Ray d’Inverno: The Journey of Jazz – 1

Ahead of his 80th Birthday Concert at Turner Sims on Sunday 5 March, Ray d’Inverno takes us on The Journey of Jazz. Delve into the roots of jazz at Turner Sims in this 10-part blog series written by one of Southampton’s best-known musicians.

The Turner Sims Concert Hall begins…

The first evening concert at Turner Sims was given by the John Alldis choir and Ronald Lumsden (piano). In those days there were 3 ticket prices of 80p, 60p and 40p and students could get 20p off. Around the same time the Lunch Hour Concerts organised by the University Music Department were moved to the concert hall on a Tuesday and Friday. The official opening recital of the concert hall was held the following week on the evening of Tuesday 19th November 1974 and was given by Elisabeth Söderström (soprano) and Margaret Kitchin (piano). The entry price was £2.50 but it did include wine.

However, this was not the first event in the Turner Sims. I do not have the date but a lunch hour ‘concert’ was organised in which the ISVR (Institute of Sound and Vibration Research) set up microphones around the hall and used some recording machines in an attempt to measure the acoustic properties of the concert hall. I don’t have much memory of the event but I seem to recall a gun being fired in addition to solo instruments being played and a string quartet. So the concert hall really did go off with a bang!

Ray d’Inverno

Read part two here

Book your tickets for Ray d’Inverno’s 80th Birthday Concert on Sunday 5 March, featuring Ray himself with his quintet Quintessential Groove, his pianist son Mark, a number of special guests – and plenty of cake!

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