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Alan Haven 1935 - 2016

Alan Haven was born in Prestwich, Manchester in the UK. Although originally a pianist, he could see in those early days that the future lay in the use of new technology. In the 1960s the only 'hi-tech' keyboard was the electronic organ and Haven took this instrument and made it his own. Unlike many players who followed the Hammond sound, he was more concerned with developing his own sound and it didn't matter whether the instrument was a Lowrey (as it usually was in those days) or any other make or model, the Haven sound and style always emerged. Applying the organ to jazz is a dangerous sport; there are plenty of people out there ready to criticise. With the two Jimmys, Smith and McGriff, you'd have thought there wasn't a lot more to do, but nothing could have been further from the truth. Alan Haven created a style that set the sixties alight and never before had an audience witnessed the dynamics from an instrument most people associated with the end of the pier shows!

His debut album was "Lennon & McCartney Styled by Haven" and set the mood for a string of successful albums and high profile performances including a Lennon & McCartney tribute TV programme where he and drummer Tony Crombie were personally invited to appear on the show by the fab four themselves. Performances at Ronnie Scott's and Annie's Room were legendary, the latter spawning a milestone album "Live at Annie's Room" again featuring Tony Crombie on drums.

Collaboration with John Barry on "The Knack" produced an recognised esteemed work, not typical of the average musician deciding to embark on film work, but definitely typical of Haven's professional atttude to everything he does. This successful collaboration led to further projects with Barry including Bond movies "Goldfinger" and "From Russia with Love".The 1967 hit single "Image" received an incredible amount of airplay and was also used as a theme tune by both Bob Stewart and Tony Blackburn on the pirate station Radio Caroline. This lush sound was far removed from the raw organ and drums jazz that took the clubs by storm just a couple of years earlier, but it was this new sound that became part of the 'backdrop' for the sixties. A ten year spell developing, marketing and demonstrating his 'own brand' Haven organ was both rewarding and frustrating. In more recent years he had been in demand as a versatile corporate entertainer and spent a great deal of time living in Spain both recording and performing. With racks of keyboards rather than an electronic organ and with talented singer Karen Elle, the Haven sound still brought a crowd to its knees, although a pure jazz performance was becoming a rare event.

Alan Haven was a breath of fresh air in a world of music that is intent on putting performers in strangulating categories. The only category Alan Haven belongs to is that of extreme talent and there's not enough of that around today.