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John Chilton, British Musician and Author, Dies at 83

Wrote popular “Who’s Who of Jazz,” accompanied George Melly

John Chilton

John Chilton, a British musician, author and composer, died Feb. 25 after a brief illness. No place of death was disclosed. Chilton was 83.

Chilton, a trumpeter, was known as leader of the the Feetwarmers, which performed every Christmas for more than 30 years at London’s Ronnie Scott’s jazz club. The group also had its own prime-time BBC series, Good Time George. During the 1960s Chilton played on English pop hits by the Swinging Blue Jeans, the Escorts and others.

Also an author, Chilton wrote Roy Eldridge: Little Jazz Giant and books on Billie Holiday, Sidney Bechet, Bob Crosby, Coleman Hawkins and others, plus Who’s Who of Jazz and an autobiography, Hot Jazz, Warm Feet. He won a Grammy in 1983 for his liner notes for an album by Bunny Berigan.

Born in London on July 16, 1932, Chilton began playing trumpet in his teens and was working as a professional musician by the late ’50s. He spent more than 30 years as an accompanist to singer George Melly.

Originally Published