Derek Wadsworth

Derek Wadsworth (5 February 1939 – 3 December 2008) was an English jazz musician, composer and arranger.

Derek Wadsworth
Born(1939-02-05)5 February 1939
Cleckheaton, Yorkshire, England
Died3 December 2008(2008-12-03) (aged 69)
InstrumentsTrombone, keyboards

Early lifeEdit

Wadsworth was born in Cleckheaton, Yorkshire on 5 February 1939.[1] His first instrument was the cornet[2] and he started playing the trombone at the age of eleven.[1]

Later life and careerEdit

Wadsworth played in bands in Huddersfield in the late 1950s.[1] He was based in London from the early 1960s and played in several bands.[2] He was musical director for singer Dusty Springfield in the mid-1960s, and for a Diana Ross world tour, and held the same position in the musical Hair for five years[1] from 1968.[3] He first arranged music in 1970, for Spring and Port Wine.[3]

As a musician, he toured Europe with Georgie Fame and was with Humphrey Lyttelton into the mid-1970s.[2] Wadsworth toured the United States with Maynard Ferguson in 1972, as well as recording with the bandleader.[2] He also had lengthy periods in the 1970s with Graham Collier and John Dankworth.[2] Wadsworth founded the Musicians Union's Rock Workshop and lectured there in the latter part of the decade.[2] He also led his own sextet.[1] In 1975 he arranged for Alfie Darling[3] and in the following year he composed and arranged for the 24-part television drama Space: 1999[1][2] (including this second series's newly-composed main theme tune) and worked on the film The Man Who Fell to Earth.[3]

Wadsworth was also busy as a session musician, including for recordings by Tony Bennett, George Harrison, Tom Jones and Dionne Warwick.[3] Years later, he commented: "We flitted from one studio to the next, never quite knowing what we had recorded [...] Now that there's money available for people who played on records of yesteryear we're all busy scrabbling about trying to find out who did what."[3] For some projects, Wadsworth played electronic keyboards and was credited as Daniel Caine.[3]

By the 1980s he was concentrating on film composing and arranging, but also led the band Blind Alley.[1] He was involved in the 1983 film Britannia Hospital.[3] He was able to continue playing jazz into the 1990s, in bands led by Harry Gold, Brian Priestley and Bob Wilber.[1] In the same decade he also conducted the Prague Symphony Orchestra for recordings[1] and was involved in the documentary film Wild Man Blues.[3]

In the 2000s, his playing included a quintet that he co-led with Ray Warleigh.[1] Wadsworth wrote around two hundred pieces of music for television advertisements.[3] He died suddenly on 3 December 2008. His wife, Betty, died in 1987 and he is survived by his partner, Patsy Halliday, and a son and a daughter from his marriage.[3]

Selected discographyEdit

With Graham Collier


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Chilton, John (2004). Who's Who of British Jazz (2nd ed.). Continuum. p. 371. ISBN 978-0-8264-7234-2.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Larkin, Colin, ed. (2006), "Wadsworth Derek", Encyclopedia of Popular Music (4th ed.), Oxford University Press, retrieved 18 January 2019
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Derek Wadsworth". The Daily Telegraph. 15 December 2008.