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Jack Payne

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Biography

British bandleader Jack Payne was born in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire on August 22, 1899; while serving as an aviator during World War I, he organized a series of dance bands to entertain his fellow troops, and after the war continued performing in small group settings. In 1925, his six-piece band was tapped to appear at London's Hotel Cecil; by the end of the year, they were regularly featured on BBC remote broadcasts from the venue, and in 1928 Payne was named the radio network's Director of Dance Music. After four years with the BBC he quit his post, returning to the hotel circuit; in addition to appearing in the film Say It with Music, Payne also made a number of recordings, including a 1935 date with the noted jazz pianist Garland Wilson. He disbanded the group in 1937, retiring to his Buckinghamshire stud farm before forming a 20-piece big band the following year; in late 1939, Payne became the first British bandleader to perform for the troops in France. He resumed his BBC duties in 1941, remaining Director of Dance Music for five years before going to work as a disc jockey. Payne died December 4, 1969. ~ Jason Ankeny
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