More Jazz Club 90

Gigs (2008)

The Harp Hotel, Albrighton,Shropshire. WV7 3JF




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You can hopefully hear "Too Busy" from the CD, "Connected", by Richard Leach's Club House Five who were brilliant at the Harp on November 23rd. Order the CD from Richard on 01905 771528.

Click photos to enlarge

Tuesday, December 23rd.....our Christmas party with the Antique Six Jazz Band saw a full Harp audience enjoying what was really the Antique Four plus One as Richard Leach had elbow problems which meant he couldn't play trombone for several days (no, he hadn't been raising his elbow too often!) and on top of that Len Thwaites on bass was down with the dreaded "lergy" which is going the rounds so his place was taken by Roger Davies.. The two man front line of Chris Mercer on trumpet and Chris Pearce on clarinet/sax did a superb job very ably backed by Graham Smith on drums and Clinton Sedgley on banjo and guitar and Roger on bass.

An evening of excellent music including "Basin St. Blues", a version of "Coney Island Washboard", with Graham playing the washboard bits on his woodblock, and "Jazz Me Blues" also had Chris Pearce and Clinton Sedgley featured in "Sweet Substitute". One of the Christmas numbers was a very good "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" with Chris Pearce on clarinet.

The festive hats worn by the band as shown in the photos added a certain "something" to their uniform, quite what the turkey had done to upset Clinton I don't know and Chris Mercer pretended he wasn't enjoying the evening with his "Bah, Humbug" hat while Graham looked as if he had just had a very pleasant surprise....only Chris Pearce was unaffected by it all!

A little community singing, the special raffle with some 18 prizes which put more funds in the kitty and a smile on Clinton's face when he won 6 bottles of wine all contributed to a very enjoyable evening.  The supper provided by Donna and Marie was a "thank you" to all the musicians and fans who have made 2008 another great year at the Harp.

We look forward to seeing everyone back next year!

Chris Pearce

Clinto Sedgley

Antique Four + One

Graham Smith

Chris Mercer

Sunday, December 21st....Heart of England Jazz Band returned after an absence of a few months with Derek Bennett (of Zenith Hot Stompers fame) on drums and Bobby Johnson (from Martinique Jazz Band) on trombone.

Starting with "At the Jazz Band Ball" the Hearts progressed through a Pete Ainge vocal "Willie the Weeper", a vocal from Selwyn Newton in "Streets of London" and Derek Bennett's version of "Everybody Loves My Baby". The Harp's own octogenarian tenor player Frank Pardoe joined the band for "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" and "Good Queen Bess". A very French "La Vie en Rose" by Selwyn was another feature of the second set and the session finished with Frank rejoining the band for "Bourbon Street Parade".

Dave Smith on banjo and Roger Heath on bass completed the line-up for an excellent Sunday lunchtime session.


Frank Pardoe

HoE Francais

Dave Smith


Tuesday, December 16th....Martinique Jazz Band had two deps. tonight, the very welcome Gary Bell on trumpet and flugelhorn and Roger Heeley on piano, who joined the regular members Bobby Johnson on trombone, Terry Roberts on clarinet and saxes, Jim Harney on drums and Dave Boxold on bass.

A programme that included "The Preacher Man", "White Christmas" and "Mood Indigo" also featured Gary and the rhythm section with a fine "Stardust" and Terry and the rhythm with his regular request for "Flamingo". Another favourite at the Harp, "Running Wild", was performed with a slightly different vocal refrain...very demanding for Bobby Johnson and Dave Boxold!

As one of our regular bands Martinique will be back almost every month next year.

Sunday, December 14th...Another visit by the Dene River Jazzmen gave us a superb Sunday lunchtime session. In the absence of Nick Williams, who has been rather ill recently, the trombone spot featured Dave Braidley with the rest of the line-up being leader Peter Roberts on banjo, Rod Williams on clarinet and alto, Jon Stone on trumpet, Keith Prescott on bass and John Nicholls on drums.

From "Royal Garden Blues" to "Chesapeake Bay" via "Canal Street" and "Kitchen Man" the quality of the music was just brilliant and the rapport with the audience exactly what we wanted. This led to many "when will they be back?" comments...the answer is that the Dene River will be flowing in to Albrighton on four occasions next year, with the first on April 5th, don't miss it!

I did take a video of "Chimes Blues" but then found out that there is already a version by the band on YouTube so if you want to hear it click here.

Dave Braidley

Rod Williams

Peter Roberts

Jon Stone

Keith Prescott

Tuesday, December 9th...once again a most entertaining evening from New Washboard Syncopators who even started the jokes before a note had been played...not that I can ever remember any!

Chris Carmel always announces numbers we hear very rarely, complete with the history of said numbers, and tonight was no exception. An excellent "C C Rider" and a Dave Braidley vocal on "Here Comes the Hot Tamale Man" along with "Bright Star" were just some of the first set offerings while "Ready for the River" with a George Linder vocal and "New Orleans Hopscop Blues" with a superb baritone sax solo from Bob Smith, ably supported by Bob Pearce on bass, were a couple from the second set. This latter number will be on YouTube soon minus the last few bars as my camera card didn't have quite enough space on it...still well worth a look and listen!

As well as the two Bobs the line-up was Chris Carmel on cornet, Dave Braidley on trombone, George Linder on banjo and Tony Quinn on percussion.

A superb session, a decent crowd and the Wolves won, what more could you ask for on an icy cold December night?

The Syncopators will be back on February 3rd. 2009.

Sunday, December 7th....Christmas came early today, or at least that's how it seemed when New Orleans Heat were our visitors! One of our most popular bands they produce exactly what we need....brilliant jazz played and sung by musicians who really do enjoy their music and, above all, entertaining the audience. We even had the added bonus of "Happy Birthday" for trombone player Mike Taylor!

As always the band was led by Barry Grummett on piano with Gwyn Lewis on cornet and inimitable vocals, John Scantlebury on clarinet and alto, Tony Peatman on banjo, Harry Slater on bass and Colin Bushell on drums plus of course "Birthday Boy".

The very varied programme included several numbers which are on YouTube ....Away in a Manger and Royal Telephone Line.

New Orleans Heat will be back on February 15th. to help John and Marie celebrate their Silver Wedding Anniversary.

Photos will be here later.

Tuesday, December 2nd...a different line-up but still the same jazz and swing from Apex Jazz and Swing Band.

With Rob Milburn on bass making a rare appearance and Ron Hills on trombone bringing back memories of the late John Burnett's Jazz Bandits the regular musicians were Pete Brown on trumpet and valve trombone, Jim Harney on drums, John Fellows on bass and leader Robin Mason on clarinet and saxes. 

"China Town", a front line vocal refrain during "Dinah" and a baritone sax/trombone duet in "In a Sentimental Mood" were some of the highlights of the first set which finished with "Perdido".

John Fellows was a happy bass player when he won the football card and Russell, brother of Donna and co-owner of the Harp, was suitably embarrassed when we presented him with a birthday cake and card for his 30th. birthday.

The second set was noticeable for an excellent "Night Train" (see it on YouTube), a Pete Brown vocal on "Running Wild" and a two trombone version of "Undecided".

Another excellent session from a very entertaining band.

Apex will be back on February 1st.

Sunday, October will be remembered as the farewell gig for Derek Rowland, the leader of Bank Street Syncopators.

Derek is the sole survivor from of the original line-up when Bank Street started and for 25 years his unique drum playing and inimitable singing have been a feature of the band. Some years ago Derek took over the running of the band but has now decided that advancing years, and the ailments that go with them, mean it is time to call it a day which in turn means that, in spite of his best efforts over the last 15 years, he still hasn't managed to build a shed on the stage in the Harp! His singing however has been recorded for posterity and "Sweet Georgia Brown" and part of "Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives to Me" (both on the same video) will be available on YouTube soon!

The music today was by Tony Billingham on trumpet, Harry Christian on reeds, Reg Fuery on trombone, Fred Dixon on guitar/banjo, Bob Mason on bass and of course Derek on drums, with Steve Markham, who is taking over from Derek, sitting in for a couple of numbers.

With many of Derek's family and of his cycling friends to swell the audience there was a great atmosphere and I am sure he thoroughly enjoyed the session, as we hope he will the bottle of wine and signed card presented to him at the end of the session.

Bank Street Syncopators will be back on January 13th. 2009

Tuesday, October for the first time since April tonight's session with the Antique Six Jazz Band just happened to coincide with Marie's birthday!

With the regular members of the band was the "new boy on the block" Len Thwaites on bass. Well known around the Midlands Len is a very experience bass player and has replaced Andy Robins who now resides in France.

As usual the music was superbly played from "Frogymore" to "Bei Mir Bist Du Schöen" via "On Treasure Island" (a solo by Richard Leach on trombone), Chris Pearce on clarinet playing "Pretty Baby" and vocals from trumpet man Chris Mercer during "Aunt Hagar's Blues" and "Milenburg Joys". Graham Smith on drums, Clinton Sedgley on banjo/guitar and Len on bass provided the perfect rhythm section throughout the evening.

Particularly well appreciated was an excellent version of "The Mooch", superbly played in by Chris Pearce and Chris Mercer with everyone then producing solos to match. "Some Day Sweetheart", Bluin' the Blues" and "Pretty Baby" will be on YouTube soon.

During the interval John Hill presented Marie with a card, flowers, chocolates and a gift voucher whilst the band played a very discordant version of "Happy Birthday". The highlight for Marie was the arrival before the start of 2½ year old grandson Adam, accompanied by Mom and Dad Rachel and Paul. Adam's enjoyment of the jazz augers well for the future of our audience!

A most enjoyable evening made even better by the news that the Wolves had beaten Sheffield United 3-1 away from home!

The Antique Six will be back on April 28th.

Chris + Chris..The Mooch

Len Thwaites

The Six


Graham Smith.

Sunday, November 23rd....A rare visit by Richard Leach's Club House Five gave us a real treat today.

Led by Richard on trombone rest of the front line was Gordon Whitworth on trumpet and Dave Wilkinson on clarinet with the rhythm section of Howard Worthington on bass and Brian Mellor on banjo.

From the starter "Old Miss Rag" the Harp was swinging through well known tunes such as "East Coast Trot" (taken brilliantly at more like a gallop!), "I Wished on a Moon" featuring Gordon, a vocal for Howard in "Willie the Weeper" and for the boss during a dramatically performed "St. James Infirmary Blues"!

A superb rendition of "Washington and Lee Swing" also included "I'll get More Loving than I Get from You", the Max Bygraves vocal version of W&L (about a wooden dummy for the young amongst us!).

The ever popular "Tishomingo Blues" is on YouTube.

Plans are afoot to have Richard's excellent band back in 2009.

Tuesday, November 18th...another entertaining evening from the Martinique Jazz Band who have been popular visitors to the Harp since we first moved here. The choice of numbers had something to please everyone from Basie's "9.29 Special" to "Black and Blue" and "Royal Garden Blues".

 Experienced musicians playing excellent music, what more could you want on a cold late autumn evening (it is winter in 2 days time!).

Martinique will be back on December 16th.

Sunday, November 16th....The Old Comrades Jazz Band, led by the 82 year old Comrade "Big Eric" Dodgson on trombone, took us through a varied programme of traditional jazz and , because it was Sunday, several spirituals.  The latter included "Royal Telephone Line" and the very short-titled "If You Never Needed The Lord Before You Sure Do Need Him Now"!

The football card was won by Tuesday regular John Hill, proving again it pays to book your space on the card in advance even if you can't be at a session...Marie accepts cash, cheques, bankers' drafts or even IOUs!

Finishing with "Dans Les Rues D'Antibes" the Old Comrades brought a very entertaining lunchtime to a close.

They will be back on January 18th. 2009

Tuesday, November 11th....New Washboard Syncopators gave us a Tuesday evening of superb jazz. They started with "I Never knew What a Girl could Do" and during the first set included "They Called It Dixieland" and two features for Bob Smith, "Louisiana Fairytale" on baritone sax and St. Phillips' Street Breakdown" on clarinet. "Oriental Rag" brought the first set to a close.

Bob Pearce on bass was a happy man during the interval when he won the football card prize of £20.00.

"Alabama Jubilee" and "Mecca Flats Blues" helped us along to the finalé "Running Wild".

Chris Carmel on cornet, Dave Braidley on trombone, George Linders on banjo and Tony Quinn on percussion joined with the two Bobs to brilliantly entertain an appreciative audience.

The Syncopators will be back on February 3rd 2009

Sunday, November 9th. 2008....the annual visit by the Frog Island Jazz Band produced a session every bit as good as all their previous ones with John Whitehead…. cornet, Jim Hurd….clarinet, John Jeanes….trombone, Owen Diplock….banjo, Rob Fullalove…. tuba, Chris Marchant….drums and Keith Durston….piano all combining brilliantly to recreate the music of Jelly Roll Morton and the classic King Oliver recordings with a little Johnny Dodds, the New Orleans Wanderers and others thrown in for good measure.

"Sobbing Blues" and "Just Gone" were two Oliver numbers which gave us a cracking start and the rest of the session included vocals from tuba player Rob Fullalove during "Mandy Make Up Your Mind" and "Georgia Bo Bo", the latter with a 5 piece line-up. "Milneburg Joys", "Alligator Hop" and "Wild Cat Blues" were more excellent offerings.

One of the bonuses when Frog Island hop in to town is the opportunity to hear lesser known numbers, such as Jelly Roll Morton's "Big Fat Ham", played by true enthusiasts for the music, watch this one on YouTube.

After the band's final number I persuaded them to play "Happy Birthday" to celebrate the first birthday of Barbara Bosworth's two new card for the knees but Barbara sent one to the consultant who did the very successful operation!

If the usual double gig with the Harp and Halesowen Cricket Club can be arranged then Frog Island Jazz Band will be back next year.

.......on banjo, Owen Diplock


On Tuba......

The band......


...Rob Fullalove

Tuesday, November 4th....that Welsh trumpet wizard John Everett once again brought in his Red Dragon Jazzmen with singer Ruth Frith, this time though there should maybe have been a medical team in attendance also as Ruth was recovering from surgery on her shoulder and Barry Phillips was suffering from a chest infection which rather curtailed his trombone blowing.

Needless to say we still had a superb session from the Dragons with John Bodenham in good form on the clarinet, Mark Johnson was driving with his bass, Ron Smith doing vocals as well as drums and Phil Probert showing his expertise on both banjo and guitar plus vocals, and of course John himself on trumpet and vocals. Ruth didn't let a small matter like surgery deter her and sang superbly.

Barry was not at all well at the end of the evening but insisted he would be OK going home, when I telephoned next morning he was feeling much better and we all hope he will be fully recovered before too long.

The Red Dragons will be back next year

Sunday, November 2nd. may have been a dull grey Sunday lunchtime outside the Harp but inside it was very bright and swinging with Millennium Eagle Jazz Band.

This was a session that had everything from the opener "Beautiful Dreamer" to the closing "Beer Barrel Polka", with the audience helping out the "Glee Club" front line during the "Roll Out The Barrel" vocal. Along the way we had "Fidgety Feet" and a Matt Palmer tenor version of "Embraceable You" accompanied by the superb rhythm section of Brian Lawrence on bass, Chris Etherington on banjo and young drummer Jack Cotterill. Another song made famous by a tenor, not a sax  but by Irish singer John McCormack, was "Rose of Tralee", this time given the Millennium Eagle's special treatment.

 As well as the mentioned musicians Pete Brown on trumpet and valve trombone and Andy Holdorf on slide trombone were also stars of the evening in a band well worthy of carrying on the old Eagle Jazz Band banner.

An unusual event worth recording is that Harp regular Marj was seen consuming low alcohol beer, a situation never before seen! It turned out that Marj was on her last day of taking antibiotics and was looking forward to the bottle of wine and large glass waiting when she got home!

Millennium Eagle will be back on February 24th. 2009.

  .......The Glee Club in fine voice!

Marj on the low alcohol beer!...............


Tuesday, October 28th....a bitterly cold evening following snow during the afternoon left us with the smallest audience for quite a long time. Fortunately Carole Westwood and the Archie Cotterell Trio were undeterred and entertained us as they would have done for a full house.

Carole's new P.A. system brilliantly complemented the musical talent of all four musicians and gave added quality to Carole's  songs such as "Just in Time", "The Thrill is Gone" and "Autumn Leaves" and Archie's piano solos "This can't Be Love" and "Take Five".

A nice way to warm up a chilly night, Carole and the boys(!) will be back next year.

Sunday, October 26th.....Once again the ever popular JB's Jazz and Blues Band were today's visitors and  John Beckingham on piano, Roger Manwaring on tenor, soprano and clarinet, Andy Wood on guitar, Jeff Hawker on drums and Mark Howell on bass entertained an almost "Full House" as only they can.

Opening with "Weaver Of Dreams" we later had vocals from Andy Wood (I'm in The Mood For Love and Shine), Roger Manwaring (Some Day You'll Be Sorry) and JB himself (Don't Go To Strangers and One Night a Day) with along the way everyone playing excellent solos. If I can sort it out Jeff's drum solo during "I've Found a New Baby" will be on YouTube soon.

"All Right , OK, You Win" was the penultimate number with the now regular closing song, "I'll See You in My Dreams" by Andy Wood bringing a great Sunday lunchtime to a close.

This superb swinging, entertaining band will be back without a doubt next year.

Tuesday, October 21st....A different line-up for Wabash Jazzmen with Eric Newton on clarinet joining Mike Hayler, on tenor and clarinet, Mark Challinor on banjo and guitar and Howard Worthington on bass.

The quality of the music was as brilliant as usual from Wabash with the two reed front line working extremely well as shown in a superb "Algiers Strut". Eric, Mark and Howard played the great George Lewis classic, "Burgundy Street Blues" and the varied programme included "Georgia Camp Meeting", "St. Louis Blues" and a banjo/bass duet in "Avalon". The session ended with a rousing "I've Got Rhythm". All these numbers will be on YouTube soon.

Another excellent session at the Harp with unfortunately a smaller than usual but nonetheless very appreciative audience.

Wabash will definitely be back next year!

Mark Challinor

Mike Hayler

Eric Newton

Howard Worthington

Sunday, October 19th....Today's visitors, Martinique Jazz Band, showed us once again the high quality of jazz in the Midlands. The regular "first team" not only entertained us in their own unique way but also announced the recent marriage of trumpeter Tony Billingsley to Isabella which brought suitable applause from the audience along with suggestions of suitable songs for Tony to sing!

November 18th. is when Martinique will be back

October 14th. 2008...Celebrating 15 years of jazz at the Harp in the company of New Orleans Heat and a "full house" could only lead to one thing, a truly brilliant session!

With New Orleans Heat in sparkling form the music content of the evening was out of the top drawer. A front line of John Scantlebury on clarinet, alto and vocals , Gwyn Lewis on cornet, flugelhorn and vocals, Mike Taylor on trombone and Barry Grummett on piano, backed by a rhythm section of Tony Peatman on banjo, Harry Slater on bass, Clarence Nugent on drums and Barry Grummet (yes he really does appear to have two parts to play!) played a great varied programme to the delight of everyone present. Much of their musical offering was from their latest CD, "Big Mamou", a number from which I will feature on our first page in the near future, there are now videos on YouTube.

"Panama"   "When Your Hair Has Turned to Silver"   "Marie"

During the interval we had the now customary supper of sandwiches, black pudding and Spanish onion which went down extremely well! Our thanks to Donna for helping to fund this and to Marie for the preparation.

During the course of the evening we expressed our thanks to the people who made this 15 year anniversary possible, namely Allan Austin and George Sims who started Jazz Club 90 at The Bush some 18 years ago, the late Terry Pibworth (the Harp owner) who , 15 years ago, was persuaded by Allan to fund one session a week ,and Terry's daughter Donna, her brother Russell and her partner Dave for continuing to support the twice weekly sessions after they took over running the pub. I also couldn't let the occasion pass without thanking " my lovely lady", Marie, for all the work she puts in to raising funds at every session. Needless to say all those mentioned were given a round of enthusiastic applause and Allan was presented with  bottle of malt whisky as a token of thanks.

Another presentation was a birthday cake, complete with candles, and a card to Donna who was ?!* years old yesterday!

Allan Austin also took to the microphone to reminisce about the start of Jazz Club 90 and to thank Marie and myself and everyone else connected to the Harp for making it a venue now known in many parts of the world.

After the supper, speeches, presentations and the raffle New Orleans Heat continued to entertain until the evening came to an end all too soon and left us looking forward to our 20th!

We don't have to wait that long for New Orleans Heat, they will be back on December 7th.

New Orleans Heat

John Scantlebury

Gwyn Lewis

Mike Taylor

The Harp

Harry Slater

Barry Grummett

Donna...mine hostess

Tony Peatman

Clarence Nugent

Sunday, October 12th....saw the return of the Five Towns Footwarmers from the Potteries. Led by Keith Garner on banjo the line-up was Gerry Owen on clarinet and alto, Laurie Cooper on trombone, John Everett on trumpet, Terry Cooper on bass and Mike Haslam on drums.

As always an excellent session from a bunch of musicians who really show that they enjoy playing their music, enlivened as usual by Keith's introductions and jokes.

What a nice way to spend a Sunday lunchtime!

5 Towns will be back next year.

Tuesday, October 7th...A unique session tonight when the "3 Busk-it-'eres" were playing together for the first time.....John Sparry on vibes asked me some time ago if I could arrange for two musicians who he admired greatly to make up a trio for which he chose the name. The musicians were pianist Nick Blunn from Malvern and  Nick Millward, best known as the drummer with the great Kenny Ball Band. It turned out to be a mutual admiration society as they both jumped at the chance to accompany John.

The programme consisted of music by all the great songwriters, ranging from "This Can't Be Love" to "Pennies From Heaven" with vocal and super scat singing from Nick Millward. The Harp upright piano was featured in "Sweet Georgia Brown" when Nick Blunn abandoned his keyboard for a while, as he did later for "12th. Street Rag".....superb, you can see this on YouTube.

A very different but most enjoyable evening made even better by John's knowledge of the origins of the numbers they played and his occasional reminiscences about his early days....especially when he reckoned the Luftwaffe planned to bomb a small nearby village hall because the music loving Germans had heard what an awful piano the villagers had for their musical evenings!

The old upright was called in to action again for the final number, "The Sheikh of Araby", a fine end to a great evening.

Their first time together, hopefully not the last.

John Sparry

Nick Millward

Nick Blunn

John listening

Nick vocal

Nick piano

Sunday, October 5th...the popular Apex Jazz & Swing Band were in today with Pete Ainge as guest on trumpet and Bob Boucher on bass.

With leader Robin Mason suffering a bout of "man 'flu" (as we were reminded several times during the gig!) the effect on his throat meant that Pete was called upon for the vocals including the opening "China Town".

Excellent solos from Laurie Cooper on trombone, Ken Jones on piano, Bob on bass and Jim Harney on drums were matched by Pete and Robin. Together with the rhythm section Robin played a superb "Memories of You"

In the second set the band were joined by young teenager Laura Evans who sang a rather nice version of "Summertime". This she did quite brilliantly considering it was her first meeting with the band and the first time she had ever sung in front of a jazz audience and fully deserved the applause from both the audience and the band.

"Undecided" brought another enjoyable session to a close, if you missed it Apex will be back on December 2nd.

Tuesday, Sept. 30th....until today (Oct. 12th) you may have wondered what had happened to the report on this gig as only the photos were uploaded...suffice to say it was possibly a senior moment or even a mental aberration or, more likely, just a cock-up on my part! My thanks to Gordon Fryer for being a very efficient proof reader!

Needless to say Baby Jools' New Orleans Rhythm gave us a superb session with numbers ranging from the starter, "The Old Spinning Wheel in the Corner", to the finalé, "C-Jam Blues". Along the way we had excellent solos from everyone with Amy on flute and Tom on keyboard doing a delightful "Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square".

A splendid evening with music from five very talented younger jazz musicians very ably supported by the slightly more senior Andy Holdorf!

Back again next year we hope.  

Click on pictures

Amy Roberts/Jim Swinnerton

Baby Jools


Tom Kincaid


Andy Holdorf


Matt Palmer/Amy

Sunday, September 28th...The Old Comrades Jazz Band were today's visitors with Chris Carmel on cornet and Bill Bickerton on keyboard joining leader "Big" Eric Dodgson on trombone, Dave Coles on reeds, Dave Andrews on drums and Steve Slater on bass.

Eric's trombone playing and singing belied his 80 plus years and his rapport with the audience made for a most entertaining lunchtime and he was aided and abetted by all the members of the orchestra!

Mention must be made of the dancing display by our regular Sunday octogenarians Iris and Terry who put mere youngsters like me to shame!

The Old Comrades will be back on November 16th.

Tuesday, September 23rd....a very welcome return for John Sparry's Heath Coldfield Quintet gave us another evening of brilliant music, plenty of chat with the audience and a history lesson on the origin of most of the tunes played, what more could you ask for?

John on vibes was accompanied by Bryn Venus on keyboard, Richard Werrett on guitar, Barry Watts on drums and, in the Harp for the first time, Barry Newey on bass guitar. The music ranged from "All of Me" to "Blue Bossa" and "I Can't Give You Anything But Love", which included Frank Pardoe on tenor sax,  and "Jersey Bounce" (a video of which is now on YouTube).

John was obviously enjoying himself as both the end of the first half and the final whistle ran well overtime, not that anyone was complaining!

The Quintet will be back next year but John will appear on vibes with Nick Blunn, piano and Nick Millward, drums on October 7th.

Photos can be seen in the gig report of June 3rd.

Sunday, September 21st...another band of musicians who have become "regulars" in the Harp are the Red Dragon Jazzmen.

Led by John Everett on trumpet the band today included Reg Fuery on trumpet who received a very warm welcome from many of the audience as it was his first appearance at the Harp for about 3 years....his time now being taken up with a brass band.

The band as always played a very entertaining session with vocal duties, in the absence of the stranded in France Ruth Frith, being taken up by drummer Ron Smith, guitarist Phil Probert, the boss John and Reg Fuery. John Bodenham on clarinet and Steve Slater on bass completes the line-up.

The Dragons will return on November 4th....if your bonfire won't light maybe they will breathe on it!


Reg Fuery

John Everett

Reg's vocal talent


Tuesday, September 16th...a band who have been involved with Jazz Club 90 from the very early days is the  Martinique Jazz Band who were today's visitors. With Tony Billingsley on trumpet, Bobby Johnson on trombone, Terry Roberts on clarinet and saxes, Ken Jones on piano, Dave Boxold on bass and Jim Harney on drums the disappointingly small audience was treated to the bands mix of Dixieland and Mainstream jazz with vocals by Dave and Tony and excellent solos from everyone.

Martinique will be back on October 19th.

Sunday, September 14th...arriving for this session, the day after my 75th. birthday, we were a little disappointed to find that the Heart of England Jazz Band was in fact the "Half" of England JB...for various reasons deps John Everett on trumpet, Bobby Johnson on trombone and Gary Alcock on drums were drafted in for the session. However any initial doubts about the quality of the music were soon dispelled and a very enjoyable lunchtime was had by all.

I must say I enjoyed being on the receiving end of the generosity of our audience, from the very welcome pints of Holden's to the singing of "Happy Birthday", the candles to blow out on the cake, the card with very nice comments, the wine from "mine hosts" and other presents, topped off by the   envelope with the proceeds of the collection amongst the wonderful jazz sincere thanks to everyone. Whether I should thank John Bosworth and my lovely wife Marie for the "75" banners and the long forgotten photos of a very young me, and others of Marie and myself, is another matter!

A rather special lunchtime, excellent music, a rare chance to hear Gary Alcock on drums....roll on the next 5years!

Heart of England Jazz and will be back on Dec. 21st.

Tuesday, September 9th....tonight's most enjoyable session was by the New Washboard Syncopators with guests Dave Harmer on trombone and Clinton Sedgley on guitar/banjo. Cornet player Chris Carmel, the ever young Bob Smith on clarinet and baritone sax, Tony Quinn on percussion and Bob Pearce on bass were the regular members of the band.

As always the music consisted of well known jazz numbers and some lesser known, or rarely played, tunes such as "Mecca Flats Blues" and "My Baby's Due on the Two to Two Today" while Bob Smith was featured on clarinet during "Wild Man Blues" which also had excellent cornet from Chris. Dave Harmer fitted in brilliantly with the band on only his second visit to the Harp and the rhythm section drove the front line along....Clinton's banjo playing was as strong as his football team, West Bromwich Albion, who are holding up the rest of the Premier League!!!

Of considerable interest to the audience was the inexplicable drinking of an unseemly amount of water by two of the band, Bob Pearce and Chris Carmel....something to do with blood tests the next day or need to lose a little weight!

November 11th. will be your next chance to see New Washboard Syncopators.

The rhythm section

Guest Clinton Sedgley

Who would have thought it!

Guest Dave Harmer

Bob Pearce..water or vodka?

Sunday, September 7th...the ever popular JB's Jazz and Blues Band were today's visitors and once again John Beckingham on piano, Roger Manwaring on tenor, soprano and clarinet, Andy Wood on guitar, Clive Miller on drums and Mark Howell on bass gave us a superb entertaining lunchtime.

Excellent solos and vocals along with a great rapport with the Harp audience have always been the hallmark of this great band and today was no exception, from the opener "Autumn Leaves" to the closing "Jump, Jive and Wail" everything was of the high standard we have come to expect.....the Mills Brothers' "Cherry" (with John, Roger and Andy as the unlikely brothers!), "Wade in the Water" and the haunting "One Night a Day" were very much enjoyed by yours truly, as was the extra final number by Andy, "I'll See You In My Dreams".

Not so long to wait for the next visit which is on October 26th.

Andy, Roger and John alias the Mills Brothers! Mark, the quiet one of the band.

Tuesday, September 2nd...Bev Pegg on guitar, Archie Cotterell on keyboard, John O'Connor on bass and last minute deputy Howard Gregory on violin made up Bev's Good Time Four who did just that and gave us a really good time, playing music from "Blue Grass" to love songs with the added bonus of Bev Pegg's wonderfully funny reminiscences about the lighter side of life.

The songs varied from "Dark Town Strutters' Ball" to "I'm Confessing that I Love You" and "Rose of San Antone" to "Take Your Finger Off It" and the finalé "Route 66" with many more along the way.

To say that Bev's stories were hilarious at times would be an understatement...he had many members of the audience, including yours truly, not only laughing their socks of but also crying tears of laughter...and all without one single four letter word, a far cry from many so called TV "entertainers".

The Harp was full and rocking with laughter and the music was great, what more could you want for a Tuesday evening out?!

There will be some snippets on YouTube soon, Bev did want to call in the make-up girl before the filming but I thought that was going a bit too far!

Rose of San Antone

Bev and the boys (?) will be back next year.


Bev Pegg

John O'Connor

Archie Cotterell

Howard Gregory

Bev, again

Sunday, August gig news after the session on June 10th included...."The result a truly remarkable session of boogie woogie, jump jive, jazz and rock and roll with some Winifred Attwell rags thrown in....just brilliant!"....and those comments are just as valid after today's return session with young pianist Carl Sinclair and his drummer Howard Smith.

A young man of outstanding talent with a great ability to create a rapport with the audience (Marie calls it "charisma") Carl once again entertained with a very varied mix of tunes, aided and abetted this time by experienced drummer Howard who chipped in with his own vocals.

From Ray Charles' "I've Got a Woman" to Chuck Berry's "You Never Can Tell" and Steve Clayton's "You Know What I Mean" to the finalé "Shake, Rattle and Roll", with many more in between, the full house in the Harp were transported back to the days of their youth...a long way back in some cases!

Wouldn't it be rather nice if a TV producer would go looking for the likes of Carl, along with other excellent musicians and singers such as Ben Holder, Amy Roberts, Mellow Avstreih, Ralph Allin, Andy Wood, Jamie Brownfield and other young people who have made their mark on the jazz scene, and create programmes around them....wouldn't that give many people a different view of "entertainment?

Carl will be back at the end of January 2009...isn't this year flying by?!


Carl's vocal


Carl in full flow


Tuesday, August 26th...another band who hadn't been in for a long time was the Ralph Allin Quartet who attracted a nice "full house" for their brand of violin led jazz.

Ralph on violin had his regular rhythm section of Glen Taylor on piano, Jadie Carey on bass and Steve Street on drums. This evening we also had Ralph's video camera in action to record the session for posterity and YouTube!

The wide ranging music included such diverse numbers as "On the Streets Where You Live" and "Norwegian Woods", "La Composita" and "Wonderful World" and a superb "Summertime" with a bass introduction from Jadie.

The musical content of the evening was interspersed with Ralph's philosophical comments on varied subjects such as "Did man really land on the moon?" and "Does Time really exist or is it just in our imagination?"....all of these having a link to a piece of music.

The evening drew to a close with a superb "Moondance" and their trademark "Irish jig and more" which had hands clapping very quickly to keep up! Repeated calls for "more", including from boss Russell behind the bar, gave us a rousing "Sweet Georgia Brown" as the finalé.

The four musicians once again demonstrated the enormous talent both during solos and when backing Ralph's incredible violin playing.

They will be back next year!

Ralph Allin

Jadie Carey

Glen Taylor

Steve Street

Sunday, August 24th....a day we have waited for for almost two years.....the reforming of Wabash Jazzmen a little while ago by Mark Challinor meant that at long last we could hear again one of the most popular bands to play at the Harp.

The regular members of this superb quartet, Mike Hayler on clarinet/tenor sax and Howard Worthington on bass joined Mark on banjo/guitar and the "new boy" today was trumpet player Jon Critchley from the North West, appearing at the Harp for the first time.

Once again the quality of music was brilliant, the great choice of numbers ranged from "Old Miss Rag" to "Wolverine Blues" and from China Boy" to "Somebody Stole My Gal" (a Mike and Howard banjo/bass duet with vocals as only Howard can).

Mark was featured on vocal during "Royal Telephone Line" and on guitar in "I Want a little Girl" while more Howard vocals were "A Porter's Love Song" and "Walking With The King".

The excellent solos from Mike on clarinet or tenor and Jon on trumpet were all greatly appreciated by a very enthusiastic audience as were the talents of the rhythm section. A request from the youngest member of the audience, our 7 years old grandson Jamie, had the band play "Just a Little While to Stay Here" and the final number was "San Francisco Bay Blues" sung by Mark.

It's almost two years but it seemed as if the band had never gone away, brilliant music played by very talented musicians who so obviously enjoy themselves, and, most pleasing to Marie and myself, appeared to be more than happy to be back!

"Some Body Stole My Gal", "China Boy" and "Bei Mir Bist Du Schön" are on YouTube.

Wabash will be back on Tuesday, October 21st...miss it if you dare!


Mark Challinor

Howard Worthington

Mike Hayler

Mark again

The front line

Jamie, a young admirer!

John Chritchley

Tuesday, August's happened again!....a band I booked without hearing or seeing them turned in an absolute stormer of a session. Shine were the band in and they very quickly showed us why they are regarded as one of the foremost gypsy swing bands in the UK.

With leader Ian Turner on bass, Keith Chetwin on guitar and vocals, Toby Morgan on lead guitar and Simon Swarbrick on violin they produced their own versions of standard such as "Honeysuckle Rose", "Summertime", Nat King Coles ' "Nature Boy" and "Some of These Days", with Keith's distinctive vocals adding the finishing touch.

Toby and Simon added superb solos, with Toby featured on "Nuages", more tributes to Django with "Minor Swing" and Ian drove everyone along with his very distinctive, and sometimes very different, bass playing.

A two guitar intro to "Sweet Georgia Brown" gave no indication of the superb finalé which this turned out to be...great guitars, great vocal, great violin and great, and very well worn, bass is the only way to describe this final number which had the audience calling for more, but there was really no way they could follow that so we have to wait until next year for "More!"

Shine will definitely be back!

Keith Chetwin  

 Simon Swarbrick / Ian Turner


Toby Morgan

Ian in full flow!

Sunday, August 17th...The Old Comrades Jazz Band, led by octogenarian trombone player "Big Eric" Dodgson, showed once again that we have a wealth of entertaining bands in the Midlands.

With Robin Sherwood on cornet, Dave Coles on clarinet/sax, Griff Thomas on banjo, Steve Slater on bass, Mike Wall in piano and Dave Andrews on drums we were treated to music varying from "Salutation March" (the forerunner to the Military Two Step according to Big Eric!) to "Bogalusa Strut" and "Lily of the Valley". Eric's vocals and announcements added to the enjoyment of the session, fortunately my hearing aid switched off every time he suggested Marie and I should lead the non -existent dancers!

Another excellent Sunday lunchtime...

...The Comrades will be back on September 28th.

Tuesday, August 12th...Apex Jazz and Swing Band also had deps in the shape of Jon Stone on trumpet and Barry Norman on drums who joined Laurie Cooper on trombone, John Fellows on bass, Peter Robinson on guitar/banjo and leader Robin Mason on clarinet/saxes.

With the Olympics obviously in mind the first set started with "China Town" (with Jon Stone's inimitable Chinese accent) and ended with "China Boy"! Robin played an excellent "Moon Glow" with the rhythm section, "Running Wild" pleased Marie and Peter Robinson's arrangement of "Night Train" kept everyone on the rails.

A pity the audience was smaller than usual for another enjoyable session from Apex, they will be back on October 5th.

Sunday, August 10th....Bank Street Syncopators today had several deps including Steve Markham sitting in for leader Derek Rowland whose dodgy knee prevented him doing a full session (as well as restricting his cycling activities!), young trombone player Dave Deakin brought down the average age of the band, Richard Werrett sat in for Fred Dixon on guitar and Rob Hodges was on bass instead of Dave Boxold. Harry Christian on reeds and Tony Billingsley on trumpet were the regulars on parade!

A most enjoyable session included such varied numbers as "At Sundown" and "Russian Lullaby" with Derek sitting in n drums for just two numbers which just happened to be his vocal specialities, "Fall in Love Says My Heart" and "Sweet Georgia Brown". Tenor sax player Mike Yorke joined the band for four numbers which included "Lester leaps In" and "Body and Soul" with the rhythm section.

Once again excellent entertainment for a Sunday lunchtime.

Tuesday, August 5th....a very different session again when percussionist/singer Debbie Arthurs graced our "stage" in the company of Norman Field on saxes and clarinet and Roger Heeley on keyboard.

With songs that included "Walking My Baby Back Home", "Am I Blue" and "Mean To Me" and instrumentals such as "Wolverine Blues" and a duet by Debbie and Roger "Just You, Just Me" there was something for everyone.

Whilst the delightful Debbie Arthurs was the star of the evening there is no doubt that excellent reed player Norman Field, with his fund of information about many of the songs, and Roger Heeley, with his superb piano playing, contributed enormously to a very entertaining evening.

All three can be heard on their version of "Lady Be Good" on YouTube.

Sadly we can't book Debbie and the boys(!) again this year but 2009 isn't very far away!

Click photos....


Norma, Debbie and Roger

Debbie, again! enlarge

Sunday, August saw a very different session when singer Sue Maclean was accompanied by John Cooper on keyboard, Kevin Willerby on bass guitar, Len on drums and Harp favourite Terry Roberts on sax.

A programme which ranged from the band's opener, "St. Thomas", to excellent vocals from Sue which covered the whole range of "standards". These included "Summertime" (very appropriate as the sun was actually shining at the time), "Georgia on My Mind" and a Nat King Cole tribute with "The Very Thought of You" and "Stardust".

The finalé, "Straighten Up and Fly Right" brought to an end an entertaining camera played up so unfortunately there are no pics this time.

Tuesday, July 29th....just occasionally, as happened a few weeks ago with pianist Carl Sinclair, we have a band who have never been to the Harp before but who amaze the audience with their truly brilliant talent and tonight's visitors, Djangology did just that!

With the band led by almost 19 years old Ben Holder on violin, and with the more experienced Richard Smith on lead guitar, John Smith on rhythm guitar and Steve Peters on bass, this was a session which will be remembered for a very long time indeed!  Ben was an absolute revelation, not only for his sheer brilliance but also his enthusiasm for the music he was playing, this is very well shown on the videos which are on YouTube.

From "Swing That Music" to "Indiana" and "Avalon" the music really did swing, the second set even featured Ben on the recently acquired Harp piano which showed his other remarkable talent! The solos and driving rhythms of Richard, John and Steve were quite outstanding and contributed enormously to a truly memorable evening.

Amongst other numbers were "Russian Lullaby", "It's Only a Paper Moon" and, a first time for this group of musicians, "Take the A Train", which are the videos on YT.

We have no gigs available this year but Ben Holder and Djangology will be back next year! Click photos to enlarge.

Ben with John Smith

Ben Holder

Richard Smith

Sunday, July 27th...take the Red Dragon Jazzmen with Ruth Frith, add a touch of Nick Williams on trombone and the stage is set for  a very entertaining Sunday lunchtime. Led by the inimitable John Everett on trumpet, complete with orthopaedic back support (also known as a corset) in a very fetching shade of black, the excellent band numbers were complemented by the various vocals which included Ruth's "Careles Love" and many more, banjo/guitar player Phil Probert with "I'm Confessing", Nick with "King of the Swingers" and drummer Ron Smith with "Doctor Jazz".

Two year old grandson Adam found the excitement much too wearing and  slept through part of the first set and all the second including Ron Smith's superb drum solo during "Bei Mir Bist Du Schön, only waking up when it was time to go!

Another two hours went by very quickly but if you missed them the band will be back on September 21st.

Ron Smith's great drum solo.....

.....couldn't wake Adam!

Tuesday, July 22nd....singer Carole Westwood with the Archie Cotterell Trio were tonight's visitors who once again gave us great songs, brilliantly sung by Carole, and superbly backed by the trio of Archie on keyboard, Derek Brown on bass guitar and Barry Watts on drums.

From "The Way You Look Tonight" to "Popsickle Toes" and from "Don't Get Around Much Any More" to "Orange Coloured Sky" were just some of Carole's offerings whilst the Trio entertained us with "Take Five", "Walk in the Black Forest" and "Indian Love Call". An evening such as this had to have an encore and "Route 66" was a perfect way to end the evening.

Carole and the boys(!) will be back on October photos to enlarge


Carole Westwood

Archie Cotterell


Sunday, July 20th...with Jon Stone on trumpet in the absence of Chris Carmel the New Washboard Syncopators departed from their usual style of early jazz to give us a lunchtime session of more frequently played tunes. These included numbers as varied as "Baby won't you please come home?", "Dippermouth Blues" and "Shimmy Like My Sister Kate".

The vocals were shared by Dave Braidley, who also did a splendid job as MC for the band, Tony Quinn, Bob Smith and Jon Stone. We also had an excellent bowed bass solo from Bob Pearce in Hoagy's "New Orleans" and a superb baritone sax feature for Bob Smith in "East Coast Trot".

Another excellent session from the New Washboard Syncopators which was further enhanced when a group of visitors from Stafford Jazz Society kindly gave back the large bottle of whisky which they won in the raffle so that we could raffle it again to further replenish our funds....very generous indeed and very much appreciated..



New Washboard Syncopators      

Guest John Stone.


Baritone solo




Tuesday, July 15th and Sunday, July 13th...our last two gigs have seen different line-ups and very different styles but were both very entertaining.

Martinique Jazz Band appeared as a five piece on Tuesday with a sax/trombone front line. and provided an evening that varied from "Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives To Me" to a Dave Boxold vocal on "Mack the Knife" and a Terry Roberts version of "Harlem Nocturne" for Allan Austin...quite superb. A special feature of the session was the excellent tenor sax playing of guest Mike Yorke, first of all with the band on "Lester Leaps In" and later with the rhythm section for "The Nearness Of You", both of which brought well deserved applause from the audience and the musicians.

The Sunday session was by the Five Towns Footwarmers with John Everett on trumpet and featured the vocals of banjo/leader Keith Garner, on "My Indiana Home", and clarinet/sax player Gerry Owen on "Hindustan", as well as the audience participation during "Lily of the Valley". Bass player Terry Cooper also donned the sousaphone, having already demonstrated his piano playing prowess on the latest Harp acquisition before the session started! Mike Haslam on drums and Laurie Cooper on trombone completed the line-up for another great Sunday lunchtime at the Harp.

Tuesday, July 8th...the annual visit by Steve "Big Man" Clayton brought us Steve's usual brand of rocking boogie and blues, this time joined by John "Boycey" Battrum, of King Pleasure and Roy Wood fame, on tenor sax.

Numbers such as "Cee, Cee Rider", "Sweet Little Sixteen and Honky Tonk Train Blues" were played and sung as only Steve can, while guest appearances by Nanette, singing "Stormy Monday", and Brian, singing "I've Been Framed", added even more variety to the second set.

"Blueberry Hill" and "Johnny Be Good" led up to a rocking "Great Balls of Fire" to finish the evening with an inevitable encore in "I Can't Stop Loving You".

The Big Man will be back next year!


Steve "Big Man" Clayton

.....and John "Boycey" Battrum

Click to enlarge photos


Sunday, July of the most popular bands to play at the Harp is JB's Jazz and Blues Band and today's session once again showed why. Led by John Beckingham on keyboard this five piece band seem to have one object in mind once they start entertain the audience for every minute of the two hours that they were "on stage".

Their versions of numbers such as "Pennies from Heaven" with vocal by guitarist Andy Wood, "Just a Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody" by JB and the front line choir boys, "Someday You'll be Sorry" by reed man Roger Manwaring and "Nuages" by Andy were just few of the excellent numbers which were brilliantly backed by Mark Howell on bass and Clive Miller on drums.

The second set included a couple of numbers with the Harp's own octogenarian tenor player Frank Pardoe, "All of Me" and Ain't Misbehaving" will be on YouTube before too long.

This superb session ended with a rousing "Jump, Jive and Wail" followed by a rather nice vocal from John, "One Night a Day", as an encore.

  This excellent band will be back on September 7th....don't miss!

Tuesday, July 1st....Richard Leach's Club House Five had Gordon Whitworth on trumpet, Dave Wilkinson on clarinet and alto, Brian Mellor on banjo and guitar, Howard Worthington on bass and of course Richard on trombone.

"Lonesome Road " and "Shout 'Em Aunt Tilley" were followed by vocals from Gordon, "Putting All My Eggs In One Basket" and from Dave, the alto wizard from West Wales, we had a Welsh folk song..."There Will Never be Another You"!

Brian Mellor gave us an excellent "Let The Light From The Lighthouse Shine On You" and Gordon was featured in "Red Sails In The Sunset".

Howard's vocal contributions included "Nobody's Sweetheart Now" and Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone"

A really rousing "Weary Blues" brought a brilliant evening to a close.

The Club House Five will be back on November 23rd.

Sunday, June 29th...No session, we were at Upton on Severn Jazz Festival.
Tuesday, June 24th...saw a very different line-up when Peter Gill on piano and vocals was joined by Graeme Budd on piano, sax and vocals to appear as Joined at the Hip.

Starting with "C-Jam Blues" the evening programme was very varied with "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown" and Nina Simone's "I Wish I Knew How It feels To Be Free" playing alongside "A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square" and "Mr. Bojangles".  Fats Waller's "Ain't Misbehavin'" and "Mean to Me", my request for Marie, were two of the numbers in the second set which ended with "Let the Good Times Roll"

Two very talented musicians, two pianos, one sax and two vocals made for a very diverse and enjoyable evening.

Click on photos to enlarge

Peter Gill

Joined at the Hip

Graeme Budd

Sunday, June 22nd...what a superb band young drummer Jack Cotterill brought in to the Harp today. Joining Jack's in his Cheshire Cats' rhythm section were Richard Vernon on bass and Tom Kincaid on piano, with James Evans on clarinet and sax and Terry Brunt on trombone and scarf making up the front line....there is no truth in the rumour that Terry had an extra fee for sweeping the floor as he played!

The mix of young (Jack, James and Tom) with slightly older (Richard and Terry) musicians worked perfectly with Terry's infectious personality and obvious enjoyment of the music bringing out the best in both the audience and the band. The numbers varied from the opener "Way Back Home in Indiana" to "Ellington's "Limbo Jazz" and "Just a Closer Walk With Thee" during the first set and "Swing that Music", featuring James and an Ellington medley which had the Terry Brunt walkabout and superb accompaniment by Tom Kincaid in the second half.

We had the added bonus of a couple of numbers from "Baby Jools" Aldridge who now does his drumming with Max Collie and Jim Macintosh, it was a pleasure to see him in the Harp again.

The gig was rounded off with Marie's request for "Running Wild" and a more gentle "Just a Little While to stay Here"

With excellent solos from all the band the lunchtime session passed all too quickly and was proof, if any is needed, that jazz is still very much alive and long as musicians like Terry and Richard are playing with the very young musicians like Jack and the more established youngsters like James and Tom then the future must be as bright as Terry's scarf!

These are now on YouTube:

Hindustan     I Get the Blues When it Rains     When You're Smiling

Jack Cotterill's Cheshire Cats will be booked in for next year and Baby Jools is in with his own band on September 30th.

Jack Cotterill

Richard Vernon

Terry Brunt and James Evans

Tom Kincaid

James Evans

Tuesday, June 17th...with Ron Hills depping for the absent Bobby Johnson on trombone the Martinique Jazz Band gave us another entertaining evening. From "Hiawatha Rag" to "Autumn Leaves" there was music to suit everyone, with vocals from Tony Billingham, Dave Boxold and Ron Hills.

"Sentimental Mood" was a rather nice feature for Terry Roberts on soprano sax and Ron on trombone.

Alan Austin, one of the founders of Jazz Club 90, was delighted to win the large bottle of whisky which was donated for us to raffle as an extra fund raiser!

Another excellent session from Martinique who will be back on July 15th.

Sunday, June 15th...John Everett's Red Dragon Jazzmen and singer Ruth Frith turned out to be the Red Dragon Quintet as Ruth was ill and there was no trombone.

The Quintet of John on trumpet, John Bodenham on clarinet, Ron Smith on drums, Phil Probert on banjo/guitar and Jim Woods on sousaphone proceeded to entertain us admirably with John and Ron sharing the vocals such as "Ace in the Hole" and "Just a Gigolo".

The Dragons will be back on July 27th.

Tuesday, June 10th....."how do you follow that?"  were our thoughts after last Sunday's session....the answer.....have a phone call from the leader of the band who were booked in to say he was too ill to be able to do the gig but he would try to get a replacement. Finish up with one young piano player, Carl Sinclair, and one young drummer, Natasha Buxton who had never met before tonight!

The result a truly remarkable session of boogie woogie, jump jive, jazz and rock and roll with some Winifred Attwell rags thrown in....just brilliant!

With her MYJO background we knew Natasha would be good but we had never heard, or heard of, Carl and he turned in the most remarkable performance on the keyboard that we have seen and heard for a very long time.

Playing everything from "Jitterbug Boogie" and "Where Did You Stay Last Night?" to "Moon Dance" and Louis Prima's "Jump, Jive and Wail", with Winifred Attwell's "Black and White Rag" (shades of "Pot Black"!) and "Brittannia Rag" for good measure, Carl ended the evening with "Bumble Boogie" and "Great Balls of Fire". His easy going but very confident rapport with the audience was part of the success of the evening, it was as if he was one of our regular musicians instead of in for the first time, and at very short notice!

Although the audience was a little thin on the ground  to begin with the Harp was pretty well full by the start of the second set, even some dancers found a little room, and Carl and Natasha won them selves many more fans who gave them rapturous applause at the end of the gig, with demands that we book them again....sadly we are booked up for the rest of this year so roll on 2009!

This evening also marked the first anniversary of the sad passing of Terry, the former owner of the Harp who would have been delighted with tonight's entertainment, this was Terry's style of "Rock On!" music.

Our thanks to Donna, Dave and Russell for the refreshments and also for their commitment to the jazz since taking over the Harp, long may it continue.

Carl Sinclair and Natasha Buxton....simply magic!

Sunday, June 8th....another of those sessions which you wait months for, hoping it will live up to your expectations and then it arrives and exceeds those very expectations.....that's how it was today with New Orleans Heat.

Playing stomps, blues and spirituals in the styles of George Lewis, Kid Thomas and Bunk Johnson it is easy to see why they are one of the most sought after New Orleans bands on the club and festival circuit and what a pleasure it was to have them entertain us so brilliantly.

Led by Barry Grummett on piano the regular members of the band were Gwyn Lewis on cornet, John Scantlebury on clarinet and alto, Mike Taylor on trombone, Tony Peatman on banjo, Harry Slater on bass and guest Paul "Spud" Spelling on drums.

Kicking off with "Lead Me Saviour" and ending with "Panama" we had everything in between from Gwyn's wonderful vocals during "Willie the Weeper", "Walking with The King" and "Love Songs of the Nile", to name but a few, to a superb "Kid Thomas Boogie" from Barry, a storming "Should I Reveal" on alto from John and an excellent "Sweet Georgia Brown" from Mike, with all the band playing their part in a truly special session.

Click to see "Telephone to Glory" on YouTube.

The comments from the audience during the interval and at the end were the most complimentary we have heard for a long time, and all very well deserved.

New Orleans Heat will be back on October 14th to help us celebrate 15 years of jazz at the Harp.

New Orleans Heat...back row: Tony Peatman, Harry Slater, "Spud" Spelling.  .... front row: Barry Grummett, John Scantlebury, Gwyn Lewis and Mike Taylor.

Tuesday, June 3rd....a rare treat tonight when raconteur, historian and jazz vibes player John Sparry brought in his Heath Coldfield Quintet. (Wall Heath is where John hails from and Sutton Coldfield was the home of his first drummer when they set up the you know as much as me!).

John's knowledge of the composers of all the numbers was quite extraordinary, as was his vibes playing and reminiscing. The band, with Richard Werrett on guitar, Bryn Venus on piano, Jim Sutton on bass and Barry Watts on drums provided the perfect backing for Mr. Sparry.

A Latin version of 'Swonderful", an excellent "Lullaby of Birdland" and Thelonius Monk's "Blue Monk" are just a few examples of the variety of music we heard, plus a couple of vocals from one of John's followers, Angie Moore.

A very different evening and one which will be repeated on September 23rd.

John Sparry in vibes and chat mode!
Tuesday, June 1st...Apex Jazz and Swing Band were today's visitors with Tony Caldicott on drums and Bob Belcher on bass joining the regulars Pete Brown on trumpet, Laurie Cooper on trombone, Ken Jones on piano and leader Robin Mason on reeds.

As always the band lived up to their name and played a variety of numbers to suit everyone, particularly fans of Duke Ellington. From "Hindustan" to "If I Had You" and Ellington's "Jones" for the band and "Moonglow" for Robin and the rhythm section the standard was exceptional, as was "Bei Mir Bist Du Schön", the feature for Tony on drums.

Another excellent gig, spoiled only by the small audience, the thought of traffic jams caused by Cosford Air Show obviously deterred many people, if you missed them they will be back on August 12th.

Tuesday, May 27th....Heart of England Jazz Band sessions are usually guaranteed to entertain and tonight's session was no exception with deps Derek Bennett on drums and Avo Avison on trombone joining the regulars Selwyn Newton, Roger Heath, Pete Ainge and Dave Smith.

"Stevedore Stomp" and "Canal Street Blues" got the evening off to a fine start before Selwyn invited young alto player Amy Roberts to join the Selwyn said this one act brought the average age of the band down by several decades!

Playing with the band for the first time Amy amazed everyone with her talent and enthusiasm for the music, numbers as varied as "Ain't Misbehavin'" (with a Derek Bennett vocal), "China Boy" and "Hindustan" contrasted with the reeds and rhythm versions of "Shine" and "I'm Confessing That I Love You", with Selwyn on clarinet. Needless to say there was well deserved applause for Amy and the boys(!), either for solos or at the end of each number.

Amy also took part in the bands usual signing off number "Bourbon Street Parade" to bring a superb session to a rousing finish.

 The underlined numbers will get you to videos on YouTube.

Our thanks to Graham Smith for bringing Amy to the Harp once again.

Heart of England will be back on September 14th and Amy with her Jazztet will be back on January 25th. 2009!

Sunday, May 25th....what is now becoming an annual visit by James Evans' Incredible String Four gave us another session of very varied styles of music.

With James on tenor sax and clarinet we had Tom Kincaid on piano, Martin Wheatley on banjo/guitar and, a newcomer to the Harp, Andrew Cleyndert on bass.

A rather hoarse James announced, with some difficulty, that he probably wouldn't be able to sing unless the iced Coca Cola he was drinking eased his throat a little! This didn't stop the superb playing of surely one of the finest sax and clarinet players in the country from being part of a great Sunday lunchtime session.

From the starter, "St. Thomas", to the Benny Goodman number "Airmail Special" and on to "The Otter", a guitar solo from Martin Wheatley, and then a piano feature for Tom Kincaid in his own composition "On the Upside", the talents of all the musicians were very much in evidence.  The first set ended with James defying his throat problem and doing a very realistic interpretation of Leadbelly's "Where Did You Sleep Last Night?"

The second half included "Faster Than Dark, composed by James, a slightly different version of Charlie Parker's "Scrabble From The Apple", with Martin Wheatley playing banjo(!), and "Petite Fleur" played on James' electric clarinet which would have been very high tech back in the 70s! Once again throwing caution to the winds James had to try another vocal, this time a number associated with Louis Armstrong, "Lulu's Back in Town".....Louis himself had nothing on James in the "gravel voice" department!

Videos of "Swing That Music" and "Stardust" are on YouTube.

Special mention must be made of the newcomer to the band, Andrew Cleydert on bass, who drove the rhythm along right to "Memories of You" which brought a very different but very enjoyable session to a close, hopefully to be repeated next year!

James Evans

Tom Kincaid

Incredible String Four

Martin Wheatley

Andrew Cleyndert

May 24th.....We are back with gig reports!

Since I lost my broadband connection we have had a very varied and most enjoyable line-up of bands......Terry Roberts with Archie Cotterell's trio, Bank Street Syncopators, John Everett's Red Dragon Jazzmen with singer Ruth Frith, the irrepressible 82 years old "Big Eric" Dodgson with the Old Comrades Jazz Band, a rare visit by Millennium Eagle Jazz Band, Martinique Jazz Band and New Washboard Syncopators.

I won't do individual reports but suffice to say that all the bands entertained us quite superbly and will all be back in the near future. The videos I took of Terry Roberts and Millennium Eagle will be on YouTube fairly soon and can be accessed via our "Videos" page.

Sunday, April 27th....saw a very different line-up and style of music when Daniel Smith on piano and Jon "T-Bone" Taylor on guitar brought their own brand of blues, boogie and jazz to the Harp.

With some of Daniel's own compositions such as "On the Outside Looking In" and "Dreamtime" (requested by the guitar man!) mixed with "Boogie Woogie on Swanee River" and an aptly named blues  "Evil Ways", and then added to Ray Charles' "Hallelujah" I Just Love Her So" and my request for "Honky Tonk Train Blues" there was plenty of variety for everyone.

Daniel's brilliance on the keyboard was matched by by the driving guitar of Jon Taylor....two musicians who each seem to be able to anticipate what the other one is about to play.

"Put on Your Red Dress" and an encore of "Shake Rattle and Roll" brought to an end a different but very enjoyable Sunday session which we hope to repeat next year.

Two of the numbers, "It Ain't Nobody's Business If I Do" and "Bright Lights, Big City" will be on YouTube soon.

Tuesday, April 22nd...Two deps in the band meant a different sound from Heart of England Jazz Band but still an enjoyable and entertaining evening.

Roger Ray on trombone and Derek Bennett on drums joined regulars Selwyn Newton on clarinet, Pete Ainge on trumpet, Roger Heath on bass and Dave Smith on banjo. With excellent solos and vocals, including from the "new boys", the  programme varied from "Rent Party Blues" to "Struttin' with some Barbeque" and "Doctor Jazz" with the latter causing some problems in the choreography department. Selwyn had hurt his back (we weren't told how!) and was unable to do his usual high kick during this number and it took his understudies, Pete and Dave, three attempts to get their feet off the floor at the right time!

Another cracking session, Heart of England will be back on May 27th.

Derek Bennett

Not quite ready for the kick!

Missed again!


Roger Ray

Sunday, April 20th....Today's gig by the Martinique Jazz Band went a long way towards brightening up an otherwise dull, grey April day.

The regular line-up of Bobby Johnson on trombone, Tony Billingsley on trumpet, Terry Roberts on reeds, Dave Boxold on bass, Ken Jones on piano and Jim Harney on drums played the many different styles of music for which they are known. Numbers such as "Undecided" and "When I grow too old to dream" were every bit as enjoyable as "Canal Street Blues" and "Creole Jazz".

Vocals were by Dave Boxold and Tony Billingsley and instrumental solos were excellent from everyone in the band.

Some of the numbers played were from the new "hot off the press" CD by the band, "Eclectic" which can be obtained at their gigs or from ..... "Savoy Blues" from this CD is the current background music to our home page.....well worth a listen.

Martinique will be back at the Harp on May 18th.

Tuesday, April 15th....This visit by the Antique Six Jazz Band had not only the usual excellent and entertaining jazz from six very talented musicians but also the added distraction of a Wolves/West Bromwich Albion football match, very important to both yours truly and banjo/guitar player and Albion supporter Clinton Sedgley who also had the support of Marie who just pretends to support the team in blue and white! Needless to say the result of 1-0 to Albion marred an otherwise perfect evening from the Antiques!

No photos this time but there are two videos on YouTube, one features Chris Pearce and the rhythm section of Clinton on guitar, Andy Robins on bass and Graham Smith on drums playing "Don't get around much anymore" and the band playing and singing "Dinah".

The rest of the programme included "Magnolia's Wedding Day" and a feature for Richard Leach on trombone in "Spain", after which he had a rest during "Chicago Buzz" when Chris Pearce and Chris Mercer provided the front line. Muggsy Spanier's "Eccentric" and the Armstrong Hot 5 "Keyhole Blues" were two numbers we don't hear very often and very well played they were!

Another super night but unfortunately the band's next appearance is as far away as November 25th, for Marie's birthday, and then December 23rd. for our Christmas party!

Sunday, April 13th.....13 may be unlucky for some but for everyone in the Harp the 13th was a very lucky day when we were treated to a superb Sunday lunchtime by the Liberty Street Jazz Band from South Wales (I've just realised these are almost the exact words I started last year's write-up with!).

Their third visit (it is becoming an annual event) was as brilliant as the other two with well known and never heard before numbers, all played superbly by the line-up of Marcus Bridgman on cornet and vocals (and jokes!), Dr. John Davies on clarinet, soprano and alto, Simon Davey on trombone and PA system, Dewi Price on banjo, Graham New on drums and Derek Newton on bass and sousaphone.

"Waiting at the End of the Road" and "Red Hair and Freckles" were just a couple of the rarely heard numbers whilst "Snake Rag", "Angry" and "Cathedral Blues" will all be seen on YouTube fairly soon. "I Never Knew", which was sung by Peggy Lee as the theme for the film Pete Kelly's Blues, was another not so familiar number with a superb intro by Marcus. Simon was featured in "Trombone Cholley" with Marcus playing the part of Bessie Smith(!).

The band were guaranteed  another booking when they played Marie's request for "Algiers Strut" while "12th. Street Rag" and their finalé "Copenhagen" brought another superb session almost to a close......there just had to be an encore which was a rather nice ""When Shadows Fall".

Every member of the band contributed to a memorable gig but I really must say a another special thank you to Marcus who, apart from his cornet playing and singing, once again developed a fine rapport with the audience with his fund of jokes, even though I had to remind him at the end that he hadn't told any sheep jokes...... some would say that was a mistake as we then had difficulty stopping the flow of stories about dubious relationships with woolly four legged creatures!

My thanks to Dewi's wife Anne for arranging the gig, hopefully we can repeat it next year

Click photos to enlarge


Marcus Bridgman vocal

Simon Davey

Dr. John Davies

Graham Newton

Tuesday, April 8th...saw another visit by John Everett's Red Dragon Jazzmen with their singer Ruth Frith.

Two guests in the band tonight were Barry Norman on drums and Clinton (Up the Baggies!) Sedgley on banjo and guitar who joined John on trumpet, Barry Phillips on trombone, John Bodenham on clarinet and Mark Johnson on his new slimline bass.

An entertaining evening, as always, gave us "Royal Garden Blues" as a starter  and "Running Wild" as the final offering  with vocals along the way, including "Apple Blossom Time" from Ruth , "A Sin To Tell a Lie" from John and a duet from Ruth and trombone player Barry Phillips with their inimitable version of "Old Rocking Chair".

I think everyone left a super session with a smile on their face, no one more so than Clinton who was beaming from ear to ear after his beloved West Bromwich Albion scored 3 goals in the last ten minutes to go top of the league!

The Dragons will be back on Tuesday, May 6th.

Sunday, April 6th...another great session from JB's Jazz and Blues Band with the regular members John Beckingham on piano, Roger Mannering on clarinet, soprano and tenor, Andy Woods on guitar and Mark Howell on bass joined by Jeff Hawker on drums.

The usual mix of blues, jazz, jump jive and gentle ballads which are the hallmark of this entertaining band included "Alright, OK, You Win" then "Sentimental Blues" from Andy Wood and a tenor sax version of "Flamingo" from Roger. A Benny Goodman number, "A Smooth One", was dedicated to our own smooth one, Frank Pardoe! Another of the band's popular numbers, "Flying Home" can be seen on YouTube as can a brilliant drum solo by Jeff Hawker during "I've Found a New Baby". Standards such as "Route 66" and "Just a Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody" were followed by a very gentle "Come to Me" with vocal from John and tenor solo from Roger and another of John's vocals "One Night a Day"....beautiful!

Their signing off number "Jump, Jive and Wail" brought to an end another excellent Sunday lunchtime at the Harp.

JB's Jazz and Blues Band will be back on July there!


JB's Jazz and Blues Band

John Beckingham

Roger Mannering

Andy Woods


Tuesday, April 1st....Apex Jazz and Swing Band had a guest in the rhythm section when Ken Jones on piano again played instead of regular guitar player Peter Robinson. Ken is very popular with the Harp audience and contributed enormously to another very successful evening with the Apex.

The excellent front line of leader Robin Mason on assorted reed plumbing, Pete Brown on trumpet and Laurie Cooper on trombone was admirably backed by Jim Harney on drums, John Fellows on bass and of course Ken Jones on piano.

The very varied programme featured solos from everyone and more Ellington numbers than we get with many other bands, all very well played. In the second set we were also entertained with a couple of numbers by singer Margaret Saddington who fitted in well with the band.

Musicians who enjoy themselves plus music well played equals another happy audience!

Apex Jazz and Swing Band will be back on June 1st.

On the right Robin Mason on alto with Pete Brown and Laurie Cooper, or at least the end of his trombone! On the left the brass section of Pete Brown and Laurie Cooper.

Sunday, March 30th...The Five Towns Footwarmers were today's visitors and as always this Potteries based band gave us another most enjoyable Sunday lunchtime. Led by banjo player Keith Garner the line-up was Gerry Owen on clarinet and alto sax, Laurie Cooper on trombone, Terry Cooper on bass and sousaphone, Mike Haslam on drums and special guest John Everett on trumpet.

Starting with "Back Home in Indiana" and ending with "Running Wild" there was plenty in between to satisfy everyone.... vocals from Keith and Gerry, splendid solos from all in the orchestra with the sousaphone featured in "Bourbon Street Parade", plus the bonus of several, sometimes risqué, jokes from Keith, all appreciated by the audience.

One of the numbers, "Bugle Boy March" can be found on YouTube so that you can hear this excellent band for yourself.

The Footwarmers will be back on July 13th.

Sunday March 23rd and Tuesday 25th.....gave us excellent sessions from two of our regular bands... Heart of England Jazz Band and Martinique Jazz Band.

Heart of England had a guest trombone player in the shape of Bobby Johnson who just by chance was to be in at the next gig as the leader of Martinique. With Nick Millward on drums we had the usual entertaining style of jazz always associated with the Hearts with the bonus of Nick's vocals and brilliant drum solos. A very interested, very young  member of the audience was our lovely 2 years old grandson, Adam, who sat through the whole show with his foot tapping to the music. He even came up to me with his microphone to join in the closing remarks, much to the delight of the members of the band who appreciated our efforts to introduce them to a younger audience!

Martinique again gave us a session of varied tunes with excellent features for Terry Roberts on reeds and Ken Jones on piano but unfortunately it was too late for our new young fan to be out of bed!

Martinique will be back  on April 20th. and  Heart of England on April 22nd.

Click photos to enlarge

Adam listening

Selwyn Newton, Dave Smith,  Pete Ainge and Bobby Johnson

The new announcer!

Tuesday, March 18th...a rare Tuesday visit by New Orleans Heat gave some of our "Tuesday only" audience a chance to see this superb band. Led by Barry Grummett on piano the line-up was Gwyn Lewis on cornet and flugelhorn, John Skantlebury on clarinet and alto, Alan Birkinhead on trombone, Tony Peatman on banjo, Harry Slater on bass and Colin Bushell on drums.

Gwyn and John are both from South Wales so there was a certain air of euphoria on the front line following the success of the Welsh rugby team at the weekend, John was still wearing his Welsh shirt!

With their excellent new CD, "Walking with the King", hot off the press the programme inevitably included some of the hymns and spirituals which are on the recording. These included the title track, with a typical Gwyn Lewis gritty vocal, and another was "Does Jesus Care?

John Skantlebury's "Burgundy Street Blues", with the help of the rhythm section of Tony, Harry, Colin and Barry, was a classic, along with "Black Cat on the Fence" and "That's A'Plenty" whilst another Gwyn vocal was "Breeze".

Every member of the band excelled themselves and left a nice "full house" asking for more after the final rocker of the evening!

Incidentally the new CD is just brilliant and well worth buying at one of their gigs or via their website.

See videos by clicking the links.

New Orleans Heat will be back on June 8th. and on October 14th.(this one to help us celebrate 15 years of jazz at the Harp).

Barry Grummett

Gwyn and Alan

New Orleans Heat

John and Gwyn

Alan Birkinhead

Vocal by Gwyn

Sunday, March 16th...."Thank you for being a brilliant audience" was Amy's closing remark after today's session..... "Thank you for being a brilliant band!" was my reply.

That was what everyone thought at the end of a superb gig by the Amy Robert's Jazztet. With Amy on alto sax were Matt Palmer on clarinet/soprano and tenor sax, Tom Kincaid on piano, Andrew Mackenzie on guitar, Jim Swinnerton on bass and Stuart Smith on drums, and a more exciting and entertaining line-up would be hard to find!

After the opener, "Lady be Good", the numbers ranged from "Over the Waves" to Georgia on My Mind" and "China Boy". After the interval we had a brilliant "Shine", a delightful slow "I'm Confessin'" and a feature for Andy on guitar when he played "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square" accompanied by Tom, Jim and Stuart. One of Matt's vocals was the band version of "My Blue Heaven"

Amy and Matt both gave use excellent examples of reed instrument playing with Matt often looking on with approval as the now not quite so young Amy (well, she did have her 20th. birthday yesterday!) played her superb solos and led the band like a seasoned professional. All the band played their part with Tom's piano solos and Jim's driving bass being appreciated by the audience whilst the two musicians who we hadn't seen before at the Harp, Andy on guitar and Stuart on drums got very well deserved applause.

Six absolutely brilliant young musicians sent everyone home happy after another great Sunday lunchtime which finished off with a rousing "Running Wild".

See videos on YouTube by clicking the links above.

Unless we can arrange one of the few Tuesday gigs we have left we won't see Amy and her Jazztet until Jan 25th. 2009!!!!

Amy Roberts

Tom Kincaid

Matt and Amy

Andrew Mackenzie

Jim Swinnerton

Tuesday, March 11th....Bank Street Syncopators were tonight's visitors with Tony Billingsley on trumpet, Harry Christian on reeds, Barry Phillips on trombone, Dave Boxold on bass, Fred Dixon on banjo/guitar and the man himself, Derek Rowlands on drums.

From the opener "Christopher Columbus" to the finalé, "Stevedore Stomp", we had a very entertaining evening, including scat singing, (or had he forgotten the words?) by Barry during "Stevedore Stomp"!

One of the highlights of the evening was the announcement that trumpeter Tony Billingsley and Isabelle are to be married on October 10th.....there is no connection between that statement and the title of the next tune they played, "I've found a new baby"!!!!

Once again an excellent session from one of our local bands who will be back on Sunday, May 4th.

Sunday, March the years roll only seems five minutes since Bob Dwyer's Hot Six were last at the Harp and yet here they are again on their annual visit!

The only change from last year was that Hugh Crozier was on piano, with the rest of the line-up being Bill Edmonds on trumpet, John Rayne on reeds, Nick Singer on banjo, Peter Clancy on bass and sousaphone and Bob on trombone.

All the band were featured in a very varied "song list", with several songs by Bob, a superb "West End Blues" and "Cornet Chop Suey" by Bill on trumpet, vocals from Hugh Crozier on "Until the Clouds Roll By" and "Caldonia" (see this on video), both of which had several ladies in the audience going week at the knees(!)  whilst Nick on banjo had a "Hot time in the Old Town Tonight".

You will see from the photos that two members of the band chose shirts which would merge in with the photo background at the Harp!

Another great Sunday session at the Harp, we will endeavour to make it two visits by the Hot Six next year.

Click photos to enlarge

Bob Dwyer

Bill Edmonds

John Rayne and Nick Singer

Peter Clancy

Hugh Crozier

Tuesday, March 4th....Richard Leach's ClubHouse Five had a different line-up was a pleasure to see both Howard Worthington on bass and Brian Mellor on banjo/guitar making a rare appearance at the Harp, with Gordon Whitworth on trumpet, Dave Wilkinson on clarinet/alto and Richard on trombone completing the Five.

A very varied programme included vocals by all the band..."Roses of Picardy", by Gordon, "Dinah", with the doors locked to keep the audience in(!), by Richard, "Until the real thing comes along" by Howard, "Wrap your troubles in dreams" by Dave and "Glory of Love" by Brian....all superb.

Howard and Brian backed Gordon for an excellent trumpet solo version of "When day is done" and the gig finished with the "Original Dixieland One Step".

I hadn't got my camera with me so photos of this line-up must wait until the band returns on July 1st.

Sunday, March2nd....Another visit by the popular New Washboard Syncopators was really a tale of two halves (or should that be sets?) as Dave Braidley on trombone had inexplicably gone to the wrong venue, quite a few miles away up the M6 and didn't arrive until the interval!

This meant we had the New Washboard Quintet for the first set and what a great job they did. Chris Carmel on cornet, Bob Smith on clarinet and baritone sax, Bob Pearce on bass, George Linder on banjo and Tony Quinn on percussion played the likes of "I never knew what a girl could do" and "Swing down in New Orleans", with vocal by Chris, "Meet me tonight in dreamland" sung by Tony and "Drop that Sack", one of the few tunes recorded by Lil Hardin's Hot Shots and now available on YouTube by the Quintet!

Dave Braidley's arrival via the Old Brown Jug at Newcastle under Lyme was greeted with cheers from the audience and the second set featured the full orchestra. Dave was the vocalist on "Stay out of the South" and "Running Wild", with Chris's usual comment that Dave's version was once likened to that of Marilyn Monroe!. "Rent Party Blues" was another number which is now on YouTube. Bob Smith was, as always, brilliant on reeds and the rhythm section made sure there was no flagging by the front line.

Another super session by a band who play numbers not often heard at other gigs.

They will be back on May 20th.

Tuesday, February would have been understandable if tonight's session with Heart of England Jazz Band had been a little flat after the sudden death of their drummer Clive Millward, in fact it was just the opposite and  a more than fitting tribute to Clive. Having been with the Hearts since the beginning he was very much a part of the "entertainment" philosophy of the band and that was maintained tonight with all the members of the band contributing to a superb gig.

The difficult job of filling Clive's shoes (or should that be drum stool?) fell to his son Nick who did the job quite befits a young man whose day job is playing with the Kenny Ball Band!  It was also a treat to see Kevin Grenfell and his trombone in the Harp.

With "Just a Closer Walk with Thee" played as the bands tribute to Clive the evening then consisted of the HoE varied repertoire including "Lady be Good" with Kevin doing the vocal, "Sweet Lorraine" with a vocal from Nick and great contributions from the regulars, Selwyn Newton on clarinet, Pete Ainge on trumpet, Roger Heath on bass and Dave Smith on banjo. The band's version of "One Sweet Letter from You" is on YouTube

Another regular feature of a gig with Heart of England is the appearance, after much persuasion, of our own octogenarian tenor player, Frank Pardoe. On this occasion the members of the band all donned berets to keep Frank company as they played "Some of these days" and "Shanty in Old Shanty Town".

The final number, Royal Garden Blues" featured an excellent drum solo from Nick and then moved in to "Bourbon Street Parade" to bring an end to a most entertaining evening.

Heart of England Jazz band will be back on March 23rd.


The band

Roger Heath

Nick Millward

Frank Pardoe

The Pardoe Big Band!

Sunday, February 24th....Martinique Jazz Band demonstrated their flexibility as a band by playing numbers as diverse as "A hundred years from today", "Tishomingo Blues"  and "Mr. 5x5" (with no one the right shape to do the Jimmy Rushing vocal!). More variation came with Ken Jones' delightful interpretation of "Days of wine and roses" with Jim Harney on drums and Dave Boxold on bass. The little band version of the big band number "Mr. 5x5" featured the front line of Tony Billingsley on trumpet, Bobby Johnson on trombone and Terry Roberts on sax.....these last two numbers are now on YouTube.

Another excellent Sunday session.

Martinique will be back on March 25th.

Tuesday, February 19th....John Everett's Red Dragon Jazzmen had Jeff Goodwin on trombone and Clinton Sedgley on banjo/guitar alongside regulars John on trumpet, Mark Johnson on bass, John Bodenham on clarinet and Ron Smith on drums. (Is it just coincidence that Clinton turned up after his football team had won a match whereas he missed the one after they lost last week?...see Feb 10th. report).

As ever we had a highly entertaining evening from the Dragon's with Ruth Frith singing her varied choice of songs from "Summertime" to "Cake Walking Babies" and a delightful slow version of "Little Lady Make Believe".

John brought back memories of John Burnett with his version of both "Stardust" and "Just a Gigolo" and "Sir" Alan joined the band for a couple of numbers, having dropped in to deliver leaflets and posters for Upton Jazz Festival.

The band played "Just a closer walk with Thee" as a tribute to drummer Clive Millward who had died a few days earlier.

Their CD title track, "Down by the Riverside" was the final number of a superb evening.

The Red Dragons will be back on April 8th.

Sunday, February 17th...once again Louisiana Highway provided us with a superb Sunday lunchtime. Led by Dave Copperwaite on trumpet the line-up was Derek Galloway (of Temperance Seven fame) on trombone, Warren Latham (also from the Temps) on alto and baritone sax, Bill Evans on drums, Noel Nichols on guitar and, stepping in at short notice, Tony Sharpe on bass. Also joining the band for a few numbers was well known trombone player Dave Donohoe who was on his way home to Scotland from a gig at Upton on Severn.

Starting with "Rosetta", which featured the vocal talents of Derek Galloway, we went on to a vocal from Noel Nichols during "What will I tell my heart?" and a rocking version of Fats Domino's "I'm Walkin'".

The second set included "Just a closer walk with Thee" as a tribute to trumpeter John Brunious, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band's leader and the senior member of the New Orleans ensemble, who died Tuesday after an apparent heart attack in Orlando, Florida. Dave Donohoe then joined the band for "I'm in the mood for love" with vocal from Warren. We then had a trombone duet with Dave and Derek doing a rather nice version of "Swanee River" ably supported by the rhythm section. Both of these numbers are now on YouTube ,as is "Let me take you to the Mardi Gras" (just click on the titles).

Many more superb numbers took us a good thirty minutes over time, with absolutely no complaints from the audience! It did mean we couldn't ask for an encore but will have to wait for "more" until next year!

Great music, brilliantly played by six guys who enjoy what they are doing...what more could you ask for?

Dave Copperwaite

Derek Galloway

Warren Latham

Bill Evans

Noel Nichols

Tony Sharpe

Dave Donohoe and Derek Galloway

The Big Band!

The brass section.

Tuesday, February 12th....Singer Sue Maclean was tonight's visitor having created quite an impression when she sang a couple of numbers with Cutty Sark and his band last year. In her quartet Sue had Cutty on piano, Richard Werritt on guitar, Rob Hodges on bass and Dave Andrews on drums.

The quartet started off the proceedings with "Somebody Stole My Gal" and Sue's lovely voice was heard in numbers ranging from "I've Got You Under My Skin" to "Ain't Misbehavin'" and "Blue Skies". A rather special offering of "My Funny Valentine" was for Marie and myself who have our 24th. wedding anniversary on Valentine's Day!

A different evening from our usual jazz but very enjoyable and Sue will be back again in August.

The delightful Sue Maclean


Cutty Sark, Richard Werritt, Rob Hodges and DaveAndrews

Sunday, February 10th....another great time to be at the Harp when the Antique Six Jazz Band were our visitors. With Len Thwaites on bass and Dennis Mowatt on banjo my first thoughts were that Clinton Sedgley had given up the chance to play banjo and guitar for us because of the apparent slide down the league by his beloved West Bromwich Albion, who seem intent on keeping the Wolves company ion the middle of the league! I was quickly, and quite rightly, soon told that Clinton was not well due to arthritis and we all wish him a speedy return to plucking and playing.

With such able deputies the Antique Six gave us another superb Sunday lunchtime the quality of which can be seen and heard on YouTube with "Wolverine Blues" by the band and "Waiting for the Sunrise" by Chris Pearce and the rhythm section. Chris Mercer's trumpet and voice were heard during, amongst others, "Bye, Bye Blackbird" and Richard Leach was let loose on his trombone with "On Treasure Island".

Muggsy Spanier's "Eccentric" and King Oliver's "Snake Rag" all added to the enjoyment and the session finished with the tongue twisting "Nagasaki".

Antique Six will be back on April there!

Tuesday, February 5th....I have a habit of booking musicians I have never seen and then keeping my fingers crossed that all will be well! Tonight was one of those occasions as we had Paul Vernon Chester and Nick Mellor playing their "Duets for Django". Paul and Nick sounded very good on their website  and turned out to be brilliant "in the flesh"!

Lead guitarist Paul seemed to have ten fingers on each hand at times and rhythm man Nick kept immaculate time and complemented Paul's virtuosity with his very solid rhythm. The biggest compliment I can give two brilliant musicians is that they kept the Harp audience quieter than almost any other band we have had in!

Numbers from "Lover Man" to Greig's "Norwegian Dance" (jazzed up a bit), Django's "Hotel Claridge" to "Girl from Ipanema" and the inevitable "Minor Swing" and "Nuages" were just a few of the numbers which enchanted the audience for two and a half hours. Quite brilliant!

We hope to have Paul and Nick back later in the year.


Paul Vernon Chester

The Duo

Nick Mellor

Sunday, February 3rd...this session with Apex Jazz and Swing Band featured Brian Bates on cornet Ken Jones on piano and Bob Belcher on bass  with regulars Robin Mason on reeds, Laurie Cooper on trombone, and Jim Harney on drums.

As always the band lived up to their name...they did exactly what it said on the tin...played jazz and swung like the clappers!  Apart from his superb cornet playing Brian also featured on vocals as did the whole front line during"Dinah"! A rousing "Stevedore Stomp" brought another fine Sunday lunchtime to an end.

Apex will be back on April 1st.

The band

Ken Jones

Vocal trio

Tuesday, January 29th....comments after the gig and e-mails since all said one thing..."that was one of the best gigs we have had for a very long time"....and who was the band? None other than John Shillito's Select Six at the end of a tour around the country. I can only agree with the comments, the band did everything we want from a session, played brilliantly, obviously enjoyed themselves and, equally important, enjoyed entertaining the audience.

Led by John on trumpet the Select Six are excellent, experienced musicians who get together occasionally to play at festivals or for short tours from their base in Devon. Bobby Fox on trombone, John Wurr on sax/clarinet, John Whitlock on banjo/guitar, Bob Jarvis on bass and Derek Maugham on drums make up the Six.

The music ranged from "Joe Louis Blues" for starters to "Wolverine Blues" as an encore with all sorts in between. These included numbers as diverse as "Sentimental Journey", audience participation in "Shake That Thing" and "I Can't Dance, I've Got Ants in My Pants". There were excellent solos from all the band throughout the evening with John Whitlock excelling on banjo during his feature with the bass and drums. John Shillito did most of the vocals with occasional assistance from John Wurr. The quality of the music can be heard on a video of "Fidgety Feet"which is on YouTube, the picture is quite dark but the music sounds great!

"The Saints" and "Lights Out" ended the evening until the applause brought forth "Wolverine" as the finalé and then more requests for the band to return than we have ever had before.

If the Harp can be fitted in to a future tour the Select Six will be more than welcome!

Click on photos to enlarge, sorry Derek, drummers are always hidden by the front line!

John Shillito

Bobby Fox

John Wurr

John Whitlock

Bob Jarvis

The band on the left and

duets on the right!

Duets on the left and

the brass on the right!

Sunday, January 27th....another excellent session from Martinique Jazz Band with  a rare appearance at the Harp by Barry Norman, depping for Jim Harney on drums.

Once again the band's varied repertoire provided music for everyone...solos, vocals, instrumental features were all most enjoyable and a great Sunday lunchtime was had by all.

Martinique will be back on February 24th.

Tuesday, January 22nd....the first appearance since November by Heart of England Jazz Band gave us another chance to see, and hear, Avo Avison on trombone and another evening of "happy jazz" played in HoE's own inimitable style.

With a programme ranging from "Beale Street Blues" to "Old Miss Rag" and "Hello Dolly" there was something for everyone, the only surprise being the abrupt end to the finalé, "Bourbon Street Parade", which didn't have the usual extended ending by Clive Millward on drums.

Heart of England will be back on February 26th.

Sunday, January 20th....Young drummer Jack Cotterill brought in his Cheshire Cats for the first time but unfortunately, due to "circumstances beyond his control", he had to change the line-up at short notice. With only himself and bassist Richard Vernon from the planned line-up Jack brought in Brian Smith on sax/clarinet, Andy Holdorf on trombone and Martin Bennett on piano.

With Martin doing the announcements and most of the vocals we had an enjoyable lunchtime without setting the world on fire. 14 years old Jack, and Richard on bass, drove the band along superbly and Jack's drumming skills were featured during "Hindustan" whilst young trumpet player Jamie Brownfield joined the "Cats" for "Honeysuckle Rose" and "Bye, Bye, Blackbird".

Jack will be back with his Cheshire Cats in June.

Jack Cotterill

Richard Vernon

Jamie Brownfield

Martin Bennett

Andy Holdorf

Internet connection problems......over the last couple of weeks means that gig reports have been non-existent so here is a brief resumé of the last three sessions.

John Everett's Red Dragon Jazzmen, with Dave Boxold depping on bass, gave us their usual scintillating performance which featured the splendid vocals of Ruth Frith. They will be back on February 19th.

Dene River Jazz Band, from the Rugby/Coventry area, made their first visit to the Harp and what a superb band they are. Including numbers such as "Blueberry Hill", from the rock and roll years, and "Highways are Happy Ways", apparently sung by Gene Autry in one of his cowboy films, along with many well known jazz numbers meant that a great lunchtime was had by all. We hope we can get them back later in the year.

New Washboard Syncopators again brought us numbers we either had never heard or are rarely played by other bands and entertained us superbly. NWS will be back on March 2nd.

Hopefully computer problems are sorted and normal service will be resumed!

Red Dragon Jazzmen

Dene River Jazz Band

New Washboard Syncopators

Sunday, January 6th. 2008...our first band of the New Year were the Millennium Eagle Jazz Band with Brian Bates depping on cornet and their new drummer, the very young Jack Cotterill. As usual Matt Palmer was on reeds, Andy Holdorf on trombone, Brian Lawrence on bass and Chris Etherington on banjo/guitar.

The session was typical of Millennium Eagle, great music played by excellent musicians who thoroughly enjoy themselves in the process. The numbers ranged from the opener, "Should I confess, I love you?" to a Brian Bates vocal "My Little Girl" and a feature for Matt on tenor sax in "Blue and Broken Hearted". Andy managed to drink the "Old Green River" dry and all six did a great job on "Thriller Rag" which you can see on video.

The second set included Matt's vocal on "I double dare you" and a chance for Jack to shine during "China Boy". Chris Etherington did the vocal for "Lily of the valley" and Matt was again featured with the rhythm section on "St. Phillip's Street Breakdown"...excellent! This very enjoyable Sunday lunchtime came to a climax with just that...."Climax Rag"!

A very pleasant bonus during this gig was the appearance of Allan Austin, co-founder with George Sims of Jazz Club 90 way back in 1990. It was nice to see Allan greeted by so many regulars and we hope to see him more often in the future.

The photos show  Millennium Eagle in full flight on the left and Allan Austin, on of the founders of Jazz Club 90, raising his cap on the right.

Click photos to enlarge

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