Harry Beckett

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Harry Beckett
Harry Beckett.jpg
Background information
Birth name Harold Winston Beckett
Born (1935-05-30)30 May 1935
Saint Michael, Barbados
Died 22 July 2010(2010-07-22) (aged 75)
London, England
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Trumpet, flugelhorn
Years active 1961–2010

Harold Winston "Harry" Beckett (30 May 1935[1] – 22 July 2010) was a British trumpeter and flugelhorn player of Barbadian origin.


Born in Bridgetown, Saint Michael, Barbados, Harry Beckett learned to play music in a Salvation Army band.[2] A resident in the UK since 1954, he had an international reputation. In 1961, he played with Charles Mingus in the film All Night Long.[3] In the 1960s he worked and recorded within the band of bass player and composer Graham Collier.[3] Beginning in 1970, he led groups of his own, recording for Philips, RCA and Ogun Records among other labels.

He was a key figure of important groups in the British free jazz/improvised music scene, including Ian Carr's Nucleus, the Brotherhood of Breath and The Dedication Orchestra, London Jazz Composers Orchestra, London Improvisers Orchestra, John Surman's Octet, Django Bates, Ronnie Scott's Quintet, Kathy Stobart, Charlie Watts, Stan Tracey's Big Band and Octet; Elton Dean's Ninesense.[4] He has also recorded with Keef Hartley, Jah Wobble, David Sylvian and worked with David Murray. He toured abroad with Johnny Dyani, Chris McGregor, Keith Tippett, John Tchicai, Joachim Kühn, Dudu Pukwana's Zila, George Gruntz's Bands, Belgian quintet The Wrong Object, Pierre Dørge's New Jungle Band and Annie Whitehead's Robert Wyatt project, Soupsongs, which also featured Phil Manzanera and Julie Tippetts, among other jazz and rock luminaries.

His dub-oriented album, The Modern Sound of Harry Beckett, was produced by famed British producer Adrian Sherwood and released on On-U Sound in late 2008.

In 1972, Beckett won the Melody Maker jazz Poll as "Top Trumpeter in Britain". He was a member of the Orchestre National de Jazz between 1997 and 2000.[3]

Beckett died on 22 July 2010 after suffering a stroke.[5]

Selected discography[edit]

With Barry Guy/The London Jazz Composers' Orchestra

  • Ode (Incus, 1972)

With Oliver Nelson


  1. ^ According to his wife, Beckett was 86 (sic) when he died, see the obituary by Steve Voce, The Independent, 24 August 2010, where his date of birth is given as 30 May 1923.
  2. ^ Steve Voce, "Harry Beckett: Highly respected trumpeter who worked with Mingus, Scott, Dankworth and Tracey", The Independent, 24 August 2010.
  3. ^ a b c Fordham, John (26 July 2010). "Jazz trumpeter and composer, his genial, unmistakable sound became legendary". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 June 2011. 
  4. ^ Fordham, John (9 June 2011). "Elton Dean's Ninesense: Ninesense Suite/Natal – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 June 2011. 
  5. ^ "Jazz breaking news: Trumpeter Harry Beckett Dies". Jazzwise magazine. 23 July 2010. Retrieved 23 July 2010. 

External links[edit]