16 Year Old Billy Reece Davison – An Inspirational Young Clarinetist

 

Reece at The Edinburgh Jazz ’n Jive Club with Vi Mills’ “The Spirits of Rhythm”. Vi on piano, Ian on reeds, Jim Petrie on cornet, Kenny Milne on drums, Dizzy Jackson on bass, Brian Weld on banjo and, yes, me sitting in on clarinet!

Reece at The Edinburgh Jazz ’n Jive Club with Vi Mills’ “The Spirits of Rhythm”. Vi on piano, Ian on reeds, Jim Petrie on cornet, Kenny Milne on drums, Dizzy Jackson on bass, Brian Weld on banjo and, yes, me sitting in on clarinet!

I specify on my Facebook Jazzers Group that a key aim of Jazz&Jazz is to feature our emerging new generation of bands, musicians and fans dedicated to keeping jazz LIVE AND ALIVE … and especially to spotlight emerging, young talent. Aged only 16, clarinetist Billy Reece Davison is just such a talent – a future jazz star in the making!

Reece is so keen on Jazz that he joined my Facebook Jazzers Group some time ago and regularly keeps us up to date with his activities, friends, school, fishing but mainly jazz – with photos and YouTubes. More recently he let it be known that besides following his jazz heroes he longed to sit in with their bands for more experience. His post got a very supportive response and Jazz Saxophonist Ian Boyter threw out a challenge to Reece to head north to Scotland and play at the Edinburgh Jazz’n Jive Club with Vi Mills’ “Spirits of Rhythm” Band.

So next we knew Reece was heading north with his very supportive dad, also a dedicated jazz enthusiast, to take up the invitation – and indeed to throw out a challenge to other keen, musical youngsters to follow suit and take up jazz.

But best let Reece tell the story in his own words.

Billy Reece Davison – An Aspiring Clarinetist 


From a very young age jazz has always been my inspiration, not just listening to the music but playing it…

Reece with Chris Barber, one of his heroes and mentors.

Reece with Chris Barber, one of his jazz heroes and mentors.

… and listening to all the greats, Acker Bilk, Terry Lightfoot, Woody Herman, Kenny Ball, Chris Barber and so on. These players have always inspired me, especially my idol Acker Bilk with his original and strong rich tone. I would sit down as a very young child and listen to old recordings from the 1950s/70s and also to my father Harry busking along in the front room. I was in my element, mesmerised by the music!  Nowhere else I would rather be!

A few years went by and when I was six, my father gave me my grandfather’s 1937 Olds trumpet. I was trying to play a lot of Harry James music at the time – he was my grandfather’s idle after the war. In the late 40s and early 50s grandfather formed his own jazz and dance band so jazz has always been a big part of my life.

ReeceIanHarry

In Edinburgh: Reece with his father Harry on his right and Ian Boyter on his left.

I played the trumpet for a while but came to realise it just was not the instrument for me. Then one night when I was seven my father was listening to some trad jazz and dixieland. I quickly realised I would like to play like that, and especially like Mr Acker Bilk. I told Dad so. I picked up his clarinet and took the reed cap off. It felt just right and within seconds I found I could get notes out of the instrument. I fell in love that night and I knew that the clarinet was for me.

Next I went and studied at the Manchester School of Music and I got a distinction in my grades. But I soon found that route wasn’t quite for me and that I preferred teaching myself.

So this is where I am now!

I haven’t had many opportunities to do sit ins with local bands in Manchester even though I love jazz so much. But then Ian Boyter discovered me and my ambition though the Facebook Jazzers Group and of all things he arranged for me to travel to Edinburgh with my father, Harry, to sit in with at The Edinburgh Jazz ’n Jive Club, with Vi Mills’ “The Spirits of Rhythm”, with Vi on piano, Ian on reeds, Jim Petrie on cornet, Kenny Milne on drums, Dizzy Jackson on bass, Brian Weld on banjo and, yes, me sitting in on clarinet!

Reece I know but who are the other Jazzers!?

Reece I know but who are the other Jazzers!?

It was the best night of my life so far with hopefully many more to come. I had such a warm welcome from everyone I met in Scotland and I hope to do this more often and start a lifetime in this kind of music.

A fine fisherman too!

A fine fisherman too!

I’ve loved every step of the way so far and have had the best support possible from my family and so many friends -plus people I haven’t even met praising my enthusiasm. It’s a lovely world to live in with jazz being played!

Young children growing up, you should learn about jazz and its inspirational and principled roots and even to play it. You could then look back on it as some of the best days of your lives. So please take it up – we need you!

Reece Billy Davison

Practice assures perfection1

Practice makes perfect for YouTubes!

YouTubes taken on his mobile phone by Reece’s father Harry Davison:

Presented by Peter M Butler
Editor & Proprietor Jazz&Jazz

 

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