John Service, Trombone

John joined the Big Chris Barber Band at the beginning of February, 2008, replacing trombonist and arranger Bob Hunt, and remained with the band until December 2009. The late Barber archivist, Julian Purser, who had known John for many years, asked John to provide some details for this page.

I was born in Ayr, Scotland, and became interested in music at an early age, beginning cello lessons at age 7. I played in the string orchestra at primary school, but on moving to secondary school at age 12, found the musical policy there to be more brass and woodwind oriented. I had become interested in jazz through my father's record collection and the trombone in particular since he had many records with Chris Barber, Wilbur de Paris, Kid Ory, Jim Robinson, the "Roys" - Crimmins and Williams - and George Chisholm. I started playing the trombone when I was offered a brass instrument because of this and formed my own jazz band with some school colleagues at age 14 and we played in venues up and down the Ayrshire coast. I packed in the cello at the age of about 17 and changed to double bass and bass guitar. I played in the local regional orchestra, the Ayrshire Youth Jazz Orchestra, and the National Youth Brass Band of Scotland, and was lead trombone for five years in the National Wind Band Of Scotland.

When I left school and went to Glasgow University to study accountancy, I got involved in the jazz scene there, playing with the Uptown Shufflers, George Penman Jazzmen, Duncan Whyte, Fiona Duncan & Ronnie Rae, the Tay Valley Stompers, and the Bill Fanning Big Band, and was in the orchestra at the Kings Theatre, Glasgow. After graduation I worked as a chartered accountant for a year while gigging in the evenings and at weekends, and then got the offer to join the Piccadilly Six in Switzerland in September 1987.

Since then I have played concerts and festivals all over Europe with the Piccadilly Six and as a freelancer with all sorts of bands including: Phil Franklin Band (GB); Ambrosia Brass Band (Italy); Sid Kucera Band (Czech Republic); Mike Daly Rhythm Kings (GB); Rowan Smith Band (Australia); Louisiana Shakers (Australia); George Kay Band (GB/CH); Dixie Corporation (CH); Harlem Ramblers (GB/CH); Gay McIntyre Quintet (Ireland); Johnny McCallum Band (Ireland); Swiss Old Time Session (CH); Voice Meets Piano (CH); Swingtime Dance Arkestra (CH). I have also been involved in many recordings as a session musician from orchestral sessions to pop records and have gigged and recorded with my own groups.

Since 2004 I have been a member of the Trevor Richards British New Orleans All Stars, who include John Crocker, John Defferary and, occasionally, Ian Wheeler, and have toured extensively throughout Europe. The last three years I have been a member of the Edinburgh Festival International All Stars.

I also have two CDs available under my own name: John Service & Mike Daly, Together Again (Item Seven Music 001); and John Service Quintet, Service Included (Item Seven music 002). These are available at £10 plus p&p from or from Beatrice Mayoraz, Item Seven Music, Im Wingert 28, 8049 Zürich; Tel:0041 788068487. My own website is at
John Service Photo Gallery
Photographs by Andreas Wandfluh

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