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Long-serving Bassist in Humph's BandCopyright © 2001
Paul Bridge was a familiar face to anyone who followed the fortunes of the Humphrey Lyttelton band in the last two decades. The bass player joined the band in August, 1983, and became a permanent feature in it, while also holding down a job as a social worker in London. His dual career often meant overnight dashes back to London from playing distant concerts.
In recent years, Bridge also teamed up with his colleagues in Lyttelton's excellent rhythm section, pianist Ted Beament and drummer Adrian Mackintosh, in a piano trio called Trio Time. They recorded an album under that name, How Beautiful is Night, for Lyttelton's own Calligraph label, and were much in demand as accompanists for visiting American soloists like Scott Hamilton, Warren Vaché, Ken Peplowski and Kenny Davern.
He was born Paul Robert Bridge, and took up trumpet while at school, playing locally with bands in the Manchester area, and leading the Durham University Jazz Band as a student. He switched to double bass in 1962, and established a substantial reputation in the north of England before moving to London in 1971.
He worked with many of the leading musicians in London, including a long association with tenor saxophonist Don Rendell. His wide-ranging musical interests saw him work with both traditional and Dixieland musicians like trumpeter Mike Cotton and drummer Lennie Hastings, and with more experimental modernists like composer Graham Collier and saxophonist Alan Wakeman, with whom he formed the trio Triton.
He joined Humphrey Lyttelton band's in 1983, and became a fixture in the group, where his richly rounded tone and impeccable sense of time made a major contribution to Lyttelton's music. According to the trumpeter, he was invaluable not only for his musical qualities, but also for his positive attitude.
As well as working with Lyttelton, both Bridge and Adrian Mackintosh were regular members of multi-instrumentalist Brian Leake's mainstream group Sweet and Sour, and the bassist helped with the running of the band after Leake's death in 1992.
He continued to be in demand as a freelance. American guitarist Marty Grosz secured his services whenever his other commitments allowed, and he worked with an old Manchester colleague, pianist and writer Brian Priestley, in the latter's sextet. Don Weller, Trevor Tomkins and Bryan Spring were among his other regular employers, although his principal commitment was always to Lyttelton.