Brian Lemon

Last updated
Brian Lemon
Birth nameBrian Lemon
Born(1937-02-11)11 February 1937
Nottingham, UK
Died11 October 2014(2014-10-11) (aged 77)
Bexhill-on-Sea, Sussex
Genres Jazz
Years active1956-2005

Brian Lemon (11 February 1937 – 11 October 2014) was a British jazz pianist and arranger. [1]



Lemon was born in Nottingham, UK. Upon leaving school in the 1950s he began playing professionally at Nottingham's Palais de Danse and other local venues.

He moved to London, aged 19, in 1956 to join Freddy Randall's group. [2] After that he worked with George Chisholm, Kenny Baker and Sandy Brown. Over the years, he also worked with Benny Goodman, Charlie Watts, Scott Hamilton, Buddy Tate, Milt Jackson, Ben Webster, and Digby Fairweather. From 1961 to 1963 he had his own trio at the comedian Peter Cook’s Soho club in London called 'The Establishment'.

He led an octet which played songs by Billy Strayhorn. Lemon worked as a regular session musician with many groups which were recorded at the BBC's Maida Vale studios in London for broadcast on Sunday night's BBC Radio 1's Sounds of Jazz introduced by Peter Clayton in the early 1970s.

Lemon recorded a sequence of 27 albums for Zephyr over 10 years from 1994, though not always as leader. Lemon had a remarkable skill as an accompanist, together with his in-depth knowledge of the classic American song repertoire. Zephyr was set up by retired businessman John Bune to record Lemon's work. [3] Lemon retired from music around 2005 after the development of severe osteoarthritis in his hands. [1] [3]

Adelaide Hall recorded an album with The Brian Lemon Half-Dozen. A rare copy is at the British Library. [4]

Personal life

Lemon married Debby Holley in 1965. They eventually separated although did not divorce. Holley, her son and Susan Burgess, his partner, all survive him. [5]


As leader

Year recordedTitleLabelNotes
1970Our Kind of Music 77 Records [6]
1995Over the RainbowZephyrwith Derek Watkins
1995A Beautiful FriendshipZephyrwith Roy Williams
1995How Long Has This Been Going OnZephyrwith Roy Williams
1996Old Hands, Young MindsZephyrwith Alan Barnes
1996Lemon Looks BackZephyr
1999–2000My Shining HourZephyr

As sideman

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  1. 1 2 Vacher, Peter (24 October 2014). "Brian Lemon obituary". The Guardian.
  2. "Artist Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  3. 1 2 Obituary: Brian Lemon, Daily Telegraph, 5 November 2014
  4. "Explore the British Library Search - 2LP0040874".
  5. "Brian Lemon - obituary". November 5, 2014 via
  6. Illustrated 77 Records discography Retrieved 8 June 2013.