Tributes paid for Scotland’s greatest ever jazz musician - Fifer Joe Temperley

Joe Temperley, widely regarded as Scotland's best jazz musician was born in Lochgelly, Fife in 1929.
Joe Temperley, widely regarded as Scotland's best jazz musician was born in Lochgelly, Fife in 1929.

Tributes have been paid to Scotland’s greatest ever jazz musician Joe Temperley who passed away yesterday (Wednesday) at the age of 86.

Regarded as one of the most accomplished jazz saxophonists in the world, Temperley was born in Lochgelly, Fife in 1929 gravitating to the world of jazz at an early age.

he joined the legendary Tommy Sampson band on alto sax before quickly establishing himself in London and by 1953 was playing tenor sax for the Jack Parnell Orchestra.

The baritone sax gradually became his preferred horn and after a lengths spell with the Humphrey Lyttelton band he left for New York in 1965.

Soon word spread of Temperley’s talents and he landed work with among others Wood Herman, Buddy Rich and Thad Jones.

This led to a seat in the Duke Ellington Orchestra, now directed by Mercer Ellington.

Throughout the late eighties and nineties he was busy both as a teacher with the Manhattan School of Music and latterly as a member of the Lincoln Centre Orchestra directed by Wynton Marsalis.

He recorded a number of albums under his own name and was one time mentor to the Fife Youth Jazz Orchestra. In 2009 he performed at the inauguration of US President, Barack Obama, and in the same year was invited to play at the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues festival.

Interviewed for BBC Radio Scotland at the time he famously said: “Jazz is life”, when asked why he continued to play beyond retirement age.