All that jazz, up for sale

A teenage Brian on the double bass with a band in London.
A teenage Brian on the double bass with a band in London. / SUR
  • Following his retirement, former jazz musician Brian Parker is selling off his collection of jazz memorabilia

It's an impressive collection of music that was acquired over three decades. Now former jazz musician and radio host Brian Parker is hoping to pass on his massive collection of jazz CDs to a music enthusiast.

The 84-year-old Englishman has some 15,000 CDs as well as recordings of his broadcasts that date back over 30 years.

Based in Marbella, the octogenarian decided to have a big clear-out of his music memorabilia to help gain some space in his apartment following his retirement.

Also up for sale are signed photos of countless musicians he met over the years - including jazz legends Louis Armstrong, Sammy Davis Junior, Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald.

In addition, there are jazz-related keepsakes such as statues that the expat would also like to sell.

Brian, who says his collection of CDs is worth thousands of pounds, told SUR in English: "I'm 84 now and let's face it, I've been all around the world playing jazz and I've just got to the stage where I'd like to rest.

"If I can sell them for the money they are worth, then fine. But I'm not giving them away.

"A lot of the CDs that I've got are 20 to 30 years old and from some of the top musicians in the world at that time.

"I want to have a clear-out as I've got so much stuff it's just crazy."

Brian, a talented bass player, ran a popular radio station in Marbella called All That Jazz Radio FM until a few years ago, where he played interviews he had done over the years with more than 170 musicians.

Originally from London, Brian learned to play the violin at the age of six, which won him a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music.

Later on in his teens he won the London Speed Skating Championships and also tried his hand at ice hockey, before getting a scholarship to study architecture at Regent Street Polytechnic in London.

"It was there that I met friends who introduced me to jazz," he added.

"I borrowed a double bass from my father's business and started practising. I began to play traditional jazz with the Galleon Jazz Band in Tooting (London) and I also started my own group at the Foresters Pub in Tooting, which was modern jazz."

In his late teens in 1951, Brian started playing at 100 Club on Oxford Street in London several times a week, where, as well as helping to finance his architectural studies, he also met many of the top jazz musicians of the day, such as Louis Armstrong and Lionel Hampton.

He explained: "I was touring with them and earned good money, but I hated travelling eight hours a day with people who smoked and drank alcohol, so I gave it up.

"I played with all sorts of people; if you saw my autograph book you wouldn't believe it."

After qualifying as an architect, Brian was responsible for projects such as Croydon City centre. He went on to get married in 1970, before moving to Devon, England.

There he set up an antique and stamp shop, invested in properties and became a regional director of a double-glazing company - before getting divorced in 1976.

In 1983 he moved to Spain after visiting his father in Fuengirola, who was not well. He then moved to San Pedro in Marbella in 1985, where he has been ever since.

Over the last three decades, the dad of two who also has two grandchildren, has integrated himself into the local community with groups such as the Costa Animal Society, with whom he helped organise big charity events at the Cristamar in Puerto Banús in the late 80s.

As a result of his charity work he was asked to go on the local radio in 1991, when Onda Cero International was set up, to present jazz programmes.

"I also started to play again and had a small jazz group," he explained.

One of Brian's biggest achievements was organising the first Marbella Jazz Festival in 1997, which saw around 20 international jazz musicians descend on the town as hundreds packed the Andalucía Plaza Hotel in Nueva Andalucía for the sell-out event.

"It was packed out and very enjoyable," he quipped. "But a lack of sponsorship made it the first and last jazz festival in the town."

If you would like to contact Brian Parker for more information about his music memorabilia you can call him on 669504942.