Brit Jazz legends on one stage together

Acker Bilk.
Acker Bilk.

WATCHWORDS for quality in the world of British jazz longer than either of them probably care to remember, Kenny Ball & His Jazzmen and Acker Bilk & His Paramount Jazz Band are pooling their considerable talents in a collaboration made in heaven.

The concert, which takes place at the Royal Hall on Saturday, April 14, is ingeniously titled Kenny Ball & His Jazzmen & Acker Bilk & His Paramount Jazz Band - simply stating the name is enough to get excitement building.

There’s certainly good reason to be excited as these two kings of trad jazz boast more than 100 years experience between them and remain at the top of their game.

Trumpeter Kenny Ball has had 14 Top 50 hits in the UK alone, the most by any jazz artist – not bad for an Essex boy who started his music career as a sideline to his work in sales and advertising.

The peak moment of his successful career probaby came when Kenny Ball & His Jazzmen scored a number two hit in the UK and US with Midnight In Moscow in 1962.

Ball also became the first British jazzman to become an honorary citizen of New Orleans and touring with Louis Armstrong on the latter’s final European outing.

Not that Acker Bilk is a slouch in comparison. With his trademark goatee, bowler hat, striped waistcoat and virtuoso clarinet playing, Bilk was part of the 1950s UK trad-jazz boom, and formed Acker Bilk & His Paramount Jazz Band in 1956.

His big international break came with 1961’s Stranger On The Shore, the theme tune to a BBC show of the samename, was the first British recording to reachnumber one on the US Billboard Hot 100.

Aged 82 and 83 respectively, Kenny Ball and Acker Bilk show no signs of slowing down - excellent news for jazz fans old and new.

Tickets can be booked securely online at or through the Harrogate Box Office on 01423 502 116.