Henry Lowther celebrates his 80th birthday today, 11 July 2021. We invited friends, colleagues and fans to wish him a very happy birthday.
Charles Alexander: Hi Henry, Congratulations on your 80th birthday! We first met at the Barry Jazz Summer School in 1969 or ’70, where you were a tutor. That was around the time of your first album, the lovely “Child Song”. It’s great that you still teach a jazz ensemble at Richmond Hillcroft Adult Community College, for which you both compose and write arrangements. Please keep sharing your wonderful music (and your unique sense of humour) with the world. All the best, Charles Alexander
Julian Arguelles: I can’t remember when I first met Henry, but I can remember when I first started to get to know him well, it was during Kenny Wheeler’s 60th birthday tour in 1990. Since then I’ve been lucky enough to work a lot with Henry in various tours, projects and bands including his own, ‘Still Waters’, and one of mine which was recorded as the CD ‘ As above So Below’. What is most amazing about Henry is not his amazing musicianship and skills as a trumpet player but his qualities as a person — he is exceptionally nice, intelligent, curious, humble, and funny — which are a group of characteristics which are fairly rare in people, and perhaps even rarer in great musicians. I feel very grateful to have got to know this great man.
Iain Ballamy: Sir Henry!
Rewind to the early 80’s – I felt like a startled rabbit in the headlights shaking your hand when you were tasked with presenting me with a trophy cup. I think it was a soloist award? – for sure it certainly wasn’t for my sight-reading!
Sitting writing this I am filled with a deep sense of nostalgia for that good ‘old school’ C20th BBC award ceremony and for good reason.That was the day you became an eternal and inspiring musical presence and still remain a father figure to myself and many others.
I can hardly remember a studio session when I looked around and you weren’t there, quietly smiling, solid as a rock, always supportive, relaxed and humorous.
Happy birthday Henry and a big thank you for being such a fine musician, a great jazz soloist and a generous mentor.
John Barclay: Hi henry happy 80th birthday
You have been a true friend
For at least forty of those
Lots of great playing and fun
And loads of pints! hope you have a great day lots of love
See you soon
Jb cheers ❤🎺❤🍺🍺🍺🍺
Guy Barker: A very happy birthday Henry..
You have been an inspiration to me and to many many other trumpet players for many years.
I first heard you play when I was 14 when my father took me to The Hopbine in Wembley several times when you were there… In the car going home my dad and I would talk about your wonderful sound… One year later I attended a Jazz course and you gave me some lessons including teaching me a couple of Clifford Brown licks …. Since then and over these past many years I have had the great opportunity to work alongside you in so many different situations.
On one recording session when I was just starting out and the trumpet section parts were being handed out, the Trumpet 1 part landed on my stand .. I immediately started trying to hand it over to someone else in the section to play…. You turned to me and said ” Don’t worry Guy, there’s no glory” .. Well if anyone deserves all the glory right now for such a great and inspiring life in music it’s you…. Here’s to many more and thank you so much Henry.
With all my best wishes, Guy
Alan Barnes: A very happy birthday Henry- hope to play or have a pint soon or even a return to the Singapore botanical gardens! Alan B.
Pete Beachill: Henry you have always been a musical inspiration to me. I loved the group we had together in the 80’s playing lots of your fantastic compositions. On your birthday I will have ‘Just a half’ to toast your birthday. Have a great day. Pete x
Brigitte Beraha: Dear Henry, wishing you an amazing 80th birthday! It is always an absolute honour and privilege to watch you play and to have had the opportunity to play alongside you on so many occasions as part of the LJO or even in Babelfish, not batting an eyelid when asked to dep for Paul (!) (‘Do you want me on drums or trumpet?’) Your beautiful playing, boundless energy and never-ending excitement for our jazz scene are a beautiful thing to witness, and a constant source of inspiration. Thanks so much for your support throughout the years and I can’t wait to share the stage with you again before too long!
Chris Biscoe: Dear Henry, For more than 20 years I generally only caught you as a member of the audience – and what a pleasure that was. But in the last 25 years I’ve had the privilege of working with you many times, often in the company of our good friend Stu Butterfield, enjoying your beautifully sculpted lines. Your trumpet playing isn’t bad, either. Here’s to many more occasions, Chris.
Brian Blain: It doesn’t seem possible that Henry Lowther, always fresh, always looking for something outside the cliché, is actually 80 years old. I first heard him in the sixties with Mike Westbrook’s small band, flanked by John Surman and Mike Osborne, two fearsome blowers, and a band that proved to be one of the biggest agents of change ever in English jazz. His excellent music skills, as well as jazz chops, brought him to the attention of leaders such as Tracey, Dankworth, Gibbs and Colin Towns. Later he became a key part of Kenny Wheeler’s bands, someone he clearly idolised. Two of my favourites though were Dick Walters’ Secret Moves, on which he played alongside the great Derek Watkins, and – two or three years ago – Pete Hurt’s album A New Start. And yet all of this is only a fraction of his contribution to English music: Google him and be amazed at the number of artists that he has worked with, and that doesn’t include his calls by the London Orchestras when they need extra brass. So, Henry, I understand you have retired from all that, and now it’s just practice and whatever jazz comes up. Which is good luck for us and a happy retirement for you. Happy Birthday, and long may you be around to thrill us.
Stu Butterfield: Henry mate, Thank you for all the wonderful music over the years. Happy deserved 80th. Love and best wishes, Stu.
Mark Chandler: Hi Henry, happy 80th birthday wishes. You’ve been such an inspiration in my playing for virtually my whole life, from when I started having lessons with you when I was 12, through many years in the business working with you and now teaching when so much of what I teach came from you. Keep up your wonderful playing and have a fun birthday. Mark Chandler
Paul Clarvis: Henry is an exceptional bandleader.. he smiles at and cajoles everyone in the band and creates such a relaxed, unhurried atmosphere ,encouraging and accepting everyones contribution in a way that frees up the music to soar .. and he always makes sure we get a pint before , during and after the gig.
Jacqui Dankworth: Henry Lowther’s sound has featured in my life for many years. I first heard him in Michael Garrick’s band on an album called Home Stretch Blues featuring ( amongst others ) Norma Winstone, Don Rendell, and of course Henry himself. I listened avidly to this record when I was in my early teens, late at night, at boarding school, after lights out!
It was my favourite album for many years and still is one of them.
My father talked a lot about Henry when I was growing up because of course Henry was in many of his bands. He played on the seminal album, Windmill Tilter and played great violin on the Million Dollar Collection. My dad loved his playing.
Henry played on my record It Happens Quietly, recorded with my father in 2009. Henry’s sound has always been in my life. What a lovely blessing that is! Happy 80th dear Henry. Jacqui D.
Preeti Dasgupta: Dear Henry, You are an inspiration to us all, a fantastic trumpet player, composer and wonderful human being. Happy 80th birthday, we can’t wait to celebrate the big day with you!” Preeti, Manoj and the team at Karamel
Josephine: Davies: Happy 80th Henry, hope to share a pint with you soon, preferably whilst listening to some great jazz in a nice bar, followed by sitting in on a beautifully swinging tune or two!
James Davison: Happy Birthday Henry! Thanks for being such an inspiration and a total legend. Can’t wait to be squashed at the back of the Vortex stage with you and the LJO again soon. Cheers! All the best, from Jim.
Tom Dunnett: Henry! Thanks for all your wisdom and character! It has been an absolute pleasure getting to know you a little better and playing together in LJO – happy birthday!!
Malcolm Edmonstone: Henry – you are the Gold Standard to us – a brilliant improviser, composer and arranger with all the creativity and style of the very best – and also you have a lifetime’s experience of happily sitting in big band and studio sections, being quietly brilliant and mentoring the next generation. Warmest wishes on this most special of days and our love and thanks from all at the Guildhall for your many contributions over the years.
Steve Fishwick: Happy Birthday Henry! I remember first meeting you when I had a couple of lessons with you at the Royal Academy in the mid 90s when you introduced me to the Caruso exercises. Pat White had warned me that “it’s going to hurt” and it did take me a good few years to get around to seriously practising it, but when I did it very much paid off. So for that I’m very grateful to you. But what I’m more grateful for is having the chance to share the stage with you many times over the years and listening to you play close up. You always play wonderfully with a truly original sound and style. If that wasn’t enough you are lovely to be around, with many a fascinating story or anecdote keeping us all entertained. Keep blowing Henry! Hope to see you and play with you again soon!
John Fordham: The first British postbop records I ever heard in my startled 1970 awakening from a personal jazz world formerly ruled by Miles, Monk, and Wes Montgomery, included John McLaughlin’s ‘Extrapolation’, John Surman’s ‘How Many Clouds Can You See?’, Mike Westbrook’s ‘Release’ – and the then 29 year-old trumpeter Henry Lowther’s elegant bandleading debut, ‘Child Song’.
Henry’s shapely melodic imagination, unhurried virtuosity and beautiful tone have always turned heads, and over the years it’s been a delight to witness the eclectic variety of his work, from playing with Gil Evans, Mike Gibbs, Charlie Watts and Elton John, all the way to regularly free-improvising at the Vortex club with the late guitarist John Russell. Henry’s a north London neighbour of mine, and when we cross paths every now and then – usually in supermarket checkouts, when in years other than the last one, he would often seem to have just returned from a tour – his wit, lugubrious warmth, and an unfailingly offhand modesty about his work have always sent me home with a smile on my face. Thanks for all the music and happy 80th, Henry – may there be many more to come.
Mick Foster: Happy Birthday Henry!
It’s always a pleasure to play with you. Your majestic, unmistakable sound has graced the many ensembles we’ve played in together. Your fluid, beautiful solos and melodic, well crafted compositions continue to be an inspiration. I hope you have a great celebration, and I look forward to playing together, and enjoying conversation with you again soon.
Tori Freestone: Happy 80th Henry! Looking forward to being able to celebrate with you very soon. One of the things I’ve really missed over the past year was getting the chance to work with you and regularly getting to hear not just your beautiful playing, but also all those classic anecdotes! Thank you for being such an inspiration and mentor – as well as your musicianship, your kindness and support has a positive and infectious effect on all the musicians who have the honour to know you. You’re also far too humble, so I know you’re going to cringe when you read this hehe 🙂 Lots of love, Tori xxx
Tim Garland: Henry! Wishing you a happy day indeed! I have such fond memories of the very first days of the London Jazz Orchestra when so many folk would be bringing in their new charts to read down. The Dankworth bands and then my Underground Orchestra were graced by your warm sound and instantly recognisable style.
Thanks for all you contributed, both the music and the stories of which there were many!
Dave Gelly: Well, Henry – they finally got round to putting a Group Sounds Five album out! I’ve admired that band and all the others, especially Still Waters. Welcome to the fun-filled eighties, from one Regency Club survivor to another. Dave Gelly.
Mike Gibbs: Hen-ry!
You did it!
Boyo! – the Collier Days,
the Dankworth Days
(Wow! them was some great times),
The studio days, my own bands, and then there you were for my 80th – it was So So good to have you there for those gigs – every gig was a gem!
At this rate, what with COVID behaving itself, perhaps even another collaboration might bless us – and if so, that’d be a chance to have you play some violin too – my own Ray Nance!
Lots of thanks and love – really hope to see and hear you soon. And massive CONGRATULATIONS!
Will Glaser: Henry Lowther is an amazing Human being. Kind, caring and encouraging to all the musicians he comes across. We are extremely lucky to have such a brilliant musician and person on the scene. Happy birthday Henry and all the love in the world.
Miguel Gorodi: Happy birthday Henry! Thankyou for the inspiring example you continue to provide with the incredible body of music you’ve created and contributed to. I know I am one of many grateful trumpet players who have had the good fortune to learn from playing alongside you with the LJO. These experiences could easily have felt nerve wracking to a young student were it not for your generosity and propensity for self-effacing humor (predictably timed to perfection) to make everyone feel at ease. Undoubtedly one of the most identifiable trumpet voices that I know of. I really look forward to hearing you again soon. Many happy returns!
Barry Green: I’ve been fortunate enough to be in Henry’s band “Still Waters” for a long time. It’s a privilege to hear him make music and improvise on the highest possible level, gig after gig. He represents a generation of musicians who were stylistically complete. Free improv goes hand in hand with changes playing, Louis Armstrong goes hand in hand with Woody Shaw. All with an unique, warm, hip instantly recognisable sound. Musicians don’t get better than Henry: all of a lifetime of musical experiences comes out in every note. Looking forward to the next gig.
Dave Green: Happy 80th Birthday to my dear friend HenryOne of the most inspirational musicians that I’ve ever played with. Many happy returns Hen’ and many more of ’em. Dave Green.
Frank Griffith: Henry Lowther- “The Red Leicester” (ginger haired lad that heralds from Leicester). A top man on trumpet, flugelhorn and violin as well as arranger/composer, bandleader and deeply souled contributor to any ensemble that he’s involved in. His richly toned and lyrical trumpet has graced so many cutting edge and innovative British Jazz groups since the mid 1960s when he arrived in London to study at the Royal Academy of Music.A truly unique and and significant voice who joined my nonet in 1997 and has been a steadfast member and friend throughout. Happy 80th, Henry, and here’s too many more years of your unparalleled and great artistry.
I searched ‘Henry Lowther’ on Google
(My second’ry search term was ‘Flugel’)
It said ‘Hip hip hooray!
He is eighty today
Here’s a shot of him blowing a bugle’.
So armed with this fresh information
I thought I’d transcribe (for the nation)
A solo where he
Plays a slightly flat E
(He’s a bugger for just intonation)
I said ‘Henry – when you play the trumpet
And Clarvis is thrashing the drum kit
Your wondrous em-bo-sure
Affects my composure’
He said ‘You can like it or lump it’
Martin Hathaway: Henry – Many happy returns on your 80th birthday. Thanks for the wonderful playing, writing and massive inspiration over the years, your fountain of knowledge about everything and anything, and the many amusing stories. You show no signs of slowing down and quite rightly so. Keep playing that modal music that we both love so much.. All the best: Martin Hathaway
Alexander Hawkins: Henry – a very happy birthday! It was always a joy to share the stand with you with Louis’ band; and wow – to think of all the hours I must have logged listening to you on records as I was growing up trying to learn this music. I still remember the occasion on which a record collector came backstage at a gig in Turin, with an absolutely vast stack of LPs which you graciously agreed to sign for him (we’d all seen record stores containing fewer albums). Quite apart from the masterpieces, your occasionally raised eyebrows (as though to ask ‘did I really play on this one?!?’) bore out some version of the maxim of having forgotten more music than many will ever know.
Richard Henry: Raising a glass in celebration of your 80 birthday Henry. Thank you for the many smiles, jokes and good times you have shared with us over the years. Nottingham, the curry and the concert interval springs to mind. Thank you for the inspiration and encouragement. Most of all thank you for the beautiful music you continue to share. Play on, Play on, Play on! Happy celebrations Henry. Richard Henry.
Chris Hodgkins: Henry is the most replete trumpet player and musician I know; a steadfast friend and an unparalleled beacon of quality and excellence, both here in the UK and abroad. If society is short of a role model, it should look no further.
Dave Holland and Kathianne Hingwan:
Note: this video was recorded on Dave Holland’s first return visit to the Isle of Wight since the Festival in 1970.
Pete Hurt: Congratulations Henry on reaching your 80th and long may you continue. It’s been a pleasure and a privilege hearing you play with various bands over the years and you’re still playing as well as you ever did. Also you’ve been a great friend to me and others over the years and I always look forward to get-togethers with the usual suspects especially when there’s beer and curry involved. Have a great birthday and may you carry on for many years.
Nikki Iles: Henry !! Happy 80th birthday .!! Thank you so much for all your wonderful playing in so many bands that we’ve seen you in through many years. Your unique sound is always recognisable and I really look forward to the big band gigs yet to come ..Lots of love Nikki and Pete xxx.
David Jones: Hi Henry!! Congratulations for your 80th Birthday. Wishing you an absolutely fabulous day!! Dave and Meredith xx
Noel Langley: Congratulations Henry! I can’t believe you’re 80, that must mean I’m getting on a bit too! The first time I heard you play was in 1987 – Stan Tracey’s Genesis Suite at Ronnie Scott’s. You were on fire that night. I’ve always been inspired by your elegant prowess as a trumpet player, your commitment and enthusiasm for creating new music and I’m so proud to be able to call you my friend and colleague for the last 30 years. Can’t wait to get back alongside you in the London Jazz Orchestra and to making that recording of your tunes. Sitting by, Noel x
Chris Laurence: A very happy 80th Henry!! I first met and played with Henry in the late 60’s with Fat John Cox’s band. He was a great trumpeter then and is still now! He’s probably the most knowledgeable person I’ve ever known, music, astronomy, history and of course beer! We’ve had some amazing times together including a force 11 ferry trip back from Germany with John Warren’s Big Band, that took 27 hours !! It’s been a privilege Henry!!All the best , Chris Laurence xxxxx
Mornington Lockett: Many congratulations Henry as you cruise no doubt nonchalantly past this milestone! It is an absolute privilege to play with you in our band this year, and to be able to experience the world class quality and the lyricism of your trumpet playing at close quarters. Your powers as a raconteur are almost as legendary too! Happy Birthday!
Mike Lovatt: Henry – I can’t believe that you’re 80 ! A living legend! Thanks for all the music, the good times and friendship over the years. How’s the weather in Springfield Avenue ? It’s snowing in Hertfordshire ! Happy Birthday Henry have a wonderful day
Love Mike and Ann Lovatt xx
Keith Loxam: Hello Henry, I can’t believe it’s 10years ago that we celebrated your 70th at the Maida Vale studios resurrecting the “Still Waters” and” Great Wee Band” for Jazz Line-Up, what a wonderful session that was. And I will always remember when we recorded the re-creation of “Miles Ahead” at the Vortex. That was a fantastic gig with yourself and Miles Evans with the London Jazz Orchestra. Good to know you are back at the Vortex for your 80th. Good times and plenty more too. Many Happy returns Henry.
Tina May: Dear Henry! The happiest of birthdays to you!! You are a legend! Happy memories of hanging out with you in Singapore 💋 💋 💋 Tina x
Alcyona Mick: Many happy returns Henry! Can’t wait to play with you again at Karamel…
Hope you have a wonderful day and let’s all go and celebrate at Jashan soon!
Trevor Mires: Henry, sending you best wishes and good vibes on your 80th Birthday. It has, and will continue to be, a genuine pleasure, to play alongside you; to play your fine arrangements, and to hear your exciting solos. You continue to be a driving force in the UK jazz scene, and to be an inspiration to all. Best wishes, Trevor
Mark Mondesir: Happy birthday, Henry & congratulations on your landmark year. From first seeing your name in a book of British jazz when I was still at school… to playing alongside you many times since. And I look forward to the next; it’s been an honour. Much love, Mark Mondesir
Jim Mullen: Sending warm wishes to Henry, a great friend, musician & fount of knowledge in all subjects. He is a great asset to British jazz and perfectly fits the description of “national treasure.”
Liam Noble: Happy birthday Henry! I still remember first hearing you in Mike Gibbs’ “Tanglewood 63” album, how a jazz sensibility could slot right into one chord jazz rock vamps! And then playing a gig in Sherbourne, Blue Bossa was in the set I remember…it’s been great to hear you and play with you over the years!
John Parricelli : You’re a consummate musician, a real inspiration and always someone I’ve looked up to. I hope we get the chance to play together soon. Maybe even a trip to The Jashan…… Have a great day. Love from John Parricelli
Gerard Presencer: Dear Henry, I want to wish you the very happiest of birthdays and well done on getting to an age jazz musicians only sometimes reach!
You have been an inspiration to me since I was a kid. You have been kind to me and you’ve shown me how to love and respect music and to explore what we do and to always try and find something new in it.
You’re a great great jazz trumpet player and I love your sound.
You’ve influenced every one of us trying to play jazz trumpet from the U.K (and beyond).
Happy birthday and thankyou , Gerard
Kevin Robinson: Dear Henry, you’ve accomplished yet another huge milestone to join many in your life and hugely stellar career. Have a Happy! Happy! Birthday, I wish the very best of everything for You. With much respect, Kevin Robinson
Robbie Robson: Henry has been a hugely inspirational musical figure in my life, and with his beautiful playing and generous encouragement it’s always a delight to make music with him. I very much look forward to the next opportunity!
Alex Ridout: Hi Henry,
I hope you have a wonderful birthday.
I have always loved hearing you play and I am inspired by how much of a positive force you are within the community. Enjoy your day. All the very best!
Steve Rubie: A seminal figure on the British jazz scene for so many years, somehow it feels that Henry Lowther has always been there. From the very first time I heard him his thoughtful, original, playing stood out from much of what was going on around him, like a diamond, beautifully formed, sophisticated yet at the same time robust and a joy to behold. Over the years I have heard Henry play many times, occasionally being in the same ensemble and every time, without exception, his contribution has been unique, World Class and just wonderful to hear. Happy Birthday Henry and wishing you many more!
Karen Sharp: to a wonderful musician and all round great guy, have a wonderful Birthday and congratulations on reaching middle age! I hope you have a wonderful day and are spoilt rotten, and I also hope I get to play with you again soon. Love and best wishes from Karen Sharp. Xx
Ian Shaw: Aside from loving Henry’s beautiful playing – and enjoying the first album with his group, Still Waters (I still play it) and having the sheer privilege of singing alongside him on many happy occasions, it’s always the banter and chuckles that bond most musicians. Backstage at the annual Xmas shows at The Stables – at first with John’s little big band, then led by Alec Dankworth – were always made fun, of course with Cleo and the crew’s natural showbiz ease (!) – but also the quiet, brilliant, economic wit of Henry Lowther. A true citizen of the core spirit of why we love our job.
Nick Smart: Dear Henry!! Happy Birthday and huge congratulations on this momentous milestone. You’re a legend and one of the most admired, loved and respected musicians I have had the pleasure of calling a friend. You are also, in my opinion (though I know it is a widely shared view), one of the true trumpet greats to ever come out of this country and someone who audibly shaped the sound of both British Jazz and British brass playing. I can’t wait to stand next to you and play together again, for many more years to come I hope!!
Simon Spillett: Getting to know Henry through ‘Standard Miles’ was a joyful experience. He’s a man of enormous depth, great wisdom and quiet wit and listening to him I learned so much about what it is to be a career jazz instrumentalist. I’ve never heard him give a substandard performance or play with anything less than 100% melodic invention. These qualities made him the ideal choice for ‘Standard Miles’. That and his uncanny physical resemblance to the late Miles Davis…
So, a very happy 80th Henry. You’re a big part of many people’s lives and long may that continue.
Scott Stroman: Henry, you have been such a huge inspiration to me for so long that it’s difficult to give you enough glory. I’ve enjoyed the privilege of hearing you play every month in the London Jazz Orchestra for 30 years, and each solo still knocks me out. You communicate more love in one phrase than most of us could ever express in words. Long may it continue.
Stan Sulzmann: First there was Henry Lowther, then there was Jazz ! Have a wonderful birthday Henry. Love Stan Sulzmann.
John Surman: Hi Henry – congratulations on your eightieth birthday! Hope you have a great day and enjoy more good years ahead! I am so happy that we had those years with the Brass Project, it was such a joy that you were able to be such a vital part of it. On many of the later gigs you took the lead trumpet chair and I remember your amusement on one gig in which we had a substitute third trumpet – it turned out to be none other than Derek Watkins, who had just returned from holiday and probably wanted to break in his chops again gently. I bet you never let him forget that! All the best, js.
Art Themen: Until Covid Henry‘s diary was deservedly always full. He once dropped his MU diary in the street and it cracked the pavement – there was so much heavy black ink on the pages. He often had to decline session work from the fixer Charlie Katz , having already got three other gigs that day. Dick’s response to being turned down yet again was invariably a cheery “As long as yr workin“. Derek Watkins famously imitated this phrase by half-valving it on his trumpet! Happy memories Henry and happy birthday. May your diary soon return to its former plentitude. Art Themen.
Tom Walsh: Dear Henry, Wishing you a wonderful 80th birthday! Thank you so much for all you have taught me ever since I first started playing. Your amazing musicianship, witty stories, and wonderful welcoming attitude have been a pleasure to experience and I look forward to many more fun occasions alongside you!
Lots of love, Tom Walsh.
Watermill Jazz: Happy 80th to a true stalwart of the British Jazz scene from the team at Watermill Jazz. Henry, we look forward to seeing you on the bandstand at the club once we are presenting live jazz again.
From Kathryn, Iain, Paul, Roger and Steve at Watermill Jazz
Oliver Weindling: The more that I have learnt about this kind-hearted man, the more impressed I have been. Not just a great musician to hear and know, always delivered with a sense of positive irony. But he has just a incredible knowledge of the scene itself and how jazz here has developed. And of course his too-often-role organising gigs around North London. Happy birthday Henry.
Mike Westbrook: Henry – as one octogenarian jazz musician to another, I salute you, and congratulate you on your long and distinguished career. And I’m glad to see no sign of you resting on your laurels. To my ears your playing just gets better and better. We haven’t actually worked together that often. When we have it’s been memorable,- from that brave 11-piece of the early 1960s to the big band of the 70s and 80s. Your solos on the Metropolis and Citadel/Room 315 albums are classics. I am eternally grateful for for all you have given to our music. The uncompromising path you have followed keeps you at the cutting edge of improvised music. Kate and I and all your Devon fans eagerly await your next visit. Happy Birthday! Mike Westbrook
Dave Whitford: Happy birthday Henry. I can’t believe you’re 80 (what’s your secret?) Always a pleasure to play with you. Hope to share the stand with you again soon. Dave Whitford. X
Tim Whitehead: Dear Henry. Very best 80th birthday wishes to you. We have played together on many occasions stretching back to a live performance on BBC Wales in 1980(?) in which I was even more confused than normal, and you helped me , and then helped Linda and I catch her contact lens coming down the drainpipe back at our flat . More recently we were with the Northern Symphonia playing Ian Carr’s Northumbrian Suite. Thanks for all your great playing and down-to-earth humour.
Kate Williams & Pete Whittaker: Happy Birthday Henry. Wishing you a wonderful day celebrating your eight decades. Hope to see you before too long so that we can raise a glass in person! Best wishes, Kate and Pete
John Williams: Happy Birthday Henry! We first met in the early 70s as members of the Alan Cohen Band which went on to make the first complete recording of Duke Ellington’s ‘Black, Brown and Beige’ Suite. One of the highlights of this album was your violin solo on ‘Come Sunday’. I was so pleased you played on the recording (on Vinyl only!) that my Octet made of Pete Saberton’s inspired composition ‘Year of the Buffalo’ in 1986. Thanks for all the great music
Richard Williams: Dear Henry — We met on a flight to Germany in 1969. You told me about your recent experience at the Woodstock Festival with the Keef Hartley Band and we whistled a few bebop tunes together. Through all these years your presence on a stage in a club or a concert hall has guaranteed a worthwhile evening. Your versatility is legendary, your pursuit of excellence exemplary, and you’ve been an inspiration to countless younger players. The sound of your trumpet has been like a fine silver thread running through many decades of jazz in Britain. I don’t need to add that you’re a lovely bloke, because everyone knows that. Many happy returns — Richard Williams
Norma Winstone: Happy 80th to my dear friend Henry! We have shared a lot of history and I always think of you as part of my family. I can’t wait for the next ‘interval’! Loads of love, Norma xx
Thank you to all the contributors and photographers, and especially to Matt Sulzmann who has done a superb job inviting all the contributions and collating the responses, and to others who have helped, including Chris Biscoe, Frank Griffith, Stuart Hall, Chris Hodgkins, Nadja von Massow, Stan Sulzmann, Kate Williams and Adam Williams.