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The Hello,

with the

Jazz Guitar

Newsletter No.29

In anticipation of the film showing at Ipswich’s Film Theatre next week, we thought we’d take you on a leisurely stroll down Suffolk way. We have uploaded a lovely selection of photos from Ken’s archive onto Flickr to give you a flavour of the times and place. Ken and Helen made Suffolk, a coastal county in the south east of England, their home for over 10 years. They moved there from London shortly after their marriage in 1957. They bought a house in Holbrook; a small village situated about 5 miles south of Ipswich, which boasts two churches, a local shop, a village hall and 2 pubs. Each of their 3 children were born there and they recall it as the ‘golden years of their childhood’, where summers were never-ending and the sun always seemed to be shining. Ken continued to work for the BBC, preparing his programmes at home and commuting to London to record them: Guitar Club, Stringalong, Roundabout, a range of Folk shows, then increasingly more speech based programmes. He did this for almost 14 years, until the early 70s. Helen was a great entertainer and their house was at the heart of the area’s social life. Friends tell of generous hospitality, riotous meals and always music, whether from Ken’s record collection or provided as impromptu performances by musical friends, such as Julian Bream, Stéphane Grappelli, Dorita y Pepe, Steve Benbow, Jeff & Julie. We shared some of the recordings of these performances previously on The Ken Sykora Radio Station (Ken’s Folk Friends). Check out this week’s Suffolk 60s Special, including what we believe is a brilliant and fun private performance by Steve Benbow. If any of you recall the occasion and can verify, let us know! Ken’s Archive In the very early 60s, Ken was still performing guitar on the BBC, on programmes such as Stringalong and Roundabout. However, he also performed as part of a quartet around the Suffolk area. The line-up varied, but members of the band included Bill Haig (organ), Don Cheesewright (Bass), Tony Richardson (drums), Jim Daraway (Drums) and Dave Denny (Bass). The style of the quartet was a bit of a musical departure for Ken, being very much of the 60s with the Hammond organ featuring prominently. We have included 3 tracks from Ken’s private collection of the quartet rehearsing in the Suffolk Special Mix. Ken and Helen were instrumental in creating the jazz and folk nights at the local pub The Compasses. While they played on the same programme, the word was that they never actually played publicly together. We can officially dispel this myth with the hard evidence of Ken and Helen on the bill of the Felixstowe Springtime Variety supported by friend and guitarist Alwyn Hyde-Clarke. KS

This Sunday we pay tribute to another great friend of Ken, Diz Disley. On the 27th of May, Diz would have been 81. We met with him during the making of the film and he shared with us a few memories of Ken. Diz passed away 2 years ago. He was a great character and a great guitarist, who played with Stéphane Grappelli, toured the world, recorded jazz, folk, blues and skiffle. He was a painter, graphic designer and was said to own 2 Rolls Royces at one point! So listen this Sunday to a special mix of Diz guitar playing as a tribute to a man who was larger than life! Have a lovely week, Linda and Marc

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© Five Feet Films Ltd 2012

Newsletter 29  

Weekly newsletter for the documentary The Man with the Jazz Guitar, a film about jazz guitarist and radio broadcaster Ken Sykora

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