Welcome to the website of
British Jazz Trumpet Player : Author : Educator
Dick Pearce’s book, “Dizzy Gillespie was at my Wedding”, is a thoroughly good read, I have long been a fan of Dick’s wonderful and elegant trumpet playing (as was the great Gil Evans, who once said of Dick’s playing “He plays like a composer!”) Now I am a fan of his writing skills too.
Reading through this lighthearted and amusing autobiography I found myself laughing out loud at the many anecdotes drawn from Dick’s early life through to his life as a professional British jazz musician. All the stories are told with Dick’s modest and self – deprecating humour.
At a more serious level the book also gives an illuminating insight into the many difficulties that a jazz musician faces in our times. I can wholeheartedly recommend Dick’s book to anyone, knowledgeable jazz fans or not.
Hilarious, harrowing and at times genuinely moving, this unflinchingly honest book is a true view from the bandstand, a warts-and-all self-portrait of one of Britain’s most gifted and unassuming jazz heroes.
Within a few pages the reader realises that Dick is a born storyteller who writes as he plays – with pace, fluency, a self-editing sense of brevity and a performer’s hold on the punter’s attention. His story scoots along in a string of vivid anecdotes, arranged in bite-sized chunks with a cross-heading above each one, red-top newspaper style, sometimes several to a page. And the results grip like a vice.
Unlike the usual dry surveys of contemporary UK jazz, this book really tells it how it is. It also serves as an instructive example of what adolescent exposure to Miles, Bird and Trane could do for a bored teenager near you. Look what it did for the quiet lad from the humble south London suburb who picked up a bugle in the Boys’ Brigade, switched to trumpet after watching Kenny Ball on TV and learned to play it as a bandsman in the Horse Guards. Of all places. But whoa there! Let’s not give the story away, read on.
REVIEW BY PETER KING : LEGENDARY SAXOPHONIST
Dick Pearce, one of the most brilliant and naturally gifted trumpet players Great Britain has ever produced, is also an equally talented author. Filled with his own special brand of humour, often tinged with irony, Dick’s book takes us on a fascinating and highly informative journey through his life; from his childhood to all the highs and lows of his long and highly creative jazz career.
Of special interest are many wonderful anecdotes about the years spent working with Ronnie Scott’s great Quintet.
Written in Pearce’s uniquely personal style, the book is a real delight to read and I strongly recommend it.
Dick Pearce is a brilliant musician and arguably one of the UK’s best kept secrets. ‘Dizzy Gillespie was at my wedding’ is a hands on, down to earth and often very funny account of the life and times of a jazz musician. It covers the pitfalls, the pratfalls, and the sheer joy of making music and offers a warts and all account of falling in love with jazz and setting out on the learning curve to make the trumpet sing. En route - blistering, difficult days as a musician bandsman in The Life Guards; exhilarating, sometimes daunting days working with other emerging jazz musicians; and eventually a dazed realisation that he was actually being asked to join the legendary Ronnie Scott’s Quintet. There are many great stories of life on the road with Ronnie and some brilliant jokes too; and Dick’s love and admiration for the man is a beacon throughout.
I’m a lifelong friend - I didn’t make it to the wedding but I had a ringside seat for many memorable Dick Pearce escapades - check the Harley St overflowing bath saga! This is a terrific portrait of Jazz in the UK: the hard graft, the humour and the sheer dedication of keeping this brilliant music alive and well. It’s never an easy life… the travelling can be a nightmare, and the money’s rarely commensurate. As the great Ronnie Scott once said with mock dismay ‘I’ve heard about working for peanuts ...but peanut?!!
I wish Dizzy Gillespie had been at my wedding!! He obviously awakened the literary genius in Dick Pearce.
This book is the most magnetic read I’ve had in years. It has pathos, humour, historical correctness and above all an inherent desire to eagerly anticipate the turn and revelations of the next page.
It would be a mistake to assume that this book would only be of interest to the modern and mainstream jazz fraternity. The characterisations leap out at you at every turn and the hilarious accounts and comments of Dick’s experiences will captivate readers of all ages and genre.
I am now reading this for the second time and finding it just as entertaining as the first time. If you’ve got any more revelations, Dick, tell us all before we are all too old!!
Peter N. Bramley, a Manchester “jazz nut” for over 60 years.
As a lifelong jazz lover and an admirer of the trumpeter Dick Pearce I picked up this book and wondered if anything new, about jazz over the years was on offer. I shouldn’t have worried.
It turned out to be a wonderful read. It is funny, moving and at all times interesting.
I would strongly recommend this book to all jazz lovers and also to anybody who did National Service as his account of his Army days is hilarious.
Frank Hilson Ashton on Mersey
It's a real delight to read . . .
just like sitting in a room and talking to Dick. And he mentions all these people from the 70s and 80s that I'd forgotten. It's quite like reliving one's mis-spent youth!
Mary Greig, Jazz in London
I've read your book, and really enjoyed it. I know you a bit better now!! Jake MacMahon, from the club has also read it in a day. Could not put it down he said. He used to live in Ewell and worked with a few people that you knew like Erica and Val Mannix back in the 70's or 80's.
Good luck with the sales.
Have just finished your book, read from cover to cover - so just to say how much I enjoyed it, informative and very entertaining .. I love your dry sense of humour! What a colourful, amazing life you have had - and am so glad you and Ciska met, I do like a happy ending!!
Thoroughly enjoying the book. It’s funny, poignant, informative, sensitive….wonderful !
Enjoying the book, nearly finished. The Horse Guards stuff is unbelievable - especially when they all bolt on to Hyde Park Corner - what a dreadful experience that must have been. A lot of the music stuff I think many musicians can relate to. Very honest, very human. Really good stuff.
I am now reading it for the second time; and I bought another copy for a pal who is a trumpeter. It is a brilliant book. Congratulations.
Malcolm Mcinlay Lappin