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Blue plaque honour for Bilston jazz star Tommy

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: July 24, 2014

By John Workman

  • A proud day for Tommy's widow Dolly Burton and INSET: Tommy Burton

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WITH the number of people crammed inside its diminutive but atmospheric proportions, The Trumpet in High Street Bilston, resembled an over measured pint tankard last Wednesday when the Black Country's legendary jazz musician Tommy Burton was remembered with the unveiling of a blue plaque in his name.

Barry Hodgson, Blue Plaques Secretary of the Wolverhampton Civic and Historical Society, was delighted with the turnout saying it showed just how much the people in Bilston and jazz aficionados in particular still hold Tommy in their affections.

He said: "The blue plaque unveiled today is the 98th to be presented in the borough of Wolverhampton and is very unusual.

"Normally there has to be a 20-year gap between the death of a recipient and consideration for a blue plaque to be given, but Tommy who died in 2000 becomes only the second person to be given this honour prior to the regulation 20-year wait."

Apart from family, friends and fellow musicians from Tommy's stable of jazz excellence, others in attendance at the unveiling were Roger Waring, representatives from Holden's Brewery, the Civic Society, and Reg Summerfield, representing the Black Country Memories Club, who recited one of his poems in Tommy's memory.

A poem written by Reg in January of this year about The Trumpet pub included these two lines.

I recall great Tommy Burton in Waller style,

Piano skills, risque humour, a song and a smile

An event at The Trumpet would not be complete without some live jazz music and this was provided by Stephanie Trick and Paolo Alderighi on keyboards, with the landlord of the pub, Musti Bouameur, helping out on the drums.

Barry explained: "The plaque has been mounted temporarily inside the pub just for today, but will eventually be fixed to the outside wall and positioned just below the trumpet sign."

Tommy Burton will always be remembered as one of the greats of the local jazz scene and an accomplished musician. He covered everything from jazz to rock with his well-known Combo and was a popular entertainer both here in his beloved Black Country and throughout the UK.

What are your memories of Tommy Burton? Write to us at 41 High Street, Cradley Heath, B64 5HL, or email editor@blackcountrybugle.co.uk or log on www.blackcountrybugle.co.uk

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