Jack Hylton

There did exist a significant contingent of jazz or dance bands that originated within Great Britain. By far one of the most important British-born bandleaders of the time was Jack Hylton. Hylton’s work is featured prominently in a compilation of recordings from the era, assembled by British jazz historian Jim Godbolt. The recording of Hylton’s Kit-Kat Band performing Hoagy Carmichael’s “Riverboat Shuffle” is particularly remarkable because it is almost indistinguishable from a recording of an American band. Hylton’s version of the song has the same combination of counterpoint and polyphony that characterizes early recordings of jazz in America. The question remains as to why jazz was so important to the evolution of British music.