Obituary: Aubrey Frank

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The Independent Online
MAY I add to your obituary of Aubrey Frank (by Val Wilmer, 29 June) some account of his time in the RAF Fighter Command Band, which he joined in 1941? writes John Gardner.

Though formed as an orthodox 'Engagement 25', it had at its core a potentially good swing band which occasionally did a gig or a broadcast. Amongst its members were Joe Crossman (with whose old-fashioned creamy alto-playing, Aubrey was goodnaturedly unsympathetic), Norman Impey on tenor, Kenny Baker on trumpet, Harry Roche on trombone, Jock Jacobsen on drums and that gifted Canadian arranger Jack Penn on piano.

Aubrey was nicknamed 'the silent tenor'. Eschewing the garrulous style of Coleman Hawkins - as Philip Larkin once said, the tenor quickly becomes the club bore of jazz - Aubrey was one of the first Brits to be inspired by the laconic Lester Young. Though his choruses had few notes, those notes were well-chosen and meaningful.