Chester Harriott Lets Get Together Tonight UK 1963 1-Side 7" Oak Recs

$7.79 USD
August 06, 2015 - 07:57:10 PM GMT (about 7 years ago)
Chester Harriott Lets Get Together Tonight UK 1963 1-Side 7" Oak Records Catalogue Number RGJ 112 Scarce early 60's pop vocal 45 Chester Harriott obituary Pianist and popular entertainer who was part of the successful duo Harriott and Evans At the Gateways, the legendary lesbian rendezvous in Chelsea, London, visitors in the early 1950s would have found a cheerful young Jamaican ensconced at the upright piano, rattling off Fats Waller numbers. This was Chester Harriott, who has died aged 80. He had stumbled across the club as a student and became a firm favourite there, always surrounded by a bevy of women, singing their hearts out and buying the drinks. He went on to be billed as "the Black Liberace", and become a partner in Harriott and Evans, a successful variety act in the years before the Beatles. His flamboyant keyboard manner and style were rooted in the classics, although behind the frilly dress shirts and velvet suiting, no one could have been more down to earth than Harriott. He was born in St Thomas, Jamaica, son of Oscar, a doctor's assistant, and Minna (nee Powell), a teacher. The family settled in the Jamaican capital Kingston when Chester was a baby, but when his parents moved to the US to continue their studies, Chester and his brother Oscar and sister Marcianne were brought up by relatives. Chester showed remarkable aptitude as a pianist and appeared on the radio as a child and admirers subscribed to a fund to enable him to take up a scholarship in London. He entered Trinity College of Music in 1950, aged 17. He was introduced to show business by the Jamaican bassist/comedian Arthur Bennett, who had a nightclub band. Harriott knew little of modern music but in the dressing-room between sets at the Langham Club in Sloane Square, Bennett taught him popular songs, one tune at a time. Soon he was playing cocktail piano to an audience that included Princess Margaret and the entertainer Leslie Hutchinson ("Hutch"), on whom Harriott modelled his cabaret style. He went clubbing with the Jamaican singer Noel Brown and the Grenadian GP and future politician David Pitt, driving Pitt's car, and took them to the Mandrake club in Soho as well as the Gateways. At the Jamaican-run Sunset, he sat in with his countrymen, including the saxophonist Joe Harriott, an important figure in British jazz. Although a family relationship between them has been rumoured, these is no evidence for this. The name is not rare in Jamaica, with at least three plantation owners having been called Harriott. On completing his Trinity fellowship, he formed the first of two piano-voice double-acts modelled on Layton and Johnston, rhythmic balladeers of the interwar years. His relationship with the light operatic baritone John Porter was short-lived, but when he joined forces with Vic Brown, brother of his carousing friend Noel, the pair hit show business gold. As Harriott and Evans, they harmonised vocally to Harriott's piano and wore white tie and tails. In Paris, they socialised with the trumpeters Clifford Brown and Art Farmer of the Lionel Hampton Orchestra and got Quincy Jones to write arrangements for their act, and for eight years they played in cabaret, and on radio and television. They toured widely in the last days of variety and, before disbanding, made an album in Sydney, Australia, that sold 50,000 copies. In 1962, Harriott went solo. Five years later he moved to Manchester, where he worked for Granada Television, playing for the company's functions, and productions including Coronation Street. In 1985 he opened Truffles, a restaurant where he performed nightly for an enthusiastic audience that attracted other entertainers and denizens of "The Street". At home he accompanied his daughter Donna, a violinist, at the piano, and later, his grandchildren, but he stopped playing altogether following a brain tumour at the end of the 1990s. He recovered from surgery, but seemed relieved to abandon the arduous professional life. He was left with a selective memory that could be hard-going for researchers attempting to unravel a point, but was never less than good-natured, enjoying his retirement, and his visitors, until two years ago when he suffered a stroke. Harriott's first wife, Petronia, predeceased him, and he was separated from his second wife, Claudine, a magician. She survives him, along with his brother and sister, and five children, one of whom is the television chef Ainsley Harriott Chester Leroy Harriott, pianist and harmony singer, born 24 February 1933; died 4 July 2013 VG- (some light scuffs, plays well) P&P UK £1.75 Overseas at cost
July 27, 2015 - 07:57:10 PM GMT (about 7 years ago)
Single (7-Inch)


  1. If anyone has a copy of this 45, I'm willing to buy it. Otherwise a MP3 would be fantastic!