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Bill's fascinating musical history is perhaps best summed up by this interview by Sam Cohen carried out in 2015.
Sam Cohen - My interview with Bill Barrow.
Bill Barrow is the ultimate musician, modest, interesting, innovative. During his career Bill has worked with the finest musicians and singers. During Bills career he has given young hopeful musicians the opportunity to work alongside his outfits and learn their craft. Bill is in my opinion is The True Gent. A rare thing these days.
Bill said "I think that showbiz is in my genes !
At the turn of the last century my grandfather, John Whittall was a member of the music-hall vocal act, The Lancashire Lads. He worked alongside Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel but declined offers to accompany them to Hollywood, believing that no good would come from it !"
The Early Years
At the age of eight I was enrolled at the prestigious Northern School of Music, studying piano under concert pianist Marjorie Hopwood and the legendary Ida Carroll. Three years later I was enrolled at Manchester's Regional School of Music, studying clarinet with Johnny Roadhouse, who was lead alto with the BBC Northern Dance Orchestra ( the famous NDO )"
Bill then became principal clarinet with the Trafford Light Orchestra and thereafter he enjoyed more than ten years as principal clarinet with the regimental bands of The Duke of Lancaster's Own Yeomanry and The Queen's Lancashire Regiment .Bill commented I also enjoyed stints playing alto sax / clarinet with The Jack Fairer Big Band, The Jay Leslie Ballroom Orchestra and the NDO.
The Fylde Coast
Bill went on to say that, "Upon moving to the Fylde Coast I became musical director at Blackpool's Norbreck Castle Hotel, the Imperial Hotel and the Hilton Hotel."
Here Bill has provided music for the Labour Party and Conservative Party conferences in Blackpool and was amazed to receive a request for Prime Minister Tony Blair and President Bill Clinton to play guitar and saxophone respectively with my band Unfortunately after week's of preparation and security screening ,the planned performance didn't take place due to security problems.
Bill said, "I have been privileged to play alongside many great musicians - Kenny Ball , Chris Barber, George Melly, Kathy Stobart, Alan Price and ,one of my musical heroes, John Dankworth I've also provided musical support for a considerable number of variety stars – Chas 'n Dave, Susan Maugham, Brotherhood of Man, Roy Walker, Bernie Clifton and the ' Ambassador of Country Music ' the late George Hamilton IV."
Currently Bill is concentrating on the provision of Dixieland Jazz with one of Lancashire's longest-established bands, The Wyre Levee Stompers and his own band, The Jazz Knights as well as providing strict tempo music with the Bill Barrow Quartet which can provide music including modern ballroom, Latin-American and modern sequence at a number of venues including Blackpool's Winter Gardens. The band have provided music for a number of world champions on their appearances in Blackpool, the world capital of ballroom dancing
Bill is delighted to have joined forces with vocalist Lynne Fox as part of The Bill Barrow Trio who will be appearing at the forthcoming Blackpool Jazz and Blues Festival as well as providing sophisticated dinner music ' Songs For Swinging Diners –The Great American Songbook ' at a number of leading restaurants and other venues
Bills work with Lynne and guitarist Chris Walton is very well received by all age groups. The trio seem at ease working with each other and are great friends the ultimate recipe who make up the perfect dish in the music world.
"Both my mother and father were accomplished pianists and my uncle, Art Gregory enjoyed residencies with his ballroom orchestra at Blackpool's Palace Ballroom, Folkestone's Leas Cliff Hall and a number of leading London nightclubs.