Can any British or Anglophile lurkers tell me about Max Geldray,
the chromatic jazz harmonica player who always contributed an
instrumental to the Goon Show broadcasts in the 1950's?
For those totally unacquainted, the Goon Show was to British
radio audiences of the '50s what Monty Python's Flying Circus was
to the TV audience in the late '60s and '70s. In fact, the Pythons
grew up listening to Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Harry
Secombe performing Milligan's anarchic scripts, relieved by
Geldray's harmonica turn and Ray Ellington's vocal number.
Occasionally the Goons can still be heard on public radio
stations in the U.S. and the CBC in Canada.
Ten or eleven LP's of Goon shows featuring these musical
performances were issued in the '80s, and are starting to show up
on CD, usually in the Comedy section of large record stores
(uncollected shows turn up on the aforementioned radio stations).
This is all I know about Geldray's recording career. He also pops
up in a 1939 photograph of Duke Ellington in Paris. Duke is
wreathed by musicians, all serenading him, including several
Ellingtonians, gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt, and, in the
lower right corner, Geldray.
Geldray lives in Palm Springs nowadays, and I'm going to be
talking to him sometime soon, but I'm wondering what other
information about him might be known.
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