TRIBUTES have been paid to Greenock-born jazz legend Duncan Lamont who has died just weeks after his first home town gig in 60 years.

The saxophonist to the stars and Grammy Award-nominated composer passed away on Tuesday, only hours after performing at a special sold out gig in London to mark his 88th birthday, which would have been on Thursday.

Duncan made his long-awaited return home three weeks ago to play at the Beacon Arts Centre - his first Greenock performance in six decades.

The multi-talented musician, who worked with the likes of Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby, spoke to the Tele of how much of an honour it was to be finally heading back to where his fledgling career began, initially as a trumpeter, aged 13 at house parties for soldiers coming back from the war.

Singer Daniela Clynes, who accompanied Duncan on stage at the Beacon on June 16, said: "The gig in Greenock meant the world to him and there were quite a number of relatives and old acquaintances who came along and spoke to him at the end of the night. "It was clearly a way for him to 'close the circle' in terms of returning to his home town to show and talk about his life's work."

Duncan quit his job in the shipyards at 16 and left Greenock for London after winning a competition to join Kenny Graham's 'Afro Cubists'.

His choice of instrument also changed and he swapped the trumpet for the tenor saxophone, becoming an in-demand studio musician.

During his illustrious career, he famously played in Sinatra's band and wrote a song about Hollywood icon Fred Astaire, who wrote to him expressing his enjoyment of the record.

The signed letter was one of Duncan's most treasured possessions.

He also worked with the likes of Tony Bennett, Count Basie and Paul McCartney and his vast back-catalogue also included music for TV shows The Sweeney and children's programme Mr Benn.

Hailing from a musical family, Duncan's son, Duncan Jr, also followed him into music and directed his dad's hometown show last month.

BBC Radio Scotland presenter Janice Forsyth was among those paying tribute to the jazz great.

She said: "So sorry to hear of the passing of saxophonist, composer and songwriter, Duncan Lamont, who played with Sinatra and also composed the Mr Benn theme. "He was on great form when he joined me for a chat just before his Greenock homecoming gig last month."

Such was his passion for music that a near-fatal bout of viral pneumonia in New York 25 years ago, which derailed a planned performance in Greenock, and a stroke a couple of years back could not stop him from performing and writing.

Speaking to the Tele in May, Duncan said: "I do it by compulsion in a way, and I'm still doing it at 88 so I'm getting by.

"I consider it a great compliment that people actually spend time singing songs of mine.

"It's lovely."