1970 – THE CHANGING FACE OF MUSIC AT London Weekend TV | A look at ‘THE WORLD OF MAYNARD FERGUSON’.

2021-10-27 0 By David Taylor

Contents:

Making the music on TV sound better
And making the ‘Light Entertainment’ shows better
What to do about ‘a house band’?
‘The World Of Maynard Ferguson’ TV Special
Video excerpt one – the opening and first band number:
Video excerpt two – keep the singers moving:
The others in the show
The sound rig
The old Marconi desk
Carefully scripted
The DVD
Life moves on….
Credits and references:

******************

TV programmes from 1970 are still fairly hard to come by and since there is a DVD copy of an early ‘one off’ LE show from LWT, I thought I’d use it to explore the attempts at better production and particularly of better sound that was occurring at that time. So this is a look at ‘The World Of Maynard Ferguson’ recorded at Wembley in May 1970 in LWT’s ‘Studio 3.
By the way, this is the studio that started out as Rediffusion’s Studio 5A and over 60 years later finally seems to have ended with the closing of its last occupant Fountain Studios.

Maynard Ferguson in 1970.
Photo by Katsuji Abe

Making the music on TV sound better

As part of receiving their new contract, there was expectation that the new ITV companies in London; Thames and London Weekend, would produce better Light Entertainment shows than the two previous London ITV companies, Rediffusion; doing weekdays and ABC; doing the weekends, had managed to do. Certainly there was pressure inside London Weekend TV to get better ‘production values’ in their shows, and that also included getting a more ‘up to date’ sound.
LWT needed two things to improve its sound, better equipment and the right people; sound mixers more able to produce sound that matched the constantly improving world of sound in the UK recording studios. The much needed improved equipment however was slow in coming, as LWT had difficulty bringing in more advertising money in its very early days. It was also stuck in studios inherited from Associated-Rediffussion at Wembley, which had some badly out-dated sound gear.

For their part Thames TV went ahead in 1969 and bought new Neve consoles for two of the three Teddington studios, but until they moved to their new South Bank studios, LWT’s requirement for a better set-up to cope with music was tackled initially by converting a TV small studio at Wembley into a ‘band-room’, which became ‘Studio S’.

The view from the new Neve, looking down into Studio S.
Photo from ‘ITV Engineering for Colour-1970’
The newly converted control room of LWT’s Studio S in mid 1970.
Photo via Vic Finch

An extensive rebuild of Wembley’s unused Studio 4 was undertaken to make it a ‘sound only’ studio, and the old Production and Lighting galleries on the first floor were rebuilt to take the new sound control room. This was fitted with a new Neve 24 channel 8 group console, working with what was probably the first 8-track in a UK TV company, a Scully, plus a pair of twin-track Scullys and a full-track mono TR90 tape deck was retained for TV show mixes. The photo above doesn’t have the Dolby 361 units that arrived shortly after, for the 8 and 2 track decks but note that the Neve has broadcast PPMs on the multitrack outputs.
It was the promotion of a fairly new member of the LWT sound department, Vic Finch however that was to bring about the new approach to the mixing of music that was also necessary.
Vic had come to LWT from ABC Teddington, having originally started at ATV Elstree, and was recognised as having great potential as a mixer, but was held back by the ‘dead-man’s shoes’ attitude to promotion, some of which was still prevalent in the LWT sound department. However the middle management and particularly Peter Cazaly and Mike Roberts, who had known Vic at Teddington, helped in getting him into a TV Sound Supervisor mixers position. After promotion the first big show Vic was able to get to grips with was a Danny La Rue Special. The show had quite an impact and was the beginning of the ‘LWT Sound’.

And making the ‘Light Entertainment’ shows better

These were still the days in which LWT ran three ‘Frost Programmes’, across the weekend evenings and somehow thought the audience would find that much David Frost worth watching. Admittedly the three separate Frost shows had different styles, but they often had pretty poor ‘production’; were certainly visually dreary with a terrible studio set and comedy that was often sadly lacking in that vital ingredient, humour.[1]
LWT then made another poor decision; they brought Simon Dee in to join their Saturday evening programmes, starting in January 1970.
The BBC ‘Dee Time’ programme had obviously gone out of favour at the BBC and when Dee demanded a big salary rise, Bill Cotton refused and Dee came across to ITV. LWT then put their new ‘The Simon Dee Show’ on after ‘Frost On Saturday’ but the company was up against considerable opposition to its programming at this time from the other ITV bosses, and for some reason Cyril Bennett, the Programme Controller, must have thought that Dee’s chat show following Frost’s comedy and chat show was going to work. But then he hadn’t many options on Saturday night without kicking Frost, a major LWT shareholder, off.

What to do about ‘a house band’?


Music was a necessary part of an LE chat show, and ‘Dee Time’ on the BBC had used the Alan Ainsworth Orchestra as the ‘house band’; but for their new show LWT choose the Maynard Ferguson Big Band.
Maynard Ferguson had already appeared on Dee’s BBC show and was a Canadian trumpeter who had some very serious jazz credentials: “He found early fame in the 1950s as the anchor of the bold orchestral sound of the Stan Kenton Orchestra. For three years running, 1950 to 1952, he won the Down Beat magazine poll as the top trumpet player in jazz” (The Washington Post).
Ferguson’s life was anything but ‘staid’ and in the early ’60’s he moved with his wife and children into a commune led by Timothy Leary, a Harvard Professor who promoted ‘mind expansion’ through the serious use of drugs. In 1967 Ferguson came to England and fronted an Anglo-American band on tour and then took a year in India with his family, exploring the ‘spiritual path’.
He returned to England again and it was a meeting with a fan, a Northern based trumpet player, Ernie Garside, who brought an all-British Maynard Ferguson Big band into being and also became Ferguson’s manager

Big Band Jazz had of course largely fallen by the wayside, as pop and rock took over throughout the 60’s. Maynard realised that Big Band Jazz needed to change and he imported rock elements; an electric bass and guitar along with a more rhythm accentuated style and started playing well known pop tunes. The successful arranger Keith Mansfield was surprised the band wasn’t yet recording and he got them a CBS recording contract and Mansfield later said:
“At a meeting between Maynard, Ernie Garside and the CBS reps, it was decided to record an album of ‘contemporary standards’ (recent show songs and film themes, etc.), featuring Maynard with a large orchestra. This was recorded between the fourth and sixth of December, 1968 at Olympic Studios in London which, although they had the room to record large orchestras, was better known as a rock and roll studio. In fact, much of the Rolling Stones early recording work was done there. It was at these sessions that I first encountered one of Maynard’s unusual ways of dealing with ‘studio stress.’
I needed to discuss some musical point with him and I walked to his solo booth, to be confronted by his feet where his head should have been. Maynard was literally standing on his head! He would do this for several minutes at a time, often between takes. Yoga was very much a part of his life, and this was one of his ways of dealing with pressure. Once this project was finished, we had to decide in which direction to go next. We discussed the idea of taking the band into areas of music that would appeal to a much younger audience than the ‘straight ahead’ arrangements, which were the staple diet for big band fans.
One obvious solution was to take the current songs that had enough musical ingredients that would allow an arranger to reinterpret them for Maynard. Another was to write new compositions using ‘rock’ rhythms under good exciting brass writing, with plenty of space for solos from some of the great jazz players that Maynard always seemed to attract into his bands. A fine example of this was ‘Give It One’ which Alan Downey arranged and co-wrote with Maynard. Anyway, CBS agreed to let us go in this direction, and so began the ‘MF Horn’ era.”
[2]

Getting the Maynard Ferguson Band for Simon Dee was probably a pretty a inspired choice, as the band was certainly looking like it would ‘make it big’ soon.

‘The World Of Maynard Ferguson’ TV Special

The live Simon Dee Show started on the 11th January 1970. The Ferguson band was already having a busy time, and fitted the Simon Dee TV shows around the club dates they were doing around the UK and they travelled to Italy for three days in February for an Italian TV show and on to Holland in March. They continually were having to be back in London for their Saturday Dee Shows.
The CBS recording contract continued with the band going into Lansdown Studios with Adrian Kerridge mixing, for the recording of the new album ‘MF Horn’

Maynard Ferguson’s Band played live each week on the Dee Show and must have immediately impressed the LWT Light entertainment department because they decided to give Ferguson a single show of his own. At this time, ‘pop’ shows were regarded as being only suitable for ‘youth audiences’, but a music show with the Maynard Ferguson Band must have been seen has having a reasonably wide appeal, so well into the weekly recordings for the Simon Dee Show, on May the 26th, the band came back to the London Weekend’s Wembley Studios for pre-recordings for ‘The World Of Maynard Ferguson’, and the show was recorded the following day in front of a studio audience. Transmission of the programme, however wasn’t until three months later on 23rd August ’70.


I don’t know if he had a hand in originating the concept, but it went to Bryan Izzard to both produce and direct the programme. Izzard was at that time a staff director at LWT and here’s what Humphrey Burton, who was soon to be running the Aquarius programme, later said about Izzard: ” I needed a star director ……and found one on my doorstep at LWT. Bryan Izzard was a large man with a flamboyant personality who came to work in a kaftan and made his name producing big-time comedies and chat shows.”[3]

I’m not setting this programme out to be a major change in television style, but I think it shows what a creative person Brian Izzard was. Given the basic ingredients of a still ‘Jazzy’ Big Band, but with a pretty charismatic leader, Izzard pushed away the standard ways of presenting ‘Light Entertainment’ and used the context of presenting a ‘story’ about Maynard Ferguson to title the show ‘The World Of Maynard Ferguson’ and introduce a variety of guests from a solo singer, a new pop group, a noted Jazz singer, a famous Classical guitarist and then he wove into it a group of Indian musicians and also surprisingly a session of Indian meditation. Thus it showed the range of Ferguson’s interests and the deviation into the ‘spiritual’ was particularly bold for an entertainment show, even in the post ‘hippie’ era.
The opening of the show has the band arriving outside the TV studio, apparently dashing in from their current tour, whilst an impatient audience wait for their late arrival. ‘Contrived’….well certainly, but along with Izzard’s visual style with the extensive use of moving cameras, plus an ‘audience in the round’ and lots of colour…it certainly was different to the staid television of the late 60’s.

Brian Izzard, as ‘Producer and Director’, would have involved his Set Designer in creating a stylish set with the band rostrums surrounded by audience and his Costume Designer would also have be told to make sure everyone looked bright and colourful. Izzard used some varied camera crane shots to keep the programme moving and the Lighting Director used coloured Follow Spots on the soloists to further highlight them. The more straight forward way, that was still prevalent in LE Shows, such as keeping the cameras at ‘stage front’, was just not Bryan Izzard’s style.
The show was recorded ‘as live’; almost certainly with only a very few subsequent videotape edits, although ITV companies had the ‘luxury’ of being able to stop recording at each commercial break. We’ll discuss the sound aspects a bit later.

Video excerpt onethe opening and first band number:


VIDEO CLIP: PRESS ‘PLAY BUTTON’ IN BOTTOM LEFT CORNER

Pete King is the alto soloist and Danny Moss also does some great solos on tenor.

The Ferguson Band was probably the first to try and make this sort of Big Band Jazz have much more of a pop music feel by the choice of music and using an electric bass, a drummer plus conga’s; however that’s still an acoustic piano being played there and it’s a very standard Big Band layout that even Duke Ellington would have been happy with plus, as had been common with a Big Band, the soloists move out onto a front mic; which Izzard didn’t try to change.

Here are the band details:
Apart from Maynard on trumpet and on trombone, we have Ernie Garside, Martin Drover, John Huckeridge, John Donnelly on trumpets; Adrian Drover, Al Wood, Chris Pyne, Billy Graham on trombones; Pete King (alto), Danny Moss (tenor), Brian Smith (tenor and soprano), Bob Watson (baritone) and John Holbrooke make the sax section. The rhythm section of Peter Jackson on piano, George Kish on electric guitar and Dave Lynane playing both electric and acoustic bass, along with Randy Jones, drums and that’s Ray Cooper of course on the percussion. The programmes musical arrangers and writers were Keith Mansfield, who got involved with arranging for the band whilst producing their CBS recordings and Sam Harding, an LWT regular, plus ‘charts’ done from Tommy Watt, Mike Abene, Adrian Drover, Slide Hampton and Don Sebesky.
The trumpeter Ernie Garside had become Maynard’s manager and as I said, was responsible for pulling together this great British band. He also happens to be the source of the video here, as he kept a 16mm colour copy of the transmitted programme. One can only assume that it was an LWT ‘Tele-recording’ for the sales department. Alas it has rather a lot of ‘film marks’ visible and an excessive amount of ‘chroma’…colour saturation, but see the details at the end for copies of the DVD. [4]

Video excerpt two – keep the singers moving:

Here’s another section of the programme, a Joni Mitchell song by the solo singer Sylvia McNeill and Bryan Izzard makes sure she’s fairly involved with the audience. All this seems fairly normal now, but it was different at the time, when singers usually just did their song to ‘camera’. He then goes into the pop group ‘Arrival’ and he lets them ‘reek havoc’ on skates and swings instead of standing in a line with their instruments. Both these items are mimed to pre-recorded tracks.

VIDEO CLIP: PRESS ‘PLAY BUTTON’ IN BOTTEM LEFT CORNER

Sylvia McNeill appeared in quite a lot of TV during the early ’70’s….and disserved rather more success. ‘Arrival’ did have limited success though.

The others in the show

Let’s mention the other musical performers. Live items included the Australian classical guitarist, John Williams playing a piece by Sor:

John Williams playing Sor’s ‘Variations on a theme by Mozart’

and another John, Jon Hendricks singing with the band:

It looks like Vic has given Jon Hendricks a Neumann KM54 as a vocal mic.

Arrival also did their current single, ‘I Will Survive’, but to a pre-recorded version of their ‘single’ made by Vic:

Arrival – miming again , in a a rather more conventional layout.

This arrangement had short ‘screaming’ solo break by Ferguson added. Hitting very high notes was something that not that many trumpeters attempted, but there were some famous trumpet ‘screamers’ like Cat Anderson in the Duke Ellington Orchestra.

The group of Indian musicians led by the veena player Makunda featured in another pre-recorded track that combined them with the Maynard alone and with the Ferguson Band and finally in a ‘meditation’ piece, a Hindu call to prayer:

The ‘saraswati veena’ is the instrument on the left.

A look at the sound

Sylvia McNeill mimes extremely, well until the adlibs with Ferguson at the end; but Arrival don’t always seem to keep in sync though. Getting the ‘foldback’ loud enough for miming in a wide studio setting like this wasn’t that easy back then. A couple of Lockwood speaker cabinets driven by Radford 50watt amps, would have been working quite hard, along with the ‘Pamphonic’ 100volt line overhead PA speakers suspended over the audience.

The sound rig

Since I’ve started talking about the sound, let’s take a proper look.
There would be a two day schedule to a show like this, although the pre-recording of some sound playback tracks might have extended it a bit. The set would have been built by an overnight crew, and the technical rig for Lighting, Cameras and Sound would have been on the morning of Tuesday 26th May. The next day, the Wednesday, the show would be ‘blocked’, ie rough rehearsals, before a ‘dress run’ and then the break for the evening meal. The audience would come in and the show would be recorded from probably 1930 to 2130.
A bit before Vic would have attended a planning meeting with the director and other senior staff, and would have produced a ‘rig sheet’ for the floor sound crew; so let’s look at what this would have been.
The band was miked with:
1: Front mic for Maynard and the other band soloists – An AKG C-28 fitted with the long extension between the mic body and capsule….much prettier in camera shot. I think the C-28 became a ‘C-30’ when fitted with the long extension tube. Vic might have regretted the lack of a windshield….as Maynard ‘popped’ the mic during the opening speech on the recording.
2: Mic for Classical guitarist John Williams – another C-28, this time with the shorter extension tube as John Williams was playing seated of course. This became a ‘C-29’ now!
I actually remember setting a C-28 in front of John Williams, it may have been this show, and perhaps either because he was a ‘classical guitarist, or because I was in awe of his playing, I was ‘tentative’ with the mic placing. “No that’s alright “, said John, a very friendly Australian, “put it right up close”.
3: Hand mic for Jon Hendricks – possibly a cardiod Neumann KM54 ….well that’s what it looks like to me…but we normally used Sennheiser MD211 omni hand mics or the similar Beyer M101 omni.

4: The band mics; I can count 16:
3 x U-87 for the sax section.
2 x STC 4038’s for the trombones.
2 x STC 4038’s for the trumpets. The mic was a favourite for brass….and had been ever since it was developed in the 1930s. It’s a ribbon, therefore a fig-of-eight, with a big diaphragm and a very powerful magnet ….so you didn’t want get it near your watch!
The piano has a mic boom coming over from the back, I guess that would have a C-28.
The bass cabinet has a mic, that would be a D-12, and the bass player also plays an upright string bass, that would also be miked, probably a KM64 in the bridge.
And likewise the electric guitar cabinet was miked, another D-12 then.

Congas has a U-87.
And another U-87 ‘overhead’ on the drums and Vic used to stick a small AKG BK6 (neck mic) on the snare, and there’d be a D-12 on bass drum.
There’s a set of vibes hidden around the rear of the trumpets, miked with a U-87.
Also note that all the electric instruments had to have nearby mains isolation transformers ‘back then’, for safety.
5: Audience mics would usually be slung AKG D-12’s at LWT in 1970, but it must have been difficult getting the PA speakers and the mics into a good place, with the audience so much around the set and I can see some vertically suspended mics over the audience, with no sign of the PA speakers. Getting an ‘exciting’ audience sound was important and as soon as Vic got better equipment, so the audience soon got ‘bigger’.

Bryan Izzard’s constant use of a Mole Camera Crane, did give the sound crew a rigging problem, because he expected the crane to be able to completely travel around the band area, requiring the studio floor to be kept clear. The band mics would therefore have to be rigged up to the Studio 3 lighting grid above, but as Wembley didn’t have the more modern ‘grid’; you couldn’t walk on a set of steel suspension crossbars. Instead there were a few catwalks across, that some mic boxes were attached to, so in this case a multicore cable was dropped down onto the band area.

The old Marconi desk

All in all it’s quite a big rig for the old Marconi valve desk that Vic had to use for the live show. Here’s a picture of a similar desk at ABC Teddington:

This is a Marconi valve mixer in one of the ABC studios at Teddington. When the company changed to being Thames, they were able to swop these for new Neve consoles in 1969….but this was the same Marconi design that Vic Finch still had to use in LWT’s Studio 3 in 1970.
Photo via Mike Pontin

Although that might look like a comprehensive sound desk, it was way out of date and mixing a big set up like on the Maynard programme with a Marconi valve console was pretty hard work, as batches of channels could only be assigned to their fixed groups, and with no channel EQ, external EQ units and compressors all had to be patched in. Vic was a staunch advocate of using both EQ and compressors….his desk rig would have used both the Pye 4060’s and all the big single channel Fairchild 660 compressors that LWT possessed.
Pre-setting the mic channels for level sometimes required removing the pre-set mic amp units to ‘tweak’ them and that was one of the reasons some of the older TV Sound Supervisors (I’m thinking of Charlie Warrener here!) resisted the use of condenser mics because of their higher outputs. However using the best mics possible was something that Vic positively ’embraced’, as his mic rig shows.

Pre-recording

That covers the ‘live’ sections of the show, but the ‘Chelsea Morning’ item by Sylvia McNeill, as I’ve mentioned, was pre-recorded, as were the two songs by ‘Arrival’ and the Indian music sections. All these had newly arranged parts to include the Ferguson band, which meant that were also part of the pre-recording session.

However, when it came to pre-recording the tracks that the artists would mime to, the the new Studio ‘S’ would make things much easier, particularly as along with the new Neve desk, it had a Scully 8-track. At last multitracking in TV shows had finally arrived!
Vic recalled: “I remember the Indian section being pre recorded in Studio ‘S’; they sat in a semi circle on a rostrum in the airless vocal booth with cans whilst the band blasted away outside. I remember the Arrival vocalist being difficult and not wanting much compression on her voice; I was the wrong mixer for that!”[4]

A 1971 picture of Vic at the 24 channel Neve in Studio ‘S’, with myself at the Scully tape desks. I see the Dolby’s had arrived – the photo was used in advertising by Dolby.
From the cover of the American dB magazine.
Studio ‘S’ in 1970. It was soon to be marketed by LWT as a recording studio called ‘Intersound’.
Photo via Vic Finch

Studio S, had been turned into a fine recording room, and was fairly ‘dead’. The control room windows are on the upper level of the left hand wall here. The open door at the far end of the wall on the right side, leads to the small ‘vocal booth’ that Vic mentions. He gave the Indian musicians ‘cans’, but these were still the times when the only studio session players happy to wear headphones were the rhythm section guys. Everyone else, and particularly any string players, wanted a foldback speaker near them, so it was a battle to keep the ‘spill’ down.

Carefully scripted

A TV programme like this is scripted carefully, and the director plots the camera shots that are required, which are numbered and written into the script alongside the text for the ‘links’ or the words of the songs. The Directors PA will call out the camera cuts throughout on talkback.The cameramen are given ‘shot cards’ giving a short description of the shot required, and listen to the PA calling the current shot number to keep track as the show progresses.
I don’t have a camera script for this show, but it would have looked rather like this page from one of Yvonne Littlewoods programmes, the first of the BBC’s Jazz 625 programmes, with the Duke Ellington Band:

Courtesy the BBC Archive, here’s a camera script showing the original shot sequence, and how Yvonne Littlewood, the Director, changed it during the camera rehearsals.

Vic Finch would have his script in front of him during the rehearsal and recording of the programme, but although he might possibly note some changes in the camera shots, on a music show he’s more concerned with the band soloists etc, and the level changes to mics that he would need to be making, plus things like adding echo to Jon Hendrick’s voice when Jon went from speech to singing.
Vic’s gram op, would similarly be marking up his copy with the pre-recorded tape cues that he was playing in. On any show with an audience, the sound mixer is going to have one hand glued to the ‘audience fader’; the group fader that all the audience mics are routed through. Audience reaction is a fickle thing, and the moment you take your hand off it, you’re likely to be caught out, although it’s more predictable on a music show than on a comedy of course.
On many live music shows, the band fader changes become pretty frequent, and in these ‘totally manual’ days a further assistant was sometimes enlisted to do the fader moves to various pre-marked positions, usually during the ‘links’ between the music. A music department guy can also be helpful, score reading for the Sound Mixer to aid hit cues for sections and soloists but as it happens, the Maynard Ferguson show wouldn’t have needed these assistants and Vic would have followed his rehearsal notes throughout.

The DVD

We are lucky to have some TV shows from ‘back then’ preserved, as obviously TV shows were considered short lived items and the high cost of videotape was thought to be more important than the archiving of shows. Nobody predicted the great changes TV would go through. Those that survived though, are either hidden from view in the existing archives; some possibly getting an airing on an ‘oldies’ satellite station, or they’ve made it out on YouTube or perhaps as a DVD.
The copy of this show, that made its way on DVD was sourced from a 16mm film transfer that Maynard Ferguson’s manager, Ernie Garside held on to, and it shows some of the original 2″ Quad VTR tape dropouts but is marred rather more by the film scratches and marks and that’s probably an VHS machines AGC pumping some of the time. The LWT front and end captions have been removed, so alas we can’t see who the Designer was.
One section of this programme has badly dated though, as Izzard did succumb to using some ‘spacey visual effects’ during the Indian music sections. Very 1970 that, as vision mixing panels became capable of such ‘effects’, and directors thought it was clever to use them.
Details of the DVD are below.[4]

Front and back of the DVD

Life moves on….

Maynard Ferguson took his British Band to do a tour of the States in 1971 and he returned to the US full time a little while later. His pop flavoured jazz went down well with a young audience in the American colleges for some years, so he carried on touring with his frequent changes of American musicians.

Brian Izzard continued making TV shows that covered the wide range of ‘LE’ shows at LWT, including a great many sitcoms, although those can’t have given Bryan much chance to show his great visual style.
Humphrey Burton also used Bryan on some ‘Aquarius’ shows, and remembered: “Our affectionate salute to Edward Lear, delivered by two over-the-top performers and backed by Menuhin and his musicians, was a perfect fit for Izzard’s camp temperament; he created a vivid and original show. Roxburgh’s style was impeccable, indeed I enjoyed it so much that I persuaded Menuhin to commission him to compose another work for Diana combining speech and music, this time built around the poetry of Edward Estlin Cummins, who liked his name (and his verses) to appear in lower case type (thus, e.e.cummins). Izzard worked closely with LWT’s clever graphic designer John Tribe, who found unusual ways to lay out the text of Cumming’s poems on the screen.”[3]
Bryan went to Scottish TV as Head of Entertainment and then to Southern TV. His last work at LWT was in the late 1990’s for The South Bank Show. I regret that I have been unable to find a photo of Bryan Izzard. Anyone got one?

Vic Finch made many great sounding TV shows at LWT, and and established the ‘LWT Sound’ as a house style. He worked on many music specials including Tommy Steele, Filmharmonic from the Albert Hall, the Hollies, David Essex, ELO and many more. He was the mainstay in doing the Mike Mansfield series ‘Supersonic’ which was recorded by LWT guys, but mainly by Vic. By taking over the mixing desk at some of the established recording studios around London, it allowed them to keep up to date and use the latest recording equipment.

All the wonderful award winning Stanley Baxter Shows were also done by Vic and the South Bank Show theme, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Variations’ was a version that he also recorded, along with many LWT theme tunes including ‘Black Beauty’, ‘No Honestly’, ‘Gentle Touch’ and the ubiquitous animated LWT ident. 
Vic left the LWT sound department the legacy of a very ‘upfront’ audience sound, which required a serious amount of ‘limiting’ to squash it up…making a bigger and more exciting audience reaction and applause. He also taught us to really ‘listen’ to how music could be balanced, such as using the creative use of compression; showing how to make TV sound that matched that of the recording world.
Vic moved from sound to become a TV Director and I’m pleased to say remains a friend that I see and talk to fairly regularly.

John Williams wasn’t just a ‘straight classical guitarist’, and he issued an album in which he played electric guitar in 1971 and some years later joined up with bass player Herbie Flowers, and along with electric guitarist Kevin Peak, drummer/percussionist Tristam Fry and pianist Francis Monkman, formed the rock band ‘Sky’.

Sylvia McNeill Wikipedia tells us: “In one eighteen-month period, Sylvia McNeill made over thirty appearances on television, including The Benny Hill Show, The Dave Allen Show, The Morecombe and Wise Show, The Simon Dee Show, The Dick Emery Show, Roger Whittaker’s World Of Music, The Golden Shot,  Anglia TV’s Glamour ’70 series , Ulster TV and her own eight-week series for Grampian TV. In addition to her own recordings, she sang on the track ‘Anne Boleyn/The Day Thou Gavest Lord Hath Ended’ for keyboardist Rick Wakeman’s1973 album The Six Wife’s of Henry VIII.”

Arrival – Wikipedia to the rescue again: “Arrival was an English, London-based close-harmony pop-rock band, featuring singers originally from Liverpool. Following its appearance on Maynard Ferguson’s 1970 television special and two chart hits, ‘Friends’ and ‘I Will Survive’, the band was booked to appear at the Isle Of Wight Festival in 1970. After Arrival disbanded, its members joined other projects such as Kokomo, Olympic Runners and Gonzalez, and became session musicians and session singers.”

Jon Hendricks Wiki says: “Using London as his base, he toured Europe and Africa, performed frequently on British radio and television with such stars of the day as Lulu and Dusty Sprigfield as well as Ronnie Scott and the comedian Marty Feldman.. His sold-out club dates at Ronnie Scott’s drew fans such as the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. Hendricks also recorded two albums in London – Jon Hendricks Live (Fontana) and Times of Love (Philips), which was released in the US as September Songs (Stanyan, 1975). After five years, the Hendricks family returned to Mill Valley, where Hendricks worked as the jazz critic for the San Francisco Chronicle and taught classes at California State University at Sonoma and the University of California at Berkeley.

About the Indian musician Makunda I’ve no information.

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Credits and references:

[1] See my earlier article about The Frost Shows on London Weekend.
[2] From Maynard Ferguson biography at https://maynardferguson.com
[3] From Humphrey Burton’s Autobiography ‘In My Own time’ – Boydell Press 2021. Humphrey was an important figure in the arts on TV and the book details his years at LWT, as well as his BBC and freelance career.
[4] The DVD, from ‘Sleepy Time records’ in 2008, only seems to be obtainable from that ‘serial tax avoider’, who I try an ‘avoid’- Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Maynard-Ferguson-The-World-Fergu/dp/B0015XQGZO.
It’s a ‘limited edition’ DVD, which I guess means they didn’t print many…only 1500 in fact.
[5] Correspondence with Vic in 2021.

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