Born: Friday 13th May 1932 7.00 am--Breach birth. Sickly child, protected by his mother. Started questioning the wisdom of God at the age of 5 after an incident with his black nanny and convicts working on the road on his way to nursery school. Decided to do something about his frail form at the age of 8 and started to play soccer and to swim.
At the age of 14, became fascinated with the music of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Barney Bigard and Benny Goodman also Leadbelly and the blues. Started studying clarinet at 16 with Louis Nicholaeff who was a pupil of composition and theory with Rimsky Korsakoff at the Leningrad Conservatory. To the disappointment of his teacher he started to play jazz with high school friends, but still went on playing duets with Nicholaeff.
At the age of 18 played once a week with Dulcie Ryder's group at the Skyline Night Club. At that time Jazz hadn't hit the concert halls and Jazz musicians played for dancers.
He started writing his own music in the fifties and formed his own quartet. Young people followed groups that they could jive and jitterbug to and the quartet had a large following. He speaks about musicians wanting to be regarded as legitimate artists and they started the move into concert halls--sex went out of the jazz experience--no dancing in concert halls - a kind of sterilization. He performed in a concert hall at the first Jazz Festival in Johannesburg. Met the pianist Dave Lee who liked his playing and took him under his wing, which was a great learning experience for Harold. Dave originally from England went back and played with Johnny Dankworth and later with Judy Garland.