Bertie King was a Jamaican saxophonist known for his contributions to jazz music during the early 20th century. Born on June 19, 1912 in Kingston, Jamaica, King began playing the clarinet at a young age and quickly developed a reputation as a skilled and innovative musician.
In the 1920s, King moved to London, where he quickly established himself as a leading figure in the city’s burgeoning jazz scene. He played in a number of popular bands, including the London Jazz Band and the Southern Syncopated Orchestra, and he became known for his dynamic and energetic playing style.
Throughout the 1930s, King continued to perform and record with a number of notable jazz musicians and bands, including Louis Armstrong and Coleman Hawkins. He was also a member of the popular jazz group the BBC Jazz Club.
King’s playing style was characterized by its virtuosity and its ability to convey a wide range of emotions through his playing. He was equally comfortable playing ballads and up-tempo numbers, and his skill as a soloist made him a highly respected collaborator and sideman.
Although he passed away in 1940 at the young age of 35, King’s contributions to jazz music have been recognized as significant and influential. He is remembered as one of the most talented saxophonists of his time, and his legacy as a performer and innovator continues to inspire new generations of musicians.
Page last updated 3/26/2023.