b. 4 July 1931, Greenock, Scotland. Lamont started out as a trumpet player, leading his own band in Scotland, which won recognition in Melody Maker in 1951. He spent some time in London, playing with Kenny Graham’s Afro-Cubists but during the early 50s continued to be active in Scotland. It was during this period that he switched to tenor saxophone and became a jazz studio player on this instrument. He worked with numerous popular British dance bands and jazz groups, including those led by Basil and Ivor Kirchin, Ken Mackintosh, Jack Parnell, Geraldo, Eric Delaney and Vic Lewis, with whom he toured America in 1958. In the 60s he played with Pat Smythe, Kenny Baker and others, freelanced extensively, and was in a band formed for Benny Goodman to lead on a European tour. Over the years Lamont was often to be heard leading his own small bands but he also played in numerous big bands and studio orchestras including those led by Kenny Wheeler, Gil Evans, who was a great admirer of Lamont’s talent as a composer, Bobby Lamb and Raymond Premru, Nelson Riddle, Henry Mancini, Benny Carter and Bill Holman.
Among singers Lamont has accompanied either on tour or as a member of studio orchestras are Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney and Paul McCartney. In addition to his activities as a performer, Lamont has also composed many songs, including the award winning ‘I Told You So’ (recorded by Trudy Kerr among others), ‘Carousel’ (Nancy Marano), ‘Not You Again’ (Cleo Laine) and ‘Manhattan In The Rain’ (Joyce Breach and Norma Winstone). Lamont has also composed several longer works, including ‘The Young Person’s Guide To The Jazz Orchestra’, ‘Soho Suite’ and ‘Sherlock Holmes Suite’, the latter a collaboration with Spike Milligan. He has also written music for children’s television, that for Spot being Grammy nominated, and for several Walt Disney videos. For more than a decade, Lamont led a big band in order to raise money for cancer research. In 1999, he won the John Dankworth Jazz Award for long-standing talent. Lamont is a fluent performer with considerable technical skills and a searching intelligence to his playing. His activities as a composer have long been greatly respected by his professional peers and, at the start of the new century, are starting to receive the wider recognition they so richly deserve.