Les Muscutt 1941 -2013
Les was both my friend and mentor. Born in Barrow in Furness 30th June 1941, he moved to London in the 1960s where he played with, amongst others, Cy Laurie, the Clyde Valley Stompers ( London version) Mike Cotton and Bruce Turner. Moving to the USA he spent a lot of time playing at "Your Father's Moustache" in New York, finally ending up in New Orleans at the local franchise before moving to the "Red Garter Club" where he led the band.
Over the years he played with many of the local legends on Bourbon Street and at Preservation Hall. He played at the Palm Court Jazz Cafe in Louis Nelson's band. When Mr. Nelson died, Pud Brown took over and upon his death Les became the band leader on Saturday evenings with what became Lionel Ferbos's band.
Les, accompanied by Chris Burke, used to come to Europe and the UK in the summer and tour with local musicians. The pair of them were in the UK when Katrina struck (2005). Prior to this Les had open heart surgery which was successful in the main, but led to a loss of feeling in his left hand 3rd and 4th fingers. He took the courageous decision to retire from playing.
Over the years, during our annual visits to New Orleans, he asked me play the middle set at Palm Court on Saturday evenings and I was privileged to have two master classes with Les in 2007 and 2008, which ended up with my buying one of his custom Jany instruments which I play to this day.
Les was a fine musician and he will be sadly missed.
Dear Fred, I just caught the sad announcement of the passing of Les, he and Babs were great friends to me especially when I was in the middle of Med School days in London 60-63 and played for my wedding reception in 66, just before leaving for New York. He also paved the way for me to play in his place with several of the trad bands around town as his dep-replacement. He and Babs would always have a cup of tea, beans on toast for me during the intervals between exams at Queen Square in their little flat in Soho. We used to play on free week-ends at The Tatty Bogle drinking club with Eggy Ley and 'banjo George, and he greatly increased my record collection when he worked the 2nd hand department at Dobell's. I remember him as a gentle entertaining and clever guitar and banjo player, I shall phone Babs with condolences later today.
sadly - Mike Walmsley