jabw_vintage/report no. 39

Let us tell you about......

Stanley Jones, British dance band trombonist during the 1920's

this page published by John Wright, 7 July 2007
last updated 21 January 2012vintage@r2ok.co.uk

Copyright © 2007 Stanley Jones' family.
Reproduction or publication of images requires
permission of the family of Stanley Jones

Stanley Jones

I was delighted when Jacqueline Croom wrote to me saying she had several dance band photographs featuring her grandfather, trombonist Stanley Jones. Looking up the Rust/Forbes reference discography (page 774) I had to be honest with Jacqueline and say I only knew that Stanley was listed as trombonist at a recording session in 1919 with the band led by Murray Pilcer. Jacqueline said, however, that Stanley was featured in a photo of the Ragpickers Band, and sure enough when I again consulted Rust/Forbes I saw (page 791) Stanley Jones' name with the Ragpickers Jazz Band and a listing of two HMV recording sessions in 1920, but none of the records were issued. (This highlights an indexing error in Rust/Forbes, the index omits Jones and refers to page 790 for all the other musicians).

Anyway, Jacqueline had already identified the banjo player as Emile Grimshaw whose photo can be found on the internet, and has kindly allowed me to publish some photos here. Firstly we have the Ragpickers Jazz Band and below is the first ever photo of their band published on the internet:

Photo 1

The photo clearly shows the influence of the Original Dixieland Dance Band who visited UK in 1919. The instrumentation we see in the photo is not exactly the same as listed by Rust at the band's recording sessions. Stanley Jones, trombone, is sitting on the piano, and I can confirm that the violinist in the photo is bandleader Billy Kerdachi (who later changed his name to Gerhardi), and Emile Grimshaw is the banjo player. Jack Raine may be the trumpeter and Dinty Moore may be the drummer and it's likely pianist Harry Howard on the left. Sax player Phil Goodman is absent.

The very dapper fellow in the fine period photo on the right is the young Stanley Jones ! (Photo 2). Grand-daughter Jacqueline offers this short early history: Born in Islington, London in 1889 and died 1964. As a youngster he went to the Hanwell (Cuckoo School) Pauper School, (where Charlie Chaplin went for a short time). Left the school and went to the school's training ship "Exmouth" where he joined the military band and learned to play the trombone.

I explained to Jacqueline that there is some importance to attach to the photo of the Rag Pickers, above, as I believe the Rag Pickers were only the second band in Britain EVER to be listed at a recording session as a JAZZ band. The first British 'jazz' band in Britain, in 1919, was led by Murray Pilcer and that band featured also Stanley Jones and Emile Grimshaw! So Jacqueline's grandfather played on the first 'jazz' records ever made in Britain!

Now, the reason I have inverted commas round 'jazz' is because the Murray Pilcer records sound nothing like the real jazz music that was being made in USA at the time. But it is possible that by 1920 the later Rag Pickers had a more authentic jazz sound, but I guess we'll never know since their records were never issued on sale, and the rejected discs have not survived as far as we know.

At the time the Rag Pickers records were made, the American band The Original Dixieland Jazz Band was on tour in London, and from the photo it would seem the Rag Pickers were mimicking the ODJB's visual style,

Photos 3 and 3a are of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band

It is very possible that the British musicians in the Rag Pickers saw and heard the ODJB performing in London in 1919-20 and it would have been very interesting to have had Rag Pickers records available to listen. The titles of the tunes recorded, however, suggests that the band may not have recorded a genuine jazz style but we might never know. The titles recorded during sessions 23 Feb and 1st March 1920 were Dardanella, Bo-Bo-Beedle-Um-Bo, I'll Sing You A Song, and Oh! How She Can Sing.

Here is another photo of the Rag Pickers:

Photo 4:

Getting back to Murray Pilcer's band, I think there might be a CD from a few years back with some of their recordings, so we might very well be able to find the sound of Stanley Jones' trombone on a CD.

Fellow researcher Mike Thomas has pointed out (another error in the Rust/Forbes index) that Stanley Jones is listed as attending the first recording session by bandleader Jan Ralfini, where they recorded four titles for the Imperial label in December 1926. Right, is the only photo I have of Ralfini and he doesn't feature in any of the photos on this web page.

Jacqueline has kindly submitted several other photos featuring Stanley Jones in bands and with theatre groups, across a period of about 10 years. I can identify one other rather important musician in some of these photos but would appreciate any suggestions from researchers/collectors who can identify bandleaders and other musicians which could assist with dating these photos:

The photo below was taken in one of London's top hotel ballrooms and Terry Brown has identified the hotel as the Metropole in London. Family member has confirmed the band is Sidney Bliss and his Metropolitans, and Sidney Bliss is the violinist, far right with baton or bow. The harp player (far left) is Mario 'Harp' Lorenzi. Mike Thomas has identified Geoffrey Gelder, piano, and Mark Sheridan, banjo. Stanley Jones, holding his trombone, is nearest the drummer.

Photo 5: Sidney Bliss and his Metropolitans circa 1925

The next photo features a different band leader, the name on the piano suggests it is Arthur Capel's, and again we can see that Mario 'Harp' Lorenzi is featured.

Photo 6: Arthur Capel's Band

Arthur Capel, bandleader, may be featured below also, as well as Mario 'Harp' Lorenzi (photo damaged) and this might be Arthur Capel's 'Brighter London Band' for the show of that name.

Photo 7: Arthur Capel's 'Brighter London Band'

Arthur Capel seems to be leading here too.

Photo 8: Arthur Capel's Band

Another band

Photo 9:

and another band

Photo 10:

The remaining photos appear to be of the band with theatre groups, though Stanley is sometimes dressed up !

In the first of these Jacqueline thought maybe Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford are featured, they were visiting Britain, and this has been confirmed eslewhere.

Photo 11:

Photo 12:

Photo 13:

You can join the very active discussion groups and talk about dance bands and jazz bands of the 1920s-1950s:

The Facebook group: Golden Age of British Dance Bands

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