The great Peter King (1940-2020) passed away on 23 August, 2020, just a few days after his 80th birthday, To mark the first anniversary of his passing, drummer Stephen Keogh has organised a Memorial Concert at Pizza Express Jazz Club in Dean Street. Stephen Keogh writes:
This special concert is dedicated to the memory of the late great Peter King. It would be impossible to cover the five decades of incredible music that the great saxophonist gave to us in just this one night. So tonight, musicians who knew and played with Peter will play a selection of some of his music, and some other pieces that he particularly loved to play. The band features Alan Barnes; described by Dave Gelly as “the earthly Peter Pan of British jazz”, and a wonderful multi-instrumentalist who was loved and admired by Peter and with whom he collaborated on many occasions.
Peter was always a great supporter of young talented musicians and would have been excited to hear the fantastic playing of Jim Gold (alto) and Will Barry (piano).
The rhythm section is completed by Jeremy Brown (bass) and myself (drums), who played as Peter’s rhythm section for almost two decades. A special guest appearance of outstanding violinists Darragh Morgan and Yuri Kalnits join us to play “Ronnie’s Sorrow”; Peter’s take on a beautiful piece by Bartok, from the 1997 album Janus, and dedicated to the memory of Ronnie Scott.
Right up to the end of his life Peter was dazzling audiences with his spontaneity, sensational swing, beauteous melodic sense and breathtaking virtuosity. He was without doubt one of the greatest alto sax players in the world and one of the greatest musician’s to have emerged from the UK. He soared over changes playing pure melody with the excitement of a hurricane, every note imbued with passion.
Peter’s earthly existence came to and end on 23 August 2020. We remember him tonight, one year later; with love and thanks for all the beautiful music and good feelings he gave to so many, and is still giving though his recordings. During the course of the evening there will be some short readings/anecdotes and we may also do a raffle and /or other fundraising activities to support the Peter King Bursary, which is going to be formally set up later in the year, and whose mission will be to support talented young musicians.