The trumpeter Derek Watkins, who has died aged 68 of cancer, was recognised by his fellow professionals as the finest lead player of his generation. To see him take his place in a big-band trumpet section or orchestral ensemble was to be reassured that all would be well. Dizzy Gillespie, no mean judge of trumpeters, called him "Mr Lead".
Watkins played on every James Bond film soundtrack from Dr No (1962) to Skyfall (2012), his blazing lead trumpet work evident on Monty Norman's iconic James Bond theme. The 19-year-old Watkins's spine-chilling trumpet growls set the scene on John Barry's Goldfinger (1964) theme, sung by Shirley Bassey, and Watkins was also prominent on Bill Conti's For Your Eyes Only (1981) score. As Barry said, Watkins "never failed to deliver the goods".
The film composer John Altman recalled that Watkins