Veteran trumpeter Eric Burrell celebrates birthday in style

Veteran jazz musician Eric Burrell celebrated his 94th birthday by blowing out candles on a specially-made cake and blowing into his trumpet to entertain party-goers, together with fellow instrumentalist, Ivan Tooes, 87.

The pair were among revellers at Annie Slater's charity Jazz and Jam supper event, in aid of Worstead Day Care Centre, at the Butcher's Arms pub in East Ruston.

They joined the Jazzannie Trio - Roger Cooke, keyboard, Mick Betts, bass guitar and Annie Slater, vocals - to perform in front of a capacity audience which included musicians from some of the bands with whom Mr Burrell, who has clocked up more than 10,000 public performances, currently plays.

He was inspired to take up the trumpet after hearing Louis Armstrong records on the radio in the 1930s. After playing in several dance bands, he served in the RAF and, during the war years, played with station bands at home and in India.

Returning to Norwich, he played with the Billy Duncan Band where he met Ivan Tooes. Later he joined the Tony Howard Band, and in the 1960s played for the Trevor Copeman Band at Tiffany's in Yarmouth.

Mr Burrell did a series of shows at Anglia Television with Peter Fenn, two years at Yarmouth Hippodrome Circus, and a season with Bruce Forsyth at the Wellington Pier. He now plays with one rehearsal band, One Foot in the Groove, Tooes Company and The Old Codgers.

Ms Slater said that Mr Burrell, who lives in Sprowston, was gentle-natured, unassuming, much-loved and respected, and a true gent of the local musical scene.

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She added: 'Everyone enjoyed the evening and was particularly thrilled by Eric's solo performances, and those of his buddy, Ivan Tooes.'

Mr Burrell's playing can be heard at The King's Head Hotel, Station Road, Hoveton, this Monday, April 11 at 8pm, where he will be appearing with The Old Codgers. Guest musicians are welcome to go along for a jam session. Admission is free.

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