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The 'toff' who revived jazz - in Britain - Humphrey Lyttleton

As long as I stay away from the political programmes, there is much I relish on the BBC. One of my favourite radio programmes was the comedy panel game show I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, which Humph chaired to hilarious effect beginning in 1972.

A cartoonist who became a terrific trumpeter, Humphrey Lyttleton revived traditional New Orleans jazz in Britain in the Fifties. The son of an Eton housemaster, and shy, he initially gave the other players the feeling he was a 'toff', but they soon fell in love with his sound and his wry kindness. He led Britain's most popular jazz band for the next fifty years.

Humph was admired by Louis Armstrong, played with him, and brought his band down to the station to play Armstrong a farewell. (He considered Armstrong the world's greatest trumpeter.)

In 1968, Humph went to the States to play a selection of jazz numbers which were broadcast live to the crew of the Apollo 8 spacecraft.

In the Seventies, wondering what on earth he was doing, he became the unlikely host of the Haven't A Clue game show. He led the successful show for the next thirty years.

Humph kept on playing jazz until he died - "Dr Gig will take care of you," he liked to say.

The following video tributes begin a little slowly, but as Humph recalls landing at Salerno in World War II, playing trumpet in front of Buckingham Palace during VE Day celebrations, and making music with his band, the videos take off.


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