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Appleton, Joseph Edward [Joe] (1903/4–1991), saxophonist, clarinettist, and bandleader, was born Joseph Edward Appleton-Thomas in Porus, Jamaica, on 2 June 1903 or 1904, the only son and one of two children of Joseph Appleton-Thomas, a road maintenance official. His parents were Jamaican. In ...

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Bilk, Bernard Stanley [Acker] (1929–2014), clarinettist and bandleader, was born in Pensford, Somerset, on 28 January 1929, the son of William John Bilk (1876–1941), journeyman carpenter and cabinet maker, and part-time church organist, and his wife, Lilian Lydia Amanda, ...

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Blake, Cyril McDonald [called Midnight Blake] (1897–1951), jazz musician, was born on 22 October 1897 in Trinidad, the son of Samuel Blake, cabinet-maker. He served in the merchant navy in the First World War and went to Britain on discharge. In October 1921 he was a member for engagements in ...

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Bryden, Beryl Audrey (1920–1998), jazz singer and washboard player, was born on 11 May 1920 at 17 Rowington Road, Norwich, Norfolk, the only child of Amos Wilfred Bertram Bryden, a commercial traveller, and his wife, Elsie Maud Tyler Reeves Jones. She was educated at ...

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Beryl Audrey Bryden (1920–1998) by David Redfern, 1990 photograph David Redfern / Redferns

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Campbell, Ambrose (1919–2006), musician and bandleader, was born Oladipupo Adekoya Campbell in Lagos, Nigeria, on 19 August 1919, the third of four sons in the family of six children of James, G. M., or Adekoya Campbell, a minister in the West African Episcopal church...

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Cann, Rita Evelyn [performing name Rita Lawrence] (1911–2001), pianist and singer, was born on 24 January 1911 at Heathfield, Box Ridge Avenue, Beddington, Surrey, the elder daughter and eldest of three children of Albert Sam Cann (1871–1930×34), an import–export merchant, and his wife, ...

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Rita Evelyn Cann (1911–2001) by Val Wilmer, 1990 photograph © Val Wilmer

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Dacres, Desmond Adolphus [known as Desmond Dekker] (1941–2006), singer and songwriter, was born on 16 July 1941 in St Andrew, on the outskirts of Kingston, Jamaica. Little is known about his childhood except that after his mother's early death his father, desiring a proper education for his son, sent him to live with relatives in the quiet country town of ...

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Desmond Adolphus Dacres (1941–2006) by David Corio, 1985 Getty Images