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Diz Disley retrospective

Related threads:
Diz Disley Recordings (19)
Diz Disley Discography (21)
Obit: Diz Disley (1931-2010) (110)
Diz Disley - health - died 22 March 2010 (62)


Tony Rees 14 Mar 16 - 01:52 AM
Will Fly 14 Mar 16 - 04:26 AM
Will Fly 14 Mar 16 - 04:29 AM
Leadfingers 14 Mar 16 - 04:31 AM
GUEST,Ray 14 Mar 16 - 04:52 AM
Tony Rees 14 Mar 16 - 04:57 AM
Tony Rees 14 Mar 16 - 05:04 AM
GUEST,Ray 14 Mar 16 - 05:25 AM
Tony Rees 15 Mar 16 - 03:13 AM
GUEST,Musket 15 Mar 16 - 03:38 AM
GUEST,Chris Flegg 15 Mar 16 - 08:25 AM
Tony Rees 17 Mar 16 - 06:55 PM
Tony Rees 18 Mar 16 - 03:26 AM
cptsnapper 18 Mar 16 - 03:46 AM
GUEST,Chris Newman 19 Mar 16 - 11:19 PM
Will Fly 20 Mar 16 - 03:39 AM
Will Fly 20 Mar 16 - 03:46 AM
Will Fly 20 Mar 16 - 03:51 AM
cptsnapper 20 Mar 16 - 04:11 AM
cptsnapper 20 Mar 16 - 04:43 AM
Tony Rees 23 Apr 16 - 08:51 PM
Will Fly 24 Apr 16 - 05:16 AM
The Sandman 25 Apr 16 - 03:03 AM
Tony Rees 28 Apr 16 - 07:22 PM
Tony Rees 28 Apr 16 - 07:33 PM
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Subject: Diz Disley retrospective
From: Tony Rees
Date: 14 Mar 16 - 01:52 AM

Hi Mudcatters,

I was looking through Wikipedia and noticed that the biographical entry for Diz Disley was a bit sub-optimal (also no photo added in the past 9 years since one was deleted for not being public domain) so I have done a bit of a re-write, added/extended the discography, uploaded one of my own photos and would be very happy for folks to check it out here if interested:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diz_Disley

I would be very happy to receive corrections, additions, comments as appropriate from those who may have encountered Diz in his folk club days or other. (I know there was a separate thread in the "Obituary" list but I thought a new one would be appropriate now).

Although I now live in Australia I have very happy memories of seeing Diz' folk club act in the UK in the 1970s and 80s and I have tried my best in the Wikipedia article to describe his guitar style, which I can only remember as pretty staggering to encounter for the first time if you are used to 3- and 4- chord folk songs!

- Tony Rees, Australia


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Subject: RE: Diz Disley retrospective
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Mar 16 - 04:26 AM

Good work there, Tony. I ran across Diz several times in London and in Sussex in the late '60s through to the mid-'80s and played with him on a number of occasions. Around 1970, the jug/jazz band I played in - the Egbert Sousé All Stars - had a residency at a Bayswater pub called The Redan on the corner of Westbourne Grove and Queensway. The band was a kind of moveable feast of personnel - sometimes there'd be about 8 of us playing, sometimes just 2 or 3 - and it was on one of the latter occasions that the occupant of the pub's upstairs flat came downstairs to listen. That occupant being Diz (the pub landlord, Johnny Watkins, was an old friend of Diz and had been himself a singer and guitarist on the Tito Burns circuit).

Diz ordered himself a pint, turned to us and said, "Bit thin on the ground tonight, lads - hang on", went upstairs and came down with guitar in hand. He played with us all evening - and a great evening it was. At close of play, we offered him a cut of our (meagre) gig money. "No, no lads, I've got a great gig tomorrow evening coming up." Where was that, we asked. "Carnegie Hall, with Steff."

Typical of the man.


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Subject: RE: Diz Disley retrospective
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Mar 16 - 04:29 AM

Forgot to say - Nils Solberg, who's mentioned in the Wiki article, is alive and well and living in Ditchling in Sussex. He plays with various people, including occasionally Herbie Flowers, another Ditchling resident. The Soho String Quintet was a great outfit, and Johhny Van Derrick one of my favourite jazz violinists.


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Subject: RE: Diz Disley retrospective
From: Leadfingers
Date: 14 Mar 16 - 04:31 AM

Just read through , and no complaints from me - I first met Diz when he was running a monthly all nighter at the Ken Colyer Club in Gt Newport St in 1964 , when I had just discovered Folk and was still playing Jazz Clarinet and Sax .
Later I jammed with him on Whistle at a variety of Folk Clubs and Festivals , as well , in the latter days , of being his driver to go to places of ill repute like The Brewery Tap in Brentford when Steve Benbow was a residernt player .


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Subject: RE: Diz Disley retrospective
From: GUEST,Ray
Date: 14 Mar 16 - 04:52 AM

Sorry about the lack of Dis Disley content but that wouldn't be the Tony Rees who emigrated to Tasmania about 30 years ago, would it?

If so, you will doubtless remember our "tour" of Rouen and the infamous "French Letters". We last met at your leaving do in some back street pub near the Post Office tower and I'd love to get back in touch.

Ray
(From the NW of England)


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Subject: RE: Diz Disley retrospective
From: Tony Rees
Date: 14 Mar 16 - 04:57 AM

Guest.Ray, well sleuthed. 'Tis me indeed. I have a photo or 10 of the infamous tour mentioned. Will send you a PM also with greetings from Les (Guernsey etc.), also here in Oz and not far from where I type these lines...


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Subject: RE: Diz Disley retrospective
From: Tony Rees
Date: 14 Mar 16 - 05:04 AM

Hi Ray, seems that PM does not work for guests. You can send me an equivalent though I think using the link at the top of this message. Or just use tonyrees49 (at) gmail.com ...


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Subject: RE: Diz Disley retrospective
From: GUEST,Ray
Date: 14 Mar 16 - 05:25 AM

Hi Tony
Will send an email - but coffee has just ben announced!
Ray


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Subject: RE: Diz Disley retrospective
From: Tony Rees
Date: 15 Mar 16 - 03:13 AM

RE the upgraded Wikipedia entry for Diz - WP robots have complained that my section "guitar style" quotes no sources (mainly because I could not find much to quote). If anyone would like to add some impressions/descriptive information on his guitar style here I will gladly quote them in the article. Thanks - Tony


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Subject: RE: Diz Disley retrospective
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 15 Mar 16 - 03:38 AM

On the cover notes of a Mike Harding album, he refers to Diz as a "guitar pyrotechnologist." (The track is "Sausage me a Gregory" and I think it is the "On the Touchline" album.)

I'm green to the gills with envy at some of the posts on here... Yet I can bore my grandkids with my story of jamming with him and Johnny Silvo in the beer tent at Stainsby Festival back in the early '80s.


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Subject: RE: Diz Disley retrospective
From: GUEST,Chris Flegg
Date: 15 Mar 16 - 08:25 AM

Hi
I first encountered Diz at the Troubadour Flok Club, Earls Court and at my college folk club (Imperial College) circa 1968. After hearing me do a floorspot he invited me after the gig to go to a late night drinking place called La Fiesta in the Fulham Road where we saw Denny Wright playing jazz guitar with a bass player. This opened my eyes to jazz guitar and got me on the path to playing with jazz bands. In later years I did a few duo and trio gigs with Diz. He played a really nice Maccaferri guitar which he let me play on one occasion, it struck me how light it was and beautifully made. Diz was a great rhythm guitar player with a light touch that could really swing. From him I learned to use a 9th chord on the inside strings (no 1st or 6th string) and various 6/9 chord inversions that can be used as substitute chords in many situations. Diz played with an unusually tiny and sharp pointed pick which he filed down with sandpaper. His solos were to me not as great as his rhythm playing and tended to be very much in the Django style, but still good by any standards. There are many colourful stories of Diz but to me he was always polite and easy to work with.


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Subject: RE: Diz Disley retrospective
From: Tony Rees
Date: 17 Mar 16 - 06:55 PM

I was a callow youth of 18 or so when our local folk club announced next week, Diz Disley (this is around 1971). We dutifully paid our 25p or so and were treated not only to an evening of much hilarity but to the most astounding guitar playing I had ever seen up to that point - mostly delivered effortlessly in support of some novelty song item or other. At a time when myself + peers thought we had done well to master the chords to "The Last Thing on my mind", "House of the Rising Su" or, just possibly, "Anji", here was someone who was playing all over the fingerboard, as happily in Bb or Eb as in the standard "folk" keys of C, D, G and A (or occasionally E if you could master B7); played chord types we had never encountered before such as 6ths, 9ths, augmented and diminished; kept up a contantly moving bassline by clever choices of voicings and inversions; played passages in octaves a la Django, as well as single string lead lines - the list goes on. Needless to say most in the audience (if they even recognised what was going on) were dumbfounded and went away vowing to figure out at least one new chord, even if it took a few years! Actually for me I think the material went in somewhere deep and took a number of years to re-emerge via a subconscious process, helped along by hearing a number of other "folk" acts with occasionally "jazzy" leanings such as Steve Goodman (on tour from the US), Dan Hicks (US) and Nick Barraclough/Telephone Bill and the Smooth Operators (UK), Stan Gordon and others, and the whole style began to make a bit more sense and become enjoyable to play for oneself... Personally I do not hear a lot of Django in Diz' lead lines, more the trad jazz in which he was steeped (and especially in his fast strummed chordal solos, of which you can see some on the Stephane Grappelli in San Francisco filmed concert). He was still playing folk cluubs and festivals in the 80s at least in tandem with his jazz work, most of his jokes and one-liners becoming as traditional with the fans as the songs, but still wowing them in the aisles as well as passing the torch to other younger players such as Chris Newman and (I gather) Chris Flegg. Indeed it was not until pondering these lines plus doing a re-write of the wikipedia article that I realised how much of my own style I owe to Diz via the well known folk process of osmosis. Here's hoping he is jamming with his heroes in the sky.

- Tony


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Subject: RE: Diz Disley retrospective
From: Tony Rees
Date: 18 Mar 16 - 03:26 AM

Also I forgot to say - as well as the obvious Hot Club influences, I hear traces of the guitar styles of Lonnie Johnson (e.g. "Tomorrow Night") and Josh White ("One Meat Ball" etc.), the latter of which was also in Diz' repertoire - of course Diz was around in the late 50s/early 60s when these two could be seen in concert, as visitors to the UK and Europe, towards the end of their careers... what do persons think?


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Subject: RE: Diz Disley retrospective
From: cptsnapper
Date: 18 Mar 16 - 03:46 AM

I last saw Diz on the night when Stephane's death was announced & he was obviously upset about the way that Stephane had treated him.He was also enroute to taking part in the recording of a skiffle cd featuring people like Nancy Whiskey & the Vipers Skiffle group. A wonderful, inspirational man.


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Subject: RE: Diz Disley retrospective
From: GUEST,Chris Newman
Date: 19 Mar 16 - 11:19 PM

Hi Tony,

Great thread! Diz was a MASSIVE influence on me and I will be happy write down various reminiscences for your Wikipedia article.

I'm super busy right now, but will get something written in the next few weeks.

In the meantime, and in relation to cptsnapper's post...he called me a couple of days after Stephane's death to inform me that the great violinist 'had assumed room temperature'.

He really was a one-off.


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Subject: RE: Diz Disley retrospective
From: Will Fly
Date: 20 Mar 16 - 03:39 AM

Just to remind you all of the greatness of the Soho String Quintette - just dig Johnny Van D on fiddle, plus two great solos from Nils and Diz -

Sweet Georgia Brown


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Subject: RE: Diz Disley retrospective
From: Will Fly
Date: 20 Mar 16 - 03:46 AM

Correction - the first solo is NOT Nils - but a guy whose name escapes me. Nils is the bearded one.


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Subject: RE: Diz Disley retrospective
From: Will Fly
Date: 20 Mar 16 - 03:51 AM

Another fine clip of the SSQ - the second guitar solo is Nils Solberg this time.

Roses of Picardy


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Subject: RE: Diz Disley retrospective
From: cptsnapper
Date: 20 Mar 16 - 04:11 AM

Chris's contribution has reminded me of my favourite memory of Diz when a group of us booled them both - along with a bass player who's name I forget to play for us on a boat on the regent's Park Canal. Tremendous


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Subject: RE: Diz Disley retrospective
From: cptsnapper
Date: 20 Mar 16 - 04:43 AM

I think that it's the anniversary of Diz's death in two days time


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Subject: RE: Diz Disley retrospective
From: Tony Rees
Date: 23 Apr 16 - 08:51 PM

Louis Robinson has posted a great live club audio recording of Diz in fine form to youtube in four parts, first is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kl5GZ9c1W_A. It is from Pinner, date is not 1960s as stated but presumably around 1971 since there is a reference to the "new" decimal currency at one point (12 bar blues should now be 5 new bars :) ), also he is with Brillo who did not join him until 1971 or so. Enjoy...


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Subject: RE: Diz Disley retrospective
From: Will Fly
Date: 24 Apr 16 - 05:16 AM

And, if you should get the chance to catch a BBC4 programme called "Jazz Britannia" - probably still on the iPlayer - you can catch Diz for a few seconds, grinning and playing behind Louis Armstrong on the great man's visit to the UK.


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Subject: RE: Diz Disley retrospective
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Apr 16 - 03:03 AM

tony rees, thanks, that sounds like a frank crumit song


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Subject: RE: Diz Disley retrospective
From: Tony Rees
Date: 28 Apr 16 - 07:22 PM

I take it you are referring to "The Song of the Prune" aka "The Prune Song" as discussed separately here: http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=8535. Apparently Will Fly has it in his repertoire still according to that thread...


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Subject: RE: Diz Disley retrospective
From: Tony Rees
Date: 28 Apr 16 - 07:33 PM

Actually he also includes one of my favourites, "One Meat Ball". I have played it for years based on my remembrance of Diz' 1970s or earlier arrangement, and only now got to hear how accurate I have been over the intervening period (not too bad...). It was not until much later that I discovered it had been originally popularised by Josh White in the 1940s who produced a mighty fine swinging version which is clearly the basis for Diz's. There are threads elsewhere on mudcat surrounding the song's origins too.


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