Pete Haslam RIP


01/12/08 - I heard from John Reade yesterday, that ex Manchester musician, Pete Haslam has died. Pete ran the Crescent Jazz Band from about 1954-55. At the Bodega and other Lancashire Society of Jazz Music (LSJM) gigs and private functions they'd be known as Pete Haslam's Collegians. Joe Silmon tells me, "You could always guarantee Pete's band-night at the "Bodega", Cross Street, being packed out, and it was a very big place to fill. The capacity was about 600, I think ". 

The photo, from Robert Haslam, was used on the front of Jazz Times in February 1992 and is in the very early days of the band.  Robert says, "I believe the venue is the Thatched House in Manchester and the line up is Pete trombone, Denis Gilmore trumpet, myself clarinet, Dave Potts banjo, Denis Taylor piano ( he was with the band for a very short period ) Eric Batty bass and Peter Bell drums. Before we started playing publicly, as Denis said, we used to practice at his mothers pub. It meant a  three mile bus ride for myself Pete and Peter Bell, yes he actually took his drums on the bus and as I recall his big drum was BIG !! Dedication ?".

Don Bridgewood  - 

The sad news concerning Pete Haslam brings back many wonderful memories. Not least I feel privileged to have shared so many gigs with such a nice guy and wonderful musician - and not only jazz I may say, particularly with Purely for Pleasure at the Norfolk Arms in Marple Bridge, but with a quartet with Denis Gilmore and a trumpet player whose name has slipped my mind , which played dance music! Based at Middleton Conservative Club, it also played at a few other venues ... and yes, it did swing just a bit, despite my contribution! My sympathy and thoughts go to Pete's family.  I have some taped material featuring Pete and also Tony Charlesworth it anyone is interested.

Pete Darwin - 

Fred Another mate from the past. I met Pete when he played with the Rainy City band at the Market Hotel in Wigan in the 60, S Bruce Bakewell reeds was the leader of the band. I had heard he was ill and I would like to offer my condolences. 

Des Hopkins -

Very sorry to hear the sad news that Pete Haslam has died, his band The Collegians were a big name on the Manchester scene, I depped with them on two occasions in the early sixties, I cant remember the line up except for Denis Gilmore on trumpet, ? maybe someone will remind us. I last met Pete when he came along to a gig we played in Stockport, for Mart Rodgers about  years ago.  Des Hopkins 

It started out with Pete Haslam (trombone) and Denis Gilmore (mainly piano then, not trumpet yet), both fresh out of the RAF, who decided to form a band in about 1954-55. They both worked at Ferranti's in Middleton, having done similar Electrical/Electronic work in the RAF. So they met up occasionally, having several things in common. They were then joined by Dave Potts (on banjo, later replaced by Ian McCann). Dave Berry (drums/vocals).

Robin Haslam (clarinet) was a founder member. Later Colin Tompkin's ex-wife Brenda joined on piano, so Denis was on cornet, later still on trumpet, etc., after that.  I think "Viscount" Nev Matthews was on double bass. I seem to remember Cliff Jones too on bass (more known for his activities with "The Saints Jazz Band").  I remember depping too, occasionally, and being brought in as an extra man on tenor sax from time to time. Pete formed and was part of several bands after that. One included Ken Wray, Randy Colville and myself, in the late 70s;  - Joe Silmon

Barry Aldous - 

I would just like to pay tribute to Pete Haslam who I considered a friend from way back. In our lives, events take place that remain as strong memories; memories that we recall and share with a smile, memories that have affected our lives in some way. I have very strong memories of Pete Haslam, not just for his help and support through jazz music with his various bands, but with my 'day time job' also. Back in the late 1960's Pete Haslem was finding his way in the electronics business with his company 'Transolver'. To cut a long story short, Pete became a supplier to the company that I was with, and helped me design the products made by that company. As a matter of interest that company, EMS, was partly owned by Pete's brother Ted, my employer. A co-employee was Dave Potts of Red River J. B. fame - small world isn't it!. Unfortunately for us jazzers in the North West, Pete moved down to Cornwall. I now regret not having kept in touch with both Pete and June, but he will remain as a strong memory for the rest of my life, that's for sure.

Roy Potts and the rest of the Five and a Penny Band  - 

So upset to know that Pete has finally gone. He did, however, have tremendous luck with the car crash after the last Germany trip. I have tried to contact Jean. All I know is that when we have been down in ... Cornwall..... or somewhere, playing, I have always enquired about the possible wherabouts of you all. Hopefully, you will realise that neither you or Pete have been forgotten. Hope to see you. . . . Sincere regards

John Muskett - 

Hello Fred Thanks for the sad news about Pete Haslam. Although I didn't know him in the early days, we did quite a lot of work together fifteen to twenty years ago - in the period between his bad car accident and his decampment to the West Country. On one occasion with Gypsy Jazz he and I agreed that we would change key (on the hoof) from F to Ab. Another horn player (who shall be nameless, but never played in keys other than F, Bb and Eb) was somewhat perplexed by this, ordering us to return to F when he resumed the lead. Pete and I had a chuckle.

Joe Silmon-Monerri - 

I was so sorry to hear this news. Pete was a great friend from as far back as the mid-late 50s. A lot of people - not only from around here (Manchester) - will be devastated to hear the very sad news. You could always guarantee Pete's band-night at the "Bodega", Cross Street, being packed out, and it was a very big place to fill. The capacity was about 600, I think. 

He was probably the happiest, kindest and most easy-going of Manchester's bandleaders. His bands always looked happy on stage, because Pete made it happen like that. That atmosphere was projected to the audience too. Good quality Jazz played with happy, natural smiles on the faces of musicians who were really enjoying themselves and needed no "pretend" smiles. 

If at all possible, please pass my deepest sympathy to his widow, Jean, who was also a great friend and Jazz fan, and the Haslam family. I have no idea where they lived, but I think it was Devon or Cornwall. I knew his brother quite well, Robin Haslam 
(the clarinetist in the band), he will be very sad too. Pete gave him his own clarinet when he took up the trombone, so Robin learnt very quickly and was soon and permanently very much a part of the Crescent Jazz Band from about 1954-55. At the Bodega and other Lancashire Society of Jazz Music (LSJM) gigs and private functions they'd be known as Pete Haslam's Collegians, but it was the same band.

This is a very sad loss for Northwestern Jazz.

Moe Green - 

Sad news indeed. I knew Pete from the 50s and a nicer man you couldn't wish to meet. He rather slipped through the net after moving to Mevagissey and for the last 6yrs. he was confined to a wheelchair unable to play. Jean told me that he died peacefully in his sleep. So goodbye to a real gentlemen.

Denis Gilmore  - 

Pete was a dear friend from our teenage years. We shared a rich relationship in our music making and I will miss him greatly. We both were in the RAF at the same time and still experimenting with our role in jazz. It was then that we chose the instruments that we were to play for many years to come. Pete's first band was formed after we came out of the RAF and in the early days we rehearsed at my mothers pub the Waggon and Horses in Rhodes. Our early gigs were at the Sportsman's Restaurant in Manchester and later we played at the Sports Guild after Jenks opened up that great venue. We also played at the Bodega on Cross Street and signed up with Paddy McKiernan as our agent. That was when we changed the name of the band to Pete Haslam Collegians at the insistence of Paddy. That band was one of the first to have a residency at the Cavern Club in Liverpool. We played every Wednesday and occasional Saturdays. In those days it was still a jazz club. 

There were other facets to Pete's musical activities. He played trombone in the Middleton Borough Band and it was as a result of our contacts there that we formed a quartet for a residency at the Conservative Club in Middleton. In answer to Don Bridgewood's query the trumpet player in that group was Gordon Dean who was also the solo cornet player in the brass band. Those were happy days (in spite of Don's problems with his electric kettle). 

After I moved to live in the USA I maintained close contact with Pete. I last saw him about three years ago when I came over to see him in Cornwall. We had a great visit as you can well imagine. He will be greatly missed by many people with whom he came into contact over the years. 

My condolences go to Jean who has taken such great care of Pete in his final years.

Harold Roberts - 

How sad to hear the news of Pete's death. I played alongside him in the early 60's with the Rainy City Jazz Band and again when it was reformed in the early 1970's. I last had the privilege of playing alongside him on a few gigs in the early 90's as he fought back to start playing again following his tragic car accident. Although deeply saddened by his death the wonderful memories I have of him will remain with me. Apart from his qualities as a person and musician he had a tremendous sense of humour. A couple of examples, we featured Chimes Blues many times and occasionally on reaching the 'Chimes' he would deliberately change key throwing the front line into confusion the crowd seemed to love it, his devilment and our confusion usually brought the house down. Pete was never a singer but he used to feature on St. James Infirmary Blues and instead of singing the lyric he would deliver it in a melodramatic monologue fashion (a la Richard Burton) once again bring the house down. I was always indebted to Pete for the help he gave me in my 'day job' and when personal tragedy struck in my life he helped and supported me. He will be missed but the legacy he has left will sustain in this sad time Thoughts are with Jean and the family at this time.

Ian McCann - 

So sorry to hear the sad news about Pete. I first met him on joining Bruce Bakewell's Rainy City Jazzband in 1960 and shared the stage with him over the next 12 years or so apart from a short spell with the Vintage Syncopators. I next met up with him following a phone call one friday evening in July 1975 asking me if i could do a dep job. I said "when?" he said now! The band was the Harlem Hot Stompers - this must be the longest dep job on record! A real nice guy and a fine musician. My sincere condolences to Jean.

Bert Allen, Jazz vocalist - 

Words cannot express the sadness I feel at the death of Pete. A lifelong friend, he has given so many people pleasure, and we are left with wonderful memories of a very talented artist, yachtsman, musician and a true friend.

Mart Rodger - 

I have kept in touch with Pete and Jean for the last few years. Our friendship goes back a long way and I can recall the Crescent Jazz Band performances at the Sportsman on Market Street. Pete and his first wife Judy used to come with their children and visit us and we all enjoyed walks in Lyme Park. One of my lasting memories was when he played a record by Edmond Hall playing "Rose In Her Window" and this is one of my favourite tunes - it always reminds me of what a super person he was.

Brenda Canty- Forrest - 

I am so sorry to hear this sad news.

I knew Pete from around 1955 when I and my ex husband, Colin Tomkins had formed a group called "The Oriole Jazz Band". We were just starting to get to play The Thatched House and The Sportsman when I left to have my first child and the band ceased to exist, so Colin joined The Crescent for a while on trumpet as Dennis's lip went and he started again on piano. Then later they played with 2 trumpets for a while. Colin then joined the Zenith and the Crescent had got used to having a piano that I joined. 

What fun we had. It was a very happy, sometimes zany band. I played with them till 1962 when we moved to Wales, but that wasn't the end of our friendship with Pete and Judy, his first wife. They came to stay with us in Wales when we did some charity work in the grounds of a local millionaires house and although it was the middle of our season and we had a very busy business to run we had bodies all over our house when they stayed for the week end.

I often think about him and Jean who was so good to my daughter when she left Wales to come to the "bright lights of Manchester".She really took Carol under her wing and took her to jazz clubs.

Dennis Grundy was our drummer in The Crescent and Norman Slater was on bass, at least when I played with them. If I recall Nev Matthews was with the Zenith.

Please give my condolences to Jean and also Robin, plus Pete's children. My son and daughter even remembered their names...... Dominic, Georgia and Benedict...... Last year I was in Cornwall and if I'd known where he lived would have looked him and Jean up.

Gerry Clayton,

 Very sorry to hear about Pete Haslam. I worked with Pete for some years as part of Frank Fonseca's band "The Embers". Jean and my wife, Margaret always got on together like a house on fire. We often talk about the times we had in Dobcross or The Lamp or that place in Langley I can't remember the name of it. I always had a lot of respect for people like Pete because they had been there, done it and got  the Tee Shirt as they say. Please pass on our condolences to Jean and Family. Due to work commitment we are unable to attend the funeral.

Colin Lounsbach - 

When I was active on the Manchester jazz scene I had the privilege of meeting some wonderful characters and Pete was right up there with the best of them. I suppose I go back as far as most with Pete . When Bert Allen and I were part of a band which 'rehearsed' - I use the world loosely - in a room at Victoria Avenue School, Blackley, Denis Gilmore joined us on piano becoming in effect the only musician in the band. He later brought in Pete who at the time was on clarinet. That would be in about 1950. Pete then switched to trombone and over the coming years I played with him many times in different musical contexts - always a happy experience if on occasions throwing up the odd surprise like the time we were booked for a newspaper gig in Manchester and Pete turned up sans trombone explaining that he had 'forgotten' it. He then proceeded to produce from his car boot a tenor horn which he blew happily for the rest of the night. 

That was Pete - a lovely guy with a tremendous if sometimes offbeat sense of humour. The last time I played regularly with Pete was in a band with Randy Coleville also sadly no longer with us. Anyway, last Friday Bert and I were discussing the possibility of perhaps, sometimes in the New Year hiring a suitable venue and throwing a party/jam session in memory of Pete and to celebrate his life. It would be open to all who knew and played with him.

I spoke to Jean on Saturday and she thought that it would be a lovely idea. It would be dependent on finding the right venue and of course on the level of support. Anybody out there interested? 

If so drop me a line on anita.lounsbach * (replace " * " with  @ )

Laurie Cooper. - 

I'd just want to say how sad I am to hear of the death of Pete. I haven't seen him for years now, but I used to get on with him very well when I saw him regularly in the 1980s. I've got lots of happy memories of him. 

John Gordon  - 

So sorry to hear of Pete's death. Although he had moved away from Manchester he was not forgotten by the many musicians who knew him well. I always had great admiration for his musicianship, and his enthusiasm for all styles of music. I look back on the times we played together in Pete's ' Trombone Band ' along with his fellow trombonists Terry Brunt and the late, great, Ken Wray, as a unique musical experience. It was a privilege and pleasure to have known him. Kath and I send our condolences to Jean and family.

Jim Galloway (Fife) - 

I am very sad to hear of Pete's passing away. Pete was a lovely person, so easy-going and always a pleasure to be with. I first played with him at The Midland, West Didsbury, when I first came to Manchester in 1970. When the night was over Pete asked me if I would like to join the band, went off to get the money, and then came back and told us it was the last night. Hired and fired in the space of ten minutes!. I visited him in hospital after his serious accident and was quite amazed that he somehow managed to recover the way he did, and carry on playing again. We played together on many occasions throughout the years, most recently regularly at The Malt Shovels in Altrincham. I would like to extend my sympathies to Jean. They were always together on the gigs. So Long to a good friend.

George Morrison,  St. Andrews ( drums ) - 

Fred, Saddened to hear of the passing of yet another former stalwart. First met Peter at the Warren Buckley in Stockport 1979, when, during the course of a conversation between band numbers , he mentioned Frank Fonseca, with whom I had played in Hong Kong. Arranged a reunion at a gig, and of course ended up sitting - in. This led to me playing in the Taverner's Jazz Band and I ended my playing career with Frank in the Jazz Bandits.

I can well imagine how both are sadly missed not only by their Families, but also by the many fans and fellow musicians who admired their playing. I know I will.

             Photograph courtesy of  RAF  Bempton 


Hello Fred

  I have just been given your link which covers the unfortunate death of Pete Haslam. We were both stationed at RAF Bempton (nr. Bridlington) and I played a solo spot on piano at our 'music' evenings at the Royal British Legion Club in Bridlington. I have been trying to trace Pete for several years in order to put his story on the Site which I run ( If you care to have a look at this site, click on personnel; then at the bottom of that page click on 'click here for more pictures' and a lovely old picture should appear (about 3 down) which will interest you no doubt - go back to the previous page and select  picture'list' where on the left side of the page you will see a list of personnel who were stationed there, Pete's name will take you to a page with a very poor write-up of him and I would very much like to be able to up-date this.

This wonderful action photo shows the Jazz/Skiffle group playing in the Royal British Legion in Bridlington it consists of Pete (The Baron) Haslam on trombone, Willie Skinner on piano, Ginger Veitch (I think) on tea chest - a very lucrative extra-cash event, I often played the piano (classical) in the interval.

Regards Norman Down

I just got the page of tributes to Pete from my brother Ted and was overwhelmed by the many messages of kindness and friendship that they convey. A very big thank you to everyone. I guess many of you know that I dropped out of the trad jazz scene many years ago but I still enjoy listening to jazz. Reading all your testimonials has brought back many many happy memories of what a great time we all had in that tremendous era of the late fifties and well into the sixties. Where it not for Pete I probably would never have picked up any instrument let alone the clarinet and missed out on it all.

Robin Haslam           

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