George Webb (musician)

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George Horace Webb (8 October 1917 – 10 March 2010) was a British pianist considered by many as the father of the traditional jazz movement in Britain.[1]

He grew up with a love of early jazz recordings, principally those made by the New Orleans musicians; and in his playing he tried to re-create the style of such bands as King Oliver's.

Webb "worked as a machine gun fitter in the Vickers-Armstrong factory at Crayford. The son of a former music hall artiste turned fishmonger, he was a keen jazz enthusiast and self-taught amateur pianist. He took it upon himself to organize lunchtime entertainment at the factory, assembling scratch bands from among the workers."[2]

With his band, George Webb's Dixielanders, he played regularly and famously at The Red Barn public house at Barnehurst, Kent, from the early 1940s.[3] "No one has ever seriously challenged their claim to have been the first British revivalist jazz band".[2] They made several recordings and BBC radio broadcasts.[4] The Dixielanders disbanded in January 1948.[5]

Webb was then part of Humphrey Lyttelton's band from September 1948 to June 1951.[6] He reformed the Dixielanders in 1952, but this did not last long and he then concentrated on running a jazz club at the Shakespeare Hotel in Woolwich.[6] From the mid-1960s he was an agent and manager for musicians.[6] Early in the following decade, he returned to playing more frequently and toured Europe as a soloist.[6] Another version of the Dixielanders operated from 1973 to 1974, and then Webb ran a pub in Essex for 12 years.[6] After moving back to Kent, Webb was a guest in various bands into the 2000s.[6]

Among the musicians who played in the Dixielanders at various times were the British jazz trumpeter Humphrey Lyttelton, Wally Fawkes the clarinettist and Eddie Harvey the trombonist.[1]


  1. ^ a b "George Webb:jazz pianist". The Times. 2010-03-15. Retrieved 2010-03-17.
  2. ^ a b Gelly 2014, p. 20.
  3. ^ "George Webb". Daily Telegraph. 2010-03-14. Retrieved 2010-03-17.
  4. ^ Gelly 2014, p. 25.
  5. ^ Gelly 2014, p. 27.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Chilton, John (2004). Who's Who of British Jazz. Bloomsbury. pp. 379–380.


  • Gelly, Dave (2014). An Unholy Row. Equinox.