Ball, Kenny [Kenneth Daniel]
- Ken Rattenbury
(b Ilford, England, May 22, 1930; d Basildon, England, March 7, 2013). English trumpeter and bandleader. He took up trumpet at the age of 14 and first worked professionally when he was 17. In the early 1950s he played dixieland with several bands, notably those of Charlie Galbraith and the drummer Eric Delaney, and in 1953 he joined a group led by Sid Phillips, with whom he played a stylized brand of dixieland characterized by elaborate arrangements. Ball recorded as a leader from 1957, and after leaving Phillips’s group he worked briefly as a freelance and was a member of Terry Lightfoot’s ensemble. In November 1958 he formed the Jazzmen, with which he made several recordings that achieved great popularity (Samantha, 1961; Midnight in Moscow, 1961; So do I, 1962) and many tours, including one of the USSR (1985); the band remained busy in the 1990s. Ball’s full, muscular tone and strong sense of melody display the influence not only of Armstrong but also of Bunny Berigan and Bix Beiderbecke; in his performances he revealed a warm, extroverted personality. With John Bennett he published a memoir: Kenny Ball’s and John Bennett’s Musical Skylarks: a Medley of Memories (Clacton-on-Sea, England, 2011)...