Here’s to Chairman Humph!

By SallyB2 Last edited 121 months ago
Here’s to Chairman Humph!

Londonist was very upset today to learn of the passing of a London legend. One of the last jazz greats, Humphrey Lyttelton, has gone to that great jazz club in the sky.

Humph was always special in Londonist’s eyes because of his dear and dogged refusal to take anything too seriously. In his own words:

“As we journey through life, discarding baggage along the way, we should keep an iron grip, to the very end, on the capacity for silliness. It preserves the soul from desiccation.”


As the brilliant host of ‘I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue’ he caused us to splutter coffee all over the place and laugh until our waterproof mascara all but evaporated. And he did for Mornington Crescent what the Wombles did for Wimbledon and Sherlock Holmes for Baker Street (only with more aplomb).

But this Londonista remembers him most fondly for his contribution to the London musical scene. Um, not that we’re actually old enough to remember all the good stuff he got started, but we sure have benefited from it: he was one of the stalwarts in the early days of the 100 Club, and started two jazz labels which gave opportunities to lots of up and coming artists.

He’ll be incredibly widely missed, and the London jazz scene will never quite be the same. Still, reckon they’ll be glad of an extra trumpet in the celestial brass section.

Picture by Lucy Lyttelton, from the official Humphrey Lyttelton website.

Last Updated 26 April 2008


Hear, hear. Desperately sad to learn of the great man's passing. According to Barry Cryer on the radio this morning Rob Brydon deputised for him in a performance of ISIHAC a few nights ago, but Humph still managed to send along a recorded message which was something to the tune of:

"I'm sorry I can't be with you tonight as I'm in hospital. I wish I'd thought of this sooner."

I and many others are glad he didn't and I feel privileged to have caught the gang in action during last year's tour when, at the finale, Humph belied his slightly frail appearance with a trumpet solo finale that sent everybody home with an awed smile on their faces.


My mother went to the 100 Club, and gave me my life-long love of jazz. So I kinda grew up thinking that Humph had single-handedly invented music.
I was huge fan of Ronnie Scott as well.
This does feel like the end of an era.