Tag Archives: Carl Spencer


I just got an email from one of JAZZ LIVES’ most devoted readers, the UK cornetist / bandleader Carl Spencer.  I can’t help Carl out, but perhaps one of my brass scholars can?

Minor disaster on last Saturday’s gig, catering staff knocked my music stand over, and in grabbing for it my Conn Victor 80A slipped to the floor, and has jammed the mouthpiece in.  Even a local engineering company coukldn’t get it out, (I gave up trying after using all the normal methods….boiling water on the shank and cold on the mouthpiece etc.  The mouthpiece is now damaged around the rim after all the wrestling with mole grips. I’m sending it away today to a brass specialist. (The whole initial tubing is also off its solder points too! What a mess.)

I am therefore in urgent need of another Zottola 64B cornet mouthpiece. There’s none around over here. I wonder if you could run a “Distress Signal” in one of your blogs; it could be that one of your fine players has an unwanted spare they might sell?

In Carl’s honor, I have created a new category . . . see below.  Please send information to JAZZ LIVES as comments or to me at swingyoucats@gmail.com, and I will pass it on to Carl.  Thanks to all of you in advance!


I’ve been listening to a five-disc set called JAZZ MAGIC featuring cornetist Carl Spencer and his bands.  Between 1964 and 1972, Spencer led a small hot group called the Washboard Kings which devoted itself to a wide range of music — from early pop and jazz to the earliest Thirties.  After an extended hiatus, Spencer reformed his band as Carl Spencer’s Nighthawks Orchestra and it’s continuing to gig as I write this. 

Spencer’s bands have impresssed me both by their wide range (the musicians are comfortable playing the repertoire of the Creole Jazz Band, Bix Beiderbecke, Luis Russell, and pop music of the day — TAKE YOUR GIRLIE TO THE MOVIES IF YOU CAN’T MAKE LOVE AT HOME for one example) and their relaxed authenticity.  They know the Twenties styles well and can improvise within these idioms. 

Here’s a YouTube clip of two of Spencer’s star reed players working their way through Morton’s BLUE BLOOD BLUES.  This was recorded at the 2001 Bude Jazz Festival and features Brian Hills and Mac White, clarinets; Henry Davis, piano; Mike Parle, banjo; Roger Graham,  tuba; Tim Philips, drums.

JAZZ MAGIC contains 122 tracks, drawn from studio sessions and live performances, with guest features for pianists Martin Litton and Neville Dickie, banjoist / singer Spats Langham, and others — a delightfully varied assortment that deserves to be better known.  Visit  www.spencersnighthawks.com for more information on the band and on JAZZ MAGIC.