‘Mike Osborne took a path I could never really get excited about’

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My father ran a butcher’s shop in Hereford and the family lived in a flat above the shop. Diagonally across the road was a ladies’ hairdresser’s run by a Mr. & Mrs. Osborne who had a son Mike and somehow the two of us got introduced.

It was the summer of 1957 and I had just finished school, presumably the respective parents discovered we had this jazz music in common. I had been going along to a hall in Hereford where a little jazz group practised and played some quite good traditional jazz so took Mike along with me and after a couple of visits, Mike came along with his clarinet and with great ease joined the merry band of players. In the autumn of 1957 I went off to London to work, returning to Hereford five years later to work in my father’s business and so Mike and I lost contact with each other.

My love of jazz only encompassed (still does today) traditional, mainstream, swing and great singers and Mike went down a quite different path to these which I could never really get excited about. I remember a carer coming into my shop in 2007 telling me she was quite fed up as the person on one of her favourite visits had just died. That person, of course, was Mike Osborne. 

Sorry, Barry Witherden, but Mike died on the 19th September 2007 and not as printed in JJ 1218, the 19th September 1997.

Richard Moxley

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