The London-born jazz trumpeter known as 'Britain's Louis Armstrong' spent 13 years in Southampton in the 1940s and 1950s. Gonella, one of the first British musicians to establish a reputation as a jazz soloist, was a household name in the 1930s and 1940s and inspired a generation of up and coming British jazz musicians. After serving in World War Two he settled in Southampton, living at 18 Norwich Road, off Woodmill Lane. As well as touring the country he played regularly at the Court Royal Hotel in Southampton, but his career never reached its pre-war heights. He made a come-back in the 1960s taking advantage of the trad jazz boom of that decade. He left Southampton in 1959 to live in London and then Blackpool, eventually retiring to a seaside cottage at Gosport. He died in 1998.

Nat Gonella

Image Unavailable

Photograph, c.1935

Further reading:
Southampton People, by John Edgar Mann, p44-45. (HS/t)


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