George Swift

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by, Sep 8, 2006.

  1. New Member

    I'm trying to find out more about the great player George Swift.
    All info you can give are welcome!

    I have put up a webpage about him here:

    From that you will see that George Swift was born in 1911 in South Shields, a coastal town in South Tyneside, in the North-East of England on the south bank of the mouth of the River Tyne.

    His first teacher was his father. Ten years old, George played in the Boldon Colliery Band, then later in Hebburn Colliery Band and in the Marsden Colliery Band. He then played 3 years in the famous St. Hilda's Colliery Band. A great idol of George, cornet virtuoso Jack Macintosh, was also in St. Hilda's Colliery Band (from 1913 - 1919).

    At the end of the webpage, I have a few questions:
    (but all other info are also welcome)

    What date was he born?
    Where did he die (was it in Marbella?), what date?

    What year was he in St Hilda's Band?

  2. dickyg

    dickyg Member

    I am sure that one of my old teachers George Thompson, who knew George Swift well said that he lived in Spain

    What a fabulous cornet player. I once heard a recording of him at George Thompson's house playing a piece called 'Sonia'. At the end he plays a quiet slur from super F to super A that sounded like a violin - absolutely awesome. George said that he played for one of the guards bands at one time but was only used as a stand-up soloist as he was such useless as a band player!!!!!!
  3. New Member

    Thanks for the info.
    Is Thompson alive?
    If, can you ask him about Swift?

    Sonia was Swift's daughter.

    He also wrote a tune called Elfriede (named after his German wife) . I have a sound clip of this solo and also an image of the trumpet part on my webpage. Go and listen - incredible player.

    Edward Tarr met Swift in Marbella in 1981. When Tarr asked him if he with his style had been trying to emulate violin soloists, Swift replied "No, I wanted to play like Macintosh, but one octave higher!".

    Btw, Swift was running a cleaning shop (laundrette) in Marbella.

  4. Adrian Horn

    Adrian Horn Member

    I think he played for the Philharmonia for a time (with Phillip Jones as his Second). He did end up in Marbella playing for, I believe, the Bullfights and ran his Laundrette.
  5. dickyg

    dickyg Member

    Unfortunately, the genius that was George Thompson is no longer with us, bless him
  6. Chris Hicks

    Chris Hicks Member

    OMG that's the piece my dad has been looking for for the past like 6 months!!!! there is a recording of Bob Childs playing it on the Dyke Jewels in the Crown CD! Is it published??
    Thanks Chris
  7. Baritonedeaf

    Baritonedeaf Member

    What a great piece!
  8. MR WMS

    MR WMS Member

    A fabulous player indeed,my personal favourite is George Swift playing La Capricciosa by Ries.
  9. John Brooks

    John Brooks Well-Known Member

    Henry Shannon is a radio announcer in Toronto, now retired. For many years he presented a radio program on CFRB and sometimes featured the recordings of George Swift. I've often wondered what happened to those recordings when Henry retired. Would love to hear them again.

    Good luck with your project and if you learn of a source for his recordings please be sure to let us all know.
  10. ivan_sampson

    ivan_sampson New Member

    I believe that Park records in Bury, Lancs may have a few tracks on file.
  11. New Member


    I have also heard this. Is it possible to find out when he was with Philhamonia?

    Thanks - so far for all input!

  12. New Member

    A guy sent me MP3-files with recordings of George Swift, so now you can listen to more of his playing:

    Another questions for you in UK:

    Is there a service in UK where one can find a person (and his birth-date - evt. death date)? I'm thinking kind of like those doing genealogy / family history research.

  13. _TrumpeT_

    _TrumpeT_ New Member

    "He was featured in a 1961 Mantovani TV show, playing "Elfriede", his own composition named after his German wife."... does this mean there may be a video recording left in some broadcast station?
  14. JamesResurgam

    JamesResurgam Member

    I would seriously doubt if he ever was a member of the Philharmonia, he might have played with them on a light music session. He was Montovani's lead trumpet, and did mainly session work.
    I knew him quite well as we used to fly up to Scotland from Heathrow together; he played in the old Scottish Variety Orchestra with Jack Leon, and I would play with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. He did play once with the BBC Scottish before I went up permanently, and he told me he didn't enjoy the experience. He used to call my 2nd trumpet Harry MacAnespie, Harry MacaNosebleed; Harry was the 1st trumpet at the time and gave him a hard time. I don't believe the classics were his bag.
    George Swift was a gentleman and a very fine player. All this happened just before he moved to Spain to open the Laundrette. The first trombone Ken from the Variety Band moved out there with them and they used to play at the bull fights, and I would occasionally get sent messages back from him.
    Happy memories.

    David James
  15. Adrian Horn

    Adrian Horn Member

    I have somewhere on tape a recording of a BBC Radio programme called from Jericho to Jazz which was about the history of the trumpet and was presented by John Wallace. There is a part of it with an interview with Philip Jones who tells the story of sitting next to George in an orchestra (I'm sure he said Philharmonia) when George was playing first and Philip was playing second. He said everytime a part went around a middle G or below, George made Philip play it!

    I'll see if I can dig out the tape over the next day or 2 (and see if I can find a working tape player!!!)
  16. JamesResurgam

    JamesResurgam Member

    He might have been sitting in on a session which required a certain style of playing which Philip would have been uncomfortable with, but I would willingly bet my shirt that he was never a permanent member of the Philharmonia Orchestra.

  17. New Member


    I would very much like to have a quote from Philip Jones about Swift!
    (great if you could dig out that tape...)
    Btw, in the book about PJBE, there is no mention of Swift.

    I have a page devoted to PJBE:
  18. New Member

    A message from the marketing manager of the Philharmonia Orchestra confirmed what David James said:

    I have checked with our archivist, and he does not think that George Swift was ever a trumpet player with the Philharmonia Orchestra.

  19. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    - I, for one, would not dispute David James' comments :oops: I wish I had a fraction of his knowledge ...
  20. JamesResurgam

    JamesResurgam Member

    Thank you Tom.
    I'm extremely flattered by your comments! One doen't get to my age (64) without gaining a little knowledge and experience; the question is what you do with it. I just simply enjoy it. It also makes me feel very humble that I should have lived such a privileged life, and still living it.