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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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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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Gonella, Nathaniel Charles [Nat] (1908–1998), jazz trumpeter and singer, was born on 7 March 1908 at 15 Edward Square, Islington, London, the fourth of seven children of Richard Henry Gonella (1871–1915), cab driver, and his wife, Elizabeth Susan Finnes. His father, who was of partly Italian descent, drove one of the first motorized ...

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Herbert Jansch (1943–2011) by Keith Morris, 1985 © Estate of Keith Morris / Redferns / Getty Images

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Jansch, Herbert [Bert] (1943–2011), guitarist, singer, and composer, was born on 3 November 1943 at Stobhill Hospital, Springburn, Glasgow, the son of Herbert Jansch (1911–1970), a builder's labourer then serving as a private in the Royal Army Service Corps, and his wife, Margaret Henderson Robertson (Maggie), ...

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Korner, Alexis (1928–1984), blues singer and guitarist, was born in Paris on 19 April 1928. His father was a former Austrian cavalry officer, and his mother was Greek. He was brought up in France, Switzerland, and north Africa. The family left France in 1940 in one of the last ships to leave the country during the Second World War and settled in ...

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Wheeler grew up in a musical household. His father was a semi-professional trombonist, and his mother a good pianist and singer. Wheeler started on the piano aged seven or eight, and after the family had moved to a new home in Owen Sound, Ontario, his father finally brought home a cornet when ...