Don Rendell, English jazz musician, Died at 89

  Dead Famous

Donald Percy ‘Don’ Rendell was born on March 4, 1926, and passed away on October 20, 2015.

Don was an English jazz musician and arranger, specialising on tenor saxophone, but also playing soprano saxophone, flute, and clarinet.

Born to two musicians in Plymouth, England, Rendell’s jazz career began at the age of fifteen, with the alto sax, switching to tenor after a few years.

He started his professional career playing with big bands, first with U.S. bases for the U.S.O. in 1944, and then with various bands, including the Oscar Rabin Band.

In 1950 he became a member of the Johnny Dankworth Seven, remaining until 1953.

When Dankworth decided to put together a big band, Rendell parted company with him.

As well as gigging as a guest soloist around London’s jazz clubs, he started to lead his own groups; from 1954 these often featured Ronnie Ross, who played tenor at that time.

He also spent time working with Tony Crombie and Ted Heath, went on tour in Europe with Stan Kenton in 1956, played with Woody Herman’s Anglo-American Herd in 1959, and led a group accompanying Billie Holiday when she toured in the UK.

His own groups featured musicians such as Graham Bond, Michael Garrick, Barbara Thompson, John Burch and Ian Carr.

In 1963 he and Carr formed the Rendell–Carr Quintet, which performed and recorded for some seven years.

Don’s style owes much to Lester Young, and he has added many other influences along the way, including especially that of John Coltrane, but almost from the beginning he had a distinctive style of his own.

He has long been a leading jazz-educator, and has taught for the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London since 1984.

Don died on October 20, 2015 in London after a short illness at the age of 89.