scales, arpeggios, finger exercises, triads, reading music - boring, boring, boring. When I played a wrong note (roughly every 20 seconds) she whacked me over the fingers with a ruler. Today it would be classified as child abuse. Frau Sedelmaier despised me because I had no "octave reach". An affront to her excellence as a teacher. I was 6 years old. Enough said.


Luckily there was no permanent psychological damage and at least the "torture sessions" were a help in reading music, when I finally fell in love with a saxophone.
I picked the saxophone to spite my mother, who wanted to see me in a "respectable" job. See, a very unpromising dysfunctional start ! Later it got better, but before the "Benson Invitation" there was a string of rehearsal bands with preposterous names like "The Duke of Clarence Youth Club Orchestra" at the Oval, "The Elephant and Castle Military Marching Band" in Christmas Street, and other such humble and unlikely stepping stones. It had to be done.

The "Benson Invitation" came in the shape of two telegrams from Ivy (no e-mails and faxes in those days) some time after she saw me playing with a rehearsal band full of kids who got lucky and got a gig at the annual Musician's Union Ball May 1957 at the Royal in Tottenham. God we were a plunderously evil-sounding bunch of wannabes - Ivy must have been desperate. I was still going to sax lessons with Kathy Stobart, who lived close to me in Streatham at the time in St. Olave's Walk. She "rescued" me after Harry Hayes dumped me because I preferred a Gordon Beeson sax overhaul to Harry's (inferior) efforts.

Jean Blomfield was on baritone sax when I came in on 2nd alto. Sylvia Monks on lead alto, Nina Dellamura on lead tenor and I can't remember who was on 2nd tenor before Jean Smith trotted in not too long after. Anyway, Jean Blomfield left because of a lung infection and Ivy "volunteered" me to go on baritone, and that's when Mary Dumain joined us on 2nd alto and clarinet. That Mary didn't just OWN a clarinet (like I did ) she actually PLAYED it - and how!! Ivy sold me her own baritone and believe it or believe it not, I still play the very same sax and have the receipt for it - £40 !! signed by Ivy. Being the last of the big spenders I never saw any reason to buy a new one. The same goes for my ancient Boosey & Hawkes alto sax. The only new one I have is a tenor sax - an absolute MUST HAVE for a rock & roller.


I now play with a 50s Rock & Roll band called JIVE STREET - I'm sort of the "new kid on the block" (except for the drummer) and I've been with them for 22 years. They won't tell me yet if the job's permanent. Found my way to them after bumming my way around the Mecca and Rank circuits for what seems like forever, for 6 years I had my own band, a couple of years in Malta and various stations in between etc., etc.

Inge Wannell
played Baritone Sax
1957 to 1959


Where does anybody "start"? At the beginning, I suppose. In my case with an evil old sadistic witch of a piano teacher called Frau Sedelmaier, who lived a block down the road from us in Vienna. I was dragged there kicking and screaming by my great aunt Mina who thought it was time for a touch of drawing room culture to be administered. I hated the piano. No tunes. Just

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