Born: May 13, 1929; Died: August 30, 2012.
Frank Pantrini, who has died aged 83, was a well-known professional saxophone and woodwind player in Glasgow. He was noted not only for his technical ability in many musical genres, but also for his wonderful good humour and razor-sharp wit.
Born Francis James Pantrini in the city, he was always drawn to music and started piano lessons aged seven. He went on to attain grade eight.
In 1948, while studying for an LRAM (Licentiate of the Royal Academy of Music), he was conscripted into the RAF.
He spent eight months there and recalled: "I wanted to get into the station band, but it was full up, so I approached the squadron leader and asked for a transfer.
"When he asked me where I wanted to go, I told him the army. I had to sign on for five years, but I was quite happy. I spent years in Hong Kong and had a great time. That's where I started playing the saxophone.
"The bandleader gave me an old Hawkes & Sons saxophone, with keys missing and, together with a book and tutor, sent me off to a corner to learn to play it."
Not only did he learn to play, he mastered the instrument. He was transferred to the reserves in 1951 and demobbed on January 16, 1960. Back in Glasgow he found work with studio bands, first in the orchestra at the newly opened STV and then with the BBC.
He joined the BBC Scottish Radio Orchestra in 1972 as principal tenor saxophone and remained with the orchestra until its demise 15 years later. During that time he played with leading artists, including Ella Fitzgerald, Shirley Bassey, The Drifters, The Three Degrees and Carol Kidd.
Following the demise of the orchestra, Frank and his family moved to Spain. They already had a holiday flat in Benalmadena and loved the Costa del Sol. The resort was just beginning to flourish, mainly thanks to a new marina rivalling that along the coast at Marbella.
With his wife Lydnsey and their sons Martin and Kenneth, he started up a little bar/café called Grumpy's. Festooned with Glasgow memorabilia, it was a huge success with locals and tourists, but he was a musician and needed to play again.
He eventually sold the bar and was active on the local music scene, playing in the pit band at the local Varietes Theatre. As a member of The Coastline Dixielanders, playing clarinet, he was soon playing at weddings and functions as far afield as Toledo and Madrid. He also played regularly with The Ray Moore Trio, a popular band with regular gigs in Puerto Banus and he was a regular player on the QE2 and other cruise liners.
After many happy years in Spain, he became ill. He returned to Caerphilly to be with his family and died there. I worked with Frank for many years in the Radio Orchestra, on television programmes, recording sessions and in his jazz bands.
Frank was a consummate professional musician who took his work very seriously, but he was also one of the funniest, sharp-witted and most intelligent musicians I have ever had the pleasure of working with. Everybody who knew him loved and respected him. He is sadly missed.
He is survived by his four children, Colin, Caroline, Ken and Martin.
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