Magazine article IAJRC Journal

Bert Whyatt Obituary

Magazine article IAJRC Journal

Bert Whyatt Obituary

Article excerpt

Bertram James Whyatt

Born: Leicester, 11 June 1920

Died: Wiveliscombe, Somerset, 13 April 2013

Bert Whyatt, IAJRC member and contributor to this Journal, died on 13 April, at the age of 92. Born in Leicester in 1920 he was one of the second wave of discographers who began work after World War II.

He joined the R.A.F. in April 1940, qualifying as an engine fitter on Hurricanes and, later, Thunderbirds, serving in Egypt, India and Burma. It was in the R.A.F. that he met Trevor Benwell, founder and editor of Vintage Jazz Mart (VJM). One story from his service career happened three days after the end of the war. Having retrained as a met observer, he was in a party which flew under sealed orders into a Bangkok airfield occupied by a large number of armed Japanese soldiers. Fortunately the Japanese were all happy to surrender!

He bought his first jazz record at the age of 16 and in 1938 he obtained a copy of "Hot Discography" from Stanley Dance, starting his interest in jazz record research. His working life was spent with the prestigious shoe company, Lotus and Delta, and moving to shops around the country as salesman, shop manager and area manager, enabled him to pursue his junk-shopping hobby, searching for elusive hot dance items by the likes of Ted Lewis, Fred Rich or Sam Lanin. Bert's jazz interests were broad, but his research mainly involved white musicians, especially those who gravitated around Eddie Condon. Bobby Hackett, Muggsy Spanier, Pee Wee Russell, Lee Wiley, were among his favourites. As was Wingy Manone, the subject of his first major discography, which was serialised in Jazz Journal in 1950.

There were innumerable contributions to the small magazines, Jazz Notes, Matrix, Jazzfinder and Record Research. He was an enthusiastic supporter of The Discophile, later becoming assistant editor. With this writer he prepared discographical columns for VJM and Jazz Music, while in more recent times he contributed biographical articles to The Mississippi Rag, Storyville, Jazz Journal and the IAJRC Journal. …

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