James Blades

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

James "Jimmy" Blades OBE (9 September 1901 – 19 May 1999) was an English percussionist.[1][2][3][4]

He was one of the most distinguished percussionists in Western music, with a long and varied career. His book Percussion Instruments and their History (1971) is a standard reference work on the subject.[2][3]

Blades was born in Peterborough in 1901.[3] He was a long-time associate of Benjamin Britten, with whom he conceived many of the composer's unusual percussion effects.[5] In 1954, Blades was appointed Professor of Percussion at the Royal Academy of Music.[2][3]

As a chamber musician he played with the Melos Ensemble and the English Chamber Orchestra.[2]

Blades' pupils included the rock drummers Max Sedgley, Carl Palmer and Richard James Burgess as well as the percussionist Evelyn Glennie.[2][3]

His most famous and widely heard performances were the sound of the drum playing "V-for-Victory" in Morse code, the introduction to the BBC broadcasts made to the European Resistance during World War II,[2][3] and providing the sound of the gong seen at the start of films produced by the Rank Organisation. Blades played this sound on a tam-tam. On screen Blades's sound was mimed to by the "Gongman".

His autobiography Drum Roll: A Professional Adventure from the Circus to the Concert Hall was published by Faber & Faber in 1977.[6]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Orchestral Percussion Techniques (Oxford: University, 1961) ISBN 978-0-19-318801-3
  • Percussion Instruments and their History (London: Faber & Faber, 1971) ISBN 978-0-571-08858-4
  • Orchestral Percussion Techniques (Oxford: University, 1973) ISBN 978-0-19-318803-7
  • Percussion Instruments and their History (London: Faber & Faber, 1975) ISBN 978-0-571-10360-7
  • Percussion Instruments and their History (London: Faber & Faber, 1975) ISBN 978-0-571-04832-8
  • Early Percussion Instruments from the Middle Ages to the Baroque (Oxford: University, 1976) ISBN 978-0-19-323176-4 (with Jeremy Montagu)
  • Drum Roll: A Professional Adventure from the Circus to the Concert Hall (London: Faber & Faber, 1977) ISBN 978-0-571-10107-8
  • Ready to Play (London: BBC, 1978) ISBN 978-0-563-17610-7 (with Carole Ward)
  • From Cave to Cavern (London: Sussex, 1982) ISBN 978-1-86013-138-7
  • A Check-List of the Percussion Instruments in the Edinburgh University Collection of Historic Musical Instruments (Edinburgh: Reid School of Music, 1982) ISBN 978-0-907635-07-9
  • Percussion Instruments and their History (London: Faber & Faber, 1984) ISBN 978-0-571-18081-3
  • How to Play Drums (London: Penguin, 1985) ISBN 978-0-241-11670-8 (with Johnny Dean)
  • Percussion Instruments and their History (London: Pro Am Music Resources, 1992) ISBN 978-0-933224-71-1
  • These I Have Met... (London: Music Sales, 1998) ISBN 978-0-905210-77-3
  • How to Play Drums (London: St Martins, 1992) ISBN 978-0-312-08212-3 (with Johnny Dean)
  • Percussion Instruments and their History (London: Kahn & Averill, 1993) ISBN 978-1-871082-36-4
  • Percussion Instruments and their History (London: Kahn & Averill, 2006) ISBN 978-0-933224-61-2

Obituary[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Graham Melville-Mason (24 May 1999). "Obituary: James Blades". The Independent. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Michael Skinner, In Memoriam: James Blades OBE, Percussive Arts Society, 1999. Retrieved August 8, 2007. Archived May 13, 2004, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b c d e f Nick Ravo, "James Blades Is Dead at 97; a Percussionist for Victory", The New York Times (May 25, 1999). Retrieved August 8, 2007.
  4. ^ James Blades biographical notice Archived 2012-03-27 at the Wayback Machine F.D. Fairchild 1999
  5. ^ Graham, p. 46
  6. ^ Nielsen BookData ISBN 978-0-571-10107-8

Sources

  • Graham, Colin. "Staging first productions 3", from Herbert, David (ed) (1989). The Operas of Benjamin Britten. Huntingdon, Cambs: The Herbert Press Ltd. ISBN 1871569087.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)