Harry Parry: Bangor’s Forgotten Jazz Genius

An online talk will be held on Friday 25 November to celebrate the life of Harry Parry, the ‘forgotten’ jazz musician, who was born in Bangor.

Harry (real name Owen Henry) was born at 222 Caernarfon Road on 22 January 1912 and attended Glanadda & Central Schools and was a born musician.

By the age of 12, Harry had mastered almost all the instruments in the local marching band and was also proficient on drums. He later took violin and music theory lessons, while R Francis-Jones of Port Dinorwic taught him the rudiments of playing the clarinet.

By 16, Harry was playing with the Harold Dobbs Marina Band, often twice a week, at venues including Palfreymans Hall (Ambassadors Hall), now Blue Sky Cafe, “Jimmy’s” youth club in the now demolished St James Church, Powis Hall at Bangor University and other locations in Caernarfon, Anglesey and North Wales.

In 1932, Harry gave up his job as a scientific instrument maker to turn professional with Eddie Shaw’s band during the summer season at Paynes Cafe and then moved to the London area between 1933 and 1939, where he played alto saxophone and sang. in gangs led by George. Colborn, Miff Ferrie, Percival Mackey, Oscar Grasso, Neville Bishop, Paul Lombard, and Charles Shadwell.

In 1940, Harry got his big break and was ‘discovered’ by the BBC’s Charles Chilton, who loved Harry’s brand of ‘swing jazz’. With the young George Shearing in his sextet, Harry became the presenter, resident band and then producer of Radio Rhythm Club, Jazz Club, Housewives Choice, Tarry with Parry and a host of other BBC shows performing over 750 broadcasts on Radio & Television. He later acted in a feature film as the romantic lead of Gloria Brent and acted in radio plays.

Harry made over 103 recordings for Parlophone, toured the UK regularly and entertained troops in the Middle East and also toured Europe and India. he was a successful bandleader, musical arranger (18 piece orchestral trios), composer (over 1000 tunes) and played for the King and Queen at Windsor Castle on June 18, 1948.

The online talk will be led by Mike Tayler, Harry Parry’s nephew, who inherited a large archive of memorabilia, oral history, and is now writing a book about his uncle’s remarkable career.

Mike said: “This talk will be about getting his fame back, or at least a bit of it.

“I am writing the definitive biography of Harry Parry for my family, Jazz Historians and the people of Bangor and this Friday I will present a synopsis of his life.”

The talk will take place on Zoom on Friday, November 25, 2022 at 7 pm

Click here to register: https://cwmulus.org/english/

Source: news.google.com