I was very sorry to hear yesterday that clarinet/saxophone player Harold Troughton had passed away.
I first heard Harold play in about 1953 when I used to go as a teenager to hear a band of youthful local musicians playing in the upstairs room of the Cuerdley Arms in St Helens. I loved this exciting new music which in the fairly drab days of the early fifties seemed so wild and exuberant and I particularly liked Harold’s enthusiastic clarinet playing, so much so that in no time I’d bought myself a clarinet (on HP!) and had formed a band with some other jazz-mad youngsters.
It’s that indefatigable enthusiasm that I shall remember most about Harold. It showed itself not only in his playing (he used to twist and weave so much as he played that we sometimes referred to him as The Snake Charmer!), but also in the way he kept jazz going over several decades in Rainhill where he lived. He played for a number of years with his band, The Dixie Kings, at the Victoria Hotel, but then at a succession of other venues in the village. Each time they got the sack it seemed no time at all before he’d got a new venue, the last one being the Ex-Services Club, where, despite poor attendances in recent times, Harold soldiered on undeterred.
Also, for well over 20 years, he’d been a leading light in one of the region’s best-known bands, The Blue Magnolia Jass Orchestra, as well as popping up in various other bands as a dep.
The North-West jazz scene is the poorer for his passing.
Yes, very sad indeed. As Keith says, Harold’s enthusiasm knew no
Sad news about Harold: Played with him quite a few times with the Blue Magnolia and his Dixie Kings: I always thought he needed traffic bollards around him to keep a good distance from his, as Keith says, twisting and weaving whilst playing!
Thanks for sharing this sad news Fred. I played with Harold on and off through the years. It’s beginning to feel like an end of an era. Keep safe.
Very sad to hear about Harold. I always got on well with him & we shared quite a few laughs over the years.
So sad to hear that Harold Troughton has passed away. In the last couple of years I depped with his band, and actually was booked to play with them in Southport when the ‘lockdown’ cancelled all the gigs. I knew that he was seriously ill as he told me he would not be playing on that engagement. I enjoyed my brief encounters with him, and we did some clarinet duets together. A lovely player and a lovely man. My condolences to the family.
It is sad to hear of Harold’s passing. I did not know him well, he replaced me in The Blue Mags when I left for France in 1994 and I only heard him occasionally when I returned to Liverpool and when the Blue Mags played at Fest Jazz 2010 and 2011. But I saw enough of Harold to realise that he was an excellent musician and a fine performer on both clarinet and sax (fairly rare for a player to be so proficient on both instruments). And his enthusiasm was both insuppressible and infectious. He will be sorely missed; my sympathy to his family and the Blue Mags.
Hi Fred, very sorry to hear the sad
news about Harold. I first met him many years ago in Rainford, when
he sometimes played with the Ron Jackson band in the Eagle and Child
I’m so sorry to hear that Harold has left us. He was a lovely guy, absolutely full of enthusiasm despite a number of health issues and other set-backs. Almost twenty years ago, he was one of two or three people who gave me a chance to get started in the traditional jazz scene, and I’ll always be grateful to him for that. R.I.P. Harold.
I Played drums with Harold with the Blue Mags and other outfits, I knew he was ill so sorry he had to leave us, I will miss a good friend.
" So very sad to learn about Harold Troughton. We played many times together when I depped for Blue Mags and indeed at the Black Dog residency near Chester with my Delta Jazz.
Harold's playing style was always distinctive,
complemented by his most pleasant personality on the stand and good
rapport with musicians and audiences alike. Another great miss to
the ever diminishing Jazz scene.