Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Rare Champion of a Musical Legacy; Guitarist Anthony Purdy Champions the Sounds of a Past Era and Wants Others to Share the Pleasure, as DAVID WHETSTONE Discovers

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Rare Champion of a Musical Legacy; Guitarist Anthony Purdy Champions the Sounds of a Past Era and Wants Others to Share the Pleasure, as DAVID WHETSTONE Discovers

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID WHETSTONE

TURNING the North East on to swing jazz guitar is proving to be an uphill struggle for Anthony Purdy but that's probably more our loss than his.

"I did a gig last night and there was hardly anybody there," says the musician, who lives in Blyth.

"My wife said, 'Doesn't it bother you that there's no-one here?' And I said it didn't because I adore what I do and I know it's not really mainstream.

"But it does seem to appeal to guitar players a lot and some pubs are good for musicians while some are not."

In some places, says Anthony (he performs as Anth Purdy's Swing Jazz Guitar), his appearance raises eyebrows. An immaculate suit, two-tone shoes and a trilby are not de rigueur, it seems, in North East pubs.

"I think when you're doing this sort of music, which comes from the 1930s, 40s and 50s when everything was about the style, you can't really turn up to play in jeans and a tee-shirt because then you're just another guy in the pub," says Anthony.

"If I'm sitting there with my trilby hat, at least people are looking."

The last thing Anthony wants is to be ignored although he has been in that position more often than he cares to recall.

He has travelled a long journey to reach his current position as a rare champion of a catchy and seductive form of music which has fallen out of fashion but could be ripe for a return.

"I've been playing guitar for about 30 years or so but in the last 10 years really started to take it seriously, having lessons and starting to sit music exams," he says.

"I'm a big fan of 50s rock 'n' roll and I do play in a rock 'n' roll band as well. But the research I had to do for my exams meant I looked at the roots of where rock 'n' roll came from and it led me to the music of the 1930s and 40s."

He reels off a few names: Charlie Christian, Les Paul, Freddie Green and Eldon Shamblin. All these American musicians helped to lay the foundations for all that came later and, having learned about them and heard their music, Anthony was hooked. …

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