jabw_vintage/report no. 28

Let Us Tell You About.....

Norman and Laurie Payne

this page first published by John Wright, 15 Oct 2002
last updated 12 May 2012vintage@r2ok.co.uk

I have been contacted by Camilla Bellamy, the grand-daughter of Norman Payne. Camilla has presented this website with a fine photograph of the musical brothers, and on this page I have added a few more photos and made a start at piecing together their important musical careers.


Both Laurie and Norman Payne were well respected within the dance band circles of the late 1920's and 1930s, very much in demand and employed by several of the top bandleaders.

Norman was regarded as one of the top trumpet players since, as a young man, he had played with the jazz stars under the direction of Fred Elizalde at the Savoy Hotel and on the legendary Brunswick recordings.
Researcher Nick Dellow, who interviewed Norman Payne, has offered some career details of Norman Payne. He studied briefly in Germany, then returned to London and was tutored by John Sullivan (Soloman?). He played gigs in the East End of London then turned professional to accompany a dancing act. He played at the Florida Club, London, in a trio with Lionel Clapper (saxes) and Ginner Conn (drums) in 1927.

Nick Dellow told me: "It was while playing there that Norman first heard Bix Beiderbecke, on the famous "Singin' the Blues". Lionel Clapper, who played in a sort of Trumbauerish style apparently (he recorded very little, unfortunately) had a copy of it and said to Norman "You must come back to my flat and listen to this great cornet player". Norman said "As soon as I heard that record I was hooked and I just had to buy all the records that featured Bix". Nick Dellow adds "From then on, until the mid-thirties, all Norman's solos were strongly Bixian in construction and delivery. In my opinion, he is the best of all those musicians who played under the influence of Bix. His solo on "Every Day Away From You" (New Mayfair Dance Orchestra) is outstanding, so much so that on hearing it for the first time Hoagy Carmichael thought that it was Bix! Norman told me that he was very proud of that solo and said to Ray Noble at the time that he was particularly pleased with it".  

Laurie Payne was equally expert on the clarinet and all the saxophone family of instruments and certainly made more recordings than his brother, working with the Savoy Hotel Orpheans and two major studio bands for several years. Nick Dellow adds "Laurie first played in an amateur band with George Hurley, who lived nearby. Laurie then joined Max Goldberg's band at Moody's Club in London (late 1925), and in 1926 the band transferred to the Criterion Restaurant, London (Norman Payne replaced Max Goldberg in this band). Between summer 1926 and spring 1927, Laurie worked with Alfredo in London. Then he was with various Savoy bands (New Sylvians, 1927; Howard Jacobs, 1928-1929; Percival Mackey, 1930; Carroll Gibbons till 1941)

Timeline references: Jazz Records 5th Ed. (Rust), British Dance Bands On Record (Rust-Forbes), Memory Lane, Nick Dellow.

Nov 5 1908 - Aug 31 19831910 - Feb 11, 1992
worked with Max Goldberg1925
member of band at the Criterion Restaurant, led by drummer Joe Daniels
from summer with Alfredo's band
1926member of band at the Criterion Restaurant, led by drummer Joe Daniels
with Alfredo's band during Spring
summer - HMV sessions with The Sylvians (Carroll Gibbons)
1927played at the Florida Club, London, in a trio with Lionel Clapper (saxes) and Ginner Conn (drums)
March - begins recording in HMV studios with the New Mayfair Dance Orchestra, almost continuously until late 1932?
Photographed with the Original Savoy Orpheans so possibly involved with tours and/or recordings
worked also with Howard Jacobs at the Savoy 1928-29
Begins studio session work with Jay Wilbur, continuously till late 1933
1928Jan-Dec - recorded with Fred Elizalde and his music. Member of the Elizalde band resident at the Savoy Hotel
Dec - began recording with Jay Whidden's band
continues studio work with NMDO and also with Jay Wilbur1929Jan-July? - playing at the Carlton Hotel, and recording, with Jay Whidden's band
Apr 12 - Elizalde recording session
from ~Sept - possibly involved in recordings with Jay Wilbur
Oct 31 - first recording with the New Mayfair Dance Ochestra
Dec 4 - Elizalde recording session
Dec - four recordings on the World Echo label
continues studio work with NMDO and with Jay Wilbur
Sept - featured with his brother in Carroll Gibbons group accompanying Harry Shalson on HMV
worked with Percival Mackey
1930just a few recordings with NMDO in 1930
~March - recording session with Jack Hart band, involving Fred Elizalde, Spike Hughes etc
Mar 22-~Aug - probably featured on most of the Decca records directed by Arthur Lally (Rhythm Maniacs)
June-Dec - recorded with Spike Hughes/Philip Buchel recordings on Decca
Sept - featured with his brother in Carroll Gibbons group accompanying Harry Shalson on HMV
continues studio work with NMDO and with Jay Wilbur
Sept-Oct - recorded with Billy Mason band
Oct - begins long association with the Savoy Hotel Orpheans
Apr and June - recorded with Spike Hughes on Decca
with the Savoy Hotel Orpheans
continues studio work with NMDO and with Jay Wilbur
1932May 10 - featured on a recording by comic Bobby Howes (I Got Rhythm)
with the Savoy Hotel Orpheans
continues studio work with Jay Wilbur
1933member of Al Collins band ?
with the Savoy Hotel Orpheans1934member of Al Collins band ?
with the Savoy Hotel Orpheans
returns to HMV for some sessions with NMDO (Carroll Gibbons)
member of Al Collins band
5 Dec - recorded with Jack Miranda and his Meanderers (Parlophone)
with the Savoy Hotel Orpheans1936member of Al Collins band
Jan - featured on Decca with Al Collins band
Oct 20 - the Swingtimers recordings
with the Savoy Hotel Orpheans1937January - ? member of Sydney Kyte's band
with the Savoy Hotel Orpheans1938Feb 17, Sept 23 - recorded with Freddy Gardner's Swing Orchestra on Rex label
with the Savoy Hotel Orpheans1939Mar 13, May 25 - recorded with Freddy Gardner's Swing Orchestra on Rex label
with the Savoy Hotel Orpheans
Dec 19 - session with Lew Stone band
with the Savoy Hotel Orpheans1941
with the Savoy Hotel Orpheans1942Jan - begins working and recording with Eric Winstone's band, till 1944
1943Oct - begins recording with Carroll Gibbons Savoy Hotel Orpheans, which continues into 1945 (and later?)
1944recorded on Decca with Al Collins band
Feb 7 - recording session with Ted Heath Orch.
1946operating entertainments agency MCA with Jock Jacobson

Photographs featuring the Payne brothers seem to be scarce and until recently I only had Savoy Orpheans photos in magazines which feature Laurie Payne, and one Elizalde band photo featuring Norman.

The newspaper clipping below was sent to me by Rob Rothberg. It's from Melody Maker of January 23, 1937, though the photo was taken before 1935 when Bill Harty was in UK.

The photo below names the band as The Original Savoy Orpheans and names most of the musicians.

Comparison with Camilla's photo confirms the identification on the band photo is correct, Laurie is second from the left. The name Original Savoy Orpheans relates a period in 1928 when Carroll Gibbons and the band quit the Savoy. They visited Berlin in 1928, where several records were cut on the Homocord label, but Rust/Forbes does not include Laurie in the Berlin session personnel. In fact according to Rust/Forbes Laurie was not a member of the recording outfit from the Orpheans at all up to 1928, and only 'joined' them when Carroll Gibbons returned to the Savoy in 1931.

The next photo is later, in the 1930's; looks like Laurie second from the left, front row. Carroll Gibbons is leaning on the piano.

The next photo is a bit faded and battered but Laurie is clearly third from left, front row, wearing glasses.

Mike Thomas' website has feature pages on Al Collins' band including a photo and a cartoon of the band, identifying Norman Payne.

The photo below of the Elizalde band in 1928 features several important personalities. Comparing with Mike's photos maybe Norman Payne is back row second from left (the man with the glasses third from right is Ben Frankel). Also in the back row Al Bowlly is fourth from left, Adrian Rollini is second from the right. Fred Elizalde is standing in the front row.

The band photos are scanned from Memory Lane with permission.

Regarding Norman Payne's trumpet playing, some of his solo breaks can be identified on records. There is a discussion of Norman's skills at Albert Haim's website and Norman Payne can be heard on a Realaudio file at Albert's Radio Program #29

If you don't have Realplayer software you can download the free version at that page, and it will play the file featuring Norman when you click Program #29. You'll hear Norman play on two Elizalde recordings. I have them on CD so here is a clip from After The Sun Kissed The World Goodbye. Oh, and that'll be Adrian Rollini noodling in the background!

Retrieval have issued the CD of Fred Elizalde's Anglo American Band. Featuring 22 tracks.

Any further information on the careers of Laurie and Norman Payne will be much appreciated. Please e-mail John Wright with any additions, corrections

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