Monday, April 24, 2017

RIP Ken Gibson

August 3, 2015 by  

NYJO was saddened to hear of the death of former NYJO composer and associate Ken Gibson in July. In his memory, NYJO included Ken’s flugel feature The Perfumed Garden at its recent Spice of Life gig. It’s especially poignant in NYJO’s 50th anniversary year as Ken was a hugely important influence in NYJO’s early days. He contributed many charts and together with Dick Walter and a few others really started to build the NYJO pad and sound.

NYJO trustee Ted Rockley writes: “I got to know Ken around 1965 when I was 13. Ken, then a maths teacher, playing trumpet and bass, ran one of the ‘evening institute bands’ under Bill Ashton’s LYJA umbrella. A few years later Ken had got himself onto the new arranging and composition course with the newly appointed John Dankworth at the Royal Academy of Music. It was during this time that charts started to appear, among them Negev, Hip Hip, With You in Mind, Keep Left for the Gospel Hall, The Threshing Machine, Oh Fabjus Day, Nookering the Umtagartie, Bangers Mash and Peas and The Perfumed Garden, many finding their way onto NYJO recordings or distributed via the MU to rehearsal bands nationwide. Ken also ran KGBB – The Ken Gibson Big Band! Ken went on to succeed Dave Lindup as the Dankworth’s musical associate then onto a career as a music producer with nearly everybody”.

NYJO sends our collective thoughts, best wishes and condolences to his family and friends. If you have any memories or stories about Ken and NYJO we would love to hear them:


4 Responses to “RIP Ken Gibson”
  1. DICK PEARCE says:

    KEN GIBSON RIP: Ted Rockley (alto), fellow member of NYJO with me during the late 60s/early 70s has just informed me of the sad news of Ken Gibson passing. Ken was a great inspiration to all of us young bloods, he gave very constructive critique to us on many different levels, from reading, improvisational concept and most importantly – attitude. When I was a young man of 19 serving in the army, I hated it, but looked forward every week to his small ensemble classes held at Moberley Youth Centre (Kilburn) on Friday evenings. He kept me sane! Unfortunately it’s been a few decades since we last saw each other. But I will never forget him for his encouragement and musicianship. Rest in peace Ken.

  2. John Elliott says:

    RIP Ken Gibson. I always enjoyed playing Ken’s charts in NYJO. As a tuba player, it was a delight that his charts always had such nice things for me to do. I often thought about Ken, and wondered what he was up to in the years since we all went our separate ways. Then, by an extraordinary coincidence, he turned up at a concert last year where I was playing bass saxophone. This led to our becoming social media chums, and sadly that is how I learned of his death. His compositions were a major building block in NYJO’s early years, and certainly contributed to my enjoyment. (I was going to write “in NYJO’s formative years”, but I suppose that every year is a formative year in such an entity.) Thanks, Ken, and RIP.

  3. DICK PEARCE says:

    Dear Bill and NYJO,

    I would so much have loved to attend the 50th anniversary ‘do’ at the 100 club but unfortunately in October 2015 I’m sitting in the rain on a balcony in Croatia contemplating my life to date.

    Back in 1966 my only experience of playing with other musicians was with the local {Ewell village) brass band. Joining the NYJO at that time (aged 15) gave my life the direction I was looking for.

    For me, it was a time of discovering my abilities and limitations as a player. I have written quite extensively about this in my autobiography entitled ‘Dizzy Gillespie Was At My Wedding’.

    I wish I had subtitled this memoir as – ‘An observation of ‘Life’ from the perspective of a British jazz musician’. But I didn’t, I subtitled it ‘A sideman’s view of Ronnie Scott’.

    If it wasn’t for the learning curve I experienced from being a member of NYJO (or LYJO as it was then), I would not be the ‘skint’ jazz musician I am today. However, I have had the enormous pleasure of travelling all over the world since then playing with an abundence of wonderful musicians.

    I would like to say a big THANK YOU TO BILL ASHTON for making my life the joy it is today.

    To find out why, please visit my website and order my book ‘Dizzy Gillespie Was At My Wedding’ published by Bill Scott and Ian Hannah.

    It’s only 10 quid.

    May Bill and The NYJO continue forever,

    Love, peace and brown rice,
    Dick Pearce.

  4. Oscar Sam-Carrol says:

    RIP Ken Gibson

    I am so sadden to hear the news today that Ken Gibson passed away last year 12th June 2015, If I did not called his home this morning and spoke to his friend and House mate James Miles who gave me the sad news. I am deeply shocked, I have lost a very good friend a big brother from another mother, whom I have known a few years before his hit record “Nice & Slow” – by Jesse Green.

    During the good old days when he lived in Muswell Hill, North London, our friendship continued even when he and the family moved to Ilfracombe in Devon. During this period I wrote the theme song for the Notting hill Carnival it was recorded over a weekend at his Studio in Ilfracombe with Dezzy Boy. Over the years of our friendship I have got him to work with various artists I was working with, i.e. UK-Apachi, Odyssey, Menace and MOBO winner UK Rapper Phoebe One.

    Oh Ken I and my Artists will miss you so dearly, my deepest condolences to his family Carol & the kids, may the good Lord God grant you eternal Rest until we all meet in Paradise…Amen
    Oscar Sam-Carrol
    7th March 2016

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!