LEN FILLIS: (South Africa 1903)

Leonard Milford Fillis grew up in Cape Town, South Africa. In 1925 he came to London with pianist Edgar Adeler.

Len Fillis
Len Fillis

He played with a whole array of band from the 1920 and 30's. Jack Hylton, Fred Elizalde, Al Starita, Fred Astaire, Elsie Carlisle and his old friend from South Africa, Al Bowlly.

It was Len Fillis who persuaded Fred Elizalde to use Al Bowlly as a vocalist. When the Elizalde band was fired from the Savoy Hotel for playing "hot" music instead of "sweet" music for dancing. Al Bowlly became unemployed and it was Len Fillis who got him work with some of his session bands either playing rhythm guitar or singing.

Just some of the artists and pseudonyms that Len Fillis and Al Bowlly appeared together with: Fred Elizalde and his Music; Trix Sisters; Linn Milford & his Hawaiian Players / Singers; Len Fillis's Entertainers; Len Fillis Novelty Quartet; Honolulu Serenaders; Brooklyn Broadcasters; Edgar Adeler's Hawaiian Players; Al Vocale & his Crooners; The Phantom Players; Earl Melville & his Hawaiians; Ferrachini's Hawaiian Band; Palm Beach Hawaiians and Len Fillis & his Novelty Orchestra

Len Fillis became one of the best session musicians in Britain, he was in huge demand and recorded under many pseudonyms, there are surly lots of Len Fillis track still to be discovered. He was a master on the steel guitar, banjo, ukulele and tenor guitar. He often is pictured playing a Selmer Maccaferri guitar. Although in the top picture to the left he has an early 16-inch Gibson L-5. He is credited with writing nearly a 100 compositions and played what were described as muted "Hot" single-string choruses. It is understood that he moved back to South Africa in 1937, but he was in Australia in 1938 where he made some recordings in Sydney for Regal Zonophone.

Links and info about Len Fillis