I knew Tony Richards from going to jazz clubs in the Midlands. We had a jazz club in the early 60s in Wolverhampton at the Queens Hotel and front-line musicians used to come up. It was mainly tenor players who’d play with a supporting local rhythm section. I saw a little advert in the local newspaper in the late 60s. Tony Richards had a music shop at Dunstall, on the edge of Wolverhampton. He was having Phil on a Sunday afternoon and I went. He gave a masterclass in percussion, liberally sprinkled with fascinating anecdotes to the 8-10 drummers who were there.
Tony Richards used to play mainly at the Leofric in Coventry and the odd session at the Fighting Cock in Wolverhampton. At our jazz club at the Queens Hotel, we had Tommy Whittle, Ronnie Ross, Don Rendell, Harold McNair, Joe Harriott on 19/1/62, Tony Coe and Art Ellefson. They were backed by a local group, two of whom, Tony Brown the drummer and pianist Archie Cotterell, when the club closed went off to London. Tony formed an R & B group called Tony Knight and the Chessmen that worked mainly around the American air bases that Lol Coxhill was in for a time.
Copyright – Peter Dawn