Trumpeter Thomas Henry Lowther

Trumpeter Thomas Henry Lowther

Birthday greetings

Trumpeter Thomas Henry Lowther

July 11, 1941
Jazz musician and…
Member of Keef Hartley Band at Woodstock

Thomas Henry Lowther was born in Leicester, England. “As a child Lowther learned trumpet from his father and took private violin lessons before going on to study with Manoug Parakian at London’s Royal Academy of Music.” (from All Music).

It has been a lifetime of music since then.

According to a 2019 Hastings Observer article, “He became interested in jazz and, inspired by a Sonny Rollins recording, he returned to brass playing and took up the trumpet. In the 1960s, he split his time between jazz and the rock scene. For instance he first played with the John Dankworth Orchestra in 1967, beginning a relationship that would last for 45 years. But he also played with bands like Manfred Mann, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and the Cream bassist Jack Bruce.”

Then the Keef Hartley band and Woodstock

Of Woodstock he said, ““You know I played Woodstock as the first gig of an American tour with the Keef Hartley band. The only other trumpet player at the gig was Sly Stone’s sister!”  (Jazz Wise magazine)

Since John Till and Louis Gasca with Janis, Steve Madaia and Keith Johnson with Paul Butterfield, and Chuck Winfield and Lew Soloff with Blood, Sweat and Tears played trumpet as well but we’ll just attribute Lowther’s error to that famous Woodstock Haze.

Trumpeter Thomas Henry Lowther

Henry Lowther

From  the Vortex Jazz site: During the sixties Henry was one of the first musicians on the British jazz scene to experiment with total free improvisation, notably with Jack Bruce, Lyn Dobson and John Hiseman. He played with the original and seminal Mike Westbrook band (which included Mike Osborne and John Surman), and also with John Dankworth, including playing on the now legendary and rare Kenny Wheeler album “Windmill Tilter” while also working on occasions on the rock scene with musicians such as Manfred Mann, John Mayall and  Keef Hartley, with whom he appeared at the famous Woodstock festival in 1969.

His work on the British jazz scene reads like a “Who’s Who”. He has played regularly with the likes of Gordon Beck, Michael Garrick, Graham Collier, Mike Gibbs, Pete King, Loose Tubes, John Surman, John Taylor, Stan Tracey and Kenny Wheeler. 

Here is his All Music list of credits. You’re going to be there awhile!

Trumpeter Thomas Henry Lowther

After Keef Hartley

After Lowther left Keef Hartley in 1970, he worked with dozens of different musicians including Bryan Ferry, Van Morrison, and did the trumpet solo for Elton John on “Return to Paradise” in 1978.

Trumpeter Thomas Henry Lowther

From his own site

In 1996, along with his great friend the great bass player Dave Green, Henry formed his own band Still Waters to enable him to pursue his increasing interest in composition. In 1997 Still Waters recorded an album, “ID”, on the Village Life label, to much critical acclaim

Trumpeter Thomas Henry Lowther


In March, Still Waters released a new album: Can’t Believe, Won’t Believe. The personnel are: Henry Lowther (trumpet/flugel); Pete Hurt (tenor); Barry Green (piano); Dave Green (bass); Paul Clarvis (drums)

Of it, the Financial Times said, “The sturdy theme and somnolent harmonies of the opening title track have trace elements of a works’ brass band. But the melody has a quizzical edge, and elliptic splatters of percussion lie underneath. As the piece evolves, the trumpeter’s brassy certainty is interrupted by drummer Paul Clarvis’s off-kilter breaks. Can’t Believe, Won’t Believe is dedicated to cynics everywhere. As the album progresses, Lowther’s modern jazz quintet embroiders the trumpeter’s elegant and knowing compositions with unruffled emotions and filigree detail. Pete Hurt is a wispy-toned tenor sax foil to Lowther’s precise turn of phrase, and pianist Barry Green’s haunting impressionist voicings are underpinned by Dave Green’s pitch-perfect counterpoint bass.”

Trumpeter Thomas Henry Lowther

1969 Laurel Pop Festival

1969 Laurel Pop Festival

Laurel Race Course, Laurel, Maryland

July 11 & 12, 1969

1969 festival #24

1969 Laurel Pop Festival

Audio from a series of videos the Laurel History Boys did.
1969 Laurel Pop Festival

The 24th festival of 1969. I realize that there were other 1969 music events such as jazz, country, and folk festivals, but I am limiting my ongoing coverage to what I generally refer to as rock festivals. I included the Newport Jazz Festival earlier in the month because it included several rock bands as well.

1969 Laurel Pop Festival

Nice line-up

The Laurel Pop Festival does not make the list of answers when we ask anyone, “Name a festival that happened in 1969.” If we said “Laurel Pop Festival” to anyone, we likely  get a blank look.

The line up for that weekend suggests otherwise on both counts. We should know it. Look at the line up:

July 11

  • Al Kooper
  • Jethro Tull
  • Johnny Winter
  • Edwin Hawkins Singers
  • Led Zeppelin
  • Buddy Guy

July 12

  • Jeff Beck
  • Ten Years After
  • Sly and the Family Stone
  • Mothers of Invention
  • Savoy Brown
  • Guess Who

This post’s background audio mentions that five of the Laural Pop acts played at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair in August.

Actually not.

Three did and I’ve underlined them. I again note that Johnny Winter played. The guy was indefatigable that summer!

Nick and Bobbi Ercoline

Perhaps the most iconic photo of Woodstock attendees (as opposed to Woodstock performers) is the picture of Nick and Bobbi Ercoline.

1969 Laurel Pop Festival

For Laurel Pop we have John and Debbie. I suppose had Laurel Pop become as famous as Woodstock, we’d recognize them today, too.

1969 Laurel Pop Festival

The picture of John and Debbie is from a site that attendees have commented about their experiences there.

Wet ending

From the Baltimore Sun: Lost in the smoky haze of 1960s history is The Laurel Pop Festival held in July 1969, which was attended by 15,000 fans and offered an incredible lineup of some of the biggest pop performers of the year. Held just one month before Woodstock, The Laurel Pop Festival ended in controversy as rain-soaked fans built bonfires with wooden folding chairs and refused to leave as the concert dragged on into the early morning.

Laurel History Boys

A site called the Laurel History Boys posted a piece in 2019 on their golden anniversary presentation of the event. Lot’s of pictures and information about Led Zeppelin.

Link to that piece followed by a video with an interview with Kevin Leonard,  one of the Laurel History Boys.

1969 Laurel Pop Festival

Next 1969 festival: 1969 Forest Hills Music Festival