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Trumpet king dies

Derek Watkins, who played solo trumpet in all the James Bond films, died yesterday at his home in Esher, Surrey. He was 68.

Raised in the English brass band tradition, he took up the cornet at age four and became one of the most charismatic musicians on the scene. He also played with the Beatles, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Frank Sinatra, the London Symphony and Royal Philharmonic orchestras.

Farewell, my lovely.

Derek Watkins-1781170 (1)

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  1. Mark Beesley says:

    Thanks for all the wonderful Tunes Derek….much missed but always remembered………

  2. Wonderful….RIP

  3. All the Bond films except Skyfall and , I think, the first version of Casino Royale…

  4. Mike Hext says:

    Derek did play on Skyfall, rather magnificently too…

  5. Lauren – Derek most certainly DID play on Skyfall (I think it was the BBC Online report that wrongly suggested he didn’t, which they have since corrected) – indeed, the score’s composer, Thomas Newman, spoke about the honour of having Derek in the studio, since he was such a crucial part of Bond history.

    The first Casino Royale, of course, isn’t regarded as an official Bond film.

    Shall we instead celebrate the life of one of the most respected, loved and highly-regarded musicians the UK has ever produced?

    Everyone who knew him, and millions around the world who heard his playing, will miss Derek and his unique sound enormously. Composers can write any notes they want; but they mean nothing without great artists breathing through them. Derek was one of the greatest.

    • Sorry – I wasn’t intending any criticism of a great artist – and my information was drawn from his own website…

  6. Paul Kelly says:

    Derek Watkins was not just a great lead trumpet player. He was also a fine jazz player. The colour photo above shows him sitting alongside the great Kenny Wheeler and, I think, Martin Shaw. And the clip you have posted is from a fine album in which Derek played measured and eloquent solos on a wide range of jazz standards. Demand for his talents in the studio meant he didn’t have a name in ‘small jazz’ circles, but he was up there with the best jazz trumpet players.

  7. Derek found playing the trumpet easier than the rest of us. He was the best. As simple as that! We will not see his like again…

  8. RIP… He was great…

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