Albert Bowles-Bevan Obituary, Death – This week will commemorate the life and times of one of Ealing’s many musical marvels. Albert ‘Bev’ Bowles-Bevan, who died last week at the age of 89, was born in 1925 in the village of Mountain Ash, Glamorgan, but moved to Hanwell at the age of five when his father, a former miner, was hired by the Great West Railway. Bev, who would always go by his adopted name because he despised his birth name, would spend the remainder of his life in Hanwell and leave an indelible mark on the local music scene.
Hanwell gained notoriety as the location where Jim Marshall created his first amplifiers, which went on to be utilized by the largest names in rock music. Bev was also the choirmaster at Hanwell’s St. Thomas’ Church. Bev, a musical director and chorus master for the BBC, worked for Ealing Council for many years, and it was through his involvement with the local government that he left a lasting impression. The Alexis Korner’s Ealing Club, which served as an early venue for the likes of the Rolling Stones, The Who, and Eric Clapton, contributed significantly to Ealing’s musical reputation.
Such bands would have been relished by Bev’s son Gareth – one of two children, the other being Sian, who survive him, as well as four grandchildren – but whereas Jagger and co. would have considered most parents of their fans to be squares, Bev demonstrated that he was actually a cool cat.
While classical music was his profession, jazz was his true passion, and in 1984 he decided to organize a local jazz festival with Dick Esmond. What began as a small venture observed by a handful of people on a bandstand in Walpole Park has grown into one of the country’s most renowned jazz festivals, watched by thousands of people each summer on a specially constructed auditorium in the same park, as well as in local parks.