Kenny Wheeler plaque unveiled in Leytonstone

Kenny Wheeler plaqueKenny Wheeler, the late jazz trumpet player and composer, has had a blue plaque unveiled in his home town of Leystonstone.

The National Jazz Archive and the London Borough of Waltham Forest helped organise the plaque to celebrate the life and music of the acclaimed musician.

Canadian born Kenny moved to Britain in 1952 and spent much of his time living in east London.

Nick Smart, head of jazz at the Royal Academy of Music said: ‘It is hard to express just how large a contribution he made to the music in this country and around the world, and how deeply he touched the musicians that had the honour of working alongside him.

‘Famously self-deprecating, Kenny was always modest and humble about his own musical achievements. But the truth is, he was a genius walking amongst us, and it was the most tremendous privilege to have been able to consider him a dear colleague and friend.’

Kenny played in groups with Ronnie Scott, John Dankworth and Tubby Hayes as well as becoming part of the free-improvisation movement.

He was the founding patron of the Junior Jazz programme at the Royal Academy of Music and was the subject of a year-long exhibition by the Academy Museum in 2013–14.

Sir John Dankworth, renowned clarinettist Dave Shepherd and trombonist Jackie Free are among the other jazz musicians to be honoured with a plaque.