NYJO was extremely saddened to hear that ex-NYJO drummer Chris Dagley was killed in the small hours of Wednesday 28th July, when his motorcycle crashed on the A40 dual carriageway near White City. Chris was returning home from his regular gig with the James Pearson Trio, the Ronnie Scott house band.
The shocking death of 38-year old Chris, who was one of the busiest musicians in London, has robbed British jazz of one of its most respected and best-liked performers. Bright, friendly and conscientious, he was a crisp, hard-swinging drummer who took great pride in his work.
A drum prodigy since the age of 12, Chris was a long-serving member of NYJO. Coming from Solihull, he was only able to make regular attendances at the Saturday rehearsals by staying in Music Director Bill Ashton’s family home over the weekends. “He was one of the best drummers we’ve ever had,” Bill said, when Chris turned freelance.
Chris quickly established himself as an unusually gifted and versatile soloist, clinician, arranger, section player and sight-reader, working not only with jazz stars (Benny Golson, Randy Brecker, Jim Mullen, Don Weller) but also the BBC Big Band and big pop names including Liza Minnelli, Bette Midler, Lionel Ritchie, Gary Barlow, Westlife and The Osmonds.
He lived in Ruislip, Middlesex and leaves a widow, Jan, and three young children. He will be sadly missed by his many close friends at NYJO and we send our sincere condolences to all Chris’s family, friends and colleagues.
A more in-depth article about Chris and his association with NYJO will appear here in due course.