Obituary: Chris Pyne

Norman Christopher Pyne, trombonist: born Bridlington 14 February 1939; married (two daughters); died London 12 April 1995.

Although not the most ubiquitous British trombone player, Chris Pyne was certainly one of the best. Frank Sinatra insisted that he played trombone on all the singer's European tours between 1970 and 1983 and Pyne became the trombonist most in demand in the London studios.

Chris and his brother Mick were taught piano by their father at their home in Bridlington. Mick Pyne went on to become one of the best British jazz pianists, whilst Chris switched to trombone (the fact that he was self-taught makes his achievement all the more notable) and joined an RAF band to further his studies. This was a momentous step, because while in the service he met and worked with John Stevens, Paul Rutherford and Trevor Watts, all to become significant musicians in the jazz avant-garde. They became Chris Pyne's lifelong friends. Perhaps it was their influence that placed Pyne at the head of the jazz avant-garde in Britain.

But before that he cut out a place in mainstream jazz. He came to London in 1963 and worked first with the band of drummer Fat John Cox and then joined blues singer Alexis Korner. He joined Humphrey Lyttelton in 1966 and, with Tony Coe and Eddie Harvey, helped to develop a new style for Lyttelton's group.

This was a period when Lyttelton made a few recordings and, remarkably, since he stayed until 1970, Pyne appears on only one of the trumpeter's albums. It was, however, an exceptionally good one, and featured the American trumpeter Buck Clayton. But during the period with Lyttelton Pyne made recordings with John Dankworth and Ronnie Scott which displayed his more radical thinking. He also worked with powerful bands like those led by Tubby Hayes and Maynard Ferguson.

He continued to play while working in the commercial recording studios, where he accompanied Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Dizzy Gillespie and Sarah Vaughan as well as Sinatra. He was much in demand for modern jazz groups, and played a fundamental role in the various orchestras led by Mike Gibbs and John Dankworth.

When the great resurgence of the fortunes of the pianist and bandleader Stan Tracey happened in the Eighties, Pyne was on hand and became a key element in both Tracey's small and larger bands. His recordings for other leaders during this period were legion, and he worked with Philly Joe Jones, John Surman, Kenny Wheeler, John Taylor, Gordon Beck and Charlie Watts among many others.

His illness over the past few years deprived British jazz trombone of one of its greatest exponents and most colourful and effective soloists.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Have you been doing a brilliant job in an admi...

Surrey County Council: Senior Project Officer (Fixed Term to Feb 2019)

£26,498 - £31,556: Surrey County Council: We are looking for an outgoing, conf...

Recruitment Genius: Interim Head of HR

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you an innovative, senior H...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources and Payroll Administrator

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client, a very well respect...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower