You may remember I posted a piece on the bizarre moment I found what I believed to be a photograph of my grandfather in the Imperial War Museum. I hadn't gone looking for it and had virtually no idea who he was whatsoever, but had a very strong feeling that the man in this photograph (back row in the middle with his clarinet) was him. The following weeks were spent digging up as much as I could on Freddy Grant and I discovered he had worked with some of the greatest calypso and jazz musicians of pre and post war including Humphrey Lyttleton and Lord Kitchner.
Last night I received the most wonderful email from my aunty by way of my cousin, who confirmed that yes, the man in the photograph was him! His name was Frederick Josiah Grant, the youngest of 13 children who grew up in British Guyana and moved to Britain in the early 1930s before joining the war effort in 1941...and playing as much jazz as he could in between, injecting his own unique style of calypso jazz which became a focus of the Humphrey-Lyttleton Paseo Band in the late 40s. I even found a recording of him playing his clarinet with the band!
Freddie Grant pictured next to Cyril Blake (with guitar) playing his clarinet on a recording with Lord Beginner (in his dapper suit).
So now I know it's him, I'm going to dig deeper to try and understand the man behind the big smile. It may be difficult to trace as he left my grandmother and his children behind to pursue a life in New York, so deciphering fact from fiction may be tricky...but I can't wait to find out more! Oh, and if anyone happens to have any Sir Freddy Grant calypso records-send them my way, they're rare!