|David 'Jack' Horner bottom left|
The word legend is bandied around so much in music these days that, if you were to believe the hype, anyone who played bass in a third division punk band on their instantly forgettable second album would automatically have the L word bestowed upon them. That or national treasure.
We went to this year's Scarborough Jazz Festival and in our digs, sitting at the table next to us at breakfast, was a man so omnipresent on the UK jazz scene during the sixties and much of the seventies that picking up an album in Ray's Jazz or Dobell's that didn't have him in the lineup would have been virtually impossible. Saxophonist and clarinetist David 'Jack' Horner played with the great and the good - Dick Morrissey, Ronnie Scott, Stan Tracey, Tubby Hayes and Humphrey Lyttelton to name but a few.
But Jack never took centre stage. He was, and never will be, a legend. He was happy to stay in the shadows and prop up the midfield. An unsung hero. Some may even call him an underdog.
Underdog or not, I wasted no time in sidling up to his table and asking him to sign my napkin. He was a true gentleman and seemed more than happy to talk about the old days. Later that afternoon after watching a terrific session from Alan Barnes, a player very similar in style to Jack, we bumped into him and his latest wife (it turns out he's been married five times) on the terrace and they invited us over a for a pot of tea. A legend would never have done that.
Look carefully for the cat wearing the dark glasses in Tubby Hayes' Big Band in this clip from Ronnie Scott's filmed in 1970.