With a career spanning four decades, clarinettist Acker Bilk helped to popularise traditional jazz, introducing a whole generation to music that had been the preserve of the beatnik generation and the American New Orleans and Chicago Jazz scenes.
Acker, now an MBE, was initially associated with the British traditional ‘trad’ jazz movement and rose to prominence in Britain and the States as the bandleader responsible for the hit instrumental Stranger on the Shore.
Acker was awarded The Worshipful Company of Musicians Silver medal for Lifetime Achievement in 2008 while ayear later the Variety Club honoured him with ‘A Tribute to Acker and his music’.
Acker’s music has been enjoyed in Outer Space - a cassette featuring the likes of Doris Day, the Kingstone trio and Acker himself being flown around the moon in Apollo 10 by Gene Cerman.
Gene explained that along with his fellow astronaut Al Bishop, he thought that the music on the cassette was best suited to his forthcoming journey.
The cassette is still in existence having been bought by an American who collects items flown in space.
Acker Bilk remains in high demand and only performs at a couple of venues a month.
It has been more than 10 years since he was last in Eastbourne.
Catch him at the Royal Hippodrome on Saturday, August 3, the performances starting at 8pm.
Tickets for the performamnce are £19 each or £17.50 concessions and are available from the usual Eastbourne Theatre outlets (call 01323 421000) and also at www.royalhippodrome.com