1921 – 1993
Who was Alan Clare?
A self-taught pianist, he became a professional musician at the age of 15 and during the next few years became a familiar figure on the London jazz scene. He played with Carlo Krahmer, Sid Phillips and others in the early 1940s before military service intervened. Wounded soon after D-Day, he returned to civilian life, playing in the comedy band led by Sid Milward and also began a long sporadic association with Stephane Grappelli.
In the early 1950s, Clare was busy playing jazz in small groups, some of which he led, mostly in nightclubs such as the Studio Club in London’s West End. In the mid-1950s, through into the 1960s he fronted a trio with Lennie Bush on bass and Tony Kinsey on drums. The three would appear regularly at the Star Club a popular west end nightspot in London frequented by showbusiness stars, politicians and royalty. He worked in many other clubs including The Kool Kanary, Rake and Downbeat, right through to the 1980s and into the early 1990s until ill health prevented his continued performance.
His piano style used a light, subtle touch and he had a vast knowledge of tunes and chord progressions. Allied to a gift for accompaniment and the ability to play with unflagging swing, he became highly respected in the UK Jazz scene and was often referred to as "The Musician's Musician" or "Pianist's Pianist".