The jazz trumpet player Tommy McQuater died on 20th January aged 93. Born in the Scottish town of Maybole, Ayrshire, McQuater started on the cornet and played with the prize-winning Maybole Burgh Band. He turned professional in his teens and had work in Glasgow and on cruise ships, before being recruited, still aged only 20, into the Jack Payne band in London. During the war he was in the RAF’s famous dance band, the Squadronaires, then afterwards he became a busy freelance, combining membership of the BBC Show Band with work in film, TV and records, where he recorded with an impressive roster of world-famous artists. From 1976 to 1981 he was the real musician behind the character “Lips”, the Muppet Show band’s trumpet player.
Self-taught himself, McQuater was keen to help other players and had taught many trumpeters now eminent in jazz in the UK. In retirement McQuater continued to do occasional gigs and was pretty much a fixture at the Ealing Jazz Festival where, aged almost 90, he gave his last public performance. The present author affectionately remembers Tommy, aged about 75, doing tea dances for elderly Islington residents, in a small band run by his guitarist son Dave, and often supported by another veteran jazzer, John McLevy: a fantastic team. Tommy McQuater is survived by two sons, David and Tommy. For more information please see the obituaries linked below.
Source: Neville Young; online obituaries