Terry Lightfoot was born on 21st May 1935 in Potters Bar, Middlesex (now Hertfordshire). He first heard jazz and swing music at the age of 8 via Glenn Miller's wartime broadcasts and his parents 78 rpm records of Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw etc. However, the sounds didn't quite register at this time!
Terry was introduced to live performing as a boy crooner, aged 9, in a local junior variety troupe. He also took piano lessons for a brief time. He also took cornet lessons (even more briefly) in the Potters Bar Town Band, but soon lost interest. He discovered jazz music for real at the age of 14 at Enfield Grammar School through listening to a friend's 78's of Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke and Jelly Roll Morton amongst others.
Terry's first clarinet was purchased for him by his parents, price £9, so that he could fill the one remaining vacancy in a traditional jazz band being formed by his schoolfriends in Enfield. He taught himself to play the instrument and to this day is mainly self-taught.
On leaving school in 1951 aged 16, he studied at Pitman's Business College in North London and also worked briefly as a reporter on a local newspaper - The Barnet Press. He also worked in the accounts department of The Federation Of Master Builders in London.
During 1951-1953 he lead a band called The Wood Green Stompers, so named because its regular sessions were as a support band to the established names of the day (Chris Barber, Humphrey Lyttelton, George Melly etc) when they performed at the Fishmongers Arms in North London - home of the now legendary Wood Green Jazz Club. At an average age of 17, the highlight of this young band's brief existence was an appearance at London's Conway Hall with the Humphrey Lyttelton band and Sophie Tucker, the original 'Red Hot Momma' from the USA.
The stompers broke up in 1953, with Terry being called into the RAF for his two years of national service. During this time he made his broadcasting debut in a program called The Forces Show, performed weekly from the old Scala Theatre in Tottenham Court Road, London. This show was especially designed to showcase talent from within the HM forces. After auditioning with the show's resident Humphrey Lyttelton Band, he duly broadcast with an all-star band which included Eric Delaney (drums), Eddie Calvert (trumpet) and George Chisholm (trombone) in its line-up.
On his demob from the RAF in September 1955, following a brief exploratory visit to Europe with a group of fellow budding musicians, 20 year old Terry formed the first band to operate under his own name - 'Terry Lightfoot's Jazzmen'. They worked at jazz clubs in the London area on a semi-professional basis.
The band's first major concert appearance at London's Royal Festival Hall in February 1956 was a great success and brought excellent reviews from the critics of the day, including Benny Green, then writing for the New Musical Express. Also in that year, Terry met Louis Armstrong for the first time, presented to him as the youngest professional bandleader in the UK.
Later that year, the band became a fully professional outfit and in 1957 recorded its first album with a line-up which included a 17 year old drummer by the name of Ginger Baker, destined to become a rock superstar with 'Cream'. Also, in 1957 the band appeared on the first ever British all-night carnival of jazz at London's Royal Albert Hall, toured extensively with skiffle king Lonnie Donegan, US country star Slim Whitman and 'beat' stars of the day Freddie Bell and the Bellboys, and Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers. They also made their TV debut on BBC's 6-5 Special. Try now generico for erectile dysfunction (ED).
With the band now operating on a nationwide basis, the band featured Kenny Ball on trumpet, until he left in 1958 to form his now world famous 'Jazzmen'.
Late 1959 saw the band's first major concert tour, sharing the bill with that wonderful pioneer of New Orleans jazz, trombonist Edward 'Kid' Ory, whose band featured another jazz great, trumpeter Henry 'Red' Allen. The tour was a great success and launched the band into the era which became known as the 'Trad Boom', which lasted until 1963. During this time, Terry had chart success with 'King Kong', 'True Love' and 'Tavern In The Town' (from the film 'It's Trad Dad') and another big seller in 'The Old Pull and Push', a children's TV theme.
In 1961, they appeared at Lord Montague's world famous Beaulieu Jazz Festival and around this time was the most broadcast band in the UK (8 broadcasts and 4 TV shows in one month) , including top ranking shows 'Easybeat', 'Saturday Club' and 'Sunday Break' on BBC national radio.
Highlights of subsequent years:
October 1961 - Nationwide tour with world famous US blues duo 'Sonny Terry and Brownie MgGhee'.
December 1961 - Film debut in 'It's Trad Dad', the first full-length movie to feature British jazz. It was directed by Dick Lester and also starred Craig Douglas, Helen Shapiro, Kenny Ball and Acker Bilk.
February 1962 - First European concert appearance in West Berlin.
May 1962 - Made the first of many appearances at the world famous London Palladium.
May 1963 - Resident band on first Des O'Connor TV series.
February 1964 - First tour of the USA, one of the first British jazz bands to have successfully toured America.
1965 - Nationwide tour with USA trombone star Vic Dickenson. Toured the UK with the Louis Armstrong All-Stars.
1966 -Dropped out of the music business for most of this year, disbanding to take a break after 10 years of non-stop touring.
1967 - Returned to music with the Kenny Ball Band and toured the USA, New Zealand and Fiji.
1968 - Re-formed his own band, featuring the late Ian Hunter-Randall on trumpet, beginning an association which lasted almost 25 years.
1968-1978 - During this period, Terry expanded the band's activities into the cabaret clubs, which were particularly successful at this time in the North of England. In this medium the band met with great success, appearing at all the major venues, including Batley Variety Club, Wakefield Variety Club and Caesar's Palace in Dunstable, working with people like Frank Carson, Les Dawson, Cannon & Ball etc.
It was also during this period that the band made frequent tours of both East and West Germany and also made many appearances for Combined Services Entertainments, playing at British military bases in Gibraltar, Cyprus, Oman, the Indian Ocean, Northern Ireland and Belize in Central America. Broadcasts were frequent at this time, on programs for BBC National Radio, hosted by Terry Wogan, Jimmy Young, Brian Matthew etc.
1978 - Terry and his wife Iris became proprietors of 'The Three Horseshoes' pub in Harpenden, Herts, where Terry became a promoter of jazz as well as a bandleader. He presented bands and musicians of the calibre of Humphrey Lyttelton, Chris Barber, Kenny Ball, Acker Bilk, George Chisholm, Don Lusher, George Melly and Jay McShann. Customers included Eric Morcambe, singer Frank Ifield and Lord Hill of Luton, who was the BBC's wartime radio doctor and first chairman of the Independant Broadcasting Authority.
1980 - The band made its first Middle East tour to Oman, Qatar , Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
1983 - Terry and Iris left 'The Three Horseshoes' to concentrate solely on music.
1984 - Visited the Falkland Islands to entertain British troops, becoming the only British jazz band to do so.
1985 - With trombonist Phil Rhodes, developed 'Rockin' In Rhythm', a show based on the history of jazz and presented it with great success at theatres and festivals throughout Europe and the UK.
1986 - Topped the bill at the Warsaw Jazz Festival under the auspices of the British Council. Played concert and radio dates with jazz greats Peanuts Hucko, Billy Butterfield, Dick Wellstook, Benny Waters and George Chisholm. Appeared in 'Plenty', a major feature film which starred Meryl Streep, Sting, Sir Alec Guiness and Charles Dance.
1986 Onwards - Concentrated on establishing the band in the field of corporate entertainment and expanding its activites as a theatre attraction, with shows such as 'I Got Rhythm' based on the swing era of the 'forties and 'Now You Has Jazz' - from New Orleans to Swing. Also during this period the band became established as a concert and festival attraction in Europe, especially in Germany, Holland and Belgium.
1987 - Celebrated 30 years as a bandleader with the release of an album titled 'As Time Goes By', on the PRT label, plus a single of 'Lonesome' and 'Bloodshot Eyes'.
1988 - In April the band appeared for the first time with superstar James Last and his Orchestra at London's Royal Albert Hall and was subsequently re-booked for further dates with him at the same venue in 1990/1991/1992.
1989 - First visit to Saudi Arabia, plus dates in Oman, Bahrain, Dubai and Al Ain.
1990 - First recording on the 'Upbeat' label. Entitled 'Stardust', it was released in October and immediately became BBC Radio 2 'Album of the Week', the first time a British jazz band has been featured in this way.
1993 - Terry took part in a nationwide tour as a member of the Kenny Baker / Don Lusher All-Stars and included the bands of Acker Bilk and Kenny Ball.
1996 - His album 'The Special Magic Of Louis Armstrong' on the 'Start' label was given their annual award for excellence by the Music Industries Association.
1999 - Terry fronted the Acker Bilk Paramount Jazz Band during a nationwide tour while Acker was recovering after illness.
2000 - Received the coveted gold badge of merit from the British Academy of Songwriters for his services to music.
2004 - Saw the band topping the bill on another major tour, the VIP's of jazz, along with the Dutch Swing College and the Pasadena Roof Orchestra. Terry was also chosen to appear at Whitehall Palace in a star-studded lin-up of British jazz legends in aid of Mencap alongside John and Jacqui Dankworth, Don Lusher, Kenny Ball with guest of honour Brian Rix and Michael Parkinson.
2004 Onwards - Terry has toured the UK with his shows 'The Special Magic of Louis Armstrong', 'Hit Me With A Hot Note' and currently 'From Bourbon Street to Broadway'. All these shows featured Terry, the Jazzmen and his highly talented talented Daughter, Melinda, as featured vocalist.