May 6th. 2013.....After 7 years of gig reports I have decided enough is
enough and therefore will be no longer taking notes at gigs and instead
will put photos of new (to the Harp) bands, or those who only
visit us occasionally, in the space below.
There will of course
also be more videos added to YouTube from time to time to add to the
250+ already available.
Click on photos to enlarge
What a brilliant session today
(Feb 16th) when we were entertained by the excellent Second Line Jazz
band from Worcestershire.
Hailing from Prince Henry’s High School and the
Worcestershire Youth Jazz Orchestra these young musicians played with
such enthusiasm, such enjoyment and such amazing musical talent that
they had our audience in the palms of their hands and calling for the
unexpected (!) encore at the end of the session.
For a band so young they were like a breath of fresh
air and certainly knew how to communicate with the audience, especially
leader Pete Johnson on trombone and Matt Hadden on trumpet. Pete's
sister Rose was on alto and vocals, Ramsey Evans on tenor and soprano
sax, Graham Irvine on piano, Matt Deakin on bass and Callum Stubbs on
Their publicity says they play "the very best in Trad,
Blues and Mainstream Swing" and that is exactly what they did....with
the occasional surprise like the blow up saxophones and their
contribution to the raffle....a sparkly bag the contents of which I will
not reveal in case they do the same at another venue, suffice to say
Marie sold more raffle tickets than she has for a long time!
If you like to
hear young musicians who are determined that the audience will enjoy
themselves without in any way detracting from their musical talent then
you should try to see the Second Line, or if you run a jazz club and
want to help
keep jazz alive BOOK 'EM!
Hopefully they will be able to come back again in
August for the one remaining date I have available this year.
Click photos to enlarge
were at the Harp on Tuesday, October
1st and what a superb session it was
by this very entertaining band from
Holland....visit their website at
here or see videos on
"Them There Eyes" ,
one taken at the Harp, "Shake 'em
Leo van der Velden
Henk van Amerongen
September 10th. 2013
Sarah Spencer from the USA with her
......and guest Mike Owen, back home from Denmark, on trombone
The Front Line
April 21st saw the annual visit of Bob Dwyer's Bix and Pieces
Max Emons on trumpet, Bernie Holden on reeds, Jon
Penn on piano, John Bayne on bass/bass sax, Nick Singer on
banjo, Laurie Chescoe on drums, and of course Bob on trombone.
gathering of "bikers" at nearby Cosford, and subsequent delays
on the M54, meant the late arrival of a few regulars and piano
man Jon Penn...Jon made it in time for the third number, to
applause from the audience!
music ranged from "June Nights" to "Royal Garden Blues",
"Freight Train" with Max on harmonica, a touch of Elvis Presley
with "A Fool Such as I" and "Alexander's Rag Time Band" with
vocal by Nick Singer plus of course several Bix numbers along
band that can entertain Adam, our seven year old grandson, for
the best part of 2½ hours must be a bit special and that is
exactly what Bob's band were, special not only for Adam but also
our slightly more mature audience!
Hopefully this annual event will be repeated next year.
April 7th....I gig I had looked forward to for some time didn't
disappoint with Christine Tyrrell and Trefor
Williams' Usual Suspects entertaining a full house for two very
quickly passing hours.The Usual Suspects were Denny Ilett on
trumpet, Karl Hird on clarinet and sax, Mark Challinor on banjo
and guitar, Julyan "Baby Jools" Aldridge on drums and of course
Trefor on bass.......a line-up which couldn't go wrong whether
backing Christine or playing purely instrumental numbers!
Mark was playing with the
band for the first time during this three gig weekend tour and
fitted in as if he had been with them for years, he did have the
advantage of knowing Christine from when his Wabash Jazzmen
backed her at the Harp last year!
Denny Ilett's trumpet
playing was just superb, (and his singing wasn't bad on
"Breeze"!), Karl's clarinet and sax were superb, Mark was the
excellent musician we all know, Trefor drove the band along just
as he did the Max Collie and Phil Mason outfits over many years
aided and abetted by the irrepressible Baby Jools....and to top
it all off the wonderful voice of Christine Tyrrell.
A selection of the
numbers they played are on YouTube...."Saratoga
Shout", "What The Lord
Has Done For Me", "Breeze"
more to follow.
A great session with
musicians who so obviously enjoy entertaining their audience,
plans are already afoot for a return in about 12 months time!
March 17th....should have been a session with Carl Sinclair Duo
but unfortunately Carl was ill and had to pull out of the gig at
short notice. This led to a long session of phone calls late on
Saturday to find musicians who were available....to cut a long
story short I managed to book Malcolm Hogarth on piano, Terry
Roberts on reeds and Bob Pearce on bass, the last two with very
little notice on Sunday morning!
With a number of the
audience there specifically to see Carl Sinclair explanations
were necessary and it was very gratifying to see that most
people stayed to be rewarded with a truly brilliant,
entertaining session by three musicians who hadn't played
Malcolm's talent on the
piano is well known and his sheer enthusiasm and enjoyment of
what he was doing transferred very quickly to the audience.
Whether it was slow gentle numbers such as "September in
the Rain" or the superb "Honky Tonk Train Blues" Malcolm had
excellent backing from the bass of Bob Pearce and the clarinet
and saxes of Terry Roberts with the latter doing a superb alto
version of "Flamingo" and the trumpet part of "Bad Penny Blues"
on soprano sax!
A very short notice
"telephone" band entertained us so wonderfully that two hours
passed extremely quickly and there were many requests for them
to be booked again, unfortunately it can't be this year as the
only dates we have the guys can't do....hopefully next year!
Videos on YouTube
Sunday, March 10th saw the
first visit to the Harp by the Sussex Jazz Kings led by Dave
Stradwick on cornet. The other members of this very experienced
and professional band were Bernard Stutt on clarinet, Len
Baldwin on trombone, Peter Clancy on bass, John Hall on drums
and guest Louis Lince on banjo.
From the first number to the
last this was great music played by musicians who obviously set
out to entertain their audience. The numbers included "In the
Shade of the Old Apple Tree", "Gravier Street Blues", a feature
for Dave in "Bad Penny Blues", and a vocal from Peter Clancy in
"His Eye is on the Sparrow". Excellent solos from Bernard, Len
and Louis all added to the enjoyment and John Hall drove
everyone along on drums, with more vocals from Dave and Len.
I must mention Lesley
Stradwick who does a great job as "manager" of the band and is a
pleasure to deal with both on the phone and in person at the
The videos of the band
which I put on YouTube have been withdrawn at the their request.
After one of those
sessions which will live long in the memory we very much hope to
have the Jazz Kings back next year.
continued with a return appearance by Mike Lovell's Six in a Bar
with Rosie on the 10th, a video of
Miss Jenny's Ball" is on
YouTube, together with others from their first appearance at the
Harp....they give a very good indication of the entertainment
provided by this superb band.
More well known musicians
came with Jeff Matthews and his Chicago Swing Katz on the
12th...the line-up being Pete Ainge on trumpet, Andrew McKenzie
on trombone, Derek Harison on piano, Dave Margaroni on bass,
Mike Carnie on drums and Jeff on clarinet and saxes. From
"Hindustan" to "While We Dance at the Mardi Gras", a soprano
feature for Jeff on "Promenade Aux Champs Elysées" to "They All
Ask For You" (Audubon Zoo) by Derek Harrison the music was
excellent with plenty of chat with the audience thrown in, every
reason to have them back in August!
Jools' All Stars on the 17th had one notable absentee...Jools
himself! Unable to make the gig one
drummer had found a more than adequate young replacement in the
now slim-line form of Jack Cotterill, already well known to Harp
regulars. The brilliant line-up in front of Jack was Annie
Hawkins on bass, Louis Lince on banjo, Denny Ilett on cornet,
Warren Latham on reeds and Dave Vickers on trombone.....to my
mind as good a line up as you will find anywhere and the music
reflected this, even though they had never all played together
session in front of a nice full house...what more could you want
on a Sunday lunchtime?
and Blues Band were in on 24th....JB, or John Beckingham to give
him his full name, brought his band of merry men to the Harp for
another swinging session. John's superb piano playing was
brilliantly complemented by Roger Manwaring on reeds and hat,
Paul Holder on drums and Mark Howell on bass . Four brilliant
musicians whose aim is to entertain and they certainly did that
today! A return visit is booked for May 26th.
Eagle Jazz Band ended the month for us with their new recruit,
Terry Williams on trombone, remembered by some in the Harp from
his visit many years ago with the Beachcombers from the West
on trumpet, Brian Lawrence on bass, Chris Etherington on banjo
and leader Matt Palmer on reeds completed the line-up. This
excellent band always give us a good session but this one was
the best we have heard from Matt and the boys(!?) for a long
time, everything was spot on from start to finish.
Millennium Eagles will be back on September 8th.
I didn't have my camera with me so we welcome Terry back with a
photo from his first visit with the Beachcombers!
who played for us recently both consisted mainly of musicians
well known in the Harp but in different line-ups. On January
27th. we had the Aces of Rhythm with Chris Carmell on cornet,
Dave Kimmins on banjo, Joe Nutman
on piano, Doug White on sousaphone and leader Matt Palmer on sax
their 1920s music including "Sweet Emmelina", "Kitchen Man" sung
by Dave Kimmins and, inevitably, Jabbo Smith's "Michigander
Blues" and "Blue and Broken Hearted" (the band name was inspired
by Jabbo's Rhythm Aces) plus an excellent ragtime solo from Joe
Nutman with "Maple Leaf Rag".
5th, saw Strictly Swing Quartet in for the first time with
leader Bill Smith on guitar, we are more used to seeing him on
bass, Robin Mason on sax and clarinet, Rob Milburn on rhythm
guitar and Bob Boucher on bass.
that really did swing included "Lady Be Good", "Sentimental
Journey", a Latin "S'wonderful" and vocals from Bill's wife Joy
including ""Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend" and "I've Got a
Crush on You". We even had a couple of Shadows numbers from
Bill, Rob and Bob....different but brilliantly played!
of Robin playing "Moonlight
in Vermont" is on YouTube
different sessions with very varied music but equally
entertaining. Both bands will be back later in the year.
15th. of January saw the first visit of 2013 by the Remi Harris
Trio with Ben Salmon on rhythm guitar and
Tom Moore on bass.
with these three brilliant young musicians we enjoyed 2½ hours
of superb music which ranged from Django's "Daphne" and "Django's
Tiger" to the Beatles "In My Life", Miles Davis' "Donna Lee",
which was recorded by Charlie Parker, and Bill Evans' "Waltz for
to these standards such as "Putting on the Ritz", "Limehouse
Blues" and "Sweet Georgia Brown", with a very long guitar intro,
together with Remi's own ""I've Done My Bit", dedicated to his
Grandma, and you can see why the evening was so enjoyable. In to
this mix Remi produced his electric guitar to play an excellent
Peter Green (of Fleetwood Mac fame) number "I Need Your Love".
Eyes" as an encore provided a fitting end to an evening of the
Tiger" recorded at a previous session is on YouTube
will be back on April 16th....don't miss it, the weather should
Marie and I would like to
say a big "thank you" as we were pleasantly surprised by the
number of people who turned up....... with a mixture of a very
cold, icy night and several regulars missing through illness we
expected a smaller than usual audience....we were wrong!
Our first gig of
2013 was on January 6th and certainly qualified as a special occasion.
The music by the
Old Comrades Jazz Band was as entertaining as ever but the "special" bit
was the fact that a certain trombone player was born on this day in
1926....making leader "Big Eric" Dodgson 87 years young!
Eric is as
enthusiastic as ever about his music with his vocals and trombone
playing belying his years and his rapport with the audience plays a
large part in the success of the Old Comrades.
A cake, complete
with candles (only 5, not 87!), and a kiss from Marie marked the
occasion in suitable fashion.
We look forward
to Eric's 88th. and in the meantime will settle for the band's next
visit on February 3rd.