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date: 19 October 2019

Amstell, Billy [William ]locked

  • Nevil Skrimshire

Extract

[William ]

(b London, Aug 20, 1911; d London, December 19, 2005). English clarinetist and saxophonist. He took up piano when he was ten and taught himself alto saxophone from the age of 13. Although he began playing professionally in Glasgow, in 1930 he moved to London. In 1931 he played with the bandleader Roy Fox, and in September of that year he joined Bert Ambrose; after changing to tenor saxophone he became a principal soloist with the band (1932). He remained with Ambrose until summer 1940, apart from a period from April to July 1939, when he was with the bandleader Jack Harris. Having joined the RAF, he played in service bands (through 1943), then worked with the bandleader Geraldo (1944 – September 1945) and again with Ambrose (October 1945 – March 1947). Amstell spent six years in the dance orchestra of the BBC, after which he was active as a session musician with such leaders as George Chisholm. He also played on cruise ships. In the 1980s and 1990s he concentrated on playing clarinet and made recordings with his own quartet (including ...

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