Savoy Quartet | Mark Berresford RARE RECORDS | Mark Berresford

Savoy Quartet

Savoy Quartet

We're grateful to our good friend Nick Dellow for this photograph of the Savoy Quartet, an important transitional syncopated group, that bridged the gap between the more formal structure of ragtime and the freer, uninhibited abandon of the early jazz bands. They played at both Murray's Club and the Savoy Hotel in London from 1916 to 1920, and in that period recorded prolifically on the His Master's Voice label. Their lively repertoire of popular songs and the latest dance hits from the USA nearly all feature the pleasant vocalising of American light tenor and banjoist Joe Wilbur, along with some interesting drum work from black American drummer Alex Williams. The two other band members in this photograph are pianist Claude Ivy (who appears to be wearing a regimental badge - probably a reservist - can anyone help?) and the legendary banjo soloist and composer Emile Grimshaw Senior.