Even More

Jazz Club 90 Gigs

(from Jan.4th. 2009)

Formerly at The Harp Hotel, Albrighton,Shropshire. WV7 3JF

email: john.howell121@btinternet.com

 

 

 

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The day before Christmas Eve!...there are not enough hours in the day so I have got a little behind with the gig reports which means rather shorter than usual comments are the order of the day, beginning with:

The last gig of 2009 saw the Antique Six Jazz Band in the Harp, unfortunately the bitterly cold night and illness or holidays meant a much smaller than usual audience for a very popular band. Nevertheless we had a great evening with Dennis Mowat on bass alongside the regular members of the band. Numbers such as "Someday, Sweetheart" and "The Old Rugged Cross" together with suitable Festive tunes made for a most enjoyable session.

The Antique Six will be back in April.

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Our Christmas party on December 20th. featured the Dene River Jazzmen who were sporting suitable festive headgear (in the case of Jon Stone several changes of said headgear!) and entertained us most royally after mastering the amplification system! From "Is it true what they say about Dixie?" to "Dippermouth Blues" and "Lily of the Valley" we had a superb variety of music with the inevitable Christmas carols and "White Christmas" thrown in.

The refreshments provided as a token of thanks to our audience for their support over the past year went down extremely well and the proceeds from the large raffle will help us keep jazz very much alive in Albrighton. An excellent session from a very entertaining band.

************************************

John Everett's Red Dragon Jazzmen on December 15th. gave us their usual entertaining  evening of excellent solos, with vocals from Ruth Frith and John and a superb guitar feature for Phil Probert and the rhythm section with "Blue Turning Grey over You". The Dragons will be back in March.

Watch this space for some photos!

Sunday, December 13th...With Apex Jazz & Swing Band for today's session were two superb guests, Bill Smith on bass and Rob Milburn on guitar and banjo who joined Jon Stone on trumpet, Laurie Cooper on trombone, Jim Harney on drums and leader Robin Mason on clarinet and saxes.

Another band who generate a great rapport with the audience meant that we had a most entertaining lunchtime, not least when certain problems during "Melancholy Blues", (problems which I am much to polite to mention!), resulted in Jon playing his second trumpet, beautifully adorned with coloured Christmas lights!

Great solos from everyone, vocals from Jon, chat from Robin plus super music meant another two hours passed very quickly.

Apex will be back in March.

Two superb deps.

Rob Milburn and Bill Smith.


Tuesday, December 8th....New Washboard Syncopators arrived today with a new signature tune, "Oh, Baby", probably chosen because the title is much shorter than the predecessor, "I Never knew What a Girl Could Do"...........or maybe they have found out what she could do!

Seriously this Beiderbecke number was followed by two others, "San" and "Dusky Stevedore", all played in the same entertaining style we have come to associate with the Syncopators.

Other numbers included "Melancholy Blues", with a superb clarinet solo from Bob Smith, a King Oliver number "Wa, Wa, Wa" (which I had never heard before) and "Come On and Stomp, Stomp, Stomp". Another Bix tune "Big Boy", the classic "Beale Street Blues" and one of Marie's favourites, "Running Wild", brought a superb evenings entertainment to a close.

Chris Carmel on cornet, Bob Smith on clarinet and baritone, Dave Braidley on trombone, Bob Pearce on bass, George Linder on banjo and Tony Quinn on percussion will be back in February.


Sunday, December 6th...today's line-up for Martinique Jazz Band included Roger Heeley on piano and Avo Avison on trombone who joined regulars Tony Billingsley on trumpet, Terry Roberts on reeds, Dave Boxold on bass and Jim Harney on drums.

With numbers varying from "Jazz Band Ball" to "Beale Street Blues" and "Just a Gigolo" (sung by multi-lingual Dave Boxold!) there was something for everyone. Terry Roberts played a lovely version of "Long Ago and Far Away" and then went straight in to his most requested number "Flamingo" to the delight of many in the audience.

A different line-up, different tunes but still a most enjoyable lunchtime session.

Martinique will be back on February 14th. 2010.....how the years fly by!

         Martinique Jazz Band............happy with the new "bandstand"

Click photo to enlarge


Tuesday, December 1st..."He gets better every time we see him!" was a comment repeated several times during the evening and it was most definitely true of young jazz violinist Ben Holder. Not only is 20 year old Ben a superb jazz musician he also manages to inspire his fellow musicians (all in the slightly older age group!) to new heights, even if he does wear them out along the way with some of his "let's play a fast one" numbers!!

John Smith and Rob Milburn on guitars, Robin Mason on clarinet and sax and Bill Smith on bass all made their admiration of Ben's talents very obvious and I am sure they enjoyed playing along with him as much as we enjoyed listening to them all.

"I've Got Rhythm", and that's an understatement, "China Boy" and a fast "Deed I Do" were just a few of the well known numbers by the band with a lovely "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" by Ben on violin and Bill Smith on guitar.

Robin was featured on clarinet in "Memories of You" and Ben took to the old Harp upright piano to play and sing "We've Got a World That Swings" with Bill on bass.

John, Bill and Rob did a superb job of driving along the two man front line and a great evening ended with "Joseph, Joseph".

These excellent musicians will all be back on January 5th.


Sunday, November 29th....if ever I needed a band to cheer me up it was today, and JB's Jazz & Blues Band did exactly that to make up for the Wolves losing 1-0 to Birmingham!

The very smartly dressed members of the band, with very natty music themed ties, were Roger Manering on clarinet and sax, Andy Wood on guitar (and very polished shoes), Mark Howell on bass, Paul Holder on drums and of course, the boss himself, John Beckingham on keyboard.

A musical medley which ranged from jump/jive to ballads to jazz included vocals in numbers such as "Sugar" and "Katusha" from Andy, "The Joint is Jumpin'" from Roger, "Route 66" from Paul and "You meet The Nicest People in Your Dreams" from John. Andy and Roger were featured in an excellent "Rose Room".

John showed his sentimental side when he dedicated a delightful "Don't Go To Strangers" to his six month old grand-daughter Matilda.

Five musicians who's sole object is to entertain their audience with their music gave us a truly enjoyable lunchtime, with Roger even throwing in several quotes from a Richard Digance show which he had seen recently.

Once again it was nice to hear all the band being very complimentary about the new look Harp.

There will be videos on YouTube soon, including the rousing finalé, "Jump, Jive and Wail"

The very smart JB's Jazz & Blues Band.............complete with new musical ties.
Tuesday, November 24th...another band which guarantees a most enjoyable session is Mark Challinor's Wabash Jazzmen. With Mark on banjo and guitar, Mike Hayler on tenor and clarinet, Howard Worthington on bass and Arthur Brown on trumpet tonight lived up to expectations.

The superb Mark/Howard rhythm section not only drove the front line along but also contributed great solos and vocals with Mike and Arthur maintaining the band's high standards on the front line.

The vocals from Mark included "Just a Close Walk With Thee" and "Walking with the King" while Howard's "I will always be in love with you" and Arthur's "Davenport Blues" were something special. Mark on guitar, Mike on clarinet and Howard on bass gave us an excellent "Smiles" and "Weary Blues" brought the gig to a close.

Another "time goes too quickly" session but the band will be back on January 19th....in the meantime watch the videos when they are on YouTube!


Tuesday, November 17th....what  do you say about the brilliant young Carl Sinclair on piano and his equally talented drummer Natasha Buxton that hasn't already been said many times?

Carl Sinclair on piano and Natasha Buxton on drums gave us an evening of pure nostalgia. This wasn't the nostalgia for "traditional" jazz but rather going back to a youth of Rock and Roll, Blues and Boogie and even Winifred Atwell! With memories of Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Fats Waller and even our own "Big Man" Clayton the audience participation by aging, one-time rockers added greatly to the enjoyment of the evening, the hand jiving by some of the ladies had to be seen to be believed!

"Great balls of Fire", Winifred Atwell's "Black and White Rag" and "Poor People of Paris" mixed very well with "Moondance", "Fly Me To The Moon" and "Lady Is A Tramp". The community singing for "Blueberry Hill" and "Rock Around the Clock" added to the evening's enjoyment.

Carl once again showed us what a brilliant entertainer he is with a rapport with the audience which belies his tender years (well, 24 is very young compared to most of our audience!) and Natasha backed him brilliantly.

If you might consider something a little bit different for your club I will gladly pass on Carl's phone number.

Another superb session from this talented young couple.

Carl and Natasha..........rocking the Harp!
Sunday, November 15th....today's session by the Millennium Eagle Jazz band demonstrated once again why they are one of the busiest bands around. Their own brand of "happy" jazz, played by musicians who not only enjoy the music but also enjoy entertaining the audience, means that a great time is had by all.

In the absence of Jack Cotterill the drums were played by Jim Denham making his first visit to the Harp with the rest of the line-up being Matt Palmer on reeds, Pete Brown on trumpet, Andy Holdorf on trombone, Brian Lawrence on bass, and Chris Etherington on banjo.

From "Alice Blue Gown" and "Apex Blues" to "C'est Magnifique" (with Andy's very French accent) and Matt's superb "Indian Summer" on the soprano with the rhythm section the first set passed by very quickly.

With the second set featuring "Black Bottom Stomp", a brilliant "Moose March", Pete Brown and the rhythm section playing "Bad Penny Blues" and even community singing during the Glee Club's version of "Oh! You Beautiful Doll" the finalé, "Wolverine Blues" came round much too soon.

Videos are on YouTube.

This excellent band will be back on February 7th. 2010...and next year isn't very far away!

 

.....The Glee Club!

Everybody's happy!.....

 

Tuesday, November 10th...a visit by New Washboard Syncopators usually means we hear numbers never, or very rarely, played by other bands and tonight was no exception as included in the "song list" were "Cater Street Rag" and "Coal Cart Blues", both played superbly.

The  members of the orchestra were Chris Carmel on cornet, Dave Braidley on trombone, Bob Smith on clarinet and baritone sax, Bob Pearce on bass, George Linder on banjo and Tony Quinn on percussion and all contributed to a most entertaining evening. Better known numbers included a brilliant "Davenport Blues" (I've just been listening to the trumpet/piano duet of this by Alex Welsh and Fred Hunt which was mentioned by Chris...it really is "hair stand up at the back of your neck!" stuff). Everything from "Oriental Man" to "Egyptian Ella" with "My Little Bimbo" by Cap'n Bob Smith helped the session pass much too quickly.

This excellent band will be back on December 8th.


Sunday, November 8th….The Old Comrades Jazz Band belied the name of the band by producing a superb session of most entertaining jazz.

        From “Pallet on the Floor” to “Thriller Rag” and “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” the music was exceptional. Leader “Big” Eric Dodgson repeated his cheeky “Hot Dog Man”, to much applause from the ladies, and as it was Remembrance Sunday ended the session with “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary.

"Michigander Blues" and "Come back Sweet Papa" will be on YouTube soon

Once again a great way to spend Sunday lunchtime.

It was “Merry Christmas” and “Happy New Year” all round as the Comrades won’t be back until January!


Tuesday, November 3rd….Today’s visitors, Martinique Jazz Band, had sax player Dennis Taylor on sax and clarinet as dep for Terry Roberts who was on holiday. Although Dennis plays mainly with a Latin-American band he fitted in extremely well with Martinique’s style.

A programme which included “At Sundown”, “Dark Town Strutters’ Ball” and a calypso especially for Dennis, “My Little Suede Shoes”, meant we had another entertaining session from one of our regular bands.


Sunday, November 1st....James Evans' New Orleans Wizards came in today with a line-up which had James on clarinet and sax, Tom Kincaid on piano, the rather younger pair of Jack Cotterill on drums and Tom Wheatley (what a talent!) on bass and the two "old hands" Ken Sims on trumpet and Mike Pointon on trombone. This blend of youth and experience worked perfectly to give us a memorable lunchtime.

After a delayed start because of serious traffic problems we had everything from "That's Aplenty" to "Dippermouth", featuring Ken Sims, and "Panama". James' distinctive vocals included "Lord, Lord, Lord", "Crazy about my Baby" and the Bing Crosby version of "Love in Bloom"...only James could give it this treatment! Mike Pointon showed his vocal talents with his dramatic presentation of "You Rascal You", after which James referred to him as the Wimbledon Nightingale.

Tom Kincaid's piano playing was again an absolute delight, Jack Cotterill brought back memories of the great Pete Cotterill (Pete's widow Lynne was in the audience) and Tom Wheatley was an absolute revelation on the bass

"Ride, Red, Ride" featured the trumpet of Ken Sims and again the vocal of Mike Pointon....superb.

A rousing "Rosetta" brought to an end a superb session which demonstrated once again there are young musicians out there playing the jazz we want to hear.....we just have to make sure they get the opportunities to display their undoubted talent.

Mike Pointon

Ken Sims

The Front Line

Tom Kincaid

Tom Wheatley

 

Jack Cotterill

James and Ken

James Evans

 

Tuesday, October 27th...New Orleans Heat were tonight's visitors and Barry Grummett on piano, Gwyn Lewis on cornet, John Scantlebury on alto and clarinet, Mike Taylor on trombone, Tony Peatman on banjo, Harry Slater on bass and Colin Bushell on drums all combined superbly to play the music that always attracts a good crowd to the Harp.

Once again many of the numbers were Marie's favourites or requests, such as "Royal Telephone", with Gwyn's vocal. Other vocals included John's "Oh, Marie" (dedicated to Marie by the bandleader!) and John was also featured on clarinet with "In the Night Garden" while Mike Taylor was featured with the rhythm section in "The World is Waiting for the Sunrise""

Wanting to play a 12 bar blues the band called it "A Sleazy Night in the Harp Blues", not really very fitting in view of the "new look" Harp but nevertheless most enjoyable...it turned out to be "Long Distance Blues" and had a vocal by John Scantlebury.

Videos of "Some of These Days" and "In the Upper Garden" are on YouTube.

A brilliant session from a band who make no secret of the fact they rather enjoy playing at the Harp and the reaction they get from the audience... and once again there were very complimentary comments about the ongoing  improvements to the Harp. 

New Orleans Heat will be back on Sunday, March 21st.

....Tony, Harry and Gwyn

The band....

Barry's solo.....

....in full flow


Sunday, October 25th....Dave Copperwaite brought in Louisiana Highway from the North West with Stan Stephens depping for Derek Galloway on trombone and Gerry Owen for Warren Latham on clarinet and sax, both of them being in Scotland with the Temperance Seven.

Dave on trumpet, Bill Evans on drums, Noel Nichols on guitar and Tony Sharpe on bass completed the line-up and as always they gave us a very varied programme ranging from Stan's "Just a Little While to Stay Here" to "How I Miss You Tonight" from Bill with one of Dave's contributions being "Meet Me With Your Black Drawers On". Gerry did a double header with "St. Phillip's Street Breakdown" and "Burgundy Street Blues".

Another entertaining Sunday lunchtime, the band will be back next year.


Tuesday, October 20th....today was not only the chance to mark 16 years of Jazz Club 90 being in residence at the Harp but also to see the beginning of the transformation of the lounge in to what we think will be an even better, if that's possible, jazz venue.

Judging by the comments from the audience and the members of Antique Six Jazz Band we are all going along the right lines. By "we" I mean Dave, the Harp manager, who, along with his little helpers, has been responsible for the refurbishment and worked very hard to have a lot of work completed in time for tonight, Donna, the boss, who keeps a very careful eye on what is going on and obviously Marie and myself who, helped by 3 year old grandson Adam, have spent a lot of the last two days putting photos and pictures back on the walls.  The end result can be seen in the photos below, the framed photos are spread around the other walls and we would like to hear your comments next time you are in!

Anyway, to the music!.....Antique Six made sure that we enjoyed our anniversary with numbers ranging from "East Coast Trot" to "Smokey Mokes" and "Mabel's Dream" to "Blue-in the Blues" with even Chris Mercer's very different vocal  interpretation of "Roses of Picardy" which included audience participation, what a pity I didn't video it!

As usual on these occasions we had our extra large raffle with all of the many prizes being donated and Marie and I would like to thank all the kind people who were so generous. Thanks are also due to Donna for her help in funding the supper and to an "anonymous" donor who provided the superb new "Jazz Club 90" banner.

Next year will be not only 17 years at the Harp but also 20 years since Jazz Club 90 was born at the "Bush" along the High Street, we will let you know the date soon.

....Ian Parry, all the way from London

The band.....

Graham Smith....

....in the "new" Harp


Sunday, October 18th....Apex Jazz & Swing Band were the next band to appreciate the stark walls of the "bandstand! They didn't let this put them off and as usual lived up to their name as they really did play jazz with a swing!

The front line was leader Robin Mason on clarinet and saxes, Jon Stone on trumpet and guest Graham Woodhouse, all the way from Derby, on trombone and marching band trombone, an instrument I had never heard before, and they were driven along by Ken Jones on piano, Jim Harney on drums and guest Bob Boucher on bass.

Numbers from "Doggin' Around" to "St. Louis Blues" and "Take the A-Train" were just part of a very varied programme which included excellent solos from every member of the band with Jon and Graham providing the vocals. Graham also brought his expertise to work on the Harp PA system!

Jim was a very happy drummer when he turned out to be the winner of the £20 football card prize!

Apex will be back on December 13th.

....Graham Woodhouse

The front line....

Bob Boucher.....

.....on the stark bandstand


Tuesday, October 13th....another quartet, another lady leader and a brilliant trio is what we had with the return of Carole Westwood and the Archie Cotterell Trio.

Once again we had Archie Cotterell on piano, Derek Brown on bass, and Barry Watts on drums to back Carole's vocals and give us an evening of very well played songs which ranged from "Lonesome Road" to "Old Black magic" and "The Boy from Ipanema".

Archie's piano solos included "Fire and Rain" and "I Wish I Knew What it Was to Be Free"...superb!....while Carole guaranteed a booking for next year by singing "Summertime" and "Autumn Leaves" for yours truly.

A swinging "Orange Coloured Sky" brought the evening to a close, one appreciated by the audience in the nicely full Harp.

Carole and the boys(!) will be back next year.

 

........Carole...

...with the Trio...

                   

 

Sunday, October 11th...the long awaited visit by Amy Roberts' Quartet was, as expected, well worth the wait.

The stark appearance of the "bandstand" did nothing to diminish the talents of four brilliant young musicians with Tom Kincaid on piano, Jim Swinnerton on bass, Stuart Smith on drums and Amy herself on clarinet, alto and flute.

After a swinging "Honeysuckle Rose" started the proceedings Amy showed her versatility with "If I Had You" on the clarinet and "Out of Nowhere" on the flute and as always her brilliant alto lead in many numbers including "Dinah" and "When You're Smiling". Tom was as immaculate as ever on the keyboard with an excellent solo backed by Jim and Stuart. Well known to the Harp audience Jim provided his exciting solos and together with Stuart maintained a driving rhythm for Amy and Tom.

Four exceptionally talented young musicians playing great music to a near "full house"...a perfect recipe for a magical Sunday lunchtime.

Tom Kincaid's "Play, Piano, Play" is on YouTube


Tuesday, October 6th....John Everett's Red Dragon Jazzmen were the latest band to be surprised by the décor as the walls are now sparkling with new emulsion and getting near ready for some of the pictures to return.....new curtains and furniture will be along soon.

The Dragons had a new face on drums as Ron Smith had suffered a heart attack, his place was taken by Lionel Sallis who Marie and I last saw many years ago at the Trumpet. Also missing through illness was vocalist Ruth Frith, we wish both Ruth and Ron a speedy recovery.

The band still produced their usual entertaining evening of popular jazz numbers including opener "Dans les Rues D'Antibes" and the finalé "Running Wild", with an impromptu "RAF March/Dambusters' March" and John Bodenham's "Old Rugged Cross" along the way. We also had a guest appearance by Len Thwaites who took over Mark Johnson's bass for three numbers to very appreciative applause.

Dave Margaroni on trombone, Mark on bass, John Bodenham on clarinet, Phil Probert on banjo and guitar and John on trumpet all contributed to a the evening and were superbly driven along by the irrepressible Lionel on drums.

The Dragons will be back on December 15th.

Left to right.. the front line in stark surroundings .......Phil Probert...... .......John Bodenham and Dave Margaroni watching a Len Thwaites solo.

Sunday, October 4th....Five Towns Footwarmers were another band surprised by the new décor in the Harp, at least this time some walls had been plastered and cables made ready for new wall lights! The next few weeks will see great improvements whilst hopefully maintaining the the "jazz" atmosphere which attracts so many musicians and fans to the Harp.

In spite of the rather stark surroundings the Footwarmers once again gave us an enjoyable Sunday lunchtime of excellent jazz, vocals from Gerry Owen, super solos from all concerned and even a trip back in time to "Name that Tune"!

The now regular line-up for the band is Glyn Bennett on trumpet, Laurie Cooper on trombone, Gerry Owen on clarinet, sax and vocals, Terry Cooper on bass and sousaphone and Mike Haslam on drums with leader Keith Garner on banjo.....Keith, like yours truly, had words to say about the ability of the referee at the Wolves/Portsmouth match, none of them complimentary!

Another band who will definitely be back next year.


 
Tuesday, September 29th...New Washboard Syncopators arrived to find the "bandstand" looking like a building site....no photos, plasterboard walls, some lights defunct, etc.....the refurb. is in full swing!

Nevertheless the Syncopators produced their usual entertaining music which as usual included numbers we don't hear very often such as "Nobody knows What a Red Hot Momma can Do". Chris Carmel commented that "Tuxedo Rag" was "too fast for elderly gentlemen to play" so the band took their interval immediately after playing it!

Another unusual number was a banjo/bass duet by George Linder and Bob Pearce on "Strike Up The Band".....great stuff!

New Washboard Syncopators will be back on November 10th. when hopefully the Harp will be in full working order!.

The band and the building site!

Mascot Thumper couldn't bear the sight so he lay down on the job!


Sunday, September 27th...today was the turn of the Martinique Jazz Band, but not as we know it! Depping on trombone was Ron Hills, on trumpet and flugelhorn was Gary Bell and on bass John Fellows who joined the regular members Terry Roberts on reeds, Ken Jones on piano and Jim Harney on drums......it was also a first for Jim who was in charge of announcements!

It may have been a very different line-up and very different music in that it was mostly big band music played by a superb small band. The music ranged from "Undecided" to "Almost Like Being in Love", with a vocal from Gary, and "I Saved My Love Till You" with Ron's vocal talents on show, to Gary Bell's excellent "Stardust" and Terry Roberts' interpretation of Charlie Parker's "Yardbird Suite".

Through it all the rhythm section of Ken, John and Jim backed the front line superbly and the session ended with a swinging "Apple Honey".

Six excellent musicians who had never played together as a unit before today not only demonstrated their undoubted musical ability but also gelled together to provide a most entertaining lunchtime session, which they appeared to enjoy as much as the audience..

It definitely wasn't "Trad", Dad, but we hope to repeat it one day next year.

This was the last session before the refurbishment of the lounge started, tomorrow Marie and I, with Grandson Adam, will be removing all the pictures so that the walls can be plastered before decorating!

The front line

Terry Roberts

Ken Jones

Jim Harney

Ron Hills

John Fellows

Gary Bell


Tuesday, September 22nd....tonight's session with Richard Leach's Clubhouse 5 had a special treat for the ladies in the audience with Mark Challinor making a guest appearance on banjo and guitar, Mark of course is the very popular leader of the very popular Wabash Jazzmen.

With the regulars members, Gordon Whitworth on trumpet, Dave Wilkinson on clarinet/alto, Howard Worthington on bass and of course Richard on trombone, all in attendance we were treated to an evening of absolute pleasure.

Whether it was "Bogalusa Strut" or "The Old Spinning Wheel in the Parlour" (with Gordon's vocal), "Limehouse Blues" or "Goodnight Sweet Prince" the quality was superb and the solos delightful. We even had a vocal from Mark when he sang "You Meet the Nicest People in Your Dreams" especially for Pauline in the audience.

The gig ended with "When My Dreamboat Comes Home", we can now dream of the return of the Clubhouse 5 next year.


Sunday, September 20th....Old Comrades Jazz Band were today's visitors with the normally seven piece band starting off as a quintet because drummer Dave Andrews and banjo player Griff Thomas were delayed by horrendous traffic hold ups due to problems on the M6 with bass player Steve Slater having the same problem. Griff got his banjo sorted out quickly and the band started playing while Dave was setting up his drums with Steve arriving halfway through the first number.

The main thing was that everyone arrived safely and went on to give us a most entertaining lunchtime with octogenarian "Big Eric" on trombone flattering the ladies by suggesting they were much too young to remember Gracie Fields or the Andrews Sisters as he introduced the tunes they made popular!

A bright, sunny September day outside the Harp and a sparkling one inside....what more could you want except more of the same which you can have on November 8th?


Tuesday, September 15th....this session with Sarah Spencer's TransAtlantic Friends had the great line-up of Dave Copperwaite on trumpet, Derek Galloway on trombone, Bill Smith on drums, Annie Hawkins on bass, Rachel Haywood on banjo and, of course, Sarah on tenor sax and vocals.

This evening was special for several reasons, including the fact that it was Sarah's last gig before returning to the USA and that it brought back the inimitable Annie Hawkins for a long overdue gig, but most of all for the superbly played and brilliantly entertaining music that once again passed the time away much too quickly.

This music included "Beautiful Ohio" and and a vocal from Sarah in "Make Me a Pallet on Your Floor", a Derek Galloway favourite with "Louisiana Fairy Tale" and Dave's version of "Shine". More delights came with "The Old Spinning Wheel" and "Love Songs of the Nile", "Give Me Your Telephone Number" and the finalé, "Get Out of Here and Go On Home"......it should have been the last number but audience power brought us "Panama" as an encore....and NO it wasn't requested by Marie!

The rhythm section of Annie, Rachel and Bill drove the front line along superbly all evening with Dave and Derek brilliantly complementing Sarah's playing and singing.

It will be two years before Sarah is back in the UK but meanwhile you will be able to hear her unique tenor and vocals when I upload three of the numbers on to YouTube .

The photo of Marie and myself was taken by Dave, mine host in the Harp.

 

The front line

Annie and Rachel

Sarah

Annie

A rare pic of yours truly and Marie


Sunday, September 13th.....a day of such importance in the history of the world, my birthday(!), deserved a very special band and that is exactly what we had when John Beckingham brought in his JB's Jazz and Blues Band.

From start to finish John on piano, Roger Manering on reeds, Andy Woods on guitar, Mark Howell on bass and Paul Holder on drums had the Harp audience in the palm of their hand (which could have made playing their respective instruments rather difficult but you know what I mean!).

"Struttin' with Some Barbecue", "Mean to Me" and the Jump/Jive number "The Hucklebuck" were just some of the numbers along with vocals from Andy on "I'm in the Mood for Love", Paul with "Pennies From Heaven", Roger with "Some Day You'll Be Sorry" and John with "I Need Your Love So Bad" and especially for me, "Wade in the Water".

I would like to thank everyone for their very kind birthday wishes, their cards and their presents (and the pints!), with very special thanks to John and the boys(?) for providing such wonderful entertainment.

Finally the most important thanks of all to my lovely lady Marie and to 3 year old Grandson Adam for drawing the raffle tickets so well!

If you missed them this great band will be back on November 29th....be there!

My apologies to Andy and Mark...I didn't get photos of your ties!

Roger

Note the .....

John

.....fancy ties!

Paul


Tuesday, September 8th....a visit by John Sparry's Heath Coldfield Quintet usually draws a good crowd but tonight unfortunately was the exception, possibly something to do with the end of school holidays which means that people of a certain age have gone off on holiday!

Nevertheless we had a splendid evening of vibraphone playing and chat from John (happily reunited with his trademark Panama hat which he left at the Harp last time he was in), piano from Bryn Venus, bass from Jim Sutton, guitar from Richard Werritt and drums from Barry Watts.

The tunes, all introduced with a potted history of the composer(s), included "Sunny Side of the Street", the Quintet version of the Connie Francis hit "Who's Sorry Now" and "S'Wonderful" which is on YouTube.

John was splendidly backed throughout by the other four members of the orchestra who all contributed excellent solos during the evening.

The Quintet will be back next year.


Sunday, September 6th....A visit from the Dene River Jazzmen was another chance to see the regular members of the band, Nick Williams on trombone, Rod Williams on clarinet and sax, John Collins on drums and leader Peter Roberts on banjo together with guests Alan Kidd on trumpet and Bob Pearce on bass.

From "Algiers Strut" to "Black Cat on the Fence" and "Stevedore Stomp" the band numbers and solos were superb as were the vocals by Peter, Nick and Rod.

A most entertaining lunchtime session meant that two hours passed by very quickly and much too soon it was time to go home.

Another pleasing thing about today was the appearance of trombone player Nick Williams...the last few years he has had more than his fair share of serious illness but has still battled back and now looks fitter than ever, even though he has just passed his 80th. birthday!

This excellent band will make their next appearance at the Harp for our Christmas Party on December 20th.....don't miss it!


 

For various reasons the gig reports have been a little delayed so here goes with three brief resumés of local bands who have entertained us:

August 25th...Apex Jazz and Swing Band gave us very much the "Apex Big Band" sound with a line-up which consisted of leader Robin Mason on reeds, Jon Stone on trumpet, flugelhorn and vocals, Ron Hills on trombone and vocals, Ken Jones on piano, Jim Harney on drums and John Fellows on bass. With a repertoire which contained many Ellington compositions an excellent evening was had by all.

August 30th....A rare appearance by the Heart of England Jazz Band gave us another chance to hear Robin Mason and Jim Harney as they were deps with HoE as was Bobby Johnson on trombone along with the regular members of the orchestra, Pete Ainge on trumpet, Roger Heath on bass and Dave Smith on banjo and announcements. This was an excellent example of how guests in a band can fit in extremely well and provide a Sunday lunchtime of most enjoyable entertainment.

September 1st....Bank Street Syncopators started off as the Bank Street Brass Band because Alan Bailey, their clarinet/tenor player, was a little late arriving having got lost along the way! We still had a great evening with Tony Billingsley on trumpet, Pat Bayliss on trombone, Fred Dixon on guitar/banjo, Dave Boxold on bass and Steve Markham on drums.

My sister Margaret and her husband Brian were in the audience from Canada and today was their 47th. wedding anniversary......they were delighted when the band struck up with "Congratulations".

Entertainment of the highest order from three excellent bands.


Sunday, August 23rd....Another session that almost defies description is what we had again today from that brilliant young piano player Carl Sinclair, aided and abetted by Howard Smith on drums.

This wasn't "traditional" jazz but but more a mix of Rock and Roll, Blues and Boogie, and even Winifred Atwell! Beguiled by Carl's extra-ordinary rapport the audience participation by aging, one-time rockers added greatly to the enjoyment of the session!

Wonderful piano playing, superb drumming, great singing from both Carl and Howard (and the audience!) was topped off by both of them walking round their instruments whilst playing to the delight of everyone, even though they did finish with their backs to the audience!

Listing the songs would be superfluous, the rare standing ovation at the end was a fitting tribute to two great entertainers.

Carl will be back on November 17th.

Carl Sinclair

Howard Smith

Playing in reverse!


Tuesday, August 18th....Harp regulars, the Martinique Jazz Band, gave us an entertaining evening with their mix of Dixieland and big band numbers along with vocals and featured solos.

Any band which includes two of my favourite numbers, "Flamingo" and "Summertime", will be welcome back any time which may be why they will be back on September 27th!


Sunday, August 16th....a mixture of youth and slightly more "Senior" musicians gave us something a little bit special today when Alice Beavan, the 16 year old grand-daughter of "Big Eric" joined the Old Comrades Jazz Band for three songs.

The Old Comrades had their usual line-up of leader Eric Dodgson on trombone, David Sherwood on cornet, Dave  Coles on clarinet/sax, Griff Thomas on banjo, Mike Wall on piano, Steve Slater on bass and Dave Andrews on drums and provided the ideal backing for Alice when she sang "Careless Love Blues", which I didn't video, and "Down By The Riverside" which are both now on YouTube, with "Careless Love" courtesy of John Bosworth whose videos are taken from the other side of the band!

Other numbers from the band included "Black Cat on the Fence" and Eric's rather cheeky "Hot Dog Man" which had some ladies in the audience asking for more!

The Comrades always provide us with an entertaining session, the addition of the the superb voice of Alice was a most enjoyable bonus.

The band and hopefully the young singer will be back on September 20th.


Tuesday, August 11th....tonight's gig saw the return of Mike Carnie and his Jazz All Stars following their very successful Harp "debut" back in February (you can see photos of the band if you scroll down to that gig report).

Led by Mike himself on drums, Jon Critchley on trumpet, Mike Hayler on clarinet and tenor sax, Laurie Cooper on trombone and the irrepressible Derek Harrison on piano the band, and the audience, were very pleased to see the arrival of bass player Reg Kenworthy (who has recently celebrated his 82nd birthday) as the car in which he was travelling had suffered a blow-out on the M6. Fortunately it did not cause an accident and the speedy arrival of the AA meant that the start of the session was only delayed for a few minutes whilst the PA was set up by the many sound engineers in the band!

With Derek singing songs associated with the great Tommy Burton, such as "Kiss to Build a Dream On" and "Your Feet's Too Big" the evening was guaranteed to be appreciated by our audience as was the contribution of every member of the band in numbers which included "Nobody's Sweetheart Now", "Bugle Boy March" and "I Can't Get Started"

A superb entertaining evening of excellent jazz played by musicians who obviously enjoy playing together and who generate a wonderful rapport with the Harp audience.

They WILL be back next year!

At the end of the evening it was my great pleasure to announce that the absence of Russell from his regular Tuesday evening stint behind the bar due to the fact that on Monday morning he and his partner Jill had become proud parents of a baby girl, Imogen Mary, who weighed in at 7lbs 2 ounces.

Photos of all concerned will be on the "More News" page eventually and we wish them all the best from Jazz Club 90


Sunday, August 9th...a visit by Millennium Eagle Jazz band is always eagerly awaited and today's session did not disappoint.

The regular line-up of Pete Brown on trumpet, Matt Palmer on clarinet and saxes, Andy Holdorf on trombone, Brian Lawrence on bass, Chris Etherington on banjo and Jack Cotterill on drums started with "Canal Street Blues" and ended with a 5 man (yes, Brian Lawrence DID join in!) vocal version of "Show Me the Way to Go Home" with a great programme along the way. This included the "Original Dixieland One Step", Jelly Roll Morton's "Sidewalk Blues" and two which are on YouTube, "East Coast Trot", featuring Andy and Pete on two trombones, and "Climax Rag".

All the solos, all the vocals and all the band numbers were of the usual high Millennium Eagle standard and a two hour Sunday lunchtime session passed much too quickly.

This superb band are back on November 15th....don't miss it!


Tuesday, August 4th....it is very easy to get carried away with superlatives when reporting on a Ben Holder gig with "brilliant", "unbelievable", "superb talent" and "amazing" springing very quickly to mind. These things are all perfectly true and when added to "a most likeable young man" really do describe Ben.

The other three members of BB Swing are also extremely talented, if not quite so young, and are John Smith on guitar, Robin Mason on clarinet and alto and Bill Smith on bass....Bill being the guy who introduced Ben to jazz violin.

On this occasion Ben also demonstrated more of his vocal talents with numbers such as "Deed I Do" and "Satin Doll" amongst others. The rhythm section of John and Bill were superb throughout the session, especially so when backing Ben during "Body and Soul" and Robin during a clarinet version of "Nuages".

Excellent  music, great rapport with the audience.....what more do you need for a most enjoyable evening?

Ben and the boys(?) will be back on December 1st....if you can't wait that long you can find "Deed I Do" and "The Nearness of You" on YouTube.


Tuesday, July 28th and Sunday, August 2nd....two sessions which again showed the quality of entertainment which is regularly provided by our more frequent visitors.

Both Bank Street Syncopators (with Pat Bayliss on trombone) and John Everett's Red Dragon Jazzmen (with Jim Wood on sousaphone) were in sparkling form and made sure that everyone in the audience thought their time spent in the Harp was time well spent.

Bank Street will be back on September 1st and the Dragons on October 6th.


Sunday, July 26th...a rather sparse audience at the start didn't bode well for today's session but the music from the band must have reached all down the High Street and beyond because not too long after the Old Comrades Jazz Band started playing the empty places started to fill up.

The Comrades are led by 80+ years young "Big Eric" Dodgson, on trombone, and Eric's enthusiasm for the music is evident from the start whether through his playing, his singing or his announcements, the latter usually included some history of the tunes the band were playing.

With Dave Sherwood on cornet, Dave Coles on reeds, Griff Thomas on banjo, Mike Wall on piano, Steve Slater on bass and Dave Andrews on drums this was entertaining jazz to brighten any Sunday lunchtime.

In the audience we had another even more Senior Citizen, 90 year old George Barnsby who very kindly donated a bottle of whisky for us to raffle to boost our kitty, a task Marie carried out quite willingly!

If you want more of "Michigander Blues", "Sweet Fields" or "Salutation March" from the Comrades put August 16th. in your diary when they will be back.


Tuesday, July 21st....a perfect mix of young and old(er) was tonight's recipe for a cracking session with Jack Cotterill's Naughty Boys. The "young" were Jack on drums and Jamie Brownfield on trumpet, the "older" were Matt Palmer on clarinet, soprano and tenor sax and Jim Swinnerton on bass. with the elder statesman being Roger Heeley on piano and it all worked perfectly.

"As Long As I Live", "Careless Love Blues", with a superb trumpet solo from Jamie, "Satin Doll" and "Hindustan" were just some of the numbers played by the Naughty Boys who will have gone to the top of the class in the estimation of many in the audience and they will be welcome back some time next year.

Tonight was also the time when we said "Goodbye" to young barman Andy who had served the jazz audiences with their liquid refreshment for the last three or four years. Andy, off to London with his guitar and his group to seek his fame and fortune, was presented with a card and the proceeds of a collection from Jazz Club 90's audience and a silver cigarette case from Donna, Russell and Dave. We wish him well.

  Leaving for pastures new young Andy........ .......with the "Bosses" Donna, Russell and Dave  

 

 


Sunday, July 19th...."weren't they great?"....."brilliant"...."when are they coming back?".... these were just a few of the remarks after another superb, swinging session from JB's Jazz & Blues Band. These comments were all totally justified as we had five brilliant musicians who also just happened to be excellent singers and who also thoroughly enjoyed playing for our very appreciative audience.

Led as always by John Beckingham on piano, with Roger Manering on saxes/clarinet and Andy Wood on guitar, we were also delighted to see Paul Holder on drums and Tony Capaldi on bass back with the band.

Instrumentals, solos and vocals were all of the highest quality and we look forward to the band's return on September 13th.

 

 

Paul Holder

The Band

Tony Capaldi

 

Tuesday, July 14th...today' session from Wabash Jazzmen featured Arthur Brown on trumpet alongside Mike Hayler on tenor and clarinet, Howard Worthington on bass and leader Mark Challinor on banjo.

A journey from "Hindustan" to "Algiers (Strut)" and "Harlem (Bound)" brought us to "Avalon" via the "West End (Blues)"  with many other great numbers along the way. Vocal contributions from Mark, Howard and Arthur added to the enjoyment and the evening ended with "Weary Blues".

Wabash Jazzmen will be back on November 24th.

Mark

Mike

Howard

Arthur


Sunday, July 12th....the people who decided to enjoy a sunny Sunday away from the Harp missed a most entertaining gig by the Dene River Jazzmen who included in their line-up trombone player Nick Williams who had once again astounded everyone by fighting back from another serious illness.

"Is It True What They Say About Dixie?" was the starter which set the tone for the session which included "Out in the Cold Again" sung by Peter Roberts and "St. James' Infirmary Blues" sung by Nick, on YouTube now .

The band will be back on September 6th. and for our Christmas Party on December 20th.


Tuesday, July 7th....another cracker of a session from the Antique Six Jazz Band in spite of Chris Mercer having cracked bones in his shoulder when he fell off his bike.......whether on the way to or from the pub we are not quite sure!

A programme which included such varied numbers as Muggsy Spanier's "Eccentric" and "Brahms' Lullaby", the latter, along with "Sweet Prince", played as a clarinet/trombone duet to give Chris a rest, meant there was something for everyone from this excellent band who will be back on October 20th.


Sunday, July 5th...Martinique Jazz Band gave us a most enjoyable session with Tony Pipkin on trumpet and flugelhorn joining the regular members of the band. Apart from the excellent instrumental offerings we had vocals from  Dave Boxold, Bobby Johnson and guest Paul Drakely.

Apart from the fact I forgot to pay the band before we left this was a very pleasant way to spend Sunday lunchtime! (they did get paid....we now owe the till at the Harp!).


Tuesday June 30th...what  do you say about the brilliant young Carl Sinclair on piano and his equally talented drummer Natasha Buxton that hasn't already been said many times?

The easy way, and the one I am taking, is to repeat the comments from their last gig here in January......

"Carl Sinclair on piano and Natasha Buxton on drums gave us an evening of pure nostalgia. This wasn't the nostalgia for "traditional" jazz but rather going back to a youth of Rock and Roll, Blues and Boogie and even Winifred Atwell! With memories of Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Fats Waller and even our own "Big Man" Clayton the audience participation by aging, one-time rockers added greatly to the enjoyment of the evening!

One number even had Carl get up from his stool and walk round the keyboard, still playing, to finish up playing the keys from the back of his instrument....unbelievable!

Carl once again showed us what a brilliant entertainer he is with a rapport with the audience which belies his tender years (well, 24 is very young compared to most of our audience!) and it is obvious why Natasha comes from the Midland Youth Jazz Orchestra."

Another superb session from this talented young couple.


Tuesday, June 23rd...a very full house on a hot summer's evening was just the setting for a visit by Steve "Big Man" Clayton and the 44s. Billed as the "King of Barrelhouse Piano" Steve is over on one of his visits from Germany where he now lives and was delighted this time to be re-united with his long time friends the 44s. This very talented trio consists of Howard Gregory on guitar (and violin), Bob Boucher on bass and Howard Smith on drums. We are indebted to Gordon Nuttall and his Care Home, The Keepings, in Dudley, for their help in funding this rather special session.

On arriving at the Harp our grandson Adam (yes, again, he does like his jazz!...and no we are not keeping him out late, his Mom and Dad picked him up before the music started) raised a few laughs when he called Steve "Santa Claus", referring to his flowing grey locks and the beard we hadn't seen before! He then asked Steve to play the "old piano" for him which he kindly did with Adam trying to join in.

We then had the whole range of Steve's talents from "Flip, Flop and Fly" to his own "Going Back to Birmingham", to "Heart Ache Blues", "44s Boogie" and "Can't Stop the Boogie". An audience participation version of "Blueberry Hill" brought the house down as did "Great Balls Of Fire".

A brilliant evening, not our more usual "traditional" session but entertainment of the highest order by four supremely talented musicians.

Photos will follow later, we are off to Upton On Severn Jazz Festival so there will be no session next Sunday, 28th.


 
Sunday, June 21st...a visit by the 5 Towns Footwarmers has always given us an enjoyable Sunday lunchtime 

Led by banjo player Keith Garner (still basking in the warm glow of promotion to the Premier League for the Wolves even though he now lives in the heart of Stoke City land!) the members of the orchestra were Glyn Bennett on trumpet, Laurie Cooper on trombone, Gerry Owen on clarinet, sax and vocals, Terry Cooper on bass and sousaphone, which enchanted our 3 year old grandson Adam, and Mike Haslam on drums.

"Avalon", "Bei Mir Bis Du Schoen", which included a great drum solo from Mike Haslam, and "Canal Street Blues" were just a few of the excellent numbers served up this lunchtime.

The Footwarmers will be back in October.


Tuesday, June 16th...our audience arrived expecting to hear Carole Westwood singing with the Archie Cotterell Trio but I had a call from Archie last night to say that Carole couldn't make the gig so he asked Brenda Scott at very short notice to come to our rescue, which fortunately she was able to do.

Brenda is a Yorkshire lass who settled in the Midlands in the early 60s as singer with the Bob Potter Band who were the regular band at the Queen's Ballroom in Wolverhampton. Since then Brenda has been recognised as one of the top singers in the Midlands and was more than welcome to step in for Carole tonight.

 The result was a superb session of standards all given Brenda's own inimitable interpretation.

Throughout Archie Cotterell on keyboard, Derek Brown on bass guitar and Barry Watts on drums provided the perfect backing as well as several Trio numbers which showed off Archie's well known talent perfectly.

Brenda used every bit of her professional experience to entertain the audience and often presented the trio with impromptu arrangements that kept them and the audience on their toes.

A very different but also very enjoyable evening.


Sunday, June 14th...roads choked with traffic on the way to Albrighton were not an indication that we were about to have a very full house but confirmation that today was RAF Cosford's Annual Air Show, they had the very full house with the "Air Show Full" signs soon appearing on the roadside.

Marie and I arrived after 1 o'clock instead of our usual just gone 12, Apex Jazz and Swing Band eventually were able to start at 1.30 and the audience trickled in with many a tale of traffic jams.....we felt very lucky that we were not involved in a serious looking accident which we had passed and which added to the problems.

The band, with Robin Mason on reeds, Jon Stone on trumpet, Laurie Cooper on trombone, Bob Boucher on bass, Jim Harney on drums and Rob Milburn on guitar and banjo, played superbly to the occasional background noise of the Red Arrows (who themselves were as brilliant as ever) and other rather loud aircraft and made up for the late start by playing until well after 3 o'clock.

Apex will be back in August, Laurie will be in with the 5 Towns Footwarmers next Sunday and Bob will be back with the 44s accompanying "Big Man" Clayton on June 23rd.


Tuesday, June 9th....a rare visit by Heart of England Jazz Band saw the regular members of the band, Selwyn Newton on clarinet, Pete Ainge on trumpet, Dave Smith on banjo and Roger Heath on bass, joined by Avo Avison on trombone and Nick Ward on drums.

A nicely full Harp enjoyed an excellent programme of jazz which gave everyone chance to shine and sent the audience home happy.

The band have their own song to introduce the fund raising raffle at every session but tonight was a world first when they sang it twice as Marie raffled not only two bottles of wine but also later a litre of whiskey to add to the funds.

Heart of England will be back on August 30th.


Sunday, June 7th....a superb session from Ben Holder with BB Swing once again allowed this young violin player to entrance a very appreciative audience. Appearing with Ben were the other half of BB, Bill Smith on bass with Robin Mason on clarinet and alto sax plus a first visit from young Israeli guitar player Bar Zalel...evidence again of the abundance of young talent out there waiting to be heard.

From "Avalon" to "I've Got Rhythm" via "Brazil" with features along the way from Ben on "The Folks Who Live on the Hill", Robin on "Nuages" and Bar on "Joseph, Joseph", all superbly backed by Bill on bass, we were treated to great music superbly played with a good helping of the enthusiasm of youth thrown in!

Calls for "more!" at the end of the session brought us Ben's vocal on "All God's Children Got Rhythm", bringing to an end another truly entertaining gig at the Harp.

There will be videos on YouTube soon and BB Swing will be back on August 4th..

Bill Smith

Ben Holder

BB Swing

Robin Mason

Bar Zalel


I have got a little behind with gig reports but needless to say Martinique Jazz Band, with a programme ranging from "So Do I" to "Take the A Train", and New Washboard Syncopators, with "Louisiana FairyTale" to "What Do You Want Me To Do?", both gave us most entertaining sessions.

Martinique will be back on July 5th. and the Syncopators on September 29th.


Tuesday, May 26th..."Last night must go down in the records as one of the best for a very
long time. For sheer entertainment it will take some beating. I had heard John Hallam many times previously, but always in a large hall. To hear him playing at the Harp was at least ten times better than ever before. And what can you say about Jeff Barnhart - for an American he almost appeared to be English, with his obvious delight in proper beer. Musically he was incredibly talented and a brilliant sense of humour. I hope your bits of film show how his left hand moved; it appeared to move in three or four directions at once. Amy was, of course, her usual talented self, and Anne Barnhart's flute playing was superb.
All in all and absolutely brilliant night. Here's to the next time
."

Not my words but an e-mail from one of our regulars the morning after the night before....the night when we were privileged to have the Jeff Barnhart/John Hallam Quartet as our visitors with Graham Smith on drums and Tony Sharp on bass making up the quartet. As a great bonus we had guest appearances by Jeff's wife Anne on flute and the amazing Amy Roberts on alto sax.

Needless to say whether it was Jeff playing solos, or duets with John, or with Anne as they demonstrated their "Ivory and Gold" routine on piano and gold flute, or the quartet with Amy joining in, right through to the six piece finalé the music and entertainment was just superb and rightly appreciated by the very full house in the Harp.

A special word of thanks must go to two musicians who helped enormously with this gig...Roger Heeley who very kindly brought his keyboard along for Jeff to play and Graham Smith who originally suggested we might like to book this particular line-up and did all the arranging for me!

It was the first time here for Jeff and John and we very much hope it won't be the last, Jeff's compliments about our jazz club and his enthusiasm for the real ales at the bar are probably good enough reasons to entice him back!
 

Amy Roberts

Jeff and Anne

Jeff Barnhart

 

John Hallam

Graham Smith

Tony Sharp


Sunday, May 24th...John Everett's Red Dragon Jazzmen with singer Ruth Frith did us proud again today. With Dave Margaroni on trombone, Barry Norman on drums and Len Thwaites on bass joining the regulars John on cornet, John Bodenham on clarinet and Phil Probert on guitar and banjo the line-up was different but the music was just as good as ever.

An excellent "Chimes Blues", a John Everett and rhythm section version of "Panama" (complete with Mexican wave!) and Ruth's "Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives to Me" were just a small part of a most entertaining lunchtime which finished with a rousing "Down By The Riverside"

The Dragons will be back on August 2nd. 


Tuesday, May 19th...another excellent session from Richard Leach's Clubhouse 5 was enjoyed by unfortunately a smaller than usual audience. This meant that the absentees missed an entertaining evening from Richard on trombone, Gordon Whitworth on trumpet, Dave Wilkinson on clarinet and alto, Brian Mellor on banjo and guitar and Howard Worthington on bass.

From "China Boy" to "Willie the Weeper", with Howard's vocal, and "Yes, Yes in Your Eyes", with Gordon supplying the words, to "Yearning" and "A Rainbow Round My Shoulder", both numbers never played before by this particular group of musicians, we were treated to jazz of the highest quality.

Richard's "Louisiana" and Gordon's "Body and Soul", with the rhythm section, together with Brian's "When I Take My Sugar To Tea"" and Dave's "Sleepy Time Gal" all added to the enjoyment.

"When My Dreamboat Comes Home" is now on YouTube.

The Clubhouse 5 will be back in September.


Sunday, May 17th....the latter part of any session usually finds me working out what I am going to say about the band....with New Orleans Heat I have no problem as "Just brilliant" springs easily to mind!

Barry Grummett on piano, Gwyn Lewis on cornet, John Scantlebury on alto and clarinet, Mike Taylor on trombone, Tony Peatman on banjo, Harry Slater on bass and Colin Bushell on drums all combined superbly to play the music that always attracts a good crowd to the Harp.

It was no coincidence that many of the numbers were Marie's favourites or requests, such as "Royal Telephone", with Gwyn's vocal and "Algiers Strut". Other vocals included John's "Girl of My Dreams" (dedicated to Marie by the bandleader!) and "Get on the Right Side of The Road" and "Because of You" by Gwyn. A delightful "Brahms' Cradle Song" featured a superb piano intro by Barry and John was featured on clarinet with "In the Night Garden". Mike Taylor was featured with the rhythm section in "Marie", another blatant attempt to curry favour with our fundraiser!

We thought the Welsh were making a takeover bid for the band when John and Gwyn were joined by John Everett for a couple of numbers, including a two cornet version of "Bugle Boy March", we needn't have worried...it was just another pleasant addition to a great session.

Marie's disappointment when I told her the band were not back again until October was slightly eased when they played "Panama" as their penultimate number and then "After the Ball" which Marie requested as a dedication to Iris, one of our regulars who always has a little dance with her husband Terry.....Iris is sadly very ill in hospital at the moment and our best wishes go to her and to Terry.

Another of our regulars, Anne Hodgetts, celebrated her !?*th. birthday today and was presented with a card and bottle of whisky from her friends and a New Orleans Heat CD from the band.

A brilliant session from a band who make no secret of the fact they rather enjoy playing at the Harp and the reaction they get from the audience.

Videos of "Get on the Right Side of the Road", "My Gal Sal" and "It's a Sin to Tell a Lie" are on YouTube,

New Orleans Heat will be back on October 27th. and John Everett will be back next Sunday with his own Red Dragon Jazzmen.

 

 

I just had to put this one in! Anne celebrating 75 years young!  

Tuesday, May 12th....as can be seen by the photos below it was no "ordinary" session at the Harp when the Night Trippers paid us a visit.

"The Night Trippers play music from the melting pot that is New Orleans, taking the influence and inspiration from Mardi Gras carnival, the deep funk of the native American Indians, Latin American rhythms, the church and gospel music, funeral marching music and the intoxicating second line rhythms. The NIGHT TRIPPERS' aim is that every gig is a shared experience for the players and the audience....part gig, part carnival, part party!"

This is the mission of Night Trippers and how well they stuck to it tonight for a nearly full house at the Harp. Many people came out of curiosity to see and hear this very different band of young musicians, many I am sure were thinking they may be leaving early but it was most satisfying to see everyone stay to the end and being entertained superbly.

Simon Kemp was on piano, alto sax and harmonica, Tom Sharp on bass guitar, Harry Orme on guitar, Rose Perry on tenor sax and clarinet, Nino Jinks on drums and Billie Brewer on vocals.

The songs ranged from "Big Chief" to "I Wish I Was In New Orleans", from "Buddy Bolden's Blues" to "Iko Iko" and "You Got To Move" to "Blueberry Hill and the finale "Down By the Riverside". This list of songs in no way can describe the talent, effort and sheer enthusiasm which was evident all through the session.

"Songs" is the appropriate word as every number was a vocal from the exceptional voice of Billie Brewer brilliantly supported by her equally exceptional colleagues who all produced great solos along the way. Simon Kemp as the chief witch doctor soon developed a rapport with the audience and there were many compliments and requests for a return visit when the evening ended.

It may have been different but it is a gig which will be repeated next year as the Night Trippers very definitely enjoyed their reception at the Harp as much as we enjoyed their music.!

The photo of Nino Jenks is courtesy of Barry Kesterton

Simon Kemp

Billie Brewer

Tom Sharp

Rose Perry

Nino Jinks

Harry Orme


Sunday, May 10th...although for various reasons the front line was completely changed for this gig the Bank Street Syncopators gave us a most entertaining Sunday lunchtime. 

The regular rhythm section of Steve Markham on drums, Dave Boxold on bass and Fred Dixon on guitar and banjo was the driving force behind Dave Deakin on trombone, Alan Bailey on clarinet/sax and John Everett on cornet.

From "Dark Town Strutters Ball" to "Tiger Rag" we had a mix of excellent solos, enjoyable vocals, mostly from Dave Boxold, and leading of the band as only John Everett can, with the rapport with the audience contributing to the enjoyment of the gig.

John will be back in two weeks with his Red Dragon Jazzmen and Bank Street Syncopators will be back on July 28th.


Tuesday, May 5th...the second visit by John Shillito's Select Six was just as entertaining as the first one 15 months ago.

"Our programme is guaranteed to strike all the right chords in many moods - from the poignant suspense of the blues to the joy of a good-time vaudeville song, from the mellow emotions of a romantic ballad to the abandoned ebullience of a street parade!"

This was taken from the bands website (http://www.johnshillito.co.uk) and really sums up this very select six.

Led by John on trumpet/flugelhorn and vocals the line up was John Wurr on clarinet, alto and baritone sax, Bobby Fox on trombone, John Whitlock on banjo and guitar, Bob Jarvis on bass and Derek Maughan on drums.

We went from "Tuesday in New Orleans" to "Last Chance to Dance" via "Joe Louis Blues" and "Sentimental Journey", a superb trumpet solo in "Rent Party Blues" and John Whitlock's "Helter Skelter" on banjo. Other featured numbers were "The Gypsy" with John on flugelhorn, John Wurr's "Poor Butterfly" on baritone sax and "Caravan" which gave Derek a chance to show his talent on the drums.

It would be hard to find a more enjoyable way to spend Tuesday evening, or any other evening, than in the company of the Select Six....we hope to have them back a couple of times next year.

Wolverine Blues/Poor Butterfly/Choo, Choo, Ch'Boogie/Caravan/Last Chance to Dance and The Saints are now on YouTube.


Sunday, May 3rd...whenever JB's Jazz and Blues Band appear at the Harp the 2½ hours pass by very quickly indeed, due in no small way to the sheer enjoyment of their music that the band project to the audience.

JB (John Beckingham) himself led the orchestra on piano, Roger Manwaring (of hat and shoes fame) was on tenor, soprano and clarinet, Andy Woods was on guitar, Mark Howell on bass and Clive Miller (soon to move to Italy) on drums and together they gave us numbers such as "Someday You'll be Sorry" with Roger on vocal, "Every Day I Have the Blues" with John's vocal, Andy's "Pennies From Heaven" and the three vocalists together in "Just a Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody".

Roger played a superb tenor sax version of "Flamingo", John did a requested "One Night a Day" for Barbara Bosworth and for some reason "Smooth One" was dedicated to me!

Great tunes, excellent solos and vocals, even a first time rendition of "Happy Wanderer", which used to be the theme tune for Wolverhampton Wanderers about 50 years ago, just to celebrate them winning the Championship, all added up to a most enjoyable Sunday lunchtime.

"Smooth One" and "Happy Wanderer" are now on YouTube.

The band will be back on July 19th.


Tuesday, April 28th...a visit by the Antique Six Jazz Band is one to look forward to and tonight we were entertained as always by Chris Mercer on trumpet, Richard Leach on trombone, Chris Pearce on clarinet and saxes, Clinton Sedgley on banjo and guitar, Graham Smith on drums and "new boy" Ian Parry (all the way from Middlesex) on bass.

 A programme which saw numbers such as "Froggymore" with an excellent Chris Pearce/Ian Parry duet, "Sweet Sue" featuring Richard with the rhythm section, "When the Midnight Choo Choo Leaves for Alabam" with Chris Mercer's vocal and the Sandy Brown number "Go Ghana" by all the band meant that 2½ hours passed very quickly.

As another moving tribute to reed player Mike Turner clarinettist Chris Pearce and the rhythm section played a superb "High Society" to a very appreciative audience.

Chris Mercer is to be applauded for playing the session at all as he had rather nasty, painful shingles, hence his missing out on 2 or 3 numbers.

One of the highlights of the evening came at the very end when Graham Smith gave us more details (some even I didn't know!) of the Barnhart/Hallam Quartet session booked for May 26th. As well as Jeff Barnhart on piano, vocals etc., John Hallam on clarinet and saxes, Graham on drums and Tony Sharp on bass we will be privileged to have as guests Jeff's wife, Anne, on flute, so we will have their "Ivory and Gold" duets, and that wonderful young sax player Amy Roberts who is coming down from Keswick and will no doubt have the occasional duet with John.

This should be an absolute cracker of a session...don't miss it!

Antique Six will be back on July 7th.


Sunday, April 26th...another session which is difficult to describe without getting carried away with superlatives was brought to us today by Ben Holder and BB Swing, with Ben on violin, John Smith on rhythm guitar and Bill Smith on bass guitar.

19 year old Ben's talent on the violin almost defies description and his knowledge and appreciation of "older" music is almost uncanny in such a young musician with not a note of music written down anywhere!

From "China Boy" to "The Nearness of You", from "It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing" to "Lime House Blues" and "Joseph, Joseph" this brilliant trio had most of the audience completely enthralled.

"Careless Love" and Django's "Swing 47" are on YouTube.

A rather poignant moment was when Ben announced a tribute to Mike Turner who sadly passed away last Monday, prior to his illness Mike had added his clarinet and soprano sax talent to the band during numbers such as  the French "Que reste-t-il de nos amours", known in English as "I Wish You Love"......the trio played it superbly today, you could hear a pin drop towards the end.

Ben's easy rapport with the audience was very much evident again today, not only with the "Golden Oldies" but also with a young schoolgirl, Frances, who was in with her dad. Ben was quite happy to chat with her during the intervals (although they hadn't planned to stay all lunchtime!) and signed a copy of their latest CD, as did John and Bill. This was a very good ploy as he then sold quite a lot of "limited edition" signed copies!

I could go on but instead I can do no better than repeat my final remarks from the last time Ben was in with us....Ben, like many of the younger generation of jazz musicians, is like a breath of fresh air in the music world and, again like many others, deserves to be on the "wanted" list of every jazz club in the country....don't forget there is always talk of "our" kind of jazz dying out....it never will with youngsters such as Ben and the others there to keep the flag flying.

See Ben and BB Swing again on June 7th...12.30 start


Tuesday, April 21st....Martinique Jazz Band were in today with bass player Dave Boxold in singing mode again having got rid of the sore throat he had back in early March while trumpet man Tony Billingsley was again recognisable without the beard he had in March!

An excellent "Perdido", a superb "Girl from Ipanema" and the Martinique Big Band Sound during "Lester Leaps In", with Terry Roberts on tenor, were some of the excellent offerings during an enjoyable evening.


Sunday, April 19th...another of our popular bands, New Washboard Syncopators, provided their usual most entertaining Sunday lunchtime jazz session.

 Mixed with the better known numbers such as "Put On Your Old Grey Bonnet" and "C C Rider" we had the not so often played "Jazzin' Babies Blues" and "I Want To Play Piano for The Ladies" and a new number for the band, "Tell Me" from the Original Dixieland Jazz Band.

Excellent band numbers, excellent solos and vocals all added up to a superb session.

The New Washboard Syncopators will be back on June 2nd.


 Tuesday, April 14th....Apex Jazz and Swing Band had trombone player Ron Hills in the line-up today, joining Jon Stone on trumpet, John Fellows on bass, Jim Harney on drums, Peter Robinson on guitar/banjo and of course leader Robin Mason on clarinet and saxes.

From "China Town"  to "Dippermouth Blues" and "Double Check Stomp" we had a very varied programme which also included Robin and Ron with their version of "Flamingo", excellent brushwork by Jim Harney during "Cute" and a great version of "Take the A train" to finish off a most entertaining evening.

Apex will be back on June 14th.


Sunday, April 12th....today's gig was another one with different musicians in the line-up when violinist Ralph Allin and bass player Jadie Cary were joined by Chris Collis on piano, in the Harp for the first time, and Nick Millward, of Kenny Ball fame, on drums to give us the Ralph Allin Quartet.

The personnel change certainly didn't change the quality of the music with Ralph's virtuoso violin playing being brilliantly complemented by Chris, Jadie and Nick on numbers such as "Cabaret", "Blue Moon" and one of my favourite tunes "Summertime". Chris and Ralph took centre stage with a superb duet version of "The Nearness of You" and Nick was let loose on the vocal during "Sweet Lorraine" whilst Nick's drumming prowess was very evident during "It Don't Mean a Thing if it Ain't Got That Swing".

During this session we had some of the best music ever written played by some of the best younger musicians around, what more could you want for a Sunday lunchtime?...I almost forgot, we also had Ralph's jokes!?!

  The Quartet watched by our young grandson Adam accompanied by Grandma Marie  

Tuesday, April 7th...Wabash Jazzmen were in a different guise today when regulars Mark Challinor on banjo and Mike Hayler on clarinet and tenor sax were joined by Malcolm Hogarth on piano and then, for the second set, Arthur Brown on trumpet.

Starting with "Yearning" we had "The Old Spinning Wheel in the Parlour" (this seems to be a very popular number with bands at the moment although this time we did have the vocal by Mark!), "St. Louis Blues" and a brilliant piano solo by Malcolm with "Joyrider"..."it was worth coming just for that" was one comment from the audience. Mike's contributions on clarinet and sax were greatly appreciated by the audience.

Arthur's arrival was greeted with cheers from the assembled multitude, probably because, apart from his super trumpet playing they were guaranteed a few jokes!  "That's My Desire" featured Arthur with Mark and Malcolm and caused plenty of amusement when Mark acted as prompter with the words. Amongst the many excellent numbers was "Underneath the Bamboo Tree" which will be on YouTube soon, as will Malcolm's "Joyrider". With "Wolverine Blues" and "Lord, Lord, Lord", amongst others, also on offer you can see it was a very varied and most enjoyable evening which finished with "Down Home Rag".

If you missed this session Wabash will be back on July 14th.

Mike & Mark

Mark Challinor

Arthur Brown

Mike Hayler

Malcolm Hogarth


Sunday, April 5th...one of the things we expect of any band that play for us is that they enjoy their music and the Dene River Jazzmen certainly lived up to our expectations!

A Sunday lunchtime of great music played with a smile and a lot of chat with the audience, plus the occasional joke for good measure, was the fare provided by Chris Carmel on cornet ("Ice Cream" just had to be in the programme!), Nick Williams on trombone and slide whistle, Rod Williams on clarinet/sax, Keith Prescott on bass, John Nicholls on drums and leader Peter Roberts on banjo.

The first two numbers, "Is It True What They Say About Dixie?" and "Shimmy Like My Sister Kate", with vocal by Peter Roberts, set the tone for the session which included "Blueberry Hill" with a Nick Williams vocal, "Higher Ground" with vocal by Rod Williams and "Get On Out of Here and Go Home" with a brilliant Lonnie Donegan tribute in the middle!

We thought Nick Williams had brought in his own fan club when all his vocals and trombone/slide whistle solos were greeted with rapturous applause from many of the ladies in the audience!.......we still have to work out why Nick was getting the reaction usually reserved for Frank Pardoe!

A superb lunchtime session, if you missed it "Tight Like That!" is on YouTube and the Jazzmen will be back in July.

Peter Roberts

Nick Williams

Chris Carmel

Rod Williams

Keith Prescott

 

Just we two!

Sorry John Nicholls you were hidden behind your drums!

 

Dene River Jazzmen

 

Tuesday, March 31st...when Julyan "Baby Jools" Aldridge said he would bring in a band of "All Stars" little did we know what a superb gig was in store for us!

With the All Stars consisting of Denny Ilett on trumpet, Matt Palmer on clarinet/saxes, Andy Holdorf on trombone, Brian Mellor on banjo/guitar, Tony Bagot on bass and Baby Jools himself on drums we knew it would be a good session but I don't think anyone expected the two and a half hours to be pure star studded heaven!

"Old Spinning Wheel in the Parlour" was a good opener which set the high standard which continued with the likes of "Somebody Stole My Gal", an excellent "Algiers Strut" which pleased Marie, a delightful "Blues in C", features for Denny on "New Orleans" and "I Can't Get Started" and obviously Baby Jools was featured on drums several times during the evening. Matt, Andy, Tony and Brian all contributed hugely to the session which prompted many compliments from the audience and requests (?demands!) for them to come back again.

Unfortunately we are fully booked for this year but I am pleased to say Baby Jools' All Stars will be back on Sunday, April 4th. 2010....not really long to wait, just into summer, through autumn, celebrate a birthday (everyone will!), have a Merry Christmas and then spring will bring this brilliant band back!

Click photos to enlarge (Sorry, Brian, missed you on the photos!)

Baby Jools

Matt Palmer

Denny Ilett

Tony Bagot

Andy Holdorf


Sunday, March 29th...three musicians, one keyboard, one guitar, one drums and the Harp's own piano meant a very special Sunday session! The keyboard and the Harp piano were played by brilliant pianist Daniel Smith, the guitar by the exceptional Jon "T-Bone" Taylor and the drums (and fire extinguisher) by the equally talented Australian, Peter Miles.

As always with the Daniel Smith Blues Band we had everything from the well known "Honky Tonk Train Blues" to Big Bill Broonzy's Chicago blues "Key to the Highway", from "Rock Me Baby" to "Johnny Be Good" and "Every Day I Have The Blues".

Daniel played two "medleys", including "Honky Tonk", on the upright resident piano, one with the assistance of an empty bottle, much to the delight of the audience and  the boss Donna! These will be on YouTube soon.

Three superb musicians who are welcome at the Harp any time.

 

Pete Miles & Jon Taylor

Daniel Smith

Fire extinguisher solo!

 

Tuesday, March 24th...local band Bank Street Syncopators were today's visitors with Terry Roberts on clarinet/saxes and Pat Bayliss on trombone whilst Dave Boxold chose his bass guitar instead of his string bass.

The bands varied programme ranged from "Beale Street Blues" to "Don't Blame Me" and "Just a Gigolo" (both with vocals from Dave)  through to the final numbers "Tangerine" and "Christopher Columbus".

Another entertaining evening from one of our regular bands who will be back on May 10th.


Sunday, March 22nd....the return of Louisiana Highway brought us another of those rather special Sunday lunchtime sessions which come along occasionally, brilliant music played by exceptional musicians who really enjoy what they are doing.

Led by Dave Copperwaite on trumpet the line-up was Derek Galloway on trombone and vocals, Warren Latham on clarinet, alto and baritone sax, Noel Nichols on guitar, Chris Fryers on bass and Bill Evans on drums. Everyone except new boy Chris also contributed vocal refrains to the proceedings.....these included "Back in Your Own Back Yard" by Noel, "I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now" from Bill, "Sunny Side of the Street" from Warren and "'Till The Real Thing Comes Along" from Derek which also included a superb baritone solo from Warren as did "Where The Blue Of The Night" (this will be on YouTube soon). Dave's vocal contributions included "Nobody knows You When You're Down and Out", a cheeky "Basin Street Blues" and "Miss Jenny's Blues".

"Farewell to Storyville", "St. Louis Blues" and an encore, "Old Spinning Wheel in the Parlour", brought a superb session to a close.

A bonus for trombone player Derek Galloway was the bottle of rather nice red wine he won in the raffle, the look on his face when he realised it was 14.5% was a picture to behold!

Dave and Derek will be back with Sarah Spencer in September and Louisiana Highway in October, not a moment too soon!

Derek Galloway

Noel Nichols

Louisiana Highway

Warren Latham

Bill Evans


Tuesday, March 17th....joining John Everett's Red Dragon Jazzmen today were Dave Margaroni on trombone and Bob Pearce on bass whilst John himself played a cornet (which belonged to the late Ken Ingram) instead of his usual trumpet.

The Dragons are always entertaining and tonight's session was no exception with John's cornet doing a superb job during "Bugle Boy March" and "Blue and Broken Hearted", the latter featuring John with the rhythm section of Phil Probert on guitar and banjo, Ron Smith on drums and Bob on bass. The other frontline members, John Bodenham on clarinet and Dave on trombone did a superb "Chimes Blues" with John and the band provided the perfect backing for the vocals of Ruth Frith. These vocals included "You May Not Be An Angel", the ever popular "Shine" and "Wonderful World" with an excellent guitar solo from Phil. "Dr. Jazz" gave Ron Smith the chance to air his tonsils and the proceedings were brought to a close with the bands signature tune, "Down By The Riverside".

The evening was further enhanced by the fact it was St. Patrick's day and the Guinness was £2.00 a pint or £4.00 a half (that's Irish logic!) and was dispensed suitably attired bar staff, otherwise known as Dave (the boss) and Allan.

The Dragon's will be back on May 24th.

Two little Leprachauns?...

John on cornet

........................Guinness by the   bucketful!

Sunday, March 15th....The Old Comrades Jazz Band were today's visitors with the "A" team on parade with leader Big Eric Dodgson on trombone, Dave Sherwood on cornet, Dave Coles on clarinet/soprano, Mike Wall on piano, Griff Thomas on banjo, Steve Slater on bass and Dave Andrews on drums.

As always this was entertaining jazz to brighten any Sunday lunchtime with tunes which ranged from "Come Back Sweet Papa" to Eric's cheeky "Hot Dog in Your Roll". The first set ended rather differently to usual when Mike Wall played a superb solo version of "The Entertainer" and the second set started with a rousing "Happy Birthday" for the Harp's other favourite octogenarian, Frank Pardoe. "Rose of Washington Square" was another chance for Eric to exercise his vocal chords while "Michigander Blues" and "Bright Star Blues" were two of the less well known numbers in a programme which ended with "Dans Les Rues D'Antibes".

Rose of Washington Square is on You Tube

The Comrades are not back in until July but are well worth waiting for.


Tuesday, March 10th...Another eagerly awaited return was that of young jazz violin player Ben Holder, this time with BB Swing. John Smith was on guitar, Robin Mason on clarinet and alto, Rob Milburn sat in on rhythm guitar just for the fun of it and the double bass of Bill Smith was conspicuous by its absence in the first set. This was because Bill had mistakenly thought the gig was in Nottingham and travelled in the opposite direction from his home in Derby! On realising his mistake Bill decided the show must go on and drove all the way back and then on to Albrighton to be greeted by loud, well deserved cheers from the audience!

The sheer enthusiasm and talent of young Ben is quite breathtaking and was shown to great effect in every number. These include Charlie Chaplin's "Avalon", vocals from Ben in "'Deed I Do" and "All God's Children Got Rhythm", a brilliant "Nagasaki" (see these two on YouTube) and a version of "Dinah" which had a little of "S'Wonderful" thrown in for good measure. Robin Mason did a superb "If I had You" with the rhythm section who did a great job all evening.

Ben, like many of the younger generation of jazz musicians, is like a breath of fresh air in the music world and, again like many others, deserves to be on the "wanted" list of every jazz club in the country....don't forget there is always talk of "our" kind of jazz dying out....it never will with youngsters such as Ben, and the others there to keep the flag flying.

Ben and the gang will be back on Sunday, April 26th....be early for the 12.30 start.

John Smith

Robin Mason

Two views of......

..........Ben Holder

Bill Smith

Rob Milburn


Sunday, March 8th....it 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 line-up was changed a little since last year with John Baynes moving to double bass and baritone sax with Bernard Holder filling the clarinet spot. With Nick Singer in Spain at short notice the banjo/guitar chair was filled by Clinton Sedgley, well known to our audience through his visits with the Antique Six Jazz Band, and the rest of the line-up was Bill Edmonds on trumpet, Hugh Crozier on piano and of course Bob on trombone.

"River Boat Shuffle" and "Clarinet Marmalade" were two of the early numbers whilst the vocals included Hugh Crozier's "Good Morning Blues" and "Caldonia" with Bob Dwyer giving his vocal chords an airing on "There Will Never be Another You" and "My Blue Heaven".

John Bayne was featured on bass sax in a "truncated" (Bob's joke not mine!) version of "Elephant Stomp" and Bob and Bernie Holder gave Bill a rest in "Si Tu Vois Ma Mère". Bill then played a superb version of "West End Blues"...I will request it again next year!

The session ended with "So Do I" with suitable audience participation, and anticipation of another visit next year..

Hugh Crozier

Bob Dwyer/Bill Edmonds

The Hot 6

Bernard Holder

Clinton Sedgley


Tuesday, March 3rd...the return of John Sparry's 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 band...now you know as much as me!). brought in a very good crowd on what was a cold and wet evening.

John's undoubted ability on the vibraphone is enhanced by his knowledge of the origin of almost every tune he plays, almost down to the time of day the notes were put on paper!

Joining John were Bryn Venus on piano, Richard Werrett on guitar, Jim Sutton on bass and Barry Watts on drums to entertain us with numbers ranging from "This Can't Be Love" to "Perdido" and "Lullaby of Birdland". The Harp's octogenarian tenor sax player, Frank Pardoe, joined the band during the second set with "Days of Wine and Roses" and "When You're Smiling" and for the final number "The Sheikh of Araby" when Frank surprised John by donning his Arab disguise for his inimitable vocal!

Another excellent session from the Quintet who will be back in September.


Sunday, March 1st....another excellent Sunday session from Martinique Jazz Band. Making a rare appearance at the Harp was Bill Bickerton on piano standing in superbly for Ken Jones. With Bill in the rhythm section were regulars Jim Harney on drums and "whispering" Dave Boxold on bass.....no songs from Dave today as his throat was causing him problems....with the front line being Tony Billingsley on trumpet and new beard, Terry Roberts on clarinet and saxes and Bobby Johnson on trombone and vocals.

Their programme ranged from Dixieland to Mainstream and Swing with excellent solos from everyone as we have come to expect during a very pleasant Sunday lunchtime.

Martinique will be back on April 21st.


Tuesday, February 24th...unusually for a Millennium Eagle Jazz Band session we had rather sparse audience for most of the session....Man. United on TV might have contributed but whatever the reason the "stayaways" missed a typical Millennium session, swinging brilliantly played jazz with superb solos and vocals.

The two trombones of Andy Holdorf and Pete (usually trumpet) Brown were featured in "Mabel's Dream" and "Crazy About My Baby" whilst Mat Palmer passed the New Orleans clarinet test piece, "High Society" with flying colours! Wally Fawkes "Trog's Blues" brought back memories of the Humphrey Lyttelton Band at the Royal Festival Hall in the '50s!

The band was driven along by Brian Lawrence on his new bass, Chris Etherington on banjo and young Jack Cotterill on drums.

Millennium Eagle will be back in August and Jack will be back with his own band in July.


Sunday, February 22nd...the Stephen Steinhaus Trio provided today's entertainment which was very different to our usual musical fare but which was enjoyed immensely by the audience.
Larger then life Steve was the vocalist/leader of Jay Moody on tenor sax and Rob "Stormin'" Norman on keyboard. A very gentle starter, "But Beautiful" by Jay and Rob, gave no indication to those who hadn't seen Steve before of the swinging, rocking session that was to come! Everything from "It Don't Mean a Thing if It Ain't Got That Swing" to "Caldonia" and a couple of audience participation numbers in "Wade in the Water" and "Minnie the Moocher" really kept the attention of the audience!
Rob and Jay played superbly throughout the session with "Mustang Sally" being the rousing final number for Chicagoan Stephen and his two brilliant young musicians.
Tuesday, February 17th....this should have been a gig for Carole Westwood and the Archie Cotterell Trio but unfortunately Carole couldn't make the gig so Archie contacted Brenda Scott who agreed to come along at short notice. Brenda is a Yorkshire lass who settled in the Midlands in the early 60s as singer with the Bob Potter Band who were the regular band at the Queen's Ballroom in Wolverhampton. Since then Brenda has been recognised as one of the top singers in the Midlands and was more than welcome to step in for Carole tonight.

Starting off by telling the audience that she would enjoy the evening because it was a rare chance for her to drink something stronger than Diet Coke as she was not driving, Brenda gave us a superb session of standards all given her own inimitable interpretation.

Throughout Archie Cotterell on keyboard, Derek Brown on bass guitar and Barry Watts on drums provided the perfect backing as well as several Trio numbers which showed off Archie's well known talent perfectly......talent which Archie was saying during the interval still relies on practising every day!

Vocal numbers included "Lover Man", and a very fast "Cheek to Cheek" followed by a delightful slow "Autumn in New York" and a request for Allan Austin. with "Satin Doll". Archie's solos included "Blue Bossa" and "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and a Derek Brown/Brenda Scott duet for "Fever" was a bit special as was the final number, "Every Time We Say Goodbye".

Brenda Scott with............

the Archie Cotterell Trio

Sunday, February 15th.....With our silver wedding celebrations starting with last Tuesday's gig, progressing to a meal on Friday at the Mitre in Tettenhall, where we first met, and then to a family party at home on Saturday, there could only be one way to conclude a lovely weekend and that was with today's visitors, the brilliant New Orleans Heat.

Barry Grummett on piano led the usual line-up of John Scantlebury on clarinet/sax, Gwyn Lewis on cornet/flugelhorn, Mike Taylor on trombone, Tony Peatman on banjo, Harry Slater on bass and Clarence Nugent on drums.

From the first note to the last this was a superb, entertaining Sunday lunchtime. "Algiers Strut" and "Telephone to Glory" were two of the early numbers with a new one to us, "Salute to Ohio State", being the first one I videoed. Gwyn had the place rocking with "Shimmy Like My Sister Kate" and did an excellent "Because of You" on flugelhorn whilst Mike  was featured on "Mood Indigo" with the rhythm section. "Mary Wore a Golden Chain" was another which is on YouTube.

Great numbers, superb solos, vocals extraordinaire from Gwyn all added up to a great session which ended with a very short version of "Panama" just for Marie.....short because Barry wanted to get home to see the Derby/Man. United match!

New Orleans Heat will be back on Sunday, May 17th.


Tuesday, February 10th...after their exploits on Sunday the two Mikes (Hayler and Carnie) returned very quickly as half of Mike Hayler and Friends....the other two being Peter Robinson on banjo and guitar and Isabel Toner on bass.

Mike Hayler insisted that he put this band together to prove he did have friends....in fact he did it because I needed a band to fill this gig, and a great job they made of it!

With Pete Robinson being both part of the rhythm section and part of a two man front line the enjoyable music ranged from "Avalon" and Nuages" featuring the clarinet, to "Louisiana" with Mike on tenor sax and "China Boy" with Pete on banjo. A superb "Lady Be Good" featured Mike on tenor and soprano with Pete on guitar, excellent.

Mike Carnie and Isabel Toner drove the band along all evening and made sure they didn't flag at all. It is a long time since we last saw Isabel in the Harp, and in such fine form, and Pete's role as part of the front line meant we heard more of his excellent guitar and banjo solos than usual.

The evening was made even more special when John Hill presented Marie with a bouquet of flowers and me with a bottle of wine, together with a card signed by the "regulars", to mark our silver wedding next Saturday.

A most enjoyable evening which we may repeat next year if the opportunity arises...our programme is now full for 2009.

 

Sunday, February 8th...once again a band I hadn't seen before came in to give us a great Sunday lunchtime session.

Mike Carnie and his Jazz All Stars certainly lived up to their name as the line-up included Jon Critchley on trumpet, Mike Hayler on clarinet and tenor sax, Laurie Cooper on trombone, Reg Kenworthy on bass, the irrepressible Derek Harrison on piano and Mike himself on drums.

Derek immediately endeared himself to the audience when he decided to play the old "steam" piano which stands rather neglected against the wall at other times. This did mean that most of the time all we saw was Derek's back but this in no way detracted from the entertainment. The tunes varied from the opener, "Dinah", with a vocal by Derek, to "Careless Love Blues", then a delightful trombone feature for Laurie with "A Nightingale sang in Berkeley Square" and a Mike Hayler and rhythm section "Over the Waves". Abandoning the piano stool Derek gave us a brilliant "Honky Tonk Train Blues", complete with foot accompaniment (eventually!).

Leader Mike's feature was "Bei Mir Bist Du Schön" and Jon shone with "Exactly Like You" and a superb gig ended with a rousing "Momma Don't Allow".

Mike Carnie and his band of real stars will be back on August 11th whilst the two Mikes will be in next Tuesday!

Mike Hayler

Derek Harrison

Jon Chritchley

Laurie Cooper

Reg Kenworthy

 

The Front Line

Mike Carnie

Taking the very fresh air!

 

Tuesday, February 3rd.....in spite of a bitterly cold night the attraction of a gig with New Washboard Syncopators was too great to resist with the result that we had a good crowd in for this very popular band.

The regular members of the band, Chris Carmel on cornet, Bob Smith on clarinet, Dave Braidley on trombone, Bob Pearce on bass and Tony Quinn on percussion were joined by Phil Probert on banjo, depping for George Linder.

 As always we were treated to numbers we hadn't heard before, such as "Guba Dance" (I think there is some connection to peanuts!) and the intriguing "Every Tub Has Its Own Bottom" with the rarely heard "Panama Mammas Are Ruining Me" and "I Want to Play Piano For the Ladies", which had a fine vocal performance from Dave Braidley, adding to the evening's enjoyment.

The ever young Bob Smith did a fine vocal on "Sunset Café Stomp" and an excellent clarinet solo with "St. Phillip's Street Breakdown".

In between the excellent music we had several jokes from Chris Carmel (none of which I can remember!) which had the audience in stitches and occasionally brought groans from the band. Chris also does the vocal on "Egyptian Ella" which will be on YouTube soon.

Another superb session from another band who not only enjoy playing their music but also make sure the audience enjoy listening.

They will be back on Sunday, April 19th.


Sunday, February 1st...returning for their first gig in 2009 Apex Jazz and Swing Band featured popular pianist Ken Jones on piano with the regulars Jon Stone on trumpet, Laurie Cooper on trombone, John Fellows on bass, Jim Harney on drums and leader Robin Mason on assorted plumbing, namely clarinet, alto and baritone sax.

With more than a hint of snow in the air it was very pleasing to see a good crowd in the Harp for what turned out to be a most entertaining session. Music varied from "Satin Doll" to "Farewell Blues" with "Mean to Me" being a Ken Jones piano feature with Jim on drums and John on bass....I think the choice of this number had more than a little to do with the fact Marie requested the solo!

Robin did his bit with the rhythm section when he played "Lady Be Good" and Jon Stone was the bands vocalist on the likes of "My Lean Baby" and his arrangement of "Cute" was a little bit special.

"Stevedore Stomp" finished a superb Sunday session in which the audience and band alike seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves.

One topic of conversation during this lunchtime was the impact on last Friday night's "Neil Diamond Tribute" by our 7 years old grandson Jamie!....see more on the "More News" page.

Robin Mason

Apex

Jon Stone

Ken Jones


Tuesday, January 27th....following the successful gig two days ago it might have been too much to expect more of the same tonight but that is just what we got.....a very full house and brilliant music by two young people.

After a few early problems with the sound volume (even the elderly ears in the audience were taking a pounding for the first few numbers!) Carl Sinclair on piano and Natasha Buxton on drums gave us an evening of pure nostalgia. This wasn't the nostalgia for "traditional" jazz but rather going back to a youth of Rock and Roll, Blues and Boogie and even Winifred Atwell! With memories of Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Fats Waller and even our own "Big Man" Clayton the audience participation by aging, one-time rockers added greatly to the enjoyment of the evening!

One number even had Carl get up from his stool and walk round the keyboard, still playing, to finish up playing the keys from the back of his instrument....unbelievable!

Carl once again showed us what a brilliant entertainer he is with a rapport with the audience which belies his tender years (well, 24 is very young compared to most of our audience!) and it is obvious why Natasha comes from the Midland Youth Jazz Orchestra.

A standing ovation at the end of the first set and the end of the session speaks for itself.

Carl and Natasha will be back on June 30th

   

Sunday, January 25th...we hoped for a full house for the visit of young sax player Amy Roberts and that is exactly what we got. Not only did Amy bring in a load of fans but also four superb musicians, an indication of the high regard in which she is held by others.

Another young musician, Russell Smith, was on drums for only his second gig in a jazz club...we would never have known this had it not been for his dad Graham, of Antique Six fame, who's pride in his son's talent was very obvious.

The three more "mature" members of the band were Pete Ainge on trumpet, Roger Heeley on piano and Jim Swinnerton on bass.

The music ranged from "Indiana" to a Pete Ainge vocal in "Way Down Yonder in New Orleans" and a superb "Georgia On My Mind" with piano solo by Roger Heeley. Amy and Pete were a great front line with Amy producing excellent solos one after the other, very often with admiring looks from Pete and Roger.

"Rosetta" by the band and "Danny Boy" by Amy on flute and Roger on piano is now on YouTube.

The session ended with an Oriental theme through "China Town" and a rousing "China Boy".

Amy's band will be back in October.

Amy. Pete, Russell and Jim..... ...with Roger hidden behind Pete.

Tuesday, January 20th..saw Martinique Jazz Band starting off their 2009 gigs for us with their regular line-up of Tony Billingsley on trumpet, Terry Roberts on saxes and clarinet, Bobby Johnson on trombone, Ken Jones on piano, Dave Boxold on bass and Jim Harney on drums.

As always a very entertaining evening with Dave, Tony and Bob supplying the vocals and excellent solos from everyone.

Martinique will be back on March 1st.


Sunday, January 18th....brought the first gig of 2009 for the Old Comrades Jazz Band. Always welcome at the Harp the Comrades attracted a decent sized audience who enjoyed "happy jazz" at its best.

Led by "Big Eric" Dodgson on trombone the rest of the mostly elderly gentlemen were Dave Shepherd on cornet, Dave Coles on clarinet/sax, Mike wall on piano, Griff Thomas on banjo, Steve Slater on bass and Dave Andrews on drums.

The music varied from "My Blue Heaven" to "Blame it on the Blues" and "Moose March" along with the lesser known "Root, Hog or Die" and Eric's rendering of "What a Friend We Have in Jesus"....only two verses of the Army version, as he said the next day to John Bosworth who emailed him the missing third verse "I knew there was another verse but it is 62 years since I was demobbed"!

There is a video of "Careless Love Blues" on YouTube.

Another entertaining Sunday lunchtime with a few new visitors who enjoyed it and said they would be back, the band will be back on March 15th.


Tuesday, January 13th....the "New" Bank Street Syncopators were tonight's visitors, "new" in that following the retirement of drummer Derek Rowland the band are now in the capable hands of drummer Steve Markham. On trombone tonight was David Deakin replacing Barry Phillips who has been ill for some time.

The regular members of the orchestra are Tony Billingsley on trumpet and vocals, Harry Christian on clarinet and saxes, Fred Dixon on guitar/banjo and Dave Boxold on bass and vocals.

Again an most enjoyable session from one of our regular bands who will be back on March 10th.


Sunday, January 11th....today's visit by the Five Towns Footwarmers gave us a line-up of leader Keith Garner on banjo and jokes, Glynn Bennett on trumpet, Laurie Cooper on trombone, Gerry Owen on clarinet/alto and vocals, Terry Cooper on bass/sousaphone and Mike Haslam on drums.

The music ranged from the familiar, "China Boy" and "Indiana" to the lesser known "Stomp at El Morocco" with several vocals from Geoff which included "Careless Love" and "Dinah". Like many other bands who want a repeat booking the Footwarmers made sure they played Marie's requests for "Algiers Strut" and "Running Wild"!

As always the band gave us an excellent swinging Sunday lunchtime session and they will be more than welcome back in June.


Tuesday, January 6th....saw the long awaited return of young violin player Ben Holder with Djangology. Due to "unforeseen circumstances" the line-up had to be drastically altered so joining Ben we had Bill Smith on lead guitar (incidentally it was Bill Smith who introduced Ben to the wonderful world of jazz) and Rob Smith on bass with Robin Mason on sax and clarinet, plus the added bonus of Rob Milburn on rhythm guitar who came along just for the pleasure of accompanying Ben!

The music ranged from "Indiana" to "Swing That Music" and "It Don't Mean a Thing if it Ain't Got That Swing" with even a vocal from Ben during "All God's Children Got Swing"! Two other numbers, "Lady Be Good" and "Nuages" are now on YouTube.

The vitality, talent and sheer enjoyment of the music shown by this 19 year old violin player was an absolute joy to watch and listen to, as was shown by the applause from both the audience and the other musicians.

The quality of the musicians that Ben and many more of our young people in jazz can attract to accompany them is a tribute to their talent and dedication to the music we all enjoy. This is not always reflected in their chances of being seen at some jazz clubs who seem to find difficulty in booking either young musicians or line-ups other than the "traditional" six piece band.

Reinhardt and Grappelli didn't have such a line-up....look at the legacy they left to the jazz world, come on promoters/band bookers, look for these youngsters and give them a chance, you might be pleasantly surprised!

Ben also told us his band have been accepted for the auditions of "Britain's Got Talent".....look out for it later in the year, we might yet get some decent music on the box!

A truly superb evening spoilt only by the bitterly cold weather, following recent snowfall, which led to a much smaller, but beautifully formed, audience than we anticipated for Djangology. There will however be five more opportunities to see Ben later in the year.

 

Bill Smith

Robin Mason

Ben Holder

Rob Smith

Rob Milburn


Sunday, January 4th. 2009...our New Year started with John Everett's Red Dragon Jazzmen and singer Ruth Frith whilst Dave Margaroni made a rare appearance at the Harp playing trombone.

As always a very lively session from John and the gang with John blaming his advancing years for occasionally forgetting the title of the numbers the band were about to play! These numbers included "Some of these days", drummer Ron Smith's vocal on "Dr. Jazz" and Phil Probert's guitar and vocal on !I'm Confessin' that I Love You".

Ruth's songs included "There'll Be Some Changes Made", "Cake Walking Babies" and "Coney Island Washboard", all very much appreciated by the audience.

John was ably supported by John Bodenham on clarinet, Mark Johnson on bass and of course Ron, Phil and Dave.

An excellent start to the new year of jazz at the Harp with a good crowd obviously happy to get back into the twice a week jazz routine.

The Dragon's will be back on March 17th


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