jabw_vintage/report no. 34

My dad.... Bob Middlemiss .....

this page first published by John Wright, 17 November 2004
last update 17 November 2012vintage@r2ok.co.uk

I am grateful to Bob Middlemiss for providing this tribute and photographs featuring his father, reed player Bob Middlemiss
Bob Middlemiss Jnr. writes:

My family are from Hartlepool where Chick Henderson was born, and my father Bob Middlemiss knew him quite well from when he played in the bands in the Thirties. It is possible that dad and Chick served in Hartlepool's Central Marine Engine Works at the same time, but dad never mentioned knowing him there. Chick was a marine engineering apprentice, my dad worked in the boiler shop. He lost a fair amount of his hearing later in life, and he attributed it to the boiler shop noise and also playing in front of the trumpet section in dance bands.

My father played tenor sax and clarinet, then added flute and piccolo with the sambas, etc. in the Forties. He closed out his career playing in London's theater district. As a ten year old I watched Dad "in the pit" hunching over his music stand, sax shining brightly in the glow from those small music lamps. That time it was South Pacific with Enzio Pinza and Mary Martin. But I only had eyes for my dad's playing. Those were good days. I'd watch him get ready, hair smelling of Morgan's Pomade, his fringe of hair slicked down, his tux freshly ironed, his sax and flute cases all set. Once I chewed up his sax reed. I still recall him sanding down a fresh one, to get the right embrochure, his eyes looking up at the clock...

The first two photos are of the Jack Nicholl band who played in the Hartlepool area in the 1920's

(photo ref. nicholl01)>

Bob Middlemiss is second from right

(photo ref. nicholl02)>

Bob Middlemiss is second from right

This photo is of the Benny Grange Band of the 1930's

(photo ref. grange01)>

Bob Middlemiss is first left

This photo is of a later band maybe from about 1939 when Bob had moved to London. The leader's initials are RM (not Bob!).

(photo ref. middlemiss02)

Bob Middlemiss is third from right, holding sax.

This photo is much later in Bob's life (1951) still playing that sax!

(photo ref. middlemiss01)>

Bob has contributed a very fine signed photograph of Chick henderson to the Chick Henderson Gallery page

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