Real Lives: Dougie was ‘first class’ teacher and performer

Dougie Campbell played jazz gigs and festivals well after his retirement
Dougie Campbell played jazz gigs and festivals well after his retirement
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Dougie Campbell, a well-known guitarist on the Edinburgh Jazz scene, has died at the age of 87.

Dougie was born on May 26, 1925 in Gallatown in Fife. At the age of four, he moved with his parents, John and Catherine, to Edinburgh.

An only child, he attended George Heriot’s School, and it was there he developed his love for music.

Upon leaving school, Dougie worked at the Sick Kids hospital for a short spell, before leaving to work as a lab technician in forensic medicine at Edinburgh University.

He stayed there until his retirement in 1990.

Throughout his working life, Dougie also became well-established as a jazz guitarist all over Edinburgh and Fife, having taught himself to play the instrument in his teens.

Alongside work, he built up a reputation as a jazz guitarist and played with various bands over the years.

In 1966, Dougie was playing a gig with the band he was in at the time at the Kinema Ballroom in Dunfermline, Fife, when he was left stranded with no way home. Thankfully, future wife Lillian came to his rescue, driving him all the way home, and thus igniting a relationship between the two.

They dated for the next few years, and eventually married at Haymarket Registry Office in 1970.

The couple then moved into their home on West Maitland street. Lillian said that Dougie loved their home, and never wanted to move – and never did. Lillian still lives there today.

Although the couple did not have any children, each other was all they needed. Lillian said: “Dougie absolutely loved music, just loved it.

“But he always used to say that it was his ‘second greatest love’.”

As well as being a well-respected jazz musician, Dougie was also a much-loved guitar teacher and music arranger, writing for the likes of the well-known Ray McIntosh.

As a teacher, he was often sought after, and Lillian recalled: “At one point we had as many as 40 students coming in and out of the house for lessons every week.”

And teaching was something he enjoyed well after his retirement, as well as performing in jazz gigs and festivals, including Leith’s Jazz and Blues Festival in June.

Bass player Kenny Ellis knew Dougie for more than 30 years, and the two often played together.

Kenny said: “Dougie was an extremely good jazz player, and his knowledge of guitar was amazing. He was first class.”

A true lover of jazz music, Dougie was lucky enough to meet and play with some of his jazz heroes.

And his love for music continued right up until his death on September 4, with his final jazz gig being played at the Seabird Centre in North Berwick just two weeks earlier.