James Munro




1950s : Music a driving force

Liberation from military service and embarking on a career as an artist must have been exciting and sensational in the early 50’s. However Jim would recall that the formality of training and creative vision at Art School was still anchored retrospectively to the beliefs of an earlier generation. And Scotland was slow to embrace the explosion of central European innovation within the arts. Never the less the establishment of the Edinburgh Festival in 1947 was a spark of genius and a vehicle which heralded a major creative shift in Scotland; promoting cultural exchange and gradually helping to build self confidence as a nation.

Jim at Edinburgh College of Art

Jazz music and films emanating from U.S.A., post WWII, formed a major catalyst and ‘exotic’ inspiration for many. Jim was already playing piano and he and his contemporaries couldn’t get enough ‘American music’; whether Art Tatum, John Coltrane, Woody Herman’s Big Band or Teddy Wilson. Lionel Hampton and his energy on vibraphone was the primary reason for him wanting to extend his expression from keyboard playing to vibraphone. The Modern Jazz Quartet and Gary Burton also inspired him.

Scottish music however, as he perceived it, never offered him the same stimulus.

See also: JB Munro and Music

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