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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2011
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Well, he's still playing, so you could ask him, I guess...

However, not too long ago Yamaha donated a couple of clarinets for him to play and sign in a charity competition, so maybe he's a Yamaha endorsee.
 

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Distinguished SOTW member/, Official SOTW Sister
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I'm sorry but why would anyone want to know what kind of clarinet Acker Bilk played?
What ever it was he didn't play it to its' full potential. The poor thing....

Next someone is going to ask why he never did any product endorsments. :bluewink:
 

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Distinguished SOTW member/, Official SOTW Sister
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Distinguished SOTW member/, Official SOTW Sister
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Hello,
My name is bandmommy, and I have played "Stranger on the Shore".
In PUBLIC, on my Selmer Signature, and I am not ashamed. :twisted:
It almost sounded good....
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member and Forum Contributor 20
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I know . . . we're supposed to knock musicians whose style we don't approve of. BTW - Did you know that he didn't just play SotS . . . he wrote it. And lot's of people still remember it . . . in a GOOD way. It stayed on the British charts for 55 weeks. He was the first British artist to have a single in the number one position on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. SotS sold over one million copies.

This may be disagreeable and irritating to your sensibilities, but he made it . . . and KG made it . . . because they play music lots of people like. Is that a sin? So maybe lots of clarinetists don't like it . . . or sax players either . . . but lots of the rest of the world enjoy it enough to pay money to hear it.

I wish I could be so successful. Me? I better not quit my day job.

I'm not tryin' to start a war of words. But I'll drink a toast to one of the few that managed to live our dream. Cheers!
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member
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+1, Fred. And, there are some video clips on youtube of Bilk playing his tune, using a Boehm clarinet. There are still a lot of folks around who like the tune and like it played straight, as does Bilk. It isn't all about technique and a gazillion notes per measure. DAVE
 

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Forum Contributor 2010-2016
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I like Acker.

He's a hot traditional New Orleans style clarinet player. His concert at Festival Hall Melbourne circa 1974 with this band was sensational - very influential on me and the reason I went back to the sources of his inspiration - the NO clarinettitists like George Lewis and Albert Burbank.

There was a bunch of terrific English trad clarinet players that just swing like anything - Acker, Monty Sunshine, John Defferary, Sammy Rimmington - and many others - who were enormously influential on trad jazz players, at least in my country and generation. It's kind of fashionable now to downplay their influence and denigrate their playing.

Acker played a Boehm system clarinet. I met him briefly at the Musicians Club after the concert and he was a nice bloke.

His tone is idiosyncratic and immediately identifiable. The criticism of his commercial success with ballads and strings is an echo of the same criticism that Charlie Parker copped.
 

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I guess you guys didn't catch on that everything that was said 'knocking' Mr. Bilk was done tongue in cheek.
He has a style and sound that are undeniably his own. Some like it, some do not.
"Stranger on the Shore" is one of my favorites to perform publicly. I don't use his 'over the top' vibrato, but none of the old timers seem to mind.
I did have a video of one of my performances on youTube. It actually got good reviews.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member/Technician
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Geez, Monty Sunshine. I think I still have one of his LPs!
SotS was one of the first tunes I learned in the early 60s. I conducted it this year with my Comm. Band. Audience loved it. Easy band arrangement.
 

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Thanks to "Mr. Hollands Opus", another generation was exposed to "Stranger".
Lots of young females on clarinet aspired to be the girl with the red hair.
That in itself is a very good thing. :)
 

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A rather nice sounding one that helped him sell a lot of albums. What kind do you play?:bluewink:
 

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He played a 10 10 in the old days I thought. When I was a kid I groaned when he was never off the tele..him and Chris Barber in those bloody bowler hats and waistcoats. I wanted the Beatles and Stones. The old British tradders could have put me off jazz for life. I thought it was jazz until someone gave me a Sonny Stitt album.
When I hear a trombone I still see George Chisholm in his black tights blowing raspberries. The thing is they were all fine musicians who had to go through this palava for the great British public
to make a living from music
 

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Distinguished SOTW Technician
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I think Acker plays Buffets these days RC's probably. This guy is in his 80's and booked 5 years in advance! He made it. He is a very fine New Orleans style player and always fronts a very good band.
 
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