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Tributes paid to jazz icon Kenny Ball
THE last note has sounded for true jazz legend Kenny Ball who has died at the age of 82.
During his life Kenny travelled 17 times around the world, but more recently played local gigs as he suffered from the lung condition emphysema after 40 years as a smoker.
Kenny was being treated for pneumonia at the hospital when he sadly passed away at 7.30am yesterday<thurs>.
He was born in Ilford but had recently moved to Wickford to be nearer to his family.
He is survived by his partner and son, Keith, who had joined his father on stage playing with his group The Jazzmen.
The trumpeter found fame in the early 1960s with a string of jazz hits including Midnight In Moscow which sold more than one million copies around the world.
He also became a well-known face on TV with his band featuring regularly on light entertainment shows, including the Morecambe and Wise show and Saturday Night At The Mill, following their discovery by Lonnnie Donegan.
They performed at the end of Southend’s pier for the first time in 1961 after rushing back to Kenny’s home patch from a regular show at the London Palladium.
Kenny recorded and performed for more than half a century, playing around the world and continuing to be one of the UK's best know jazz trumpeters. He often clocked up in excess of 150 shows a year with his group, The Jazzmen.
The trumpeter famously performed at the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana at Buckingham Palace in 1981.
Broadcaster Alyn Shipton, presenter of BBC Radio 3's Jazz Record Requests, paid tribute, saying: "Britain has lost one its most charismatic bandleaders, and a figurehead of the trad movement.
"With his ready grin, mop-haired appearance and upbeat singing and playing, Kenny Ball was one of the most extrovert and cheery figures in British entertainment.”