Diz Disley

Decades: 1980s 1990s


William C. Disley, 27 May 1931, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Disley grew up in Wales and the north of England, where he learned to play banjo, switching to guitar at the age of 14 when he heard Django Reinhardt. Among his earliest jazz gigs was a period with the Yorkshire Jazz Band. In the 50s he lived in London, working as a newspaper cartoonist and playing in a variety of bands. Although many of Disley’s engagements in the 50s and 60s were with traditional bands, he also played skiffle and folk music. Eager to restore the place of the acoustic guitar in the face of the pop-scene successes of its electric counterpart, he gradually developed a substantial reputation as a leading mainstream guitarist.

In the early 70s Disley began a fruitful association with Stéphane Grappelli, persuading the organizers of the Cambridge Folk Festival to book the violinist. With the group rounded out by guitarist Denny Wright, who had worked with...

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