- Pete King (saxophonist)
: "This article is about Pete King, the tenor saxophonist and manager of
Ronnie Scott's. For the alto saxophonist Peter King, see Peter King. For others with the same name, see the disambiguation page for Peter King."Peter "Pete" King, born Bow, Londonin August 1929, is a British jazz tenor saxophonist. He was the manager of London's famous jazz club, Ronnie Scott's, for almost 50 years.
After serving in the second world war, King returned to London and took tenor sax and clarinet lessons. His first professional work was with
Jiver Hutchinsonin 1947, before going on to join the bands of Kenny Graham, Teddy Foster and Leon Roy.
In 1948, he was first tenor in George Evans' Saxes ‘n’ Sevens with Tony Arnopp,
Kenny Clareand Les Evans.
He played with
Oscar Rabin1948-1950 and Kathy Stobart1950-1952. In September 1952 he recorded with the Ronnie ScottQuintet, which also included Dill Jones, Lennie Bush, and Tony Crombie. While playing with the various bands Scott formed in the latter half of the 50s, King was also a member of Jack Parnell's band, and shortly afterwards, together with other musicians left to form Scott's nine piece orchestra featuring Scott and King on tenor saxes and other leading jazz musicians including Derek Humble(as), Jimmy Deuchar(tp), Ken Wray(tb), Benny Green(bs), Lennie Bush(b), and Tony Crombie (d).
In 1956, both King and Scott were members of the
Victor FeldmanBig Band.
After the break-up, in 1957, of Tubby Hayes' and Ronnie Scott's
The Jazz Couriers, of which King had been the manager, he and Scott opened Ronnie Scott'sjazz club and King effectively gave up playing to run the club, which he continued to do for several years after Scott's death in 1996.
As well as the day-to-day running of the club, King was instrumental to the negotiations between the Musicians' Union and the
American Federation of Musiciansto lift the former's ban on American musicians. Although there had been occasional exchanges for specific concerts, i.e Stan Kentonand Louis Armstrong, the new deal provided for more regular exchanges of British and American players. As a direct result of the deal, the Tubby HayesQuartet went off to play at the Half Note Clubin New York and Zoot Simswas booked for a month-long residency at Ronnie's in November 1961. The success of the agreement led to leading saxophonists, including Sonny Stitt, Stan Getz, Johnny Griffin, Roland Kirk, Al Cohn, Ben Websterand Benny Golson, following suit.
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