ONE of the most satisfying aspects about writing this column is that occasionally I am able to chronicle the success of a musician whose progress I have monitored over the years during which he or she has emerged from talented, hugely promising youngster to the finished article.

And here I have the great pleasure of relaying news of trumpeter Gavin Hibberd, who is making a significant name for himself in a profession which, sadly, has become increasingly precarious following the proliferate use of taped backing.

Born and raised in Bolton, Gavin, who is 27, first became interested in music as a pupil at the Smithills education facility, initially at its secondary school, and later at Bolton Sixth Form College. Encouraged by his brother Leon, who played the tenor horn in the schools’ bands, Gavin had hoped also to play tenor horn but had to take up the cornet, as that was the only brass instrument available at the time.

He came to the attention of peripatetic brass teacher Chris Cull, an excellent trumpet player with a love of big band jazz and Gavin, who by this time had moved on to trumpet, soon found himself among Mr Cull’s swing band ensemble at Bolton Music Centre, where first I met him. Even in his teens, it was clear to a drummer with cloth ears that young Master Hibberd was something special, so I wasn’t surprised when there followed stints with Wigan Youth Jazz orchestra, and two and a half years with Salford University Big Band, both highly-regarded outfits.

It is worth mentioning at this point that Ian Darrington MBE, the driving force behind Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra, and Richard Isles, influential in securing Gavin the place at Salford University, are outstandingly-talented trumpeters and clearly must have seen he had what it takes to make it as a professional musician, if he so desired. With the support of his family, Gavin decided to make music his career choice.

He spent three years as a ship musician with P&O cruise liners, and his CV also includes a nine-month nationwide tour with the West End show Fortysecond Street. Currently he is dividing his time between backing Lee ‘Memphis’ King, Britain’s foremost Elvis Prestley tribute singer, who headlines at major venues throughout the UK, Manchester-based ‘Rat Pack’ vocalist Cole Page, and singer Rick Guard, who specialises in big money corporate entertainment, especially for Premiership footballers.

Gavin also finds time to teach at Booths Music in Churchgate, Bolton and gave me permission to pass on two numbers for anyone looking for a brass tutor.

His phone number is 077340 84585; Booth’s Music can be contacted on 01204 522908.

As I said at the beginning of this piece, I always derive pleasure from reporting the successful careers of young jazz musicians, and this one gave me an added buzz as I know Gavin and rate him highly.

What is more, he is a sensible, likeable young man, who knows that nothing comes easy in this life, especially in the world of ‘live’ music. Long may he prosper.

l Musicians throughout the UK, particularly those in the North West, were saddened to learn of the death of Johnny Roadhouse, one of the finest alto saxophonists the region has ever produced.

Johnny, who was 88, was a member of the BBC Northern Dance Orchestra for many years, and also graced the personnel of numerous other big bands during a long and successful career, backing international-famous entertainers during the golden years of cabaret.

His passing signals the end of an era which established Manchester as perhaps the most significant city in the UK for the production of top-flight musicians. Johnny Roadhouse was unquestionably one of them.