Acker Bilk


Acker Bilk
Acker Bilk
Birth name Bernard Stanley Bilk
Born 28 January 1929 (1929-01-28) (age 82)[1]
Pensford, Somerset, England
Genres easy listening, traditional jazz
Occupations Clarinetist
Instruments Clarinet
Years active 1954 – Present
Labels Atco, EMI, Columbia Records,
Castle Records, Philips Records, Stomp Off Records, GNP Records, Lake Records
Website Official site

Bernard Stanley "Acker" Bilk MBE (born 28 January 1929) is an English clarinetist. He is known for his trademark goatee, bowler hat, striped waistcoat and his breathy, vibrato-rich, lower-register clarinet style.

Contents

Biography

Bilk earned the nickname Acker from the Somerset slang for 'friend' or 'mate'. His parents tried to teach him the piano, but as a boy, Bilk found it restricted his love of outdoor activities including football. He lost two front teeth in a school fight and half a finger in a sledging accident, both of which Bilk has claimed to have affected his eventual clarinet style. He learned the clarinet while serving in the Royal Engineers in the Suez Canal Zone after his sapper friend John A. Britten gave him a clarinet that he had bought at a bazaar and had no use for. The clarinet had no reed and Britten fashioned a makeshift reed for the instrument out of some scrap wood,[2] and by the mid-1950s he was playing professionally.[3]

Bilk was part of the boom in traditional jazz that swept the United Kingdom in the late 1950s. He first joined Ken Colyer's band in 1954, and then formed his own ensemble, The Paramount Jazz Band, in 1956.[3] Four years later, their single "Summer Set," a pun on their home county co-written by Bilk and pianist Dave Collett, reached number 8 in the British charts[4] and began a run of eleven top 50 hit singles.

Bilk was not an international star until an experiment with a string ensemble and a composition of his own as its keynote piece made him one in 1962. He wrote "Stranger on the Shore" for a British television serial series and recorded it as the title track of a new album in which his signature deep, quivering clarinet was backed by the Leon Young String Chorale. The single was not only a big hit in the United Kingdom, where it stayed on the charts for 55 weeks, gaining a second wind after Bilk was the subject of the TV show This Is Your Life, but also shot to the top of the American charts at a time when the American pop charts and radio playlists were open to just about anything in just about any style.[5] As a result, Bilk was the first British artist to have a single in the number one position on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.[6] (Vera Lynn was the first British artist to top the U.S. Billboard charts with "Auf Wiederseh'n Sweetheart" in 1952). "Stranger on the Shore" sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.[7] The album was also highlighted by a striking interpretation of Bunny Berigan's legendary hit "I Can't Get Started." At one point, at the height of his career, Bilk's public relations workers were known as the "Bilk Marketing Board", a play on the then Milk Marketing Board.

In January 1963, the British music magazine, NME reported that the biggest trad jazz event to be staged in Britain had taken place at Alexandra Palace. The event included George Melly, Diz Disley, Alex Welsh, Chris Barber, Kenny Ball, Ken Colyer, Monty Sunshine, Bob Wallis, Bruce Turner, Mick Mulligan and Bilk.[8] Bilk recorded a series of albums in England that were also released successfully in the United States (on the Atlantic Records subsidiary Atco), including a memorable collaboration (Together) with Danish jazz pianist-composer Bent Fabric ("The Alley Cat"). But his success tapered off when British rock and roll made its big international explosion beginning in 1964, and Bilk shifted direction to the cabaret circuit. He finally had another chart success in 1976, with "Aria," which went to number five in the United Kingdom. In May 1977, Bilk & His Paramount Jazz Band provided the interval act for the Eurovision Song Contest 1977.[9] In the early 1980s, Bilk and his signature hit were newly familiar, thanks to "Stranger on the Shore" being used in the soundtrack to Sweet Dreams, the film biography of country music legend Patsy Cline. Most of his classic albums with the Paramount Jazz Band have been reissued and are available on the UK based Lake Records label.

Bilk has been described as "Great Master of the Clarinet".[10] His clarinet sound and style was at least as singular as had been those of American jazzmen such as Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, and Russell Procope, and "Stranger on the Shore" – which he was once quoted as calling "my old-age pension" – remains a beloved standard of jazz and popular music alike.

Acker Bilk continues to tour with his Paramount Jazz Band, as well as performing concerts with his two contemporaries, Chris Barber and Kenny Ball (both of whom were born in 1930) as the 3B's.

One of his recordings is with the Chris Barber band, sharing the clarinet spot with the band's regular reedsmen, John Crocker and Ian Wheeler. He made a CD with another legend of British Jazz Wally Fawkes for the Lake Records label in 2002. He has appeared on two recent albums by Van Morrison, Down the Road and What's Wrong With This Picture?.

See also

References

  1. ^ Researcha
  2. ^ "Acker Bilk". 45rpm. http://www.45-rpm.org.uk/dira/ackerb.htm. Retrieved 3 April 2009. 
  3. ^ a b "Biography". Ackers Music Agency. http://www.ackersmusicagency.co.uk/biography.htm. Retrieved 3 April 2009. 
  4. ^ Carr, Ian; Fairweather, Digby; Priestley, Brian (1988). Jazz: the essential companion. Prentice Hall Press. p. 43. ISBN 9780135092743. 
  5. ^ allmusic ((( Acker Bilk > Biography )))
  6. ^ "Mr. Acker Bilk & the Paramount Jazz Band". Regent Centre. http://www.regentcentre.co.uk/event/mr-acker-bilk-paramount-jazz-band. Retrieved 3 April 2009. 
  7. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. pp. 131–132. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 
  8. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 116. CN 5585. 
  9. ^ O'Connor, John Kennedy. The Eurovision Song Contest - The Official History. 2010 Carlton Books, UK. ISBN 978-1847325211
  10. ^ Freespace.virgin.net

External links


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  • Acker Bilk — Bernard Stanley Bilk, MBE (* 28. Januar 1929 in Pensford, Somerset, England), bekannt unter dem Namen Mr. Acker Bilk, ist ein englischer Jazzklarinettist. Bilks Vater war Prediger und seine Mutter Organistin, so dass er schon in der Jugend… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • acker bilk — Cockney Rhyming Slang Milk Would you like Acker in your coffee? Acker Bilk (born Bernard Stanley Bilk) was born in 1929 is a master of the clarinet and leader of the Paramount Jazz Band. Interestingly, his nickname Acker is a Somerset term… …   English dialects glossary

  • Mr. Acker Bilk — Bernard Stanley Bilk, MBE (* 28. Januar 1929 in Pensford, Somerset, England), bekannt unter dem Namen Mr. Acker Bilk, ist ein englischer Jazzklarinettist. Bilks Vater war Prediger und seine Mutter Organistin, so dass er schon in der Jugend… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Mr Acker Bilk — Bernard Stanley Bilk, MBE (* 28. Januar 1929 in Pensford, Somerset, England), bekannt unter dem Namen Mr. Acker Bilk, ist ein englischer Jazzklarinettist. Bilks Vater war Prediger und seine Mutter Organistin, so dass er schon in der Jugend… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Bilk — is the registered trademark of the Philadelphia based singer/songwriter who goes by the same name. BILK has performed in New Orleans Mariott, LOVE Park Philadelphia, Seattle Space Needle, Seattle Sheraton. BILK s album From Monkey With Love has… …   Wikipedia

  • Acker (Familienname) — Acker ist ein deutscher Familienname. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Herkunft und Bedeutung 2 Varianten 3 Bekannte Namensträger 4 Siehe auch …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Acker — is a surname from German or Old English, meaning field . It is related to the word acre , and is the root of the surname Ackerman. People with the surname Acker: *Alex Acker (born 1983), American basketball player *Amy Acker (born 1976), American …   Wikipedia

  • Bilk (Begriffsklärung) — Bilk ist der Name eines Stadtteils von Düsseldorf, siehe: Düsseldorf Bilk einer Band aus Düsseldorf einer Bauerschaft in der Gemeinde Wettringen in Nordrhein Westfalen; siehe Bilk (Wettringen) des englischen Jazzklarinettisten Acker Bilk der… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jakob Acker — Acker ist ein deutscher Familienname. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Herkunft und Bedeutung 2 Varianten 3 Bekannte Namensträger 4 Siehe auch 5 Weblinks // …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Bernard Stanley Bilk — Bernard Stanley Bilk, MBE (* 28. Januar 1929 in Pensford, Somerset, England), bekannt unter dem Namen Mr. Acker Bilk, ist ein englischer Jazzklarinettist. Bilks Vater war Prediger und seine Mutter Organistin, so dass er schon in der Jugend… …   Deutsch Wikipedia


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