Yorkshire jazz and Vernon Street


The pictures included here show Alan Cooper and his Leeds art school friends in the very early days of their jazz development.

Many thanks for their help to Sophie Miller Wallace (Leeds College of Art) and Marcus Holt. Any factual errors are down to me. JE

The Vernon Street Ramblers Jazz Band at Leeds Charity Rag, spring 1949. Photograph by Michael Westmoreland, courtesy Leeds College of Art.

Leeds College of Art’s  Naughty Nineties Ball with Coops on Penny Farthing (1951).

Street marching band with Coops on clarinet bringing up the rear (c 1950)

Rag week in City Square. The band included Coops (clarinet),  Diz Disley (banjo) and Ed O’Donnell, (trombone) (c 1950). Photograph by Ed O’Donnell, courtesy of Leeds College of Art.

College jazz on the corner of Vernon street (c.1952). L to R: Paul Williams, Ted Fenton (trombone), Pat Webb (cornet), Diz Disley  (banjo) and Coops (clarinet). Photograph by Ed O’Donnell, courtesy of Leeds College of Art.

Leeds students, Messrs Cooper, Disley and O’Donnell formed the Yorkshire Jazz Band in 1949. Coops is holding his metal clarinet. The band enjoyed considerable success.

The Yorkshire Jazz Band in action (c 1949). L to R: Coops (metal clarinet),.Dick Hawdon (trumpet), Bob Barclay (tuba) Ed O”Donnell (trombone), Diz Disley (banjo), piano and drums unknown. All the musicians mentioned went on to become well known figures in the traditional jazz world. Interestingly Dick Hawdon later became a highly rated trumpet player in the modern idiom, playing with Don Rendell and John Dankworth among others.

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