Tony J. Davis 24/08/1930 - 10/02/2017
Some sad news I’m afraid. Tony Davis passed away last Friday, 10th February at the home of his daughter Jackie in Great Sankey, Warrington. He had been in hospital a few days previously but returned home on the Thursday and passed away peacefully at home the next day.
Tony was a wonderful character who did a tremendous amount of work for jazz in the Northwest - remember his Jazz FM radio programmes on Sunday evenings ? He was a lone voice promoting our Traditional Jazz on the airwaves. He also, with the help of his wife Beryl, promoted jazz concerts at New Brighton, which raised thousands of pounds for charities - the Mozambique flood disaster and the Gujarat earthquake in India - with musicians donating their time for free.
Tony’s funeral is on FRIDAY 24TH FEBRUARY, at 3pm at Warrington crematorium (Walton Lea), Chester Road, Higher Walton WA4 6TB.
The family have said that if jazz musicians wish to attend and play a tribute to Tony, they would be most welcome. Our sincere condolences are with Tony’s widow, Beryl and all her family.
I was very sad to hear this. I can go back to his days with the Spinners and watched many a programme on TV, some coming from the Octagon Theatre in Bolton. I also saw the Spinners when they brought the farewell tour to Preston. Little did I realise in those days how well I would get to know him.
Tony had been one of my greatest supporters when it came to this web site. In some ways he was responsible for the site coming together in the first place. Having been a radio ham since soon after leaving school, I'd always been happy tuning around on the radio looking for new radio stations, and in 1994 I came across a test transmission for a new station on VHF. It was called JazzFM which was about to start up in Manchester and one of the programmes being advertised was "Tony's Tradtime" which was specifically for followers of traditional Jazz. The music being played was just like the music I used to love in the late 50s early 60s. So I was there on 4th September listening to his programme and discovering that the music was still being played live up and down the North West, and Tony would tell us where it was happening. His signature tune was, of course, Doctor Jazz.
It was after visiting some of the jazz venues mentioned on Tony's programme coupled with my interest in electronics/computing and a short University course to find out what this "Internet" was all about, that I started the web site, which at the time was called "Traditional Jazz in Lancashire".
One day I even ventured to email Tony at JazzFM to solve a question for me. "What was the difference between New Orleans & Dixieland Jazz". I felt I was more at home with New Orleans Jazz, so told him which bands I liked and what instruments I preferred. I was surprised to get a phone call soon after, from the studio, to be given the obvious answer. "What you like", he said, "is British Trad".
As the site developed, Tony began to give it a plug on his show most weeks. He was always there to offer advice and I never ceased to be amazed at his encyclopaedic knowledge of the genre, and it wasn't just limited to traditional styles, his taste was quite catholic. I saw the Tony Davis Band on several occasions and created a web page for the Tony Davis Band. It was through Tony's programmes that I learned that Traditional Jazz was not something created by Barber Ball & Bilk after all! I have lots of recordings of Tony's radio programmes, which because of the hourly length wouldn't fit on a standard cassette tape, so they are on video tape. I must get them on to a memory stickbefore the VHS recorder goes the way of all other technology.
Barbara and I were honoured to be invited to attend Tony & Beryl's Golden Wedding celebration on 27th August 2006. I was also invited, but never did get to see, his enormous collection of jazz recordings which he delighted in telling me about and how it was getting difficult to move round his music room for them
RIP Tony, you did a tremendous amount of work not just for Traditional Jazz but for the charity events mentioned by Terry Birkinhead.
I first came across Tony Davis when I bought the first Spinners LP, it definitely got me into folk music and I found the local folk club in Lancaster, The Lancaster Folk Stir run by Gladys Parkinson an English Folk Dance and Song Society stalwart, I was a member for a very long time, part of the resident group at one point then it led a bunch of us into a starting a Morris Dancing team that lasted until last year, also because of the folk club.
I met a guy who ran a street band (Cat Island Street Band), and he got me back into playing clarinet again so Mr Davis and The Spinners changed my life, I knew Tony was into jazz but of course most people did not know that in the folk world.
Tony Davis was an amazing fellow and his love of jazz was important in the story of Merseyside jazz, including the Blue Mags. He always supported our Sunday lunchtime sessions at the Grand Hotel, New Brighton in the late 60’s/early ‘70s but when trumpeter Ken Sims left us to return to London in 1972 it looked as if the band would be unable to continue to exist. Even though it was the period when he was working non-stop with the Spinners, Tony took the time to persistently cajole me and the others not to give up and to keep the band going. In the end we found the wonderful Les Harris …and the rest is history! However, without Tony, I have often wondered if the band would have survived.
Tony was such an amazingly enthusiastic character. It was not easy to have a conversation with him (difficult to get a word in!) and it was important he phoned you rather than the other way round as the telephone bill would have been astronomic. But Tony was always cheerful, always positive and his massive enthusiasm for the music was infectious. We had a hilarious weekend with Tony and Beryl here in Brittany in the 90’s and our thoughts are with Beryl and his family at this time. Tony was a great personality but a very kind and sincere one too.
So sorry to hear of the passing of Tony Davis. Sadly I haven't seen him for many years. I saw him occasionally when I played with the Tuxedo's in Wallasey. He always supported the Savoy when we played at the Brewers Arms in Neston. He would always sing with the band and play his kazoo. A real character and such fun to be with.
My condolences to Beryl and all his family.
Peter Swensson. (Savoy Jazzmen)
That is a shame. Tony was a great supporter and contributor to Just Jazz in its first decade.
So sorry to hear that Tony is no longer with us. It was a double shock to see that lovely photo of him, smiling as ever as he always did, it was like being in his company to see it. Exactly as Trevor Stent has put it, always kind, helpful, and above all enthusiastic. Until fairly recently he was a regular at our sessions withe Tuxedo in Wallasey, and it was a great pleasure to talk jazz with him. I first met him probably 20+ years ago, at a gig the Yarrow River were doing at Roa Island in the Lakes. He sang a couple of numbers with the band and we had really good night. We'll all miss him.
Very sad to hear Tony has passed away. He was a super
chap and the only one, in the Northwest anyway, to support local bands on
local radio and also JazzFM. His enthusiasm was boundless and infectious and
in the band intervals he used to frequently tower above me (quite easily
done) and bend my ear for ages about promoting this and that and, as Trevor
Stent says, would talk on the phone so long that, if you were out at the
time, the answerphone tape, as it was in those days would finally come to an
I remain eternally grateful to Tony, because without his enterprising spirit I would never have met, and played with one of my heroes, Monty Sunshine. Tony booked Monty to appear in the function room at Tranmere Rovers in March 1992 and invited the Mathew St Ragtime Band to accompany him. Monty gave me some wonderful constructive advice relating to the way I was playing at that time and it made a huge difference to me from then on. The golden years of “Tony’s Tradtime” on Jazz FM are a lasting memorial to him as long as the recordings survive. His rapid-fire delivery of the weekly “What’s Ons” rivalled Alan Freeman’s famous Top 20 countdowns, and were often even faster! Also at his 6’7” to my meagre 6’4”, he was one of the very few people I felt small standing next to.
Tony's funeral, Friday 24th February, Walton Lea Crematorium, Warrington.
Family, friends & musicians paid a fitting tribute to Tony , who of course was a member of the famous Spinners Folk Group who appeared regularly on TV and radio for many years and performed at concerts all over the country.
Tony was an unceasing promoter of Traditional jazz on Merseyside and the North West, hosting a weekly jazz hour on Jazz FM, and promoting jazz concerts and parades, many in aid of charities.
A band of 14 musicians led the cortege to the chapel, and played following the service, with another 6 musicians in attendance, another 2 being ‘stranded’ by horrendous ‘tail-backs’ on the M56. A congregation of over 200 meant that many had to listen to the moving service from outside the chapel.
Spinners Mick Groves, Hughie Jones and John McCormack lead the wonderful singing of “Amazing Grace.”
As family commented afterwards, they were ‘thrilled to bits’ with the huge support of everyone at this service of tribute to a much loved and respected character who did so much sterling work over the tears for the music that he loved.
I first saw Tony with the Gin Mill Skiffle Group, I think. Also he ran a small cellar jazz club in New Brighton called the Krall Club and I played there, but can't remember if it was Dave Lind Jazz Band or the Dave Stone Jazz Band, but it was a small room. Many years later Tony came into the Newby Bridge Hotel and sat in with my band, singing a blues. I think he had a boat on Windermere.
Another good man has left the building.
I first met Tony when we both worked the Christmas post in 1955. At the time he was recumbent and concussed, having slipped on a patch of ice. It was the only time I found him at a loss for words. The second time I met him was at a jam session at Alistair Wallace’s home, when Tony was playing clarinet, an activity that was not mentioned preciously in this tribute page.
Tony Davies and his new wife I met when we were playing on the Royal Iris, they were married that day and despite the obvious " pressures" Tony put playing on the Royal Iris at the top of the list. I was impressed by his dedication to the priorities, I hope Beryl forgave him.
Those were the days ?
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