14 June 1913, London, England, d. 26 November 2002, London, England. This highly talented pianist, arranger, composer and conductor was one of the leading figures in UK light and popular music. At the age of seven, Black began learning the piano and later studied at the Matthay School of Music. His first composition, when he was aged 12, was broadcast by the BBC Symphony Orchestra. In 1929, he won an arranging contest sponsored by the then jazz weekly, Melody Maker, and became known as a promising jazz pianist, recording with visiting Americans Coleman Hawkins, Louis Armstrong and Benny Carter, plus the British bands of Lew Stone and Harry Roy. In 1938, he went to South America with Roys orchestra, and became fascinated with Latin-American music, a subject on which he became an expert. Black started recording for Decca Records in 1944, and in the same year became conductor of the BBC Dance Orchestra, a position that lasted until 1952. Black took part in many...
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