Billy Edwards
Monday 6th Jan 1930 to Sunday 29th June 2014

Listen to Billy Edwards play Misty with the Chicago Teds


If you can't see the music player, click here to download the mp3 file. Track supplied by Rae Owens


29th June 2014 -

I have just heard today via the family that Billy Edwards died this afternoon at about 4.30 and Gareth said to pass it on to whoever I can, so this is what I'm doing. Last time I visited I felt it might be the last time as there was a tremendous change in him from the previous time I saw him. It's so very sad. I was extremely fond of him, as were so many others. -

Susan Reid-Povall

30/06/14 -

What a sad way to begin a beautiful summer's day. In losing Billy Edwards we shall miss a true giant of jazz. What a fine trumpet player he has been, and what a sparkling personality he brought to his music. If there's another place where jazz is played, I can hear him starting his intro to 'Stardust' and stopping to say, 'And that was only the verse . . !'  

Thanks for the great times Billy.

Derek Harrison

30/06/14 -

Billy Edwards, what an institution he was, and a lovely lovely man, and as we know a fine trumpet player. He will so sadly be missed.

God Bless you Bill for the enjoyment you have given to so many people.

Stan and Glen Williams

30/06/14 -

So sad to learn that Billy Edwards has passed away. A truly great musician and good friend.

Billy was always so encouraging and helpful when I first started to play "Don't pull a face if you make a mistake, just carry on and no bugger will notice!"

I used to listen in awe at some of his improvisations on tunes like If I Had You or Kiss To Build A Dream On and marvel at how his brain could get around chord sequences without any effort.

He was a majestic player, making every note count. Reminding me of Berigan but with an improvisational style similar to Bobby Hackett. A marvellous accompanist to singers, filling the gaps.. How did he know how to put that note or phrase there?!

Finally Billy was a wonderfully warm, kind man. Latterly, when playing on Llandudno Pier usually in a force ten gale, he would always buy the band cream cakes and chips. Sometimes offering his own corned beef sandwiches!

He will be hugely missed.

Duncan Ledsham

30/06/14 -

It's such a shame as Billy was a wonderful trumpet player, musician and supporter of fish and chip shops, throughout the north. If any of us could play half as well as Billy, there would be some good trumpet players around. One thing I remember was playing in a band with him (second trumpet of course!), when we were stood on the beach at Crosby in a strong gale force wind. Flags being ripped from their poles and sand blowing everywhere. I think it was the yacht club. Billy turned to me and with a smile said, "That was a nice top C wasn't it".

Does anyone know if that picture of him is still in the bar at New Brighton Floral pavilion?

R.I.P. Billy, a true Gentleman.

Andy Henderson.

30/06/14 -

Very sorry to learn that Billy has passed away, great trumpet player, he will be sadly missed on the jazz scene. Many condolences to family and friends

Kind Regards.

Rob Turner

30/06/14 -

I am so sorry to learn of Billy’s death. I first met him about thirty five years ago when we played with the (Chester) Phoenix Jazzmen. Since then our paths have crossed intermittently, usually both depping or both in a telephone band. He was an excellent trumpeter, and fine mouth organ and piano player. He would just turn up, play (without any difficulty) whatever anyone suggested (in any reasonable key), never grumble, never rock the boat and he got on with the job with grace and good humour. A few years ago I arrived first at a Bolton pub for a lunchtime pre-Christmas gig (I think I was depping for Rae Owens). Having unpacked and got the bass ready I foolishly approached the piano and ham-fistedly bumbled my way through a tune (fortunately those audience members present took no notice). A few minutes later Billy entered the room and had the same idea, with one important difference: he COULD play the piano properly, and proceeded to dazzle us. I am certain that he had not heard my efforts, as it would have been completely out of character for Billy to show anyone up. I was amazed by his proficiency at the keyboard.

Just over two weeks ago at the Tuxedo’s Wallasey gig I was asking Sue R-P about Billy; she said he was not at all well, but it didn’t seem that he was that close to the coda. I’d like to thank Sue for all her kindness towards Billy, and for keeping us informed.

I shall remember Billy as a fine musician, a brilliant trumpeter and a lovely man.


John Muskett

30/06/14 -

Just got the sad news about Bill Edwards. Bill played with the Phoenix Jazzmen in Chester for a good few years and we got to know him well, admiring both his great skills on trumpet, piano (much to my discomfort as the band's pianist) vocals and harmonica, but also his qualities as an all-round nice guy. He was also one of the best and most careful joiners I know and had kindly helped me out at home a good few times in replacing windows, etc.

The world will be a sadder place without his playing and cheerfulness.

John Hill

01/07/14 -

How sad. Such an unassuming, gentle man as much as he was the premier trumpeter of the N.W and beyond. Made it look so easy. Another institution gone.   As J Muskett says, thanks to Sue for keeping us all in the picture.

Jon Critchley

01/07/14 -

very sorry to hear of Billy's passing. He was a lovely man, a wonderful musician and the best Trumpet player I ever played with. I have a CD which was recorded at Leeds Jazz Club in 2008 where I had the privilege of playing with the Dee Side Dixies with Billy on trumpet. A night I will never forget.

RIP Billy. - Bernard Bibby

01/07/14 -

So deeply sorry to learn of the death of Billy Edwards. He was certainly one of the best, his all round musical capability was matched by his kind and gentlemanly demeanour. My own abiding memory, among many, is of his rendition of Stardust, which made the hairs stand up every time. His easy manner on the stand and fine lead was a pleasure to witness. He will indeed be very sorely missed.
Thank you Billy for some great jazz times.

Alan Davies

01/07/14 -

So sorry about the passing of our dear friend, Billy Edwards, in his day the best horn player on Merseyside and a great chap. We will be sending our sympathies to his family. He will be so much missed by all who knew him and loved his brilliant musicianship.

Peter Fryer,  Secretary - Merseysippi Jazz Band

01/07/14 -

 I remember once, at Doncaster races, hearing a delightful trumpet sound from the other side of the course to the one we were working. Phil Kampen said it was Billy Edwards, delightful player!

Eugene Farrar

01/07/14 -

Turns the phrase " He will be missed" -- into a tragic understatement.

Harold Troughton

01/07/14 -

I was so very saddened to learn of my dear friend Billy Edwards passing. We have in the world of music as so many have said before me lost such a wonderfully talented trumpet player. His modesty and unassuming nature said it all about Billy, he simply was the best and all the many times that I was privileged to play alongside such a player of renown will remain in my many, many happy memories of him for always.

Charles Wilson.

01/07/14 -

Billy never had a bad word for anyone, he was always happy, a tremendous stage personality, a musician's musician.

One of my favourite memories, was on a VE day gig when he was asked to play the last post.  They wanted the full version, so he spoke with a retired bandsman, the result made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck.  When I congratulated him, he said he also played it for his wife who had recently passed away.  What a performance, it will live with me forever,

It was always a pleasure to play alongside him, always complimentary, always made me feel comfortable, a great man, I will miss him,

Bert Schroeder.

06/07/14 -

So sorry to hear of the death of Billy Edwards, a nice bloke to work with. I remember singing "STARDUST" with Billy doing the Bobby Hacket bit at the side of me, he did the verse first & I was so busy listening to Billy that I almost forgot to come in on the chorus. I worked with Billy in lots of clubs and Theatres he had a great sense of humour, he was a lovely, lovely man. Another occasion when we did a forties show in a fire station and Billy arrived half way through the set, he announced he had just arrived from France...... he had been there on his holidays.


Happy memories Billy.
Roy Chappell

06/07/14 -

Such sad news. One of the most unassuming and thoroughly nice people on the jazz scene. I was always in awe of his playing. He was always happy to dep at the last moment. I am away next weekend so unfortunately wont be able to go to his funeral.

Condolences to his family.
Peter Swensson. (Savoy Jazzmen)

Photo by Clive Edwards taken on 25th Oct. 2011

06/07/14 -

I only played with Billy three times, doing various deps with Mad Ed but I must agree with everything that's been said. A real gentlemen and so modest about his own ability.

Sam Wood


Sad news about Billy, a superb trumpeter, harmonica player and pianist. Fond memories of playing at the races with him and receiving his forecasts on the winners. More often than not they turned out donkeys.

Cheerio Billy it has been a pleasure and a privilege to play alongside you.
Ian McCann.

06/07/14 -

I have just been reading the tributes on your page and they're all moving and straight from the heart and I feel I'd like to add my own. As you know, I came to singing very late in life (about 3 years ago) but was lucky enough to have the privilege of singing alongside him for most of those three years. During some of his instrumental breaks I thought my heart would explode because that music came from deep down inside him. I loved the way he camped it up with the audience and even though they all knew what we coming they loved it! He was generous to a fault; you didn't dare say you liked something or he'd give it to you. And as for his musicianship... well it's all been said.

I love you Billy Edwards.
Susan Reid-Povall

06/07/14 -

I would just like to add my memories of my old friend Billy to the many tributes you have already received.

I have known Billy since the late fifties when he left the Chris Hamilton Band at the Mardi Gras Jazz Club. I had to do my best, as his replacement, it was very daunting to me but Billy was always very helpful and encouraging. He was such a lovely man, a fabulous musician, always ready for anything you put in front of him, and will be sadly missed.

Good Bye Billy you were the best in every way.

Les Harris

06/07/14 -

I just wanted to say how deeply sorry I was to hear of Billy Edwards' passing. He was a lovely man and a wonderful trumpeter, and when he got on that harmonica, it was just Christmas!

I've attached a photograph of him and the rest of the Deeside Dixies taken exactly two years ago in the Hand Hotel, Llangollen. Knowing Billy's sense of humour, he'd be tickled pink if you posted it on his tribute page.

How Long's This fella Going To Go On For?

08/07/14 -

Just a few lines about Bill.

I first met Bill when I was in short pants. He was playing in the Cammell Laird championship brass band where he worked as a joiner. We met again at the Mardi Gras and Downbeat clubs in Liverpool. He with Chris Hamilton, myself with Dave Lind.  We carried on meeting in various workingmen's clubs, him performing his solo act myself in the backing trio.

Apart from being an amazing musician Bill was a very good joiner and made and fitted many bespoke doors and windows for me on my building contracts.

Dave and Laurie Renton formed a six piece band in the early seventies with Bill on trumpet. Then his jazz repertoire was limited and I used to say do you know so and so and his standard answer was - No but I will in a minute.  I called a number of times to see him when he was in Pensby Hall but only once in Bebington's.   I could talk about Bill for hours but even writing this is I am filling up.

Good-bye old friend.
Westy.  (Jim West)

09/07/14 -

My abiding memory of Billy Edwards is of when I interviewed him for Just Jazz about seven or eight years ago. When the interview had finished I asked him if he could give me a few bars of the big opening of 'Can't Get Started' for my tape recorder. I'd heard him play it many times and felt sure he'd do it. He looked sad and explained he didn't want to disturb the neighbours. Suddenly he brightened. ''Tell you what,'' he said, 'I'll play it on the keyboard.'' He took me into another room, sat down at some kind of electric organ, turned the sound down (so as not to disturb those neighbours) and played merrily away for the next half hour, a whole range of finger-busting stuff. I just couldn't take it in that somebody so brilliant on the trumpet could have such a bravura touch on another instrument. What an amazing, wonderful man and so modest and considerate.

Andrew Liddle

Andrew Liddle's interview is on the site here

09/07/14 -

Really sorry to hear about the death of Billy Edwards. He was easily the best trumpet player I ever played with.

Harry Christian

12/07/14 -

I was very sorry to learn that Billy had died. I first played with him at the 4 Bars Inn - a sadly short-lived jazz bar and café set up in Birkenhead in the mid-eighties by the late Dave and Laurie Renton primarily as an after-gig venue for local jazz musicians - and have played with him on-and-off many times since then.

He was a sensitive and highly creative trumpet player, and I don't think I ever heard him play a false or unintended note, even in recent years with the River City Jazz Band and the Deeside Dixies, when he was clearly in physical decline. He was a joiner by trade and once spent a couple of days at our house in Liverpool replacing the rotted sections of our sash-window frames, and he did it so perfectly so that it was impossible to tell where the new wood met the old.

A old-school perfectionist - that was Billy - in everything he turned his hand to. He will be sadly missed by all who knew him..

Allan Wilcox,


As John Muskett and John Hill have pointed out,  Billy Edwards was also a lovely piano player. I wonder how many people knew that?  Well thanks to Susan Reid-Povall, we can see a short video of Billy playing. Sue says, "Stan Parkins, one of our long-standing and loyal supporters and a first class musician and former big band player in his own right, filmed this little clip of Billy at the piano. His son, David, sent it to me recently and we both think it would be a really good thing to share. Enjoy it".

Fred Burnett

Recorded  22nd August 2007

14/07/14 -

On the 5th July 2002 the Wirral Jazz Friends had one of our evenings for Claire House Children's Hospice. We had the Peninsula Jazzman and supporting the wonderful singer, Val Wiseman, we had the Parade Jazz Band. Billy Edwards seemed rather subdued in his trumpet playing and I put this down to respect for the singer. It was only later that we found out from Billy in hospital, and now verified by his daughter Rachael, that he had a stroke before the concert. He did not realise what had happened and drove to the gig and afterwards back home. He telephoned Rachael and mumbled that he could not remember 'Hello Dolly' and some strange speech. She arranged an ambulance and he was quickly in hospital. At Billy's funeral, Rachael told me that only her Dad would not have realised he had had a stroke! His commitment to playing was shown by turning up on the night and the amazing fight back to top level trumpet playing. He died on 6th July 2014, twelve years and one day later. We all, I am sure, wish to thank the family for the reception and they know the love and respect in which he was held , as shown by the terrific turn out of musicians and fans at the funeral on Friday.

Clive Edwards, Wirral Jazz Friends

19/07/14 -

I'm very sorry to hear that Billy Edwards died. He was a wonderful jazz trumpeter and good friend. I always enjoyed listening to his playing on my many visits "home" in the past thirty years.

I am sorry to report that John Stringer died here in California last Sunday, July 13, after a long illness. John played with Billy Edwards in the Chris Hamilton Band in the 1960s and also with Harry Black in the Embassy Stompers in the 1950s. Since moving to California in the 1970s, John played with a variety of bands and led his own band for many years. He deservedly earned an enviable reputation for his skillful clarinet work and forceful singing.

I'm sure that many of your readers will remember him from his time in Liverpool. Our thoughts are with John's wife, Audrey, and daughters Helen and Becky and family.

John Dodgshon

Donations in memory of Billy may be sent in aid of Wirral Hospice St. John's, c/o -
Charles Stephen Funeral Directors, Clifton House Funeral Home, 215 Bebington Road, Rock Ferry, Wirral CH42 4QA


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