We were recently contacted about a fantastic annual award scheme set up by DrumWright's Chris Wright to promote burgeoning young talent in Berkshire, in honour of '60s drum sensation Alan Ganley.
"I recently went to see a superb performance by the The Allan Ganley Legacy Jazz Band," says Chris Wright. "The band was formed by some of the greatest players in the business to play, and pay tribute to the late great Allan Ganley, who sadly passed away 15 months ago. Not only was Allan one of the finest drummers Britain has ever produced, constantly topping the Melody Maker polls in the sixties, but he was also an excellent composer. The evening showcased many of his fine compositions and featured a stunning performance by Ian Thomas on drums. Compositions included ‘June Time’ dedicated to Allan’s wife June and ‘Allisamba’, which was dedicated to Allan’s daughter Allison. Ian’s drumming on that number was out of this world!
It was a deeply moving and splendid musical occasion and a real treat for drummers! There is a CD available, called ‘June Time’, which can be ordered from allanganley.com, which features the most excellent Mike Smith on drums."
Allan Ganley was a Berkshire resident for over 30 years, and with the agreement of his family, Chris Wright decided that DrumWright would honour his memory through an annual award to the county’s most talented young percussionists. This is the first award of its kind. Chris recently made awards to the top students of the Berkshire Maestros at a packed concert (over 400 people) at the Anvil Theatre in Basingstoke.
During the show Chris said: "It was not an easy call to make the selection – any of the young people you just saw deserve an award. Indeed, the task of finding a single winner defeated us, so we decided to make four – nominated by their teachers - one from each of the Berkshire Maestros four areas."
Those winners were:
Bracknell – Timothy Glover
Reading – Jack Saxilby-Smith
Newbury – Chris Little
Windsor – Max Thompson
Winning students were each presented with Zildjian ‘Armand’ 18” crashes. This was an appropriate tribute – Allan was known for the wonderful quality of his own Zildjians which were much sought after by other top drummers after his death, including Jon Hiseman and Paul Clarvis.
Congratulations to all involved.