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Dave Keir: 9/4/1928 - 31/5/2019 07 Jun 2019

Dave Keir: 9/4/1928 - 31/5/2019 image

Dave Keir was born on 9th April 1928 and lived in the mining village of Townhill, 2 miles North of Dunfermline. At the age of 9 he joined the Townhill Brass Band on cornet. When at Dunfermline High School he changed to trombone and played in the School Orchestra and also a local dance band around 4 or 5 nights a week. Despite all the late nights he managed to attain sufficient certificates to attend Edinburgh University after his National Service to study Psychology. At this time he played in bands with Sandy Brown and Al Fairweather and later with Archie Semple. When Archie left for London Dave took over the band calling it the "Nova Scotia Jazz Band" with Jack Graham and Alex Welsh. In 1953 Dave answered the call to play trombone in London with Mick Mulligan. He then played with many London bands including Freddie Randall, Sid Phillips, Bruce Turner and Dick Charlesworth. He even played alto sax with Ken Colyer's Parade Band. One of his favourite gigs was playing with a comedy band called "The Alberts" (the inspiration for the "Bonzo Dog Doodah Band") who were the first band on BBC2 in 1964.

When the London Trad Jazz Era faltered Dave returned to Edinburgh University and took a degree in Maths/Physics with the intention of teaching. His first marriage had failed and he set up home in Dunfermline with his four children - Sasha, Victoria, David and Margaret. He taught at various Fife schools and married Diane in 1970 and retired in 1988. During this period his main musical activity was singing in the Stirling Gaelic Choir with whom he attended many Mods.

After a few years Dave returned to playing jazz with various bands run by Frank Birnie, Charlie McNair and Mike Hart. He eventually formed his own "Hot 4" with Bob Busby, Jock Westwater and Dizzy Jackson specialising in classic Oliver/Morton/Armstrong numbers. The band was enthusiastically received at many clubs and festivals.

In 2007 Dave and Diane decided to move to Dorset and Dave finished his music career as he had started - playing cornet with the Wareham Town Band. However, he realised that his marching days were over when he was left behind as the rest of the band marched off.

Dave passed away as he wished - at home, his wife, Diane and family with him. He will be sadly missed by the Jazzers in Edinburgh and especially in London where he was probably better known and had the utmost respect.

Jock Westwater 


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