news about Steve.
I played piano with the Stompers in the 50s, replacing Ian MacDonald. At that time, The banjoist was Cyril Davis.Jim Shepherd joined Steve after Colin Kingwell and Peter Lovell also entered the band during that period. He was also playing with Alex Revell. In later years Steve confounded us when he hired and tamed Fergus Reed as pianist. Fergus was a brilliant executant and an excellent classical pianist, right out of the style and wild with it. Steve told me that he was very interested in Fergus's modern harmonies. I cant accept that Steve was a player in the Ken Colyer mould. Steve had a very sweet tone, almost Bixian at times and he was a very disciplined player who kept a tight hand on his players.
I sang with Steve in the early 70s, I was terribly young and green and Steve was incredibly kind. He gave me my start not just in the business but in many other things in my life. He became a family friend and mentor.
Perhaps that's Steve's less recognised talent. To nurture and grow players, bringing them to better maturity. Despite the “What kind of time do you call this then?”
Steve had been ill for some time and I was told he didn't recognise anyone. I apologise, Steve, for not coming to say goodbye.
I had the pleasure of playing with Steve quite a few times – at the same time when Fergus Read joined his band. We both learned a lot. He had a great book and wrote some lovely tunes himself – I remember one in particular, a blues called 'Just too Bad'. He was a strong and organised leader – he had the perfect solution to the problem of front line players jumping to the same note when playing chordal backings under a solo – “If we hit the same note mate, I'll change” – I've never forgot that! And his favourite drink – “Coca Cola with ice and lemon, mate”. Pleasure to have know you Steve, and I won't forgot the time I spent in your musical company. Malcolm Earle-Smith
I've just stumbled across this very sad news by accident. I started playing with Steve in Dick “The Stick” Jones' band in the late 80s, and ended up playing drums with the Red Hot Peppers for the last few years of gigs. Steve was very encouraging – and critical, but in a constructive way. A true gentleman, and an outstanding musician. I'm sorry that I didn't learn of his passing early enough such that I could have attended his funeral. RIP Steve – you'll be missed.
Steve enticed me out of musical retirement in the 90's and playing with his band for about three years offered me an invaluable insight into just what a hot contribution Steve must have offered to the scene in his earlier years. He know every musician of note and they knew him – many having played in his bands over the decades. I lost touch with him quite long ago although I knew that he was not well and that Bob Dwyer was offering him invaluable support. Sorry I did not get to say hello or even goodbye again Steve. RIP and thanks for the experience!
Steve definitely did NOT play in the Ken Colyer style. Steve’s band was moulded in the classic jazz style of Oliver and Morton rather than copying the revivalist bands of the post war years, most of whom moved on and left Ken Colyer very much behind. Steve was also a very dry character and a bit of a rebel in many ways. He was in the RAF in the far East during the war and was involved in the so called ‘mutiny’ over the tardiness of de-mob for short service hostilities only personnel who were itching to get back home. Living out in the wild of West Somerset. I lost touch with Steve in about 1999 and only heard about his funeral after the event.