Last updated Saturday January 23, 2021 at 21:22:14
RIP January 2021
23/02/21- Keith Alcock has written, "It was with great sadness that I learned that Terry Porter passed away peacefully this week, a really fine musician with whom it was always a privilege to play."
It was back in August 2012 that Terry emailed me to ask if I could sell his Elkhart fully curved soprano saxophone, which he said was in as new condition, and which he had owned from new, the only reason for sale, he said was, that he had to stop playing for health reasons.
Before moving north in the late ‘90s, Terry, an Essex lad, had spent years as a pro on the London scene. Taught by the legendary alto-sax player Harry Hayes, he had played with many well-known figures. He’d been a member of the Eric Winstone Orchestra, had done broadcasts with Sid Philips, been a session musician for the BBC and toured with Danny Moss.
Outside the jazz/dance band field he was regularly hired in the backing bands of well-known artists, including Cliff Richard, Frank Ifield and Tommy Steele. One regret he had was having had to turn down the chance to tour with the Joe Loss Orchestra because of responsibilities to his young family. As a teacher he was proud of having taught the young Stan Sulzmann, who went on to great things in the jazz world and who incidentally bought Terry’s tenor sax from him when Terry retired a few years ago.
When in 1998 he and his wife Marilyn moved north to live close to their daughter, he became a regular guest at the Jazz Rendezvous sessions at the Star at Rainford and when The Jazz Gentlemen formed in 2004, he was a natural choice to play reeds. His background had been in modern jazz, but he easily adapted to fit the band’s Chicago-style/mainstream repertoire.
There followed the best part of a decade of thoroughly enjoyable music-making, with Terry performing wonderfully on tenor, alto, and soprano saxes, clarinet and flute. Eventually, ill health forced him to retire from playing, but he spoke with great fondness of his days with The Jazz Gentlemen. The memory of his big, Texas-style tenor ripping through a solo, but also of his sensitive interpretation of ballads like Laura and Don’t Blame Me is one I cherish, as is my memory of the man himself, unassuming and courteous – a real gentleman.
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