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Frank Weir

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b. 30 January 1911, London, England, d. 12 May 1981. A gifted clarinettist and saxophonist, Weir played in several dance bands in London in the 30s. Among these were the bands of Jack Hylton and Howard Jacobs, and a group formed to back singer Val Rosing who had attained sudden and unexpected popularity owing to a recording he had made of ‘The Teddy Bear’s Picnic’ with Henry Hall’s band. Apart from Weir, Rosing’s band for this brief time also included the American saxophonist Frank Barrigo. In the 40s, Weir played in numerous bands including recording with the Six Swingers and also played with the then relatively unknown George Shearing. Weir also led the band at London’s prestigious Astor Club and his Astor Club Seven made some quasi-dixieland records. He also appeared on the unusually early live recordings released in 1941 on four 12-inch 78s by HMV Records under the title of the First Public Jam Session, an event arranged in association with No 1 Rhythm Club and the Melody Maker. In 1944 he led an all-star group at the Jazz Jamboree, held at London’s Stoll Theatre. This band included Kenny Baker, Laddy Busby, Freddy Gardner, Cyril Stapleton and Shearing. In the 50s, Weir led a large string orchestra, playing popular music and novelty items. Also in the 50s, he toured the variety theatres and dancehalls and made several popular records. Among these were ‘Caribbean Holiday’ and ‘My Son, My Son’, the latter recorded with Vera Lynn, and which appeared just outside the Top 20 in the Cash Box charts in 1954. Also in 1954, and the most popular of all Weir’s recordings, was ‘The Happy Wanderer’. Cash Box placed this at number 6 and it also did well in the USA. Weir sometimes played classical music as a member of the London Symphony and London Philharmonic orchestras. In the 20s, he served in the British army and later piloted aircraft in King’s Cup races. During World War II, he ferried aircraft for the Air Transport Auxiliary.


30 January 1911 in London, England

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