Bernard Stanley “Acker” Bilk: born Pensford Somerset, UK: 28/01/29
* He’s a thoroughly nice man (see this Graun interview by Louis de Berniers which for some reason I can’t link to; so here’s the link):
* he’s a better clarinettist than he’s usually given credit for (early in his career he worshipped George Lewis: other influences include Ed Hall and – increasingly these days – Pee Wee Russell);
* the world would be a happier place if we all conducted ourselves like Acker…here he is at the height of his success in 1962 with ‘In A Persian Market’…the pianist who goes over to the drums is Stan Greig (now gravely ill)…
…I resisted the temptation of posting a clip of ‘Stranger On The Shore’ (which is available on youtube in at least two versions): Acker calls that tune “my old age pension” and claims to have played it so many times that he’s forgotten the original tune…but if you must hear it, google youtube for a 1962 concert version and a much more recent rendition in a pub…
…happy birthday, Acker!