Jazz Club 90

Gigs 2010    (from Jan.3rd.)

The Harp Hotel, Albrighton,Shropshire. WV7 3JF



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e-mail: jazzclub90@live.co.uk

Sunday, December 12th....Apex Jazz and Swing Band had a different line-up today with Derek Bennett on drums, Bob Boucher on bass, Rob Milburn on guitar and banjo, Graham Woodhouse on trombone and marching band valve trombone joining Jon Stone on trumpet/flugelhorn and leader Robin Mason on reeds.

"Sweet Georgia Brown", "Flamingo" and "Take the A Train" all contributed to a most entertaining lunch time with the bonus of a rare appearance at the Harp by Graham Woodhouse and also seeing Derek Bennett back playing after his long illness.

Apex will be back in February.


Tuesday, December 7th.....Bank Street Syncopators had Gary Bell on trumpet and flugelhorn joining Pat Bayliss on trombone, Harry Christian on reeds, Fred Dixon on banjo/guitar, Dave Boxold on bass and Steve Markham on drums.

Music to suit everyone with vocals from Gary and Dave and excellent solos helped to warm up a very cold evening.

Sunday, December 5th....we were lucky that the bad weather which caused the cancellation of several New Orleans Heat gigs in the North East didn't extend as far as Albrighton and the band were more than happy to have the chance to play.

When Barry Grummett asked Marie which number she wanted them to start with we all knew it would be one of three..."Running Wild", "Panama" or the one she chose, "Algiers Strut". Needless to say it was a cracking start to a superb session. The solos and vocals as always were excellent with the rhythm section driving everything along.

Many of the numbers played were based on girl's names..."Dinah", "Mary Wore a Golden Chain" and "Marie" are all available on their new CD, "All the Girls" which can be obtained at their gigs or from Tony Peatman on 01673 861148.

New Orleans Heat will be back with us for a rare Tuesday evening gig on March 22nd......this is another session funded by our grant from Albrighton Local Joint Committee.

Tuesday. November 30th......tonight's session was cancelled as several members of New Washboard Syncopators live "out in the sticks" and the forecast of severe frost would have made the homeward journey too dangerous.
Sunday, November 28th.....5 Towns Footwarmers were in today with leader Keith Garner expressing his delight at being back at the Harp the day after the Wolves managed to win three precious Premier league points!

Car problems meant that the band were without a drummer but still managed to give us a most entertaining lunchtime. John Everett joined the band on trumpet with regulars Laurie Cooper on trombone, Gerry Owen on clarinet/sax, Terry Cooper on bass/sousaphone and Keith on banjo to play the jazz standards we all enjoy.

On a bitterly cold day the Footwarmers warmed everyone up and Keith's last comment was that he hoped Wolves would have more points in the bag next week! (I think he is a bigger Wolves fan than me!..........never!)

The band will be back on May 31st.

Tuesday, November 23rd...it had to happen one day!....we arrived at the Harp to be met by Richard Leach, with Dave Wilkinson from Richard's Clubhouse 5, looking rather perplexed at the notice board which was advertising Ben Holder and BB Swing for this evening! Following close behind us came the other members of Richard's band and Ben with his trio! It turned out to be another "senior moment" on my part...having offered Richard the gig I forgot to mark the date on my calendar and later gave the gig to Ben!!!

What could have been a very embarrassing and awkward situation was quickly solved when it was agreed Richard would do the first set and Ben take over in the second half....much to my relief!

Richard then very kindly introduced the session by saying that the Clubhouse 5 were the first part of a double bill specially booked by me for our lovely audience...not a word of which was believed by said lovely audience!

We then had a superb evening of Alex Welsh inspired music from the Clubhouse 5 with Dave Wilkinson on clarinet/sax, Gordon Whitworth on trumpet, Howard Worthington on bass, Brian Mellor on banjo/guitar and of course Richard on trombone, followed by Ben Holder's Trio with their Grappelli/Reinhardt style of jazz. Ben on violin goes from strength to strength and is superbly backed by John Smith on guitar and Bill Smith on bass. As on previous occasions Jon Salt joined the band for a few vocals and a stint on the piano and even some harmonica blues.

In between all this we had John Hill making a presentation of flowers, chocolates and a card to Marie for her birthday on Thursday.....his words of praise (all true!) for our hard working fundraiser almost brought a blush to Marie's cheeks and definitely brought a round of applause from the audience!

Too shy(?) to make a "thank you" speech Marie has asked me to express her thanks for the gifts which are very much appreciated....I might even get a chocolate for putting that bit in.

A mix up to start with, a great session to finish with from two superb bands...thanks fellas.     

Ben will be back on Jan. 11th and Richard on Feb. 22nd.


The Clubhouse 5

Marie...the rose between?

Ben Holder Trio


Sunday, November 21st...once again what do I say about JB's Jazz and Blues Band that hasn't been said many times before?....can't think of anything so how about "they were brilliant, entertaining, enjoyed themselves and produced superb music along the way". John Beckingham on piano leads Roger Manering on clarinet and sax, Andy Woods on guitar, Mark Howell on bass and Paul Holder on drums (complete with illumination...see the photo below!).

That music included "Jive at Five", "Fly Me To The Moon" with vocal from Paul Holder, Andy Woods' "I've Got a Right to Sing The Blues", and "You Meet the Nicest People in Your Dreams" which Roger Manering dedicated to the audience at Jazz Club 90. The boss, John Beckingham included vocals on "Alright , OK, You Win" and "Everything Happens To Me" along with his piano playing.

Five excellent musicians who so obviously enjoy their music, and playing at the Harp where they always get a very warm welcome, we even laugh at the jokes!

Put January 9th. in your diary, that is when JB will be back.

Paul's drums..........in the spotlight!
Tuesday, November 16th...a new sound to Martinique Jazz Band today when Gary Bell on trumpet/flugelhorn and Dennis Taylor on sax/clarinet joined regulars Bobby Johnson on trombone, Dave Boxold on bass, Reg Reid on piano and Jim Harney on drums.

A programme which ranged from "Sweet Sue" to "Creole Love Call" and "China Boy", and with features for Gary on "Stardust" and Dennis on "Stranger on the Shore", brought many complimentary remarks from the audience. Vocals from Dave Boxold and Gary Bell added to the evening's enjoyment.

A most enjoyable evening, Martinique will be back on December 19th.

Sunday, November 14th...Millennium Eagle Jazz Band had a very welcome guest when Matt Palmer couldn't make the gig and Bob Smith brought in his clarinet and baritone sax to join Pete Brown on trumpet/valve trombone, Andy Holdorf on trombone, Brian Lawrence on bass, Jack Cotterill on drums and Chris Etherington on banjo.

As one of the founders of the original Eagle Jazz Band Bob fitted in very well during the session which included such varied numbers as "Original Dixieland One Step", "Fair and Square in Love", "Salutation March" and "Algiers Strut". Bob had his vocal feature with "My Little Bimbo Down on a Bamboo Isle" and every one played excellent solos throughout the session which finished with "Didn't He Ramble" to send a full house home happy.

On Tuesday we had Marie being poorly, today it was the turn of Brian's car which suffered a diesel injector problem (whatever that may be!) meaning he arrived just in time for the start and The AA man arrived just in time to take him home on the back of the truck!

Millennium Eagle will be with us on December 21st for out Christmas party.

Special guest Bob Smith......

Click to enlarge

......the Millennium Eagle Jazz Band

Tuesday, November 9th...A typical entertaining session from talented pianist and singer Carl Sinclair with drummer Howard Smith had a near full house enjoying every minute.

Unfortunately for Marie she felt ill during the evening so we had to leave early but I am assured the rest of the evening maintained the same high standard set by Carl and Howard...they will be back on Sunday, Feb. 20th. 2011.

Sunday, November 7th...today's session by the Old Comrades Jazz Band had the added attraction of young Alice Beavan who treated us to some superb vocals.

The band as always gave us a most entertaining lunchtime despite leader "Big Eric" not feeling too well for most of the session. The band numbers ranged from "Thriller Rag" to "Wild Man Blues" and Eric's cheeky "Hot Dog Man" with "Telephone to Glory" and "Algiers Strut" at the end of the session.

Alice gave us "Black Mountain Blues", "Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight", "Baby Doll", "Careless Love" and Cake Walking Babies". With a voice and feeling for a song which belie her 17 years Alice is surely a star of the future and will be welcomed back to the Harp any time she can get away from university in Wales.

Tuesday, November 2nd...Antique Six Jazz Band as always provided an evening of exceptionally well played jazz with several numbers featuring the rhythm section with one of the front line....such numbers including "On Treasure Island" with Richard Leach on trombone, Brahms' "Cradle Song" with Chris Pearce on clarinet with a little help from Richard and Chris again on a brilliant "High Society" with Richard and Chris Mercer joining in at the very end. The superb rhythm section as usual was Graham Smith on drums, Clinton Sedgley on guitar/banjo and Ian Parry on bass.

Vocals included "Nagasaki" by Chris Mercer and "Dr. Jazz" by Richard Leach.

Antique Six are not booked in for next year yet but they will be!

Sunday, October 31st...It happened again!....I booked a band without hearing them, in fact I hadn't even heard of the Jelly Babies Jazz Band until they were recommended to me but what a great gig it turned out to be.

This 9-piece band from Sweden claimed to play “Happy Jazz” and that is exactly what they did, and as a bonus they all spoke perfect English…a very good thing being as none of us spoke any Swedish!

We often have musicians who sing but rarely a band with a featured male singer who did all the vocals except when the washboard player was let loose on a couple of numbers…his washboard playing and vocals were amazing!

Led by Lars Grunberger on clarinet the line-up was Jan Trygue...trumpet, Kai Siefert...trombone, Ulf Dreber...sax, Boa Carlman...banjo/guitar, Ulf Lindberg...piano, Hans Nyman....bass, Martin Lindberg....washboard and vocalist and Per Arne Lindholm...vocals.

From the start with “When You’re Smiling” to the finish with “I’ll See You in my Dreams” this was most entertaining and the friendliness of the musicians was appreciated by the audience.

The band would like to come back, we would like to have them back….let’s see what next year brings!


Per Arne Lindholm

Jelly Babies

Martin Lindberg


Tuesday, October 26th....saw another visit by the ever popular New Washboard Syncopators who combined their own style of good old fashioned jazz with a good mix of vocals and even the odd, sometimes very odd, jokes by Chris Carmel.

Another excellent way to spend a Tuesday evening.

Sunday, October 24th...another session with young violinist Ben Holder saw Peter Robinson on bass joining Ben and John Smith on guitar for another Sunday lunchtime of superb jazz.

Very well supported by John and Pete the violin playing talent of Ben was, as always, just quite brilliant…..add to this his prowess on the piano and vocals  and you have one exceptional young musician.

Tunes ranged from “Perdido” to “Route 66”, a Django tribute with “Stompin’ at Decca” and “Trouble en Bolero” and even “Caravan” played for our octogenarian regular Frank Pardoe.

“Making Whoopee” was played on the old piano and the session ended with “Tiger Rag”.

Another entertaining, enjoyable session played by three superb musicians

Tuesday, October 19th...a very special occasion today as we mark 20 years of Jazz Club 90 in Albrighton, 17 of those years "at home" in the Harp.

To help us celebrate we had one of our regular bands, Robin Mason's Apex Jazz & Swing Band. The usual line-up of Robin on clarinet and saxes, Jon Stone on trumpet and vocals, Bob Boucher on bass, and Jim Harney on drums were joined by Ron Hills on trombone and, a new face to us, Don Gwinnett on piano.

As always the band played entertaining, varied jazz with something for everyone from Trad to Big Band. It was fitting that Ron Hills was with us as he was a long time member of a band who supported us over many years, the late, and very much missed, John Burnett's Jazz Bandits. Don was a revelation on the piano, absolutely brilliant.

As always at our "celebrations" we had the "Grand Raffle" with several prizes of the alcoholic variety, jazz CDs and a Louis Armstrong DVD along with tins of sweets etc. Also a favourite feature is the supper provided by Donna, Dave and Russell from the Harp and Jazz Club 90.

We had the first opportunity to wear the anniversary polo shirts which Donna had made for us.

I was able to thank everyone who contributed in some way to making Jazz Club 90 and the Harp so well known in the jazz world....this included obviously Donna, Dave and Russell, without their financial backing we couldn't exist, our audiences without whom their would be no point in putting on the bands, the musicians who often travel considerable distance to play for us, and who in the main want to come back again!

I never let these occasions pass without singing (not literally!) the praises of my lovely wife Marie who is an absolute genius at extracting money from poor unfortunate jazz fans!....on top of that Marie prepares, with a little help from me, the now essential tasty rolls for the starving masses at the gigs, sorts out birthday cards, collecting stamps for the Guide Dogs, and looks after newcomers and a myriad other things  and especially tries to keep me up to date with my side of the whole shebang!

We also thanked Albrighton Parish Council, Albrighton Local Joint Committee for their financial support, and as I found out the next day, Shropshire Council who have awarded us a grant from their Arts funding....all of this is a very necessary part of our annual funding.

We hope to continue celebrating our existence for many years to come!


Sunday,October 17th....a return visit today for a very different line-up with Paul Vernon Chester's "Duets for Django" which featured the two guitars of Paul and his cousin Nick Mellor.

The title of their programme gives a very good indication of the style of music they play. This included "Chez Jaquet", the inevitable "Nuages", "Django's Waltz", "Stompin' at Decca" and "Hotel Claridge", named after the hotel in Paris where the Quintet of the Hot Club of France was born from jam sessions in the hotel.

Other numbers included "How High the Moon", "Norwegian Dance", "Dark Eyes" and "All the Things You Are" with their own composition "Peru" thrown in for good measure.

A brilliant session, marred only by the poor sound during the first set which was more than made up for when knobs were twiddled and  speakers adjusted in the interval.

Back again next year?....definitely!

Nick Mellor........Paul Chester

Click photo to enlarge.

Tuesday, October 12th....Richard Leach's Clubhouse 5 made a rare but very welcome appearance at the Harp with their own brand of very happy jazz. The regular line-up of Gordon Whitworth on trumpet, Dave Wilkinson on clarinet and alto, Brian Mellor on banjo and guitar, Howard Worthington on bass and leader Richard on trombone provided a perfect antidote too the dismal display by the England football(?) team on TV in the bar!

Two of Marie's favourite numbers, "Algiers Strut! and "Panama" opened and closed the first set which also included vocal from Howard on "Until the Real Thing Comes Along" and Gordon with "Sweet Substitute". The second set gave us Bix's "Singing the Blues" with Gordon on trumpet and Dave on alto after which Richard was featured in "After You've Gone". Brian Mellor's "Old Man Mose" and a rousing "Get Out of Here and Go Home" brought the very enjoyable evening to a close.

This famous 5 will be back in February.

Tuesday, October  5th....a very pleasant surprise tonight when Pete Ainge arrived to play trumpet with the Wabash Jazzmen alongside the regulars, Mike Hayler on clarinet/sax, Howard Worthington on bass and leader Mark Challinor on banjo and guitar. 

Once again Wabash produced a most entertaining evening with excellent solos and vocals with the ever brilliant two man rhythm section driving the front line along superbly.

This very popular band a back in at the end of January.

Sunday, October 3rd....A very different session today with the Limehouse Jazz Band from Holland....different for several reasons such as they were a nine piece band, (yes they did fit in the Harp quite easily!), they all sat down, they played from music sheets and played music very much from the 20s and 30s.

Led by Robert Duis on cornet, and introductions and jokes(!) the line up was two alto and one tenor sax, who all doubled on clarinet, two cornets, one trombone who also played cornet, bass, piano (on the Harp upright) and banjo.

The music ranged from "Zulu Wail" to "Saratoga Shout", from "Delirium" to "Eccentric" with "Drop me off in Harlem" and "Davenport Blues" along the way. "Dippermouth Blues" and "Hot Mustard" were two more offerings.

The arrangements, many by Attila Korb, a very special guest from Hungary, were superb, the solos brilliant and the effect on the audience unbelievable...it has never been so quiet for a band whilst they were playing!

If we can fit in with one of their tours next year the Limehouse Jazz band will be more than welcome to come back to the Harp.


Attila Korb

Robert Duis

Limehouse Jazz Band


Sunday, September 26th....the first visit by Colin Kingwell's Jazz Bandits brought us a lunchtime of excellent New Orleans style jazz played by Nigel Hunt on trumpet, Ron Rumbol on clarinet and alto, Malc Murphy on drums, Dave Fawcett on banjo, Peter Brooks on bass and of course Colin on trombone.

"Over in the Glory Land", "Sweet Fields", "Froggymore Rag" and "Lady be Good" were just a few of the numbers which soon endeared the band to our audience with Colin's jokes adding a little spice to the session, especially in the second set when our 4 year old grandson Adam had gone home!

A first visit but hopefully not the last, we hope to see the Jazz Bandits again next year.

Nigel Hunt  


The Bandits

   Colin Kingwell


Ron Rumbol   Peter Brooks               Malc Murphy    Dave Fawcett

Tuesday, September 21st....Baby Jools' All Stars set tonight's session off with a swinging "Algiers Strut" and we knew right away we were in for a cracking evening. With Jools on drums were Denny Ilett on cornet, Matt Palmer on clarinet/sax, Mick Cooke on trombone, Brian Mellor on banjo and guitar and Jim Swinnerton on bass and together they lived up to their "All Stars" name.

"Way Down Yonder", "Over in the Glory Land" and "Christopher Columbus" were just a few of the many great numbers they played, none of them played quite so fast as a brilliant version of "Washington and Lee Swing"...a pity I didn't video it!

Once again the "All Stars" were all on top form with a superb front line and a driving rhythm section, what more could we want?

The fact that Julyan "Baby Jools" Aldridge can gather together five of the country's finest jazz musicians is a telling tribute to his talent as not only a superb drummer but also as a band leader. We have been privileged recently to hear other extremely talented young musicians...Ben Holder on violin, Jack Cotterill on drums, Carl Sinclair on piano who, along with Jools, are very much appreciated and encouraged by our audience every time they visit the Harp.

The All Stars will be back in 2011.

Sunday, September 19th...I really didn't think it could happen but today's session with Carl Sinclair on piano and Howard Smith on drums was , if anything, even better than any of their previous gigs!

This amazing young piano player connects so readily with our slightly(!) older audience and has them in the palm of his hand, while Howard backs him superbly on both drums and vocals.

Their choice of numbers from "I Got You Babe" to "Brown Eyed Girl", "Blueberry Hill" and "BeBop a Lula" once again stirred memories of Rock and Roll and all that Jazz. Audience participation helped out with the vocals at times, none more so than Marie's request for Elvis Presley's "That's the Wonder of You".

A superb Sunday lunchtime, Carl and Howard will be back on November 9th. and are already booked for four gigs next year.

Tuesday, September 14th....Millennium Eagle Jazz Band made one of their rare appearances at the Harp and as always the music was top class. Matt Palmer on reeds, Pete Brown on trumpet, Andy Holdorf on trombone, Brian Lawrence on bass, Jack Cotterill on drums and Chris Etherington on banjo made sure that everyone enjoyed themselves.

"Sunday", "Sidewalk Blues" (with the Hokum introduction by Matt and Andy), "Flatfoot" and "Mabel's Dream" were a few of the many superbly played numbers with special features for Matt with "Misty", played on his alto, and Pete and Andy playing "I Hear Music" on two trombones.

The final number, "Climax Rag", brought the evening to a fitting conclusion.

Millennium Eagle will be back on November 14th. and again on December 21st. for our Christmas party.

Sunday, September 12th...today's session with the Old Comrades Jazz Band started off with "Happy Birthday" for reed player Dave Coles followed by a second chorus for yours truly.

The programme proper included "Michigander Blues", "Ring Dem Golden Bells" and "Ain't Nobody Got the Blues Like Me".

Octogenarian "Big Eric" Hodgson led the band on trombone and vocals to give us another most entertaining Sunday session.

Tuesday, September 7th...a session with Ben Holder and BB Swing is always eagerly awaited and tonight's gig certainly didn't disappoint us, in fact it once again highlighted the amazing talent of both Ben and singer Jon Salt who was with the band.

With the superb backing of the slightly(!) more senior John Smith on guitar, Bill Smith on bass, Robin Mason on reeds and Rob Milburn, also on guitar, we had a supremely entertaining evening which even included great piano from Ben and blues harmonica from Jon. The piano was during "One for My Baby" with vocal from Jon and superb bass from Bill, and the harmonica in "Sweet Home Chicago", again with Ben on piano and Robin on alto. We even had a violin version of "Tiger Rag" with John and Bill on guitar and bass to accompany Ben....amazing.

All through the evening the rhythm section were up to everything Ben could throw at them and produced many memorable solos whilst the rapport between all the band and the audience contributed enormously to the enjoyment of the session.

Come to the Harp on October 24th. for more from Ben Holder.

Tuesday, August 31st at 3.30pm I had a phone call from Julyan (Baby Jools) Aldridge to point out I had made a monumental mix up and that he had changed the gig we had arranged for Sunday, September 5th. and re-arranged it for September 21st. as he was in Germany with Max Collie! I meantime had forgotten to change my booking chart and had given the 21st to John Everett and his Red Dragon Jazzmen!

A brief moment of panic followed by a few phone calls and great co-operation from John, plus a little help from Ruth Frith, soon had things sorted out, with a straight swap between John and Jools meaning that the Red Dragon Jazzmen were our visitors today.....needless to say all this was followed by a very large whisky!

Because of the short notice of the change the line-up was a little different with Alan Bailey on clarinet and tenor sax, Neil Upton (first time at the Harp) on trombone, Keith Garner on banjo, Terry Cooper on bass and sousaphone, Ron Smith on drums and of course John on trumpet, with Ruth providing the vocals.

Regular clarinet player John Bodenham turned up at the start of the second set with some German friends he had taken to Cosford Air Museum so he had a blow for a couple of numbers.

A superb session of well known jazz numbers with all the band enjoying their music and all the audience enjoying listening to it.

We really do appreciate the fact that band leaders and their musicians are prepared to make every effort to sort out mistakes which are due to "senior moments" by yours truly.

The Dragons, and Ruth, will be back next year and Baby Jools Jazz All Stars will definitely be here on the 21st!


Neil Upton

The front line with Ruth

Alan Bailey


Tuesday, August 31st....with Archie Cotterell being ill and unable to play Carole Westwood was backed by not only Chris Taylor on piano but also Charlie Wright on tenor sax, John O'Connor on bass and Barry Watts on drums.

A very different, more modern style of music meant Carole sang some very different arrangements of many of the standards we usually hear, but how well played and enjoyable they were! Superb piano from Chris Taylor, brilliant tenor (and occasional jokes!) from Charlie Wright, excellent backing from John O'Connor and Barry Watts were just the backcloth for Carole's lovely voice.

"Bernie's Tune" by the band, Carole's "Satin Doll", "Summertime" and "Recipe For Making Love", a Chris Taylor arrangement, were all part of a superb evening with one of the highlights for me being a great scat singing "Perdido" between Carole and Charlie on his tenor.

Very different, very good....we might even book them again next year!

Sorry John, couldn't see you to take a photo!

Carole Westwood

Chris Taylor

Charlie Wright

Sorry Barry, couldn't see you to take a photo!

Sunday, August 29th....an excellent session with Martinique Jazz Band meant another most enjoyable Sunday lunchtime at the Harp for a nice appreciative audience.
Tuesday, August 24th....Silence fell on tonight's audience after the first few notes played by the wonderful Debbie Arthurs' Sweet Rhythm, a quiet appreciation which continued throughout the evening and was also shown by the enthusiastic applause for the music.

The musicians who brought about this superb session were Tom (Spats) Langham on banjo/guitar, Norman Field on clarinet/sax, Andy Woon on trumpet, Malcolm Sked on bass/sousaphone and the delightful Debbie on percussion and vocals.

Debbie has established herself as one of the country's foremost vintage style percussionists and vocalists with the music of the 20s and 30s and accompanied by such fine musicians treated us to the sounds of the jazz age which they brought to life in a pub in Albrighton!

With Tom. Norman and Debbie sharing the vocals the tunes ranged from "Walking my Baby Back Home" to "Ain't He Sweet", "I'm Making Believe" to "Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall" with "I've Got Rhythm", "Mean to Me" and "Running Wild" along the way.

All the numbers produced great support from Norman, as always immaculate on his clarinet and saxes, Andy Woon, who we have never seen before in the Harp (he did drive all the way from Worthing to be with us!), brilliant on trumpet, Malcolm, another first time, superb on bass and sousaphone, and the amazing "Spats" on his banjo and guitar.

We are extremely grateful for the financial support we received from Albrighton Parish Council which made it possible to put on this wonderful session.....we hope to be able to repeat it next year!

Andy Woon

Norman Fields

Debbie Arthurs

Tom Langham

Malcolm Sked

The Drum Kit!

As well as being an extremely talented musician Debbie also runs the very successful Jelly Roll Cafe in Tewkesbury...if you are going to be in the area click here to find details.

Sunday, August 24th...JB's Jazz and Blues Band as always gave us a brilliant swinging, jumping session with the occasional gentle ballad thrown in for good measure.

"Fly Me to the Moon", "Jive at Five", "Hoochie Coochie Man" mioxed with "Stomping at the Savoy" and "Your Feet's too Big" gave us something to please everyone and ended with the bands finalé, "Jump, Jive and Wail".

A great session by a great band who are always welcome at the Harp and who will be back on November 21st.

Tuesday, August 17th...it isn't very often a band turns up with only two of the regular members but that is what happened to Bank Street Syncopators tonight...and what a band it turned out to be!

Leader and drummer Steve Markham and trombone player Pat Bayliss were joined by Pete Ainge on trumpet, Terry Roberts on alto, tenor, soprano saxes and clarinet, Alan Wilkes on guitar and banjo and Dave Margaroni on bass...all of them members of different bands who come to the Harp but they had never played together before tonight. 

Elected democratically(?!) as the announcer for the night Pete Ainge introduced a wide variety of numbers which gave everyone chance to shine. "China town", "Mood Indigo", "St. Louis Blues" and "Flamingo" were just a few of the tunes which helped to make a superb session.

It is unlikely this line-up will ever get together again, if they do we will have them back like a shot!

Sunday, August 15th...Derek Harrison has been to the Harp before with Mike Carnie's band but this is the first time we have had the Derek Harrison Trio...and what a Trio they are!

Derek on piano, vocals and jokes, "Mad Ed" Lloyd Hughes on bass and voice(?!) and Graham Ashley on drums not only played quite brilliant music but also entertained us as no one has before! Derek's superb rendition of many numbers associated with the late, great Tommy Burton brought back memories for many people and his jokes were an added bonus, as was the contribution of "Mad Ed" who none of us had ever seen....his first no microphone "vocal" nearly frightened the cattle on the outskirts of Albrighton...we will never look on "Dr. Jazz" in the same way again!

The friendly rapport between the three musicians, and between the musicians and the audience, was one reason for the success of the gig, another was their rendition of numbers such as "Misty", a great piano solo from Derek, "Flat Foot Floogie" which was another classic performance from our quiet bass player and "Making Whoopee" which Derek played for his wife, who was in the audience, to celebrate their wedding anniversary. 

A most unusual number was the "Ballad of Barry and Freda", a classic sketch from a Victoria Wood TV programme about a husband resisting the amorous approaches of his wife! Derek's voice changes from Freda to Barry were hilarious.

The first time here for the trio but definitely not the last!...look out for them next year.

  ....Derek Harrison on piano

The Trio.....


Tuesday, August 10th....New Washboard Syncopators were tonight's visitors and gave us their varied programme which as always included well known favourites and some lesser known numbers which we rarely hear.

Once again a most enjoyable session of jazz superbly played.

Sunday, August 8th....Apex Jazz & Swing Band provided a most enjoyable and entertaining lunchtime session with Rod Milburn on guitar and Bob Boucher on bass joining the regulars Jon Stone on trumpet, Jim Harney on drums, Laurie Cooper on trombone and leader Robin Mason on reeds.

Superb music brilliantly played, what more could you ask for?

The band will be back on October 19th.to help us celebrate 20 years of jazz in Albrighton.

Tuesday, August 3rd...a long awaited return by the Antique Six Jazz Band gave us another superb evening of "happy" jazz.

The line-up of Chris Pearce on clarinet and soprano, Chris Mercer on trumpet, Richard Leach on trombone, Clinton Sedgley on banjo, Graham Smith on drums and Ian Parry on bass produced a musical mix of well known and not so often played tunes. These included Sandy Brown's "Go Ghana", "Oriental Man" with Chris M and Chris P, "Last Mile Blues",  Chris Mercer's "Papa's Gone, Goodbye" (he refused to sing it as Mama!), "Sweet Sue" with Richard and the rhythm boys(!), "The World is Waiting for the Sunrise" featuring Chris Pearce and Richard, a delightful "Old Fashioned Love" from Chris on soprano and the finalé, "Nagasaki", with the vocal talents of Chris Mercer and a chance for Graham to give us a fine drum solo...and me the chance to get a decent photo of him as the rest of the band stood aside!

Clinton and Ian joined Graham in driving the band along superbly and Clinton's evening got even better when he won the wine in the raffle, with other members of the band enjoying Marie's cheese and onion rolls!

Antique Six will be back on Tuesday, November 2nd.

  Photos feature Graham as I rarely get a chance to get a clear view of any drummer!  

Sunday, August 1st....a most enjoyable session today from Dene River Jazzmen who had Dave Braidley as guest on trombone in place of Nick Williams. Led by Peter Roberts on banjo the rest of the line-up was Rod Williams on clarinet/alto, Jon Stone on trumpet, Keith Prescott on bass and John Nicholls on drums.

Their varied programme included vocals from Peter, Jon and Rod...the latter even doing a song made famous by Gene Autry (yes, he of cowboy fame!), "Highways are Happy Ways". Numbers ranged from "Sing, You Sinners" to "Kitchen Man and "Papa Dip" and many more.

A really entertaining gig by musicians who so obviously enjoy their music, it is a pity we won't have them back until next year, our twice a week sessions are popular with so many bands we can't fit everyone in as often as we would like to.

Sunday, July 25th...a gig by the Old Comrades Jazz Band is always something to be looked forward to and enjoyed and today's session was no exception.

Led by "Big Eric" Dodgson on trombone the guest banjo/guitar player was Tim McGrath who fitted in extremely well with the regular members of the band. The music included the bands selection of lesser known tunes such as "Storeyville Blues" and "Spanish Shawl" mixed with the Sunday specials "I Will Fly Away" and "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot".

As always great music in a friendly atmosphere  gave us a superb Sunday lunchtime.

The Old Comrades will be back on September 12th.

Tuesday, July 20th....following his resounding success at Upton on Severn Jazz Festival pianist Carl Sinclair once again brought a breath of fresh air to the Harp with his remarkable talent and super rapport with the audience. Aided and abetted by the equally talented (albeit a trifle more senior!) Howard Smith on drums we had everything from boogie to blues to ballads and Beatles.

Many of the audience decided they needed to take Carl home with them on his excellent new CD "Whole Lotta Shakin'".

One of the highlights of the evening was Howard's drum solo on the drum kit which forms part of the jazz tableaux on the piano, click on the photo below to be able to see the kit!

  Howard Smith showing his versatility.......... ...with the mini drum kit on the piano!  

Sunday, July 18th....Five Towns Footwarmers came in today as a quartet with Pete Brown on valve trombone, Gerry Owen on reeds, Laurie Cooper on bass and leader Keith Garner on banjo.

Having to re-jig the band at very short notice didn't detract from the usual entertaining session provided by the Feetwarmers, with Pete making Marie a very happy lady by singing "Little Lady Make Believe", a favourite when the late, great Tony Hobson used to sing it with the Eagle Jazz Band.

Again a very pleasant way of spending Sunday lunchtime!

The band will be back on November 28th.

Tuesday, July 13th....the excellent four piece Wabash Jazzmen were tonight's visitors with Arthur Brown on trumpet joining regulars Mike Hayler on sax/clarinet, Howard Worthington on bass and leader Mark Challinor on banjo.

As always Mark and Howard were the brilliant driving force behind the excellent front line of Mike and Arthur. A very relaxed Mark, (he has retired from teaching!) treated the ladies to many more vocals than usual including "Old Spinning Wheel in The Parlour" and "Gospel Train". Not to be outdone Howard gave a no microphone version of "All My Eggs in One Basket" whilst Arthur sat out for a trio version of "Somebody Stole My Gal".

The evening ended with a superb "Let The Light of the Lighthouse Shine on Me".

Great entertainment from four brilliant musicians who will be back on October 5th.

Sunday, July 11th...It was a quick return for Robin Mason when he brought in his own Apex Jazz and Swing Band...a very different session to last Tuesday's with Ben Holder but still very enjoyable.

With guests Roger Heeley on piano and Tony Pipkin on trumpet, and valve trombone, the rest of the line-up was Jim Harney on drums, Laurie Cooper on trombone, Bob Boucher on bass and Robin himself on reeds. The music featured many Ellington numbers as part of a very entertaining evening, especially so for Robin and his wife when Penny won the £20.00 on the football card!.

Apex will be back on August 8th.

Tuesday, July 6th...Tonight's session with Ben Holder and BB Swing featured the brilliant violin playing of Ben Holder together with the slightly more mature Bill Smith on bass, John Smith on guitar, Robin Mason on reeds and Rob Milburn on guitar....and the excellent young singer Jonathon Salt.

A programme which ranged from "All of Me" to "Sweet Sue" and "Cherokee" via "Perdido" and "Sweet Lorraine" meant there was something for everyone....add to this the superb vocals on such as "Hit that Jive, Jack" by Ben and Jon, "Blue Moon", Mack the Knife" and "Summertime" from Jonathon and it all added up to a splendid evening.

The support provided by Bill, John, Robin and Rob for the two youngsters was top class and served to emphasise their admiration of the talent of Ben and Jon.

They will be back on September 7th.

Sunday, July 4th....Mike Carnie's Jazz All Stars were today's visitors with Jon Critchley on trumpet, Mike Hayler on sax/clarinet, Dave Margaroni on bass, the irrepressible Derek Harrison on piano, vocals and jokes joining drummer Mike to entertain what for a lot of the session was a disappointingly small audience...maybe the tennis at Wimbledon was the distraction although things did improve later.

"When my Dream Boat Comes Home", "Yellow Dog Blues" and "I'm Having a Good Time" were just some of the entertaining numbers we heard.

Excellent music, vocals from Derek and Mike Hayler, superb solos from everyone plus Derek's jokes made for an enjoyable lunchtime, even the Harp upright piano played a major part in the session!

Dave Margaroni

Mike Hayler

Mike Carnie

Jon Chritchley

Derek Harrison

Things have been a little hectic for all sorts of reasons so gig reports have been conspicuous by their absence! Needless to say the gigs at the end of June by Martinique Jazz Band, New Washboard Syncopators and Red Dragon Jazzmen all lived up to expectations and provided the entertaining jazz we look forward to.
Tuesday, June 15th...unfortunately, due to a family bereavement, trombone player Kevin Grenfell was unable to partner Richard Leach for the visit of Slide by Slide so at very short notice the line up changed from two trombones to trombone and sax/clarinet when Amy Roberts joined Richard on the frontline. Graham Smith on drums, Roger Heeley on piano and Roger Davies on bass provide a superb backing throughout the evening.

With numbers like "Ain't Misbehavin" and "Hindustan", "Basin Street Blues" and "The World is Waiting for the Sunrise" there was plenty of variety and the features for Amy with "Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans" and Richard with "Sweet Sue", both with the excellent backing of the rhythm section, were superb. Described as a "funky" number by Richard "Go to New Orleans" was equally brilliant.

A very nice surprise was the appearance of Fred Burnett and his wife Barbara, from Preston, at tonight's gig.....Fred runs the excellent  www.jazznorthwest.co.uk web site which features mainly bands and musicians in the North West but also extends in to one of the largest and most comprehensive jazz sites you could wish to see. Fred has been of enormous help to me on several occasions when I have had problems with the Jazz Club 90 site so it was a real pleasure to meet him "in the flesh". Fred was also able to meet Geoff Inwood who runs the www.jazzwestmidlands.co.uk site from Shrewsbury and the musicians who he knew mainly by reputation.

All in all a superb evening which finished with a rousing "China Boy".

Slide by Slide are booked in for May 10th. 2011.

Sunday, June 13th....The visit of Louisiana Highway from the North West coincided with the RAF Cosford air show which presented two problems...a much smaller than usual audience because of fears of the horrendous traffic jams of previous years (jams which didn't materialise as at last the traffic control arrangements worked as they should), and the lesser problem of distraction as very loud, very fast fighters and display teams like the Red Arrows performed almost overhead....brilliant!

Distractions aside Louisiana Highway were as entertaining as ever, I always admire a band who can still play with enthusiasm and enjoyment to a very small audience.

Led by Dave Copperwaite on trumpet the programme varied from "old style" New Orleans jazz to music of the 50s, 60s and 70s with vocals from Dave, Derek Galloway and Noel Nichols adding to the enjoyment.

Aerobatics set to music gave us a superb lunchtime but maybe next year we will try moving this particular session to the Saturday evening!

Tuesday, June 8th.....a grant from Albrighton Parish Council allowed us to book stride and boogie pianist Neville Dickie for a second visit to the Harp. Joined by Goff Dubber, on clarinet and sax, and Norman Davey, on drums, it didn't take Neville very long to show again why he is acknowledged both here and in the USA as one of the best in the business.

The rapport between the musicians was obvious from the start and flowed over to the audience very quickly, with newcomers Goff and Norman obviously enjoying the friendly atmosphere in the Harp.

It would be pointless picking out the "best" numbers as they were all superb, ranging from "Mephis Blues" to Neville's piano features  on "Shout for Joy", "Swanee River Boogie", "Streamline Train" and "Honky Tonk Train Blues". Norman set aside his drums to show us he was equally at home with the washboard and thimbles with "Shine" and Goff treated us to "Indian Summer" on soprano and "Panama" and "St. Phillip Street Breakdown"  on clarinet amongst others equally as good.

It isn't very often we get a music lesson at the Harp but Neville demonstrated the difference between Boogie Woogie and Stride piano in a way we could all understand and during the evening played both styles most effectively.

I don't know if some people were put off by the fact the Harp was packed to the doors, and beyond, the previous time Neville played here but the audience was rather thin on the ground to start with. Things did improve later in the evening to give us the usual Harp atmosphere and the session ended with "Black Bottom Stomp" and, following prolonged applause, an encore with "Bourbon Street Parade".

The piano playing of a world class pianist deserves top class accompaniment and that is exactly what was provided by Goff and Norman, their support of Neville was superb and their own solos also top class....what more could you want?

I was asked "when will they be back?"....the answer is I don't know...back to the grant application forms might provide the answer!


...the maestro himself

The Trio.......

Click photos to enlarge


Sunday, June 6th....Bank Street Syncopators had John Dickinson on trombone who joined the regular members of the band to provide today's entertainment. With vocals from John, Tony Billingsley and Dave Boxold the session had enough variety to please everyone.
Tuesday, June 1st..Apex Jazz and Swing Band had two guests in Roger Heeley on piano and Mike Green on bass who joined regulars Jon Stone on trumpet, Laurie Cooper on trombone, Jim Harney on drums and leader Robin Mason on reeds.

A fast "Beale Street Blues" helped to set the tone for the evening which also included an alto feature for Robin with "Flamingo", a trombone solo for Laurie with "Autumn Leaves" and "Sweet Georgia Brown" from Jon.

With superb backing from Roger, Mike and Jim this was another most enjoyable evening at the Harp.

Apex will be back on August 8th.

Sunday, May 30th...As always a gig with JB's Jazz and Blues Band had the Harp jumping from start to finish.

Numbers such as ""Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone" (evoking memories of Johnnie Ray!), "Route 66" and "Mr. Five by Five" were typical of the first set which also had Paul Holder's "I Just Want To Make Love To You" making the ladies go weak at the knees!

There were two very different tributes in the second set, one was "Nuages" to mark the 100th. anniversary of the birth of Django Reinhardt and the other "Follow Your Heart" for John Beckingham's very much younger grand-daughter Matilda. "How High the Moon?" featured Andy Wood and Roger Manwaring with Mark Howell on bass driving the band along superbly.

"Flying Home" and "Jump, Jive and Wail" brought the session to a storming climax.

Andy , Roger , Mark , Paul and the boss John Beckingham again made sure two and a half hours passed very quickly and will all be back on August 22nd or you can see them in Upton on Severn during the Jazz festival weekend, June 25th, 26th and 27th.

Sunday, May 23rd...a gig by the Old Comrades Jazz Band is always something to be looked forward to and enjoyed and today's session was no exception.

Led by "Big Eric" Dodgson on trombone we had the bands selection of lesser known tunes such as "Red Man Blues" and "Spanish Shawl" mixed with the more frequently played "Isle of Capri", "Ring Dem Golden Bells" and more.

As always great music in a friendly atmosphere  gave us a superb Sunday lunchtime.

The Old Comrades will be back on July 25th.

Tuesday, May 18th...tonight's gig with Dene River Jazzmen brought in Avo Avison on trombone for a rare visit as he depped for Nick Williams, and Tony Cowlishaw on drums playing at the Harp for the first time.

Appearing for the first time on a Tuesday evening the band entertained us as always with their vocals, solos and band numbers which included "Algiers Strut", which pleased Marie, "Sing You Sinners" and "June Night.

Another great way to spend 2½ hours of anyone's time!

Dene River Jazzmen will be back on August 1st.

Sunday, May 16th....fresh from their successful trip to Keswick Jazz Festival, where they met several Harp regulars, New Orleans Heat  gave us our own little festival of jazz with a superb lunchtime session!

With Gwyn Lewis in cornet and vocals, John Scantlebury on clarinet and alto, Mike Taylor on trombone, Harry Slater on bass, Bob Rowbotham sitting in for Tony Peatman on banjo, Cl;arence Nugent on drums and leader Barry Grummett on the Harp upright piano the scene was set for some brilliant music and that is exactly what we got.

Vocals were as varied as "Telephone to Glory" and ""Move that Body Over" from Gwyn, "Stormy Monday" from John and "Who's Sorry Now" from Clarence with everyone being featured as soloists during the session. Wishing to curry favour with the boss (?), Marie, the last two numbers were "Algiers Strut" and the inevitable "Panama" which brought to a close a session by another band who so obviously enjoy their music, like the Harp and our audience and appreciate the work put in by Donna, Dave and Russell to improve the Harp as a jazz venue.

It was particularly pleasing to see and hear Bob Rowbotham on banjo....Bob was in the original Chris Blount Band from which New Orleans Heat has gradually evolved.

They will be back in December.  

Tuesday, May 11th...it was the turn of John Shillito's Select Six to provide us with another brilliant session.....just as they did on their last visit 12 months ago.

Led by John on trumpet and flugelhorn the other five members of the band were John Wurr on clarinet, alto and baritone sax, Bobby Fox on trombone, John Whitlock on guitar and banjo, Bob Jarvis on bass guitar and socks(!) and Derek Maughan on drums.

As always the music ranged from the well known such as "Louisiana", "South Rampart St. Parade" and Choo, Choo, Ch' Boogie" to the lesser known "You Can Depend on Me", "This Year's Kisses" and "He'll Understand and Say Well Done". Vocals were by John S, with a little help from his partners on the front line, and the audience when needed, the solos were brilliant and the rhythm section drove the band along superbly all evening.

A superb rocking "Buona Sera" brought us near the end of the session but there was still time for "My Lucky Day" and a final encore "Laissez les Bon Temps Rouler".

An excellent evening of superb jazz by six musicians whose enjoyment of their music makes sure that the audience thoroughly enjoy their evening. We look forward to the next visit!

  Leader of the Select Six.............John Shillito (click photo)  

Sunday, May 9th....as with the Ben Holder gig last week a session with Carl Sinclair is difficult to report on without the repetition of all the superlatives we have used before!

This gig was however rather different in that it was a trio rather than the Carl/Howard Smith duo we are used to as Carl brought along Kenny Sinclair, his dad, to join them on guitar....now we know where Carl gets his talent from! It was great to see Howard back behind the drums after his drastic but successful surgery a few months ago.

"Fly Me to the Moon", "Blue Suede Shoes" and "Jitterbug Boogie" were just a few of Carl's contributions while Howard included "My Babe" and "Shake, Rattle and Roll". Kenny showed he was no mean singer with "Diana", "My Mother's Eyes" and "Teenager, in Love"...some kind soul suggested this should be "Pensioners in Love" in view of the average age of our audience!

This average age was brought down a little today when Adam, our 4 year old grandson, walked in with us, he likes the music and also helping us put out the posters and Jazz Guides etc. He also wowed the audience during the interval with his piano recital...not quite true but he does like to have a bit of a bash on the keys!

Such was Carl's ability to encourage people to re-live their lost youth that several even got up to jive, albeit in a very crowded room and many more, Adam included, settled for the less energetic hand jiving and foot tapping.

Audience participation during "Blueberry Hill", a rocking "Johnny Be Good" and "Great Balls Of Fire" brought the session to a close...but we couldn't let Carl go without his superb tribute to Winfred Atwell....a brilliant end to a brilliant session.

If you missed them Carl will be back on Tuesday, July 20th.

Click photos to enlarge

Marj and Adam enjoy the music

Carl Sinclair Trio

Adam...age 4 (and a ¼)

Adam's photo

courtesy of John Bosworth

Tuesday, May 4th....Millennium Eagle Jazz Band made a very welcome return to the Harp and as always gave us a very enjoyable evening.

Numbers such as "June Night" and "Under the Double Eagle" went well with features for Pete Brown on trumpet in "Bad Penny Blues", Matt Palmer on clarinet with "St. Philip's Street Breakdown" in which Matt also broke down his clarinet, right down as far as the mouthpiece, and then reassembled it...all without missing a note! Jock Cotterill on drums excelled in "Hawaiian War Chant" while Chris Etherington encouraged audience participation during "Light From the Lighthouse".

An excellent session which featured several tracks from their latest CD, "Black Bottom Stomp", more details of which can be obtained from brian@meagle.com

Sunday, May 2nd.....if Tuesday's gig by experienced musicians was a bit special today's gig featuring much younger musicians was equally so. Ben Holder was on violin with the slightly(?) more senior John Smith on guitar and Bill Smith on bass, with vocals from the also young Jonathon Salt and Cat Howard to add to the proceedings. Jon also played the Harp drums, or at least the snare and high hat, when he wasn't singing and with Ben also playing the Harp piano there was plenty of scope for John and Bill to change instruments along the way.

From "All of Me", with vocal by Ben,  to a brilliant "C Jam Blues", "Deed I Do" and "Shine" the first set was further enhanced by the superb vocals from Jon Salt. These included "Summertime", a rocking "Mack the Knife" and great "Honeysuckle Rose".

The second set had Ben in the role of quiz master when he asked the audience to find the connection between groups of three tunes....the one I can remember was "Truckin", "Que Reste-t-il de Nos Amours" and " All God's Children Got Rhythm" which Ben played as a tribute to the late Mike Turner.

Ben introduced the lovely Cat Howard to sing "To Make You Feel My Love" and "Songbird" in which she was joined by Jon for a delightful duet.

The session ended with rousing versions of "Pennies from Heaven" and "Girl from Ipenema" by Jon and finally "Nagasaki" to wind everything up.

It would be very remiss of me not to stress the part that Bill on bass and John on guitar played in the proceedings......they took everything that Ben threw at them and backed him and the two vocalists superbly as well as playing their fair share of excellent solos.

Ben's rapport with our audience is quite amazing and helps to make the gigs even more enjoyable, as you can see he was surrounded by young ladies!.

Tuesday, July 6th. is the next time you can see Ben with BB Swing and hopefully Jon and Cat.

There will be videos on YouTube soon.

Tuesday, April 27th....a gig by Paul Harrison would have been very special, the musicians around him made it totally brilliant! Joining Paul on clarinet and soprano were Kevin Grenfell on trombone, Simon Banks on piano, Graham Smith on drums and Dave Moorwood on banjo/guitar.

The music ranged from "All of Me" to "China Boy" and "St. Phillip's Street Breakdown" with Simon Banks' "Pine Tops Boogie Woogie" on the way, ably assisted by Graham and Dave. Paul was featured in "Wild Cat Blues" amongst others and Dave did his solo in "Never Swat a Fly".

Apart from his trombone playing and vocals Kevin was MC for the evening and did a great job of encouraging audience participation, as he did with the arranging of this gig for which I will be forever grateful.

Five exceptional musicians, great music and a near full house...what a way to spend Tuesday evening! Videos will be on YouTube soon.

It was well worth the wait to finally have Paul Harrison playing at the Harp...just superb.

Who knows?...we might even get this line-up back one day and Paul has also indicated he would like to bring his own band over from Denmark next year, keep your fingers crossed.

Click on photos to enlarge (Graham's was taken at a previous gig, I couldn't get a good one this time!)

Simon Banks

Kevin Grenfell

Paul Harrison

Dave Moorwood

Graham Smith

Sunday, April 25th....a return visit by the Five Towns Footwarmers gave us the regular line-up of Glynn Bennett on trumpet, Laurie Cooper on trombone, Gerry Owen on clarinet/sax, Terry Cooper on bass and sousaphone,  Mike Haslam on drums and leader, and Wolves fan, Keith Garner on banjo.

An excellent session was made all the more enjoyable by Keith's references to the Wolves imminent safety in the Premier League, safety confirmed later in the afternoon when Liverpool beat Burnley! The music was also top class and sent everyone home happy.

The Footwarmers will be back on July 18th.

Tuesday, April 20th....the excellent four piece Wabash Jazzmen were tonight's visitors with Arthur Brown on trumpet joining regulars Mike Hayler on sax/clarinet, Howard Worthington on bass and leader Mark Challinor on banjo.

As always Mark and Howard provided one of the best two man rhythm sections you could ever wish to hear and Mike and Arthur work very well together on the front line. Vocals from all except Mike added to the evening and Arthur's jokes were a bonus (I think!).

Once again a superb swinging evening marred only by the smaller than usual audience,,,,,? everyone stuck somewhere exotic trying to get a flight back through the volcanic ash!

Wabash will be back on July 13th

Sunday, April 18th....A rare Sunday lunchtime appearance for the Antique Six Jazz Band saw the usual line-up of Chris Pearce on clarinet/sax, Chris Mercer on trumpet, Richard Leach on trombone, Graham Smith on drums, guest Len Thwaites on bass and a very happy Clinton Sedgley on banjo and guitar. Clinton was happy because his football team the "Baggies" (West Bromwich Albion to the uninitiated!) had been promoted back to the Premier League where we both hope they will be playing the "Wolves" next year!

To the music!....brilliant as ever featuring  the likes of "East Coast Trot", Chris Mercer and the audience in "Bye, Bye, Blackbird", a small band version of the Paul Whiteman very big band  number "San" (and superb it was too), "Kansas City Man Blues", without trombone, and Chris Pearce doing the impossible and keeping the audience quiet for his excellent "Over the Rainbow".

Richard, Graham and Clinton all added their talents to the occasion and Len on bass fitted in superbly.

Once again outstanding entertainment from superb musicians who enjoy the music they play and get pleasure in communicating that enjoyment to the audience.

As I said in the Jazz Connection report (below) I am waiting for my broadband to go "fibre optic", with the resultant improvement in my current abysmal speed, so that I can upload videos to YouTube more quickly. Watch the front page!!

The Antique Six will be back on Tuesday, August 3rd.

      Sunday, April 11th....

We knew they would be good

but didn't think they would be quite so brilliant!

"Brilliant", "Wonderful", "Superb Entertainers", Great Musicians" were just some of the accolades justifiably heaped on Jazz Connection, surely Holland's greatest musical export! With their interpretation of the music of the three Louis (Prima, Jordan and Armstrong) they had a full house really rocking all lunchtime.

Jurgen Feskens...trumpet, flügelhorn & vocals , Peter van Steen...trombone, Rob Henneveld,...tenor sax, alto sax & clarinet, Bart Wouters...bass & vocals, Ad Hoendervangers...drums and Bart Maassen...piano were not only superb musicians but but also transmitted to the audience their obvious enjoyment of the music they were playing, as can be seen in the photo showing Rob's sax version of lap dancing!

We also had Peter strolling amongst the audience with his trombone, Jurgen wooing the ladies with his singing and trumpet playing, Ad driving everything along on drums and the unbelievably enthusiastic Bart Wouter on bass, vocals and announcements...all in perfect English!

Bart Maassen was quite superb on piano although we didn't know what he looked like until the end as he was hidden in the corner...there will be a few seconds of video on YouTube eventually to prove he was with us!

With 2010 being the 100th. anniversary of the birth of Louis Prima the emphasis was very much on his music and several videos will be on YouTube soon (I am hoping that my abysmally slow broadband will be upgraded this month when BT get their fibre optic link in place!)....watch our first page for when they are ready.

I could go on forever but suffice to say Jazz Connection gave us one of the most enjoyable, entertaining lunchtimes we have had for a very long time and will hopefully be back again early next year.

Tuesday, April 6th.....another "vintage" New Washboard Syncopators session with their usual mix of well known jazz numbers, some not so well known and some we had never heard of before with the added magic ingredient of Chris Carmel's jokes!

The music included "Cater Street Rag", "Perdido Street Blues", Humph's "It's Over Now" and one of the longest titles ever..."How Could Red Riding Hood be so Very, Very Good and Still Keep The Wolf from The Door?"!

Another evening of enjoyable entertainment by a superb band who will be back on June 22nd.

Sunday, April 4th....I had more requests to re-book Baby Jools'All Stars than any other band and today we saw again why.

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

From the opener "Treasure Island" to "Dippermouth Blues" (with audience participation!) and "Lily of the Valley" we had superb solos and a truly swinging band.

A seasonal "Easter Parade", "West End Blues",  vocals from Brian Mellor on "Nothing Blues" and Denny Ilett on "When You and I Were Young Maggie" and a bass/clarinet duet from Annie and Matt in "Old Rugged Cross" all added to the enjoyment and the gig ended with a great "Over in the Gloryland".

An added bonus today was seeing, and hearing, the irrepressible Annie Hawkins, and the superb trumpet player Denny Ilett who was at the Harp for only the second time.

The band are booked be back on September 5th. but this date has got to be changed, I will amend the programme as soon as I know the new date.


Julyan Aldridge

The Front Line

Annie Hawkins

Brian Mellor

Tuesday, March 30th....John Everett's Red Dragon Jazzmen were tonight's visitors for another session of entertaining jazz.

Excellent solos, vocals from John, drummer Ron Smith and Ruth Frith all helped the evening go with a swing and John's "senior moments" with tune titles added to the enjoyment!

The Dragon's will be back at the end of June.

Sunday, March 28th....a visit by the Old Fashioned Love Band was long overdue but well worth the wait.....with Mel Hill on trumpet, Mike Pembroke on trombone, Dave Thomas on clarinet, Harri Forelius on bass, Jake Reeves on guitar/banjo and Moe Green on drums we had a brilliant line-up to entertain us, and they did exactly that!

A programme that included "I Saw Stars" from Jake Reeves, "Sugar", with the verse, from Mel Hill, "After You've Gone", also with the verse, by Mike Pembroke and "China Boy", featuring Moe Green, meant there was something for everyone further enhanced by "Angry", "Embraceable You", "Stumbling" and "Mississippi Sandman" and many more.

A brilliant Sunday lunchtime once again passed by much too quickly.

Moe Green

Mike Pembroke

Mel Hill

Jake Reeves

Harri Forelius

Tuesday, March 23rd....tonight's session by the Martinique Jazz band once again showed the abundance of talent in the Midlands when Roger Heeley was on piano to replace Ken Jones who sadly died recently and Derek Brown was on bass in place of Dave Boxold who is recovering from drastic surgery. Together with regulars Tony Billingsley on trumpet, Bobby Johnson on trombone, Terry Roberts on reeds and Jim Harney on drums they once again gave us a most entertaining evening and will be back on May 25th.
Sunday, March 21st.....New Orleans Heat gave us their usual sparkling performance for a nice full house. With Roger Bird on clarinet and sax instead of John Scantlebury (we wish John a speedy recovery) were Gwyn Lewis on cornet/flugelhorn, Mike Taylor on trombone, Tony Peatman on banjo, Harry Slater on bass, Colin Bushell on drums and, of course, leader Barry Grummett on the Harp upright piano.

From the well known "Algiers Strut" and "Panama" (both Marie's requests) to the lesser known "When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano" and "Who Threw the Whisky in the Well", both sung by Gwyn,  and the never heard before Swedish version of "In the Sweet Bye and Bye", also sung by Gwyn, we were treated to a lunchtime of superb music, brilliantly played by musicians who really know how to entertain their audience.

Unfortunately my attempt to video Roger playing "Burgundy Street Blues" ended in disaster when I had a coughing and sneezing fit half way through!

The session ended with "Till We Meet Again" which will be on May 16th.  (well before the Dec. 5th. date which I put here yesterday!)

  Roger Bird.........first time at the Harp  

Tuesday, March 16th....Carl Sinclair brought in a different drummer today because Howard Smith has had rather drastic surgery and was still recuperating. James Rawson proved to be an excellent replacement and responded brilliantly to Carl's playing and vocals.

I always enthuse about Carl and his ability to entertain our audience (see Jan. 24th. report!) so I will not repeat everything all over again but just say that this evening was as good as previous ones and James is yet another super young musician who will be welcome back anytime.

Carl will be back on Sunday, May 9th.

Sunday, March 14th....the annual visit of Bob Dwyer's band saw a different line -up and a change of name when the Hot Six became Bob Dwyer's Bix and Pieces and the musicians were Hugh Crozier on piano, John Bayne on bass and bass sax, Nick Singer on banjo with the new boys Max Emons on trumpet, alto and harmonica, Duncan Hemstock on clarinet and Laurie Chescoe on drums....and of course Bob on trombone.

The line-up may have changes but the music was still worth waiting 12 months for with "Black Cat on the Fence" and "Weary Blues" alongside "Me and The Devil", with vocal and harmonica solos from Max Emons, and "Caravan" which featured the brilliant drumming of Laurie Chescoe and excellent clarinet from Duncan.

Hugh Crozier enthralled everyone, especially the ladies, with a truly brilliant "Wolverine Blues" as a piano solo and later with a vocal on "Slow Boat to China". Bob's vocal contribution was "A Hundred Years from Today" and Nick Singer gave us "Louisiana". John Bayne showed his mastery of the bass sax and the youngest member of the band, Duncan Hemstock, excelled on clarinet.

Bob will bring his band back next year, hopefully avoiding Mother's Day which meant we had a smaller (but still beautifully formed!) audience than usual.

Once again a band who hadn't seen any of the improvements to the Harp were most impressed with the "New Look".

Click photos to enlarge


Max Emons

The Front Line

Duncan Hemstock


John Bayne

Nick Singer

Bob Dwyer

Hugh Crozier

Laurie Chescoe

Tuesday, March 9th...Robin Mason made a quick return with his own Apex Jazz & Swing Band which featured Roger Heeley on piano and Ron Hills on trombone and trombonium.

Jon Stone on trumpet and flugelhorn, Bob Boucher on bass, Jim Harney on drums and of course Robin on reeds completed the line-up to give us an evening of jazz, big band swing and the odd disaster such as a nearly full glass of Guinness deciding to jump off the table.....several bar towels and a dustpan and brush later normal service was resumed!

Once again six fine musicians playing great music, what more could we want?

Apex will be back on June 1st.

Sunday, March 7th....Old Comrades Jazz Band led by the ever young octogenarian "Big Eric" Dodgson on trombone showed us once again how entertaining they can be. Excellent solos, vocals from Dave Coles and Eric, including the ladies' favourite "Hot Dog Man", all helped a Sunday lunchtime pass very quickly.

The Comrades will be back on May 23rd.

Tuesday, March 2nd....we had to end the last Ben Holder and BB Swing session early because of the unusual weather...it was snowing-in January!.....but they more than made up for it this time with a gig which had just about everything you could wish. This included five brilliantly talented musicians, the maturity (!) of Robin Mason on reeds, John Smith on guitar, Bill Smith on bass and Rob Milburn on guitar, the youthful enthusiasm and talent of Ben Holder not only on his violin but also on the Harp upright piano and vocals. Add to this several songs from another young man, Jonathan Salt....songs from an era which our audience remembered well and which he sang superbly.

Great music very well played meant everyone went home happy, especially the Shrewsbury 3 (who shall remain nameless!) who managed between them to go away with all the night's prizes...two bottles of wine and £20.00 on the football card! There is no truth in the rumour they have been barred from the Harp!

Ben and Co. will be back on May 2nd. with Jonathan also making a return visit....don't miss!

Sunday, February 28th....Brilliant blues and boogie piano player Daniel Smith brought in his Blues Band with a new face in the line-up...Andy Jones on bass guitar and vocals joined regulars Jon T-Bone Taylor on guitar and Peter Miles on drums.

From "Cee Cee rider" to "Boogie Bash" and "Moon Dance" we then had a treat when Daniel played the old upright piano, a recent acquisition from the local church (and more in tune than the last one!) with a medley of Barrel House Boogie numbers.

During the interval Daniel made a little boy's day when he gave him an impromptu piano lesson...Nathan was in the audience with his Dad and little sister who spent most of the time with her fingers in her ears!

Vocals from Andy and Daniel, superb solos from everyone, including on the fire extinguisher by Peter, all added up to a most enjoyable session.

If you missed it they will be back on February 6th. 2011 for more brilliant blues and boogie!


........Daniel Smith's Blues Band and Daniel on the "new" Harp piano

                             "T-Bone" Taylor and Peter Miles.........

Tuesday, February 23rd....once again we had a band in who I had never seen or heard..... but who amongst their line-up had the irrepressible Terry Brunt on trombone so I assumed the rest of the band had a good chance of being rather good! The Jazz Gentlemen from the North West proved to be better than that, they were quite simply brilliant both as musicians and as entertainers.

Led by Keith Allcock on bass we had Terry B on trombone, Terry Porter on clarinet, sax and flute, Derek Skepper on trumpet, Maurice Gavan on piano and Dick Nancarrow on drums.

The range of styles from "traditional" to big band to ballads and comedy meant their was something for everyone to enjoy and most people enjoyed all of it. From "St. Louis Blues" to "Talk of the Town" and "The Preacher" with a superb soprano sax solo in "Summertime" thrown in the first set passed by very quickly. The second set featured Terry Blunt in "Mean as Buggery Blues" and Terry Porter on flute during "Autumn Leaves", very different but both brilliant!

With Derek and Terry B taking care of the vocals and everyone producing superb solos the first visit of the Jazz Gentlemen was a resounding success and certainly won't be their last!

Derek Skepper

Terry Porter

Terry Brunt

Keith Allcock

Maurice Gavan

Dick Nancarrow

Sunday, February 21st....we always expect an entertaining session from JB's Jazz & Blues Band and that is exactly what we got today. John Beckingham on piano, Roger Manwaring on tenor/soprano and clarinet, Andy Woods on guitar, Mark Howell on bass and Paul Holder on drums are superb musicians who also know how to entertain our Sunday lunchtime audience.

The choice of numbers, the chat with the audience, the brilliant solos from everyone, the Mills Brothers number "Cherry" and other excellent vocals all added up to sheer enjoyment. Two tunes which stand out were "Nuages" to celebrate the centenary of the birth of Django Reinhardt and a different version of "I can't get started" with Andy and Roger featured instead of the trumpet usually heard doing the solo.

This superb band will be back on May 30th.....don't miss it! 


JB's Jazz & Blues Band


Catching up!.....it has taken a while to get my new computer, and all its new fangled bits and pieces, to work how I want it to so gig reports have taken a back seat. We are now back in business so just a quick mention of the last few gigs we have enjoyed here at the Harp:

New Washboard Syncopators entertained as ever with Phil Probert on guitar/banjo in place of George Linder and Chris Carmel in fine form with his jokes!

Millennium Eagle Jazz Band showed again why they are popular throughout the country and Richard Leach's Clubhouse 5 kept feet tapping on a cold Tuesday evening.

It was a sad session for Martinique Jazz Band following the death of popular and brilliant piano player Ken Jones...Roger Heeley standing in. There was also the news that bass player Dave Boxold was ill so his replacement was Derek Brown. Martinique still put on a superb session.

Bank Street Syncopators also had to replace Dave Boxold, Dave Margaroni doing the honours, and at short notice find a replacement for John Everett who had been taken ill. It is the first time we have had a trumpet player replaced by a pianist but Bill Bickerton did a great job of playing in both the rhythm section and the front line which included Terry Roberts instead of Harry Christian. An excellent session was the result!

Back to normal on Sunday!

Sunday, January 31st...back to more "traditional" jazz with the return of the Old Comrades Jazz Band led by 84 years young Big Eric Dodgson on trombone.

Introduced by Eric with suitable background comments the music ranged from "Swannee River" to "Storeyville Blues", from "Gettysburg March" to "Bouncing Around" (with cheeky references to Big Girls!). Being a Sunday session we had to have suitable numbers such as "Sweet Fields" and "Light from the Lighthouse".

Another most entertaining lunchtime from this popular band who will be back on March 7th.

Tuesday, January 26th...Rachael Pennell with the Roger Heeley Trio gave us a very different session with the return after some considerable time of this extremely talented and confident singer.

Backed by Roger on piano, John O'Connor on bass guitar and Roy Dutton on drums Rachael songs ranging from "I Can't Get Started" to "Mean to Me" and "I've Got Rhythm" to "Lady and the Tramp". Along the way we had "Autumn Leaves" sung in French and a superb "Hushabye Mountain" which did the almost impossible and brought a hush upon the Harp audience which we haven't experienced for a long time...total silence was amazing!

Not traditional jazz but a full house enjoyed a superb evening from Rachael and her excellent musicians.


...Rachael and the Trio


Photo by Frank Meeson


Sunday, January 24th...the audience last Tuesday was a little thin on the ground. today was the opposite with a more than full house (many went in to the bar where they could only listen to the music!) for the quick return of Carl Sinclair and Howard Smith, we even had to raid the rest of the pub for more seats!

This audience was then treated to one of the most entertaining sessions you could ever wish for culminating in not one but two standing ovations at the end. I have referred before to Carl's talent on piano and rapport with our audience of "oldies" as something which it is a pleasure to be part of and this is further enhanced by his ever improving double act with Howard on drums. They work so well together, whether playing blues, boogie, rock and roll or Winifred Atwell the instrumentals and vocals were great and again had people of a certain age hankering after their lost youth!

The final two numbers, "Great Balls of Fire" and "Johnny Be Good" brought about the aforementioned standing ovations involving almost everyone in the audience...it was quite amazing!

Carl and Howard will be back on March 16th.

Tuesday, January 19th....Wabash Jazzmen again gave us a superb session, it was a pity the audience was a little thin on the ground.

Leader Mark Challinor on banjo, Mike Hayler on clarinet and sax, Arthur Brown on trumpet and Howard Worthington on bass gave the small but beautifully formed audience a real treat with numbers ranging from "Wabash Blues" to "Sweet Bye and Bye" and "Down Home Rag" to the finalé "Panama"....the last two are on YouTube.

One of the best 4-piece bands in the country Wabash Jazzmen will be back on April 20th.

Sunday, January 17th...no snow and a pleasant day meant a decent crowd in to see the Five Towns Footwarmers for their first visit of 2010.

Led by Keith Garner on banjo the line-up was Gerry Owen on clarinet/sax, Glyn Bennett on trumpet, Laurie Cooper on trombone, Terry Cooper on bass/sousaphone and Mike Haslam on drums.

From "Dinah" to a brisk "Butter and Egg Man" (with Terry on sousaphone) and "Basin Street Blues" the music was excellent, the solos and vocals enjoyable and 2 hours passed very quickly. The final number, "Sunday" was particularly good as all the members of the band said they had never played it before!

This excellent band will be back on April 25th.

Tuesday, January 12th..another cancellation, this time at very short notice by Night Trippers, meant a suggestion by Marie that I try to book Carl Sinclair, partly because he wouldn't have to ring five other musicians to see if they were available but mainly because we knew he would be a very popular replacement! Fortunately Carl had had a booking cancelled so was able to come along with the added bonus of Howard Smith on drums.

What a good choice it turned out to be!......from start to finish Carl and Howard had the audience  spellbound. Carl's rapport with our slightly more mature audience belies his tender years, well 24 is a bit younger than most of us!

From blues to boogie, from rock and roll to Winifred Atwell, with even a swinging upbeat version of "Mona Lisa" thrown in, this was evening for everyone to hanker after their long lost youth!

With Carl and Howard developing a very good partnership the quality of the music and the vocals was superb and fully deserved the calls for "More" at the end.

This brilliant duo will be back in 12 days time for their booking on the 24th....starting at 12.30pm.





Sunday 10th. saw the cancellation of the Frog Island Jazz Band gig mainly because of the forecast snow in the South East (which didn't materialise!) and the dangerously icy car park at Halesowen Cricket Club where the band were to appear on Sunday evening.
Tuesday, January 5th....telephone calls from regulars to say that the icy, snowy conditions meant they wouldn't be able to get to the Harp did not bode well for the evening!

When Marie and I arrived the only people in the room were some of the "early doors" regulars who don't stay for the jazz...Robin Mason and Rob Milburn were the first members of Ben Holder and BB Swing to arrive, both of them being concerned about the worsening conditions. Phone calls established that Ben and guitar player John Smith were on the way but bass man Bill Smith had turned back to Nottingham.

Whilst we were prepared to cancel the gig to give everyone, (including the by now 6-strong audience!), the chance to make an early start home, the arrival of Ben and John put paid to all that as the exuberance of youth took over! Ben suggested playing the first set and then see how things were going on the weather front and so another most enjoyable gig began.

By 20 past 9 it was obvious the snow was getting worse and there was news the M54 was blocked so a halt was called to the proceedings and the very snowy journey home began.

Marie and I would like to thank the four musicians and Allan, Roy, Marj, Pauline, Bev and Neil who all braved the conditions and made our trip out worthwhile, even though we had no raffle and no football card!

Ben and BB Swing will be back on March 2nd....hopefully with more spring like weather!

Sunday, January 3rd....the new year got off to a good start with an excellent session from Bank Street Syncopators with our hardy regulars not being put off by the rather frosty conditions outside.

With John Dickinson on trombone the band got off to a bright start with "Darktown Strutters' Ball" and then ranged from "Tangerine" to "Mecca Flat Blues" with a very nice alto feature for Harry Christian on "Lady Be Good" along the way. Vocals from Tony Billingsley, Dave Boxold and John Dickinson all added to the enjoyment of the session.

The band also had a very profitable lunchtime as Tony Billingsley's wife, Isobel, won the football card prize, Dave Boxold on bass won one bottle of wine and drummer Steve Markham's parents won the other one!

The band will be back on Feb. 16th.

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email:   jazzclub90@supanet.com