RIP Patrick Kelly, Founder of Berkshire Youth Jazz Orchestra (1931-2020)

Sebastian writes: Trombonist and educator Patrick Kelly, who died peacefully on 11 June at the age of 88, was the founder of the Berkshire Youth Jazz Orchestra, later Pendulum, and a hugely influential figure in building and nurturing the scene around Reading. As a message-board inquirer looking for a jam session in Berkshire was succinctly advised in 2011: “Contact these guys [Pendulum/BYJO]. Pat knows everyone and everyone knows Pat.”

Patrick Kelly. Photo courtesy of Andy Crowdy

Saxophonist Peter King once called BYJO “one of the best young bands the country has ever heard.” As Andy Crowdy has written in a longer tribute on the Jazz in Reading website (full tribute here), the band “would go on to be one of the most well-respected youth jazz ensembles in the country, playing at events such as the Montreux and Brecon Jazz Festivals. Patrick’s support was instrumental in kickstarting and furthering the careers of multiple jazz musicians and arrangers who have gone on to excel in their field – Steve Waterman, Simon Allen, Dave Arch, Adam Goldsmith and Pete Billington…” He also taught and ran bands at Leighton Park School, a quaker school with a strong tradition of music, being the alma mater of both Richard Rodney Bennett and Laura Marling, and directed the University of Reading Jazz Orchestra. An obituary on the Norden Farm website (HERE) describes his legacy thus: “The world of jazz has lost a great man, who dedicated his life to music and creating opportunities for musicians. His passion for music, his kindness to others and his tenacity will be sorely missed. His spirit will continue to live on forever through the great music he’s brought to the world and the inspiration he’s given to others.” Donations in memory of Patrick to Help Musicians UK and The Royal Society of Musicians (of GB) can be made at A.B. Walker of Reading HERE. There are also tributes to Pat. The order of service from his funeral is HERE. Patrick William Kelly Born 5 October 1931 Reading Berkshire Died 11 June 2020

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