Kath at approx. 15 just wanted to be on stage...
Kath in her late teens around the time of her marriage to Art Thompson.
Kath with her second husband, trumpeter Bert Courtley
Ronnie Scott described Kathy as one of his favourite tenor sax players, "either European or American, male or female".
Born: Florence Kathleen Stobart
1st April, 1925
Don Rico Ladies Swing Band.
At 14, Kathy began her career travelling the country, playing saxophone, singing, dancing and doing impressions (including Gracie Fields) until the German bombs forced the theatres to close and Kathy travelled home to the North-East.
Oxford Galleries, Newcastle. Kathy played saxophone, sang and continued her popular impressions
Montague Ballroom, Ealing Broadway.
Kathy played saxophone as part of a quartet. At 10.30pm when
she finished work she raced into the Jamboree Club in Wardour
Street and spent the rest of the night playing in the house band
led by trumpeter Dennis Rose, before taking the night bus home,
dodging fires and bombs along the way.
Embassy Club, Old Bond Street.
Saxophonist - and only female - in Art Thompson's swing band. Guests at the popular Embassy Club included Clarke Gable, Glen Miller, the Andrews Sisters, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, David Niven, Rex Harrison.
Married Canadian band leader Art Thompson in June 1943, aged 18.
Travelled to Canada and America with Art, playing in jazz clubs from New York to Palm Springs to Los Angeles.
Returned to London and joined the Vic Lewis Big Band as well as rejoining the Embassy Club in Art's house band.
During this time, Art and Kathy also appeared regularly as guests at the Ted Heath 'Swing Shop' concerts at the London Palladium.
Formed the Kathy Stobart Band with Bert Courtley (trumpet); Derek Humble (lead alto); Freddie Syer (second alto); Dill Jones (piano); Alex Leslie (baritone); Pete King (tenor sax and now manager of Ronnie Scott's); and Pete King (second tenor).
Rejoined the Vic Lewis Band as well as appearing solo. Also began saxophone tuition.
On October 24th 1951, Kathy married second husband, trumpeter Bert Courtley, with whom she has three sons (David, born 1952; Paul born 1955 and Peter born 1957). Kathy continued playing until she was six months pregnant with each of her sons.
Joined the Humphrey Lyttelton Band, initially for 3 months as stand-in for Jimmy Skidmore who was ill.
Kathy toured the country as a solo artist and also guested regularly with various bands, including Humphrey Lyttelton's and Vic Lewis's.
Rejoined the Humphrey Lyttelton Band, initially as dep for Tony Coe and then replacing him. Stayed for nine years.
September 1969: Bert died at the age of 40.
Formed the Kathy Stobart Quintet originally featuring Harry Beckett (trumpet); Fiachra Trench (keyboards); Dave Olney (bass); Tony Mann (drums), later on including Lenny Best (vibraphone); Johnny Burch (piano); and Harvey Weston (bass). Guest vocalists included Elizabeth Welch and Marian Williams. Appeared at the Nice Jazz Festival for the first time.
Kathy also continued innumerable solo gigs during this period, including two further appearances at the Nice Jazz Festival with all-British jazz groups. She also began teaching saxophone and Big Band workshops at the City Lit.
Rejoined the Humphrey Lyttelton Band for the third time. Occasional guest appearances with others, ongoing teaching including running her own jazz courses.
2004 to approximately 2008
Gradual move into retirement.
Passed away 6th July, 2014
Kath received help from various organisations during the latter stage of her life for which we are very grateful.
Particular thanks go to:
and Composers in Need