Phil Seamen

Photograph by Terry Cryer


Jazz Drummer

Phil Seaman became Britain's most sought after jazz drummer and quite a few great American musicians, such as Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa,became well aware of his prowess.

Ginger Baker

Phil Seamen was good friends with Ginger Baker and the two drummers collaborated together in 1970 in Ginger Baker's Airforce.

West Side Story

Phil Seamen played yhe drums in West Side Story when it came to the UK and even gene Krupa was impressed after hearing Phil play when he caught the show in London.

Daily Telegraph

Phil Seaman carried a pair of drum sticks with him everywhere he went. Always wrapped in a copy of the Daily Telegraph, says Kevin Chesham, who had lessons from Phil in 1971/2.

Other Top UK Drummers

This webpage started really as a home for the personal recollections of people who knew Jack Peach, then Phil Seamen and here we would like to honour those who worked alongside Phil and Jack for decades and who's names are known only to a few jazz buffs.

Don Lawson told me, "We all used to do each others work". Meaning that there was so much recording and broadcast work being generated in London in those days that things could change quickly and you might have to get someone to cover another job you might have had booked. All of these musicians were Union members and the rates of pay were standardised.

A Grand Council of British Drummers at The Coda Club in London, 1997.

Back Row (Standing) Stan Barrett , Tony Lytton, Stan Bourke, Kenny Hollick (Joe Loss), (Looking over his shoulder) Allan Ganley, Jack Parnell, Barry Morgan (World Famous Latin American Percussionist), Bobby Orr.

Middle Row (Seated) Kenny Harris, Don Lawson, Tony Kinsey, (Standing) Hughie O'Shea.

Front Row (Seated) Joe Pawsey, Clem Kattini (Telstar), Reg Weller (Well known Latin American Percussionist), Andy White (temporarily with The Beatles prior to Ringo joining), Harry Benson, Jack Peach, Binky Morrice (Years at Talk Of The Town nightclub), Norris Grundy.


Photographer taken at The Marquee Club in London by Terry Cryer with thanks for permission


We have had some recent contributions regarding Phil Seaman, so, we reproduce them here with permission. Thanks ! As Phil became more of a 'household name' the spelling of his name was changed slightly to avoid embarrassment, so you will often see his surname spelt in a variety of ways.

Arthur Roe was given a pair of drum sticks by Phil Seaman when Arthur was aged just five. He sent in the picture of Phil and said,

"Many thanks for replying to my email, well my Dad died when I was seven so I did not get any info about Phil from him. But my brother was the manager of the Memphis Five here in Burton upon Trent and he new most thing about Phil I will have to have a chat with him.

You see when I had My band in Birmingham in the early sixties I came over to Burton to see Phil but when I got to the house His mom told me he was ill and still in bed and His Mom would not let me see him she told my Mom don't let Arthur get like Phil has got ( the Booze and so on, I was only 16 and impressionable) well that's how Mrs Seaman saw it, But he sent me the picture and he was my Idol, by the seventies I was married and stopped playing. When he died his Mom threw his Trixon drum kit away the dustcart took it before I could get my hands on it. I cried my eyes out when I found out he had died and what had happened to his drums. Can you imagine me actually being able to own and play Phil's Drum kit?"


Drummer, Steve Banning, was an Orchestral and Theatre drummer in London's West End during the sixties and told me this story concerning a drum extravaganza in the Talk Of The Town or somewhere similar circa 1971.

The unique event featured Buddy Rich, Louis Bellson and Kenny Clare, all with their individual drum kits set up. Louis Bellson's, of course, with the double bass drums. Buddy Rich walked out and sat down at Louis Bellson's double bass dum kit and started to play on the bass drums.... boom....boom....boom....boom and the tempo gradually sped up to double and double that again till the bass drums were playing a roll many of us would like to be able to play on a snare drum. When he finished there was a tremendous round of applause and Buddy Rich walked over and sat at his own kit where he repeated the exercise, reaching the same crescendo of notes with one bass drum - .the roof lifted.

At the climax of the session the spotlight was put on a figure in the seated crowd, the MC asked for order and announced that the gathering had a great respect for Phil Seaman who was in the audience. The gathering acknowledged this with a huge ovation, bringing Phil to tears.

Update:- Christmas 2007 saw a contact from drummer John Scott Cree who wrote as follows,

Hi Phil

visited your website with interest, particularly in the following: 

"Drummer, Steve Banning, was an Orchestral and Theatre drummer in London's West End during the sixties and told me this story concerning a drum extravaganza in the Talk Of The Town or somewhere similar circa 1971." etc.....

The event was actually at Queen Elizabeth Hall on 5 December 1971 late on a Sunday afternoon. It was a benefit for drummer Frank King and I came up from Dover to go with my Dad, drummer Scott (Jock) Cree who was among loads of drummers there.  The event was recorded and released on the Parlophone LP "Conversations: a drum spectacular" (PCS 7151) in 1972.  Buddy also, generously, put the spotlight on Carl Palmer. I was talking to drummer Bobby Orr at the Coda Club recently about it and he reminisced about the double bass drum pedal episode.  I also spoke to others on that gig - sax player Duncan Lamont and trumpeters Stan Reynolds and Ronnie Hughes who recalled, separately, that Buddy arrived late for rehearsal, having played at Ronnie's until the small hours.  After 2 runs through to capture a particularly complicated Bobby Lamb composition, Buddy turned round and said "Hey, you guys ought to play in my band".  A wag, who shall be nameless, responded "You couldn't ****ing afford us".  A great event, for drummers as the recording testifies.

In 1968, when I was living in earls Court, I took Dad to see Phil Seamen, at the Bull's Head, Barnes with the Tony Lee Trio with Terry Smith guesting on guitar. Phil had the trade mark fag hanging from the corner of his mouth and sweated profusely. He towelled his face between and during numbers, keeping the rhythm going with his free hand. At one point I wondered how he would reconcile this activity with the burning cigarette in his mouth. When he removed the towel, the cigarette had disappeared. I was distracted for a while.

best, John

Thanks for that, John (PL)

Jazz Profeesional have a page dedicated to Phil Seaman at,

From a technical and musical point of view Phil Seaman is surely the greatest ever British drummer.