Lauderic Caton

Lauderic Caton (31 August 1910 – 19 February 1999) was a Trinidadian guitarist who settled in Britain in 1940.[1] He was an early proponent of the use of electric guitar in Britain, particularly in jazz music.[2] According to Val Wilmer, "he exercised a significant influence on Pete Chilver[3] and Dave Goldberg, the two jazz guitarists more generally credited as British pioneers of the amplified instrument, while his students, official and unofficial, ranged from jazz exponents to the Nigerian highlife specialist Ambrose Campbell and Hank Marvin of the Shadows."[4]

Lauderic Caton
Birth nameLauderic Rex Caton
Born(1910-08-31)31 August 1910
Arima, Trinidad and Tobago
Died19 February 1999(1999-02-19) (aged 88)
London, England


Born in Arima, Trinidad and Tobago,[1] Lauderic Rex Caton was the fourth son and last among the eight children of Robert Caton, who was of Saint Lucian descent, and Margaret Caton.[4]

Caton was an autodidact on guitar, which he played professionally from the age of 17. He was also proficient on saxophone, double bass, and banjo. After spending time in Guadeloupe and Martinique, he moved to Europe in 1938, playing in Paris with guitarist Oscar Alemán and then in Brussels with Ram Ramirez, Jean Omer, Harry Pohl, and Jamaican Joe Smith. While in Antwerp Caton played with Gus Clark and Tommy Brookins.[citation needed]

Influenced by Lonnie Johnson and Charlie Christian, Caton first began using an amplifier in May 1940. He played in England with Don Marino Barreto (in whose band he met and befriended saxophonist Louis Stephenson, a frequent collaborator)[5][6] and led a house band at Jig's Club. He worked with Cyril Blake, Johnny Claes, Bertie King, Harry Parry, Dick Katz, and Coleridge Goode. Late in the 1940s Caton played with Ray Ellington and Ray Nance, playing under the pseudonym "Lawrence Rix" for legal reasons. Later in his life he also taught and built custom amplifiers.

He left music at the end of the 1950s.[7] Caton was the musical arranger for Walking on Air.[8]

Lauderic Caton died in London and was buried in Port of Spain.[9]


  1. ^ a b Wilmer, Val (17 February 1999). "Lauderic Caton obituary: Harlem nights in deepest Mayfair". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
  2. ^ Val Wilmer, "Lauderic Caton", The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz online.
  3. ^ Val Wilmer, "Obituary: Peter Chilver", The Guardian, 23 June 2008.
  4. ^ a b Val Wilmer (2004). "Caton, Lauderic Rex (1910–1999)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/74670.
  5. ^ "Electric Guitar Pioneer in the UK", from The Scotsman, 1999. The Last Post.
  6. ^ Val Wilmer, "How we met: Lauderic Caton and Louis Stephenson", The Independent, 7 February 1993.
  7. ^ Mathieson, Kenny (1999). "The British Scene". In Alexander, Charles (ed.). Masters of Jazz Guitar (1st British ed.). Balafon. pp. 163–. ISBN 0-87930-592-4.
  8. ^ "Walking on Air (1946)".
  9. ^ Terry Joseph (21 February 1999). "Trini Who Gave Britain 'New Music' Laid To Rest". Sunday Express. Trinidad. p. 14. Archived from the original on 26 January 2000. Retrieved 23 August 2009.