Jazz Club 90 gigs

 

 

Some of the sessions at the Harp (May 06-Dec. 07)

The Harp Hotel, Albrighton, Shropshire. WV7 3JF

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The music you can hear is "Come on and Stomp" by annual visitors to the Harp, Frog Island Jazz Band.

Further gig reports will be on the 2008 page as this one has now become rather long.


Sunday, December 23rd. 2007...our last gig of the year was also our Christmas party and what a party it turned out to be. Not only did we have the marvellous JB's Jazz and Blues band to entertain us but a very full house helped us to celebrate the Golden Wedding Anniversary of Gladys and Gordon Fryer, two of our very regular supporters

With many people in some form of festive attire and the Harp suitably decorated for Christmas a superb atmosphere was created for two and a half hours (or more for those who arrived extra early to get a seat!) of swinging music from the band, with vocals from JB himself, John Beckingham, the new look guitar player, Andy Wood, almost unrecognisable with his shorter haircut, and sax man Roger Manwaring. Clive Miller on drums and Mark Howell on bass made sure there was no flagging by the front line!

Gladys and Gordon were presented with champagne, flowers and a cake to mark the anniversary and danced to the anniversary waltz in the very small space available.

Our thanks to Donna, Dave and Russell who, together with their bar staff, have done a great job in running the Harp since Terry's untimely death in June and have helped us to keep the jazz alive and kicking in Albrighton. We also thank the bands who have played so brilliantly for us during the year and our audiences, (especially our regulars who have turned up whatever the weather!) without whom there would be no reason to put on the jazz.

A great session to end the year, we look forward to seeing everyone back on January 6th. when Millennium Eagle Jazz band will get the New Year off to a cracking start!

The band

Gordon and Gladys

Festive hats

and more


Tuesday, December 11th....arriving just before the interval I was greeted by the sound of Terry Roberts' saxophone, not the delightful voice of Carole Westwood!

Sadly this was due to the sudden death of Carole's mother which necessitated a quick, almost "can you come now!" phone call to Terry. Our thoughts and condolences are with Carole and the family at this sad time.

I had a nostalgic start to the evening, in the company of many old Wolves players, at the launch of a book by the world's greatest goalkeeper, Bert Williams. This nostalgia was also reflected in the appearance of Terry Roberts with the Archie Cotterell Trio, it brought back memories of many similar line-ups with Terry at the Trumpet all those years ago.

The second set consisted of a a mix of quartet and trio numbers such as "Take Five" by Archie on piano, Derek Brown on bass and Barry Watts on drums, and "Flamingo" by Terry and the boys(!). Big band numbers like "The Flight of The Floo Bird" and Woody Herman's "Four Brothers" were also part of the evening.

It may have been a short notice line-up but it was superb music which may well be on our menu next year!

Click photos to enlarge (Sorry Barry, you were hidden behind the drumkit)

 

 

The Quartet 

 

 

Terry Roberts 

 

 

Terry Roberts


Sunday, December 2nd...Frog Island Jazz Band were today's visitors at the Harp and what a superb session it turned out to be!

John Whitehead…. cornet, Jim Hurd….clarinet, John Jeanes….trombone, Owen Diplock….banjo, Rob Fullalove…. tuba, Chris Marchant….drums and Keith Durston….piano all combined brilliantly to recreate the music of Jelly Roll Morton and the classic King Oliver recordings with a little Johnny Dodds, the New Orleans Wanderers and others thrown in for good measure.

Numbers included the King Oliver version of "London Blues" and "Jazzin' Baby Blues" and some of Morton's tunes were "Each Day" and "Harmony Blues" and his version of "Dr. Jazz", with the vocal by John Whitehead. The tuba and drums had a rest during "Muskrat Ramble" to give a Hot 5 version and Rob on tuba did the vocal on "After You've Gone".

Great music superbly played by seven excellent musicians, we hope it won't be three years before they are back again!

"London Blues", "Harmony Blues", "Chicago Buzz" and "Doctor Jazz" videos are now on YouTube.

Rob Fullalove 

 

 

 

 

The band 

 

 

Owen Diplock


Sunday, November 25th...a memorable session for many reasons, not least the fact it was Marie's birthday, but it was also the last appearance with Millennium Eagle Jazz Band by "Baby Jools", the band's young drummer.

The band joined in the birthday celebrations by starting off with "Marie", a vocal from Chris Etherington, and then everyone joined in to sing "Happy Birthday" to our shy, retiring fundraiser! The band then got under way with "That Da, Da Strain" and continued in their own entertaining fashion through a programme which included "Trouble in Mind", a feature for Matt Palmer in "Indian Summer" and a Pete  Brown vocal for "Magnolia's Wedding Day".

Young trumpet player Jamie Brownfield joined the band for "I've Got Rhythm" and Baby Jools was the star of "Running Wild", especially for Marie (see the video).

During all this young (21 months) grandson Adam arrived with a bouquet for his Grandma and took a great deal of interest in the band. Two more of the band numbers, "Riverboat Shuffle" and "Putting on the Ritz" will be on YouTube soon.

A great gig ended with "Travellin' Blues" when Jamie again joined the band.

We wish the very talented Julyan "Baby Jools" Aldridge well in his move to the drum chair with Max Collie's Rhythm Aces

Millennium Eagle will be back on January 6th. to start our 2008 jazz sessions

           

Sunday, November 4th....what happens when West Bromwich Albion manage to win a match the day before Antique Six Jazz Band descend on the Harp? Answer: you get derogatory comments from a certain member of the band and the audience aimed at another member of the band and yours truly! Watford supporting trombone player Richard Leach had to take some stick from his Baggies supporting wife Pattie, as I did from Marie, and Clinton Sedgley basked (although you wouldn't think so from his photo) in the glory of Albion being not only above the Wolves but also beating Watford to go third in the league!

All this on top of a slight mishap with a full pint of beer and a small grandson. Having decided he had eaten enough of his packed lunch Adam decided to move the table in order to get down, this tilted my glass so I grabbed the table to stop it and the end result was a rather wet Adam and a very soggy yours truly! A pint of beer goes rather a long way, even a little help from the hand dryer in the gents didn't really have any effect. Needless to say this also produced an element of ribaldry from certain members of the audience whilst Adam later on decided to eat Marie's roll !

Fortunately non of this friendly (?) banter intruded in to the musical entertainment from the Antique 6 and we were treated once again to a brilliant Sunday lunchtime session.  It started with "Froggymore" and ended with "Going Home". Along the way we had the well known "Tishomingo Blues" and "Sunset Café Stomp" with Chris Mercer on the vocal, a superb trombone feature, "Out of Nowhere" from Richard and the rhythm section, and Muggsy Spanier's "Eccentric". The first set ended with a number which Richard said the band could only play once a night..."Climax Rag"!

In the second half we had the rare occasion of a number which featured Clinton Sedgley and his banjo for almost the whole number, "Mama in F" was one I had not heard and it was quite brilliant. The Muggsy Spanier songbook was again raided for "Blueing the Blues" and Chris Pearce was featured on soprano sax, with Graham Smith on drums, Clinton Sedgley on guitar and Andy  Robins on bass, in his version of "Old Fashioned Love". Graham's drum solo during "I've Found a New Baby" had occasional assistance from the brass section and showed again why he is a very important part of this excellent band.

Antique Six Jazz Band will be back on February 10th. 2008.

 


Sunday, October 28th....The Five Towns Footwarmers made another very welcome appearance, this time with Gwyn Bennett again on trumpet while the other members of the orchestra were Gerry Owen on sax and clarinet, Laurie Cooper on trombone, Mike Haslam on drums, Keith Prescott on bass and leader Keith Garner on banjo and fund of information about the origin of most of the tunes the band played.

Starting with "Avalon" we had such varied numbers as "Just a Little While to Stay Here" with a Gerry Owen vocal, "Big Butter and Egg Man" (on video), one we don't hear very often, "Martha", and another Gerry vocal on "Corinne Corinna". Incidentally we had trouble trying to decide who Gerry was singing his romantic ballads to as his eyes ranged over all the ladies in front of him....Gladys, Barbara, Wendy, Iris and Marj were all under his spell.....we sincerely hope he wasn't singing to the fellas!

A superb Laurie Cooper trombone intro to "Georgia on My Mind", a swinging "Saratoga Swing" an excellent "Old Miss Rag" (also on video) and finally a great "Running Wild" were all part of an excellent Sunday lunchtime session.

In view of the fact the band played "Running Wild" for Marie they are guaranteed to be back next year!

Click photos to enlarge...sorry Keith on bass I didn't get you but you should be in the video when it is on YouTube!


Tuesday, October 23rd....saw a visit by Harp regulars, the Martinique Jazz Band, but this time with a difference, or rather two differences....Pete Ainge was on trumpet instead of Tony Billingsley and Pat Bayliss on trombone for Bobby Johnson. This meant thet the "MC" duties fell to bass player Dave Boxold. With reed man Terry Roberts acting as musical director for the evening the band gave us a very varied programme including "Saratoga Swing", a Pete Ainge vocal on "That's My Home" and Dave Boxold's version of "After You've Gone". Terry was also featured in my request for Earl Bostic's "Flamingo" and Pat Bayliss played his very smooth "Getting Sentimental Over You".

Terry Roberts and Ken Jones, on piano, were the stars of "Onions", a new number for the band which, had it have gone wrong, may well have brought tears to the eyes but instead brought applause for the band!

The so far unmentioned Jim Harney on drums drove the band along superbly all evening and the gig ended with a rousing "Royal Garden Blues"

The band will be back on November 20th.


Sunday, October 21st....Richard Leach's ClubHouse Five are a band who are very well worth listening to....when you add guest appearances by two very talented young jazz musicians you get a session which has even more appeal!

Richard on trombone had his front line partners, Gordon Whitworth on trumpet and Dave Wilkinson on clarinet and alto , backed by Len Thwaites on bass and Phil Probert on banjo and guitar. Starting with "That Da Da Strain" the band then gave us their usual superb performance including "Big Butter and Egg Man" and "Buddy Bolden's Blues" with a vocal from Gordon on "Ain't She Sweet?".

Young alto player Amy Roberts then joined the band for a few numbers including "Some of These Days" (video) with Richard and Gordon, and later "Lady be Good" with Dave Wilkinson (also on YouTube). Amy showed why she is considered a very exciting jazz musician, she was superb! The second set saw Jamie Brownfield join the band on trumpet for "Struttin' With Some Barbeque" and "Someday You'll Be Sorry", which brought forth very well deserved words of praise from Gordon Whitworth for another extremely talented young musician.

The finalé, "China Boy" had the big band on show with Amy and Jamie joining the more mature(?!) members of the band for a rousing end to the session. The only problem was that the videos I took when Jamie played were mysteriously wiped from my camera card......actually there is no mystery, I just deleted everything before I had saved them!!!!!

The ClubHouse Five will be back next year but Amy will be back with her Jazztet on December 9th.


Tuesday, October 16th. 2007...today was the 14th. anniversary of Jazz Club 90 setting up home in the Harp.....little did we know then that the jazz club, the Harp and Terry, the owner, would become known throughout the jazz world. Terry is sadly no longer with us but as most people know his daughter Donna, Dave her partner and Russell her brother have vowed to keep the pub and the jazz going.....and a very good job they are making of running the pub, whilst we will do our utmost to make the jazz successful for them and for us.

Rod Chambers' Louisiana Joymakers helped us to celebrate in style with their blend of superb music, brilliantly played and with Rod's rapport with the audience adding to the enjoyment.

The tunes ranged from "If I had My Life To Live Over2 to "Collegiate" and "Walking With the King". Following Rod's story of his love for Marylin Monroe (see video) we had the inevitable "Running Wild", which I suspect was requested by Marie and which featured an excellent bass solo by Jim Swinnerton. Solos from all the band, Rod on reeds, John Howlett, complete with very expensive new teeth, on trombone, Brian Bates on cornet, Clinton Sedgley on banjo/guitar and Graham Smith on drums were all of the highest order.

We ran a "special" raffle to put extra money in the kitty, some of the prizes can be seen in the photo and Marie and myself would like to thank everyone who took part and also donated prizes.

We look forward to many more celebrations of our anniversary, meanwhile Rod Chambers and the Boys(!) will be back on December 18th.

Click photos to enlarge


Tuesday, October 2nd....Apex Jazz and Swing Band had a special guest tonight, Graham Woodhouse from Derby who is the trombone player with the Pete Allen Band. The regular members were leader Robin Mason on reeds, including the baritone sax, Pete Brown on trumpet, Peter Robinson on guitar/banjo, John Fellows on bass and Jim Harney on drums.

As with all Apex sessions the choice of music was wide and varied from "Rosetta" to "Shiny Stockings" with a vocal from Graham Woodhouse on "Someday You'll Be Sorry" and the first set ended with "Christopher Columbus".

During the interval, apart from announcing the football card winner, we made a presentation to one of our regulars. John Hill, during his volunteer work as a crew member aboard the narrowboat "Ernest Thomas 2nd", was pushing the boat away from the bank to continue the voyage but forgot to transfer his feet from the bank to the deck....resulting in a rather embarassing fall into the "cut" (canal to the uninitiated) when he could no longer play the part of a bridge! Apparently he then hauled himself aboard, dried himself off (to the amusement of the lady passengers) and continued the journey. To mark the occasion Marie presented John with a pair of inflatable armbands, just in case! John's comments are not suitable for repeating on a genteel website such as ours!

The second set started with the "A Train" and included an excellent "Nuages" featuring Robin on clarinet and Peter Robinson on guitar.

An excellent session from Apex once again, with the added bonus of a visit by Graham Woodhouse playing superb trombone and flugelhorn.

Apex Jazz and Swing Band will be back on December 4th.


Sunday, September 30th....a return by the Red Dragon Jazzmen with Ruth Frith saw their leader John Everett back to form following his heart surgery and playing the full session....his surgeon would have been proud of him! Joining the band for this gig was veteran trombone player Nick Williams, for years a favourite at the Harp with his Central City Jazzmen, who fitted in well with John Bodenham on clarinet, Steve Slater on bass, Phil Probert on banjo/guitar and Ron Smith on drums..

Starting with "Just a Closer Walk With Thee" we then had vocals from Nick, including "Some of These Days" and drummer Ron Smith who gave us "Hello Central, Give me Dr. Jazz". The offerings from Ruth were "Cakewalking Babies", "Am I Blue?" and "Shine", all delivered in Ruth's lovely inimitable style.

The second set included "Hiawatha Rag" (video), a Ruth and John duet in "Butter and Egg Man", with the session ending with "Down By the Riverside". (You can get their CD of the same name from their website)

Red Dragon will be back on November 27th.


Sunday,September 23rd....Without a trombone, Dave Braidley was on holiday, the 5-piece New Washboard Syncopators gave us another excellent session of well known and not so well known jazz tunes. 

Chris Carmel on cornet, Bob Smith on clarinet and tenor sax (fetched out of the loft for the occasion!), Tony Quinn on percussion, Bob Pearce on bass and George Linder on banjo gave forth with "I Never Knew What a Girl Could Do" then we had a Bob Pearce vocal on "Everywhere You Go" with later a number new to the band, Doc Cheetham's "Swing Down in New Orleans". A Tony Quinn vocal "Any Time" and a superb "Beale Street Blues" (see it on video) were all part of the first set.

Despite all his attempts at bribery of the organiser Chris Carmel did not win the wine or the £20.00 but he did sing us a ballad from the 30s, "Rhythm and Romance" and a bouncy "My Cuties Due at 2 to 2 (1.58 to you and me!) Bob Smith was featured in "Nobody's Sweetheart Now", everyone enjoyed "Perdido Street Blues" (see it on video) and the session ended with "Running Wild".

Once again great entertainment, great music and a most enjoyable session.

The New Washboard Syncopators will be back on November 11th.



Tuesday, September 18th.....after a two year break tonight saw the return of Sarah Spencer and her TransAtlantic Friends. With Sarah on tenor sax and vocals were Dave Copperwaite on trumpet, Derek Galloway on trombone, Louis Lince on banjo (and smart suit), Bill Evans on drums and Jim Swinnerton on bass.

The session started with "Down in Jungle Town" and then included "Pallet on the Floor", with a Dave Copperwaite vocal, "Algiers Strut" and "My Memphis Baby" (see a video) with a vocals from Sarah in "Railroad Blues". A rather fast version of "Dinah" from Derek which had Sarah saying "we can't follow that so let's have a break!" meant it was time for the first interval.

After the break Ken Pye, a long time friend of Sarah and a fine New Orleans style trumpet player, joined the band for a few numbers which started with "June Nights" and then a two trumpet version of "Bogalusa Strut" (see it on video) and a Bill Evans vocal on "I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now?).

More superb solos and vocals followed and after "Shine on Prairie Moon" and a Dave and Sarah duet on "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" Ken Pye rejoined the band for the final number "Redwing".

Another excellent session from Sarah and her Friends, unfortunately they will not be back until 2009!

 


Sunday, September 16th....at last!...the long awaited return visit by brilliant Scottish pianist Daniel Smith and his Blues Band. Daniel plays really driving Blues and Boogie with the very able help of Jon "T-Bone" Taylor on guitar, George Pearson on bass and Pete Miles on drums.

Although very different, and at times a little louder than we are used to, the undoubted musical talent of the four gained them many new fans by the end of the session. The music ranged from "Boogie Woogie on Swannee River" and "South Side Boogie", obviously featuring Daniel to "Hear me Knocking On Your Door", with vocal and guitar solo from bass man George Pearson and "Evil Ways", a duet between Daniel and Jon.

Pete Miles had his own spot...a drum solo which was just that, no-one else involved except Daniel who held a rather heavy fire extinguisher aloft as an extra piece of drum kit...brilliant!....Daniel and Pete then did a superb "Honky Tonk Train Blues"(you can see it on YouTube).

Four very talented and entertaining musicians who will be welcome back next year.

They will be back....on Sunday, April 27th. 2008.

 


Tuesday, September 11th.....With Avo Avison depping on trombone the Heart of England Jazz Band gave us another cracking session with the regular members of the band comprising Selwyn Newton on clarinet, Pete Ainge on trumpet, Dave Smith on banjo, Roger Heath on bass and Clive Millward on drums.

Their varied offerings ranged from "Just a Little While to Stay Here" to "Georgia Camp Meeting" and "Hiawatha Rag" interspersed with vocals from Selwyn, Clive and Pete. The second set featured "Milenberg Joys" and "Streets of London" with the added bonus of a guest appearance by Liz who gave us a splendid version of "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" which received much very well deserved applause....Liz can come back anyday!

The band played their very untuneful version of "Happy Birthday" for yours truly and gave me a card signed by our wonderful audience...many thanks!

One other point worthy of comment is the lower body attire of two members of the band who have either shrunk in height or are trying to start a new band uniform which the rest of the band haven't cottoned on to yet! See the photos below.

This superb evening ended with a "Dr. Jazz" vocal from Avo and then "Bye, Bye, Blackbird" from all the band who will be back on October 14th.

 


Sunday, September 9th....another session that proved once again that if a band show that they are enjoying playing the gig the Harp audience will enjoy listening to them, and Bank Street Syncopators did just that!

Rob Hodges, depping on bass, and Cliff Williams, on sax/clarinet, joined the regular members Tony Billingsley on trumpet, Barry Phillips on trombone, Fred Dixon on banjo/guitar and Derek Rowland on drums.

Opening with "Dark Town Strutters' Ball" we then had a Tony Billingsley vocal during "Someday You'll be Sorry" which led Tony to try to extract sympathy from both the band and the audience with the tale of his leg injured by a tree he was cutting down......the rather small plaster on his leg which he showed to the audience put an end to the sympathy before it even started!

Another vocal of note (I think!) was Derek Rowland's party piece "Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives To Me"....even my camera stopped recording!

Another very entertaining Sunday lunchtime for anyone except perhaps the most dyed in the wool purists.

Bank Street will be back on November 18th.


Sunday, September 2nd....who says advertising doesn't work?......the gig list in Jazz Guide brought a couple all the way from Surrey to see the Old Comrades Jazz Band! More correctly to see "Big Eric" Dodgson, the ever young leader of this most entertaining band, who apparently played at their pub in this area many years ago.

Brian and Rose, together with all of us,  were able to enjoy a very good session from the Old Comrades with Eric on trombone, Bob Morton on trumpet, Dave Coles on clarinet/soprano, Cutty Sark on piano, Griff Thomas on banjo, Dave Andrews on drums and Steve Slater on bass. Starting with "Swanee River" we had several vocals from Eric including "Move That Body Over" and "Precious Lord, Lead Me On" while Cutty gave us "There'll be Some Changes Made".

After the interval the first number, "Rose of Washington Square", was played for Rose of Surrey with "Tiger Rag" being later played for Brian. Dave Coles was featured on soprano in "Roses are Blooming in Picardy" and the session ended with "When Shadows Fall".

Another excellent session from another band who obviously enjoy playing their music, what more can you ask?

The OCJB will be back next year!

Click on photos to enlarge


Tuesday, August 21st....With Roy Norton unable to get the members of JazzLine together we were left with trying to find a band on Saturday morning for the following Tuesday evening! At Marie's suggestion I rang Ralph Allin first because it was Ralph's gig that we had to cancel after the death of our late "boss" Terry. Fortunately Ralph was available along with his violin and the other members of the Quartet, Jadie Carey on bass, Glen Taylor on piano and Steve Street on drums.

As always Ralph's choice of music was wide and varied, from "Paper Moon" to "The Nearness of You" which featured Ralph and Glen Taylor, with a little "Making Whoopee!" along the way to "Ain't She Sweet". The inevitable "Irish Jig with variations" was asked for and Django was remembered with "Minor Swing"

Another superb night from four very talented young musicians who really should be getting more jazz club bookings....they enthralled a packed marquee at Upton!

They will be back next year!


Sunday, August 19th...Another visit by the Antique Six Jazz band and another cracking session. During the interval I made the mistake of saying to drummer Graham Smith that I thought the band were playing brilliantly.....drawing himself up to his full height ( and that is rather high!) Graham's response was "Why, aren't we always?". The answer of course was that Antique Six are always brilliant, it was just that tonight did seem to have that little extra something, maybe the choice of a few new numbers in the repertoire was one of the reasons.

Needless to say the music was superb, "Chicago Buzz",played without the help of the trombone, was a new one to me. Solos were great, especially Chris Pearce's "Willow Weep for Me" with the rhythm section which also included an excellent guitar solo from Clinton Sedgley (you can see it on You Tube and Richard Leach's "Spain", again with the boys at the back. Chris Mercer's vocals included "Ace in the Hole" with other tunes ranging from Muggsy Spanier's "Eccentric" to Bix's "Since My Best Gal Turned Me Down" and "Snake Rag" (also on YouTube). Just for a change Marie's request was for "Down in Honky Tonk Town" which was followed by "Climax Rag" and "Working Man Blues" and finally "Going Home".

As always Graham, Andy and Clinton did a great job in the rhythm section.

Another excellent session with the Antique Six.

They will be back on November 4th.


Sunday, August 5th...Richard Leach's ClubHouse Five were today's visitors with Chris Pearce on clarinet/sax taking the place of George Huxley who was unable to make the gig. Richard on trombone, Gordon Whitworth on cornet, Len Thwaites on bass and Brian Mellor on banjo completed the line-up.

From "DaDa Strain" to "Dallas Blues", from "Muskrat Ramble" to "Three Little Words" the first set had something for everyone including a delightful "Blue Skies" by Chris Pearce and Bix Beiderbecke's "Sorry" which you can see and hear on video.  After the interval we had Brian Mellor's vocal on "Georgia Grind" whilst Gordon was featured on "Until The Real Thing Comes Along" and "Mahogany Hall Stomp", played for the first time by this particular line-up...and very well too! The "Non White Posterior Stomp" and a rousing "China Boy" brought the session to a much too soon close.

Five experienced musicians enjoying playing, superb jazz....what more could you want on a Sunday lunchtime?

The ClubHouse Five will be back on October 21st.

Sunday, June 17th....It was rather fitting that Martinique Jazz Band should be here for our first session since Terry died as they have been one of the bands who have been monthly visitors to the Harp during the 14 years of Jazz Club 90's residence here.

The band were excellent, the Harp was full, and we observed a minute silence followed by "Just a Closer Walk with Thee".........a very fitting tribute to Terry.


Sunday, May 27th...a very appreciative audience saw the first appearance at the Harp by the James Evans Incredible String Four. We were treated to the music of Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong, Django Reinhardt and more by four of the most talented young jazz musicians in the country who put their own mark on some wonderful music. (see a video)

With leader James Evans excelling on clarinet, alto and vocals the programme ranged from the opener "All Caved In" to a Jim Ydstie bass and vocal feature in "More Than Rain" and a Sandy Brown number "Wild Life". Tom Kincaid almost made his piano talk during his solos and Martin Wheatley, on various string instruments, including guitar, banjo, Spanish guitar, ukelele and a Hawaiian guitar named Clive(!), provided not only superb rhythm but also great solos.

Amongst other numbers were a tribute to the legendary "Max Collie" written by James, a ukelele solo version of "Stars and Stripes" by Martin (we want "Land of Hope and Glory" next time!) and a Jim Ydstie vocal "The Briar and The Rose".

A young man popular in the Harp is 16 year old trumpet player Jamie Brownfield who was invited by James to join the quartet. How much Jamie has matured since he first played for us about 3 years ago could be seen by how easily he fitted in to make the Incredible Five!  Playing Jamie's choice of "Perdido" and "Satin Doll" the reaction and applause from the audience and the band was very well deserved.

Tom Kincaid


Sunday, May 13th.....it may have been the 13th. but it turned out to be a very lucky day at the Harp when we had a return visit by Liberty Street Jazz Band from South Wales. Led as always by Marcus Bridgeman on cornet, vocals and jokes the line-up was Doc John Davies on clarinet and saxes, Davey Simmons on trombone, Derek Newton on bass and sousaphone, Dewi Peters on banjo and Graham on drums.

As with last year the appeal of this band is the rather different choice of tunes that they play, some that many of us had never heard before..."Waiting at the End of the Road" and "Red Hair and Freckles" being just a couple in the first set. Their leaning towards the music of Bix Biederbecke was shown with "Singing The Blues" and their finalé "Copenhagen" which along with "12th. Street Rag", "Running Wild" (just for Marie) and "Avalon" (for Kevin) all added up to a superb session.

Every member of the band contributed to a memorable gig but I really must say a special thank you to Marcus who, apart from his cornet playing and singing, developed a fine rapport with the audience with his fund of jokes and his repartee with John Everett, trumpet player of this parish and Welsh exile of many years! It turned out that John and Marcus grew up in the same part of South Wales but hadn't met for many years.

My thanks to Dewi's wife Anne for arranging the gig, Anne was having heart surgery when the band played last year so this was the first time we had met.

We hope to have this wonderful band back next year.

 


Sunday, May 6th...Once again a rocking session from JB's Jazz and Blues Band which is no more than we expect from these superb musicians. With a guest drummer in the shape of Jeff Hawker the rest of the band were the usual regulars Roger Manwaring on reeds, Andy Wood on guitar, Tony Capaldi on bass and the boss, John Beckingham on piano.

The band not only showed their instrumental talents but also once again excelled with their vocals....Andy with a great Ray Charles number "Sentimental Blues", Roger's "Someday You'll be Sorry" and Tony's "Bare Necessities of Life" are just a few which gave support to John who sang most of the songs.

Jeff didn't sing but was featured on a brilliant drum solo during "I've Found a New Baby"....sorry I haven't got your photo Jeff, my camera battery packed up at just the wrong time!

The band will be back on October 7th.

 


Tuesday, April 17th....My closing remarks for tonight's session were "With three brilliant musicians and one lovely singer a superb Tuesday evening was guaranteed", and Carole Westwood with the Archie Cotterell Trio provided us with just that, a superb session.

Carole's songs for the first set ranged from the opening "A Foggy Day in London Town" to a storming "Stormy Weather" and a very gentle "Jinjy" whilst Archie did a brilliant piano feature with "Take Five".

The second set started with Archie's version of "The Entertainer" and he was later featured on "The Battle Hymn of The Republic" and Derek Brown on bass guitar did a great job with "I've Got Rhythm". Carole  told us about "The Boy From Ipanema" and "Sentimental Journey" and "Walking My Baby Back Home" plus many more well known numbers to delight a full and appreciative audience.

Throughout the gig Carole was brilliantly backed by Archie's piano, Derek's bass and Barry Watts' drums, with Barry for once getting his photo in the rogue's gallery!

Carole and the boys(!) will be back on September 4th.


Sunday, April 15th....Another scintillating session from Heart of England Jazz Band who came in with Avo Avison depping on trombone.

A rousing start with "At the Jazz Band Ball" set the tone for another excellent Sunday lunchtime which continued with numbers as varied as Clive Millward singing "Up a Lazy River" and "When My Dreamboat Comes Home" from Whispering Selwyn Newton. The first set ended with Avo Avison's vocal on "Dr. Jazz"

The second set ranged from "Stevedore Stomp" to Selwyn's version of Acker Bilk's pension "Stranger on the Shore" and on to "The Old Rugged Cross" to finish with "Bourbon Street Parade"

Quality solos from everyone combined with the rapport between the band and the Harp audience contributed enormously to the success of the session.

 


Sunday, April 8th....the long awaited visit by the superb 10th. Avenue Band from California looked like turning into a disaster when I had a phone call at 10.30 (AM!) to say that the band bus had broken down on the M5 and there was no way the band could make it to the Harp!

It meant all our advertising and telling people to be early to get a seat would be of no avail unless we could find another band at about 2 hours notice...on a Sunday morning!  Fortunately I rang drummer Jim Harney who said he would do his best and eventually rang me back to say that with the help of Bobby Johnson he had got a six piece band together....possibly the opportunity to get out of cutting the lawn, painting the house or kicking the cat had something to do with it!

Seriously, Jim had recruited Terry Roberts on clarinet/sax, Dave Boxold on bass,, Gordon Whitworth on trumpet and Bobby Johnson on trombone who in turn persuaded the excellent Paul Sawtell on keyboard to pay his first visit to the Harp.

Not looking forward to telling the audience that they would not be appearing I was delighted when everyone stayed for the session, even those who had arrived early just to see 10th. Avenue, and what a session it turned out to be!

Introduced by Bobby Johnson as "not the 10th. Avenue Band from California but instead the 5th. Avenue Band from Gornal" they set of at a cracking pace with "Exactly Like You" which set the scene for the rest of the session. The solos and vocals from all the band were superb as were the featured numbers for Terry (Earl Bostic's "Flamingo") and Gordon ("I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me") whilst Dave showed of his multilingual talent during "Gigolo". A storming version of "China Town" and a more gentle "Marie" (no guesses who that was for!) were just two more of the varied numbers and the session ended with a superb "Lester Leaps In".

It would be remiss of me not to give a special mention to Paul Sawtell who's talent on the keyboard is quite incredible.....it was his first visit but I hope not the last.

It is very often the case that a band who have never before played together as a unit produce something really special and today was exactly that...something VERY special! This was borne out by the comments of the audience during and after the gig who all stayed until the end and showered the band with praise and thanks.

My own special thanks go to Marie, who suggested I ring Jim Harney, to Jim for abandoning cutting the lawn to ring around his musician friends, to Bobby Johnson for persuading Paul to come along and to Gordon, Terry and Dave for helping us out at such short notice and producing such an excellent Sunday session.

We hope to have 10th. Avenue back sometime in the future...if not 5th. Avenue will be more than welcome!

 


Tuesday, April 3rd....Tonight saw the very welcome return of Richard Leach's ClubHouse Five which features not only Richard on trombone but also Gordon Whitworth on trumpet, Howard Worthington on bass, Dennis Mowatt on banjo and the fabulous George Huxley on clarinet, soprano and alto sax....a line-up fit to grace any jazz stage!

After the first number "Old Miss Rag" Richard congratulated Roy and Vi (More news) on their Golden Wedding anniversary and the band played several tunes during the evening which had some association with many years of wedded bliss, such as "I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me!".

Roy's choice of band for this evening meant we could look forward to a marvellous jazz session and we were not disappointed. Superb alto from George in "Singing the Blues" and Gordon's vocals during "Swing that music" and "When I grow Too Old To Dream" along with "Canal Street Blues" are an indication of the variety of great music we were treated to. George was also featured on "China Boy" and, especially for Vi, "Petite Fleur"...both superb. George was backed superbly by Howard on bass and Dennis on banjo, as was Gordon with his version of "Stardust". As always Richard kept everything in order as well as playing great trombone and having his chat with the audience.

Mention must be made of the intrepid Howard Worthington who only 2 weeks earlier had been to Mount Everest, travelled to base camp at 18,000 feet and then realised he hadn't got time to conquer Everest and get back for the gig so he had to abandon the attempt and make it back to the Harp! Well done to Howard who described his trek as one of the most strenuous things he had ever done.

Richard Leach's ClubHouse Five will be back on August 5th.

Click photos to enlarge


Tuesday, March 20th...Led by Chris Carmel on cornet and Tony Quinn on percussion the New Washboard Syncopators made a welcome return to the Harp.

The session started with "I like to go back in the evening" and ended with "Running Wild", in between was a brilliant mix of numbers we knew and a few we didn't! Included were Fats Waller's "Georgia Bo Bo" and vocals from Bob Smith (Irish Black Bottom), Dave Braidley (Livin' High....very difficult words!) and Chris Carmel (the longest title of them all..."It Takes a Long, Tall, Brown Skinned Gal to Make a Preacher lay His Bible Down).

The Ruby Wedding Anniversary of regulars Roy and Chris was marked with the playing of "Your Lips May Say No! No! But There's Yes! Yes! in Your Eyes" (see the More news page).

The front line of Chris on cornet, Bob on clarinet, Dave on trombone were driven along superbly by Bob Pearce on bass (sorry I didn't get a photo Bob!), George Linders on banjo and Tony Quinn on percussion. The photo on the right shows the bands mascot, Thumper the pink rabbit, complete with washboard, seen here admiring pictures of his idols, Louis Armstrong and George Lewis.

Thumper and his band of merry men will be back on May 29th.

 


Sunday, March 18th....The return of Potteries based Five Towns Footwarmers saw a new trumpet player in the Harp. With John Everett out of action until after his visit to the "NHS Carvery" we saw for the first time, Glyn Bennett from Stoke, and a very good impression he made too! Led by Keith Garner on banjo the rest of the line-up was Gerry Owen on clarinet and alto, Laurie Cooper on trombone, Mike Haslam on drums and Terry Cooper on bass and sousaphone.

The opener of "Big Butter and Egg Man" was followed by a Gerry Owen vocal on "Too Busy" and the band stayed very busy throughout the session with a programme picked mainly from Glyn Bennett's tune list. This included "Saratoga Swing" and a chance for Terry Cooper to don his  large piece of plumbing, in the shape of his sousaphone, during "Marching Through Georgia".

The second set had Keith Garner's own request, "New Orleans", again sung by Gerry and "Canal Street Blues" (surprisingly not requested by regular fan Kevin!), followed by a vocal for Keith on "Curse of an Aching Heart" with the session ending with, appropriately, "That's A'Plenty".

An excellent session from a fine band.


Tuesday, March 13....Heart of England Jazz Band had to call on a last minute dep for Pete Ainge, who had succumbed to one of the many bugs flying around, so Pete Brown was on trumpet for the evening. With Kevin Grenfell now settling in well with the band we were treated to another superbly entertaining gig from HoE. A rousing "Jazz Band Ball" was followed by much slower "Black and Blue" and then Clive Millward's vocal on "April Showers". Pete Brown really showed his mettle during "Snaggit" and "Papa Dip" while Kevin Grenfell gained a few more admirers with his singing of "Marie",

As always all the members of the band contributed to the enjoyment of the session with solos and vocals from Selwyn, great bass from Roger and programme prompts and excellent banjo from Dave. The interval number "Maryland" almost turned into a "name that tune" contest between Pete and Kevin!

 

The second set turned in to a bit of a birthday party for Frank Pardoe, one of our most popular "regulars" who was born 80 years ago today.

After being presented with a card signed by everyone, with a delightful rendering of "Happy Birthday" in the background, Frank was surprised by Marie who appeared as if by magic with a birthday cake suitably decorated with burning candles.....only six, the full eighty might have set the Harp on fire!

After a short "Thank you" speech by Frank, who for once was almost lost for words, the second set got under way with "Panama", this time suited to the Harp's Mexican Wave! After a very nice "Old Fashioned Love" the band transformed in to the HoE Big Band when Frank joined on tenor sax, Kevin Morgan on soprano sax and Gordon Fryer on clarinet. Frank, as birthday boy, chose "Ice Cream" as the first number and all three guests played superb solos to the delight of the audience. Our 80 years old sax player then chose "When I Grow Too Old To Dream" for the next number and again received tumultuous applause for his solos. He then followed this with his party piece "The Sheikh of Araby" where he showed not only his sax playing talent but also his ability to enjoy a smile with Pete Brown and, last but not least, his vocal talents!

Further band numbers included "New Orleans" from Clive Millward, an American Civil War trilogy, "Monday Date" from Kevin and a finalé of "Wolverine Blues" where Frank again joined in.

A super band, a great session and a fitting way to celebrate with our octogenarian!

Click photos to enlarge

Frank, cake and Marie

 

 

Frank with Selwyn

 

The Sheikh!

 

 

Sunday, March 11th.07...Another year gone by means time for the annual visit of Bob Dwyer and his Hot Six and it was well worth the wait. As always Bob and the boys(!) gave us a highly entertaining lunchtime session with the six piece band being augmented by the bass +sousaphone of Peter Clancy and the clarinet +alto+bass sax of John Baynes, the single instrument players being Bob on trombone, Bill Edmonds on trumpet, Dave Arlet on keyboard and Nick Singer on banjo.

From the starter "Papa Dip" to a Nick Singer vocal on "Willie the Weeper" via "Slipping Around" and  a feature for John Bayne during "East Coast Trot" the first set flew by, except for yours truly who tried to keep in touch with the Wolves v West Bromwich Albion score and only relaxed a happy man when the result was 1-0 in Wolves favour!

The second set included a couple of requests...."Running Wild" for Marie, with a great vocal again from Nick, and "Panama", a slightly different version which didn't allow for the now famous Harp Mexican wave! A superb "West End Blues" gave Bill chance to shine on trumpet.....he didn't just shine he positively dazzled whilst everyone produced superb solos to contribute to a truly brilliant session.

If they lived nearer we would love to have the Hot 6 play for us more often.

 


Sunday, December 17th.06..the last session of 2006, other than our Christmas Party on the 19th., gave us another chance to see the Martinique Jazz Band.
The now well established front line of Bobby Johnson on trombone, Terry Roberts on sax and clarinet and Tony Billingsley on trumpet played numbers ranging from "Autumn Leaves" to "Jive at Five" and "Hindustan" very well backed by the boys (?!) in the rhythm section......Jim Harney on drums, Ken Jones on piano and Dave Boxold on bass.

Apart from their instrumental talents we were also treated to the vocal offerings of Tony Billingsley on such numbers as "A Kiss To Build a Dream On" and Dave Boxold with, amongst others, "Just a Gigolo" in which Dave not only sang the original words but also displayed his multi-lingual expertise by singing in numerous other languages, or so he tried to kid us!

Solos from everyone were excellent, particularly Terry Roberts' verse to "Honeysuckle Rose".

Another enjoyable Sunday lunchtime also notable for the number of Christmas cards that changed hands!

Martinique will be back on January 23rd. 2007



Tuesday, December 12th....was the end of an era when Central City Jazzmen played their last ever gig as a band. Back in the early 90s Ken Ingram's Vintage Jazzmen were becoming established as one of the favourite bands at the Harp until Ken relinquished the running of the band to Nick Williams, who then resurrected the Central City Jazzmen name.  The band continued to enjoy success at the Harp but, unbeknown to the audience, Nick was having problems getting a regular line-up together in the last year and decided that putting in 2 or more deps was not what he or the audience wanted and he decided to call it a day.

A bonus during the second set was the appearance of two other Harp favourites, Pate Ainge on trumpet and, inevitably, Frank Pardoe on tenor sax. "Rosetta" was just one of the numbers they played whilst John McGregor and Chris Carmel had a deserved rest. I must say Frank looks almost angelic with a halo around his beret!

Later we had the Central City Big Band when Pete and Frank joined Nick and the rest of the boys (?!) for another number and the finale.

 

On being presented with a "Sorry you are leaving" card Nick said again how much he had enjoyed playing at the Harp, if for no other reason than he could look forward to seeing "the legs" (also known as Marie!). We wish all the band well in the future and look forward to seeing them in disguise with other bands!



Tuesday, December 5th.... Rod Chambers brought in his Louisiana Joymakers to give us another evening of most enjoyable entertainment. Once again it was superb jazz played by musicians who truly enjoy playing and believe very much in entertaining their audience. The slightly late arrival of bassist Jim Swinnerton meant we started with a 5-piece band playing "Beautiful Dreamer" until Jim arrived amidst various comments as to the reason he was delayed!
The entertainment standard for the evening was set when John Howlett produced his new "friend"......a small, black mechanical dog which he had trained to walk, stop, sit and to do a back flip!. This procedure was repeated before the start of the second set for the benefit of latecomers when these marvellous feats of training were demonstrated along the surface of John's trombone case, held aloft with great difficulty by yours truly.

John also displayed the other aspect of his talents with some superb trombone playing throughout the evening

The boss, Rod Chambers, also showed us his ability to entertain with his clarinet and alto playing (no tenor, he forgot to bring it!), his vocals and his announcements which always build a great rapport with the audience. Two of the vocals were Rod's version of "Streets of London" and "Can I Sleep in Your Arms Tonight, Lady".......excellent.

Rod demonstrated his "Band Management" skills by allowing Graham Smith (on his usual kit this time) to set the tempo for "Jungle Town" which Rod suggested should possibly be "brisk!" Graham then had no cause for complaint when he finished up a trifle out of breath after a long drum solo on top of driving the band along at rather a fast tempo!

Brian Bates contributed his "two penn'orth" to the proceedings with fine cornet playing and vocals whilst Ian Parry on banjo and Jim on bass joined Graham to drive along the front line in fine style. Jim's accoustic bass solos are certainly in a class of their own. Frank Pardoe joined the band for a few numbers including "I Wanna Be Happy" and the finale "Goodnight Irene".....another great session.

 

Because of Rod's other commitments the Joymakers won't be in again until May 8th. 2007 but it will be well worth the wait!

Sunday, December 3rd....another session by the Antique Six Jazz Band in which Graham Smith caused quite a stir at the start with his drum kit on wheels which turned out to be a renovated Premier Swingster Console Kit, the actual set of drums which were pictured on the front cover of the Premier Drums catalogue of 1930. Needless to say Graham is rather proud of them and we were very honoured that he brought them out of hibernation to entertain us at the Harp. Questions were asked as to the origins of the red tassels on the cymbals..."strip clubs" were the most frequently mentioned words!
Starting with "Da Da Strain" the Six entertained us with old and new (to the band) numbers which featured all the fine musicians at their very best.
Chris Mercer not only played excellent trumpet but also did several vocals including "Bye, Bye Blackbird" and "Since my best gal let me down"

Chris also provided instructions for the audience to play "air trombones" during Richard Leach's cracking version of Ory's "Creole Trombone"

Clinton Sedgley switched from his usual banjo to guitar for several numbers, watched intently, on the right, by Richard, whilst Chris Pearce, on the left, was featured on curly soprano in a superb version of "Singing the Blues".

Below right......Chris had chance to show his prowess on the clarinet during "Papa's gone, goodbye" which featured a Chris Mercer vocal.

The quiet man in the background, Andy Robins on bass, helped Graham and Clinton to drive along the front line. The second set started with a rousing "Ostrich Walk" and included "Aunt Hagar's Blues" and Humph's "Memphis Shake" before ending the session with "Stevedore Stomp".

Needless to say the splendid 1930's drum kit was very much in evidence during the proceedings!

This superb band will be back in all their glory on February 25th. 2007.

Sunday, November 26th....New Washboard Syncopators were today's visitors and once again showed why they are getting more and more gigs across the country.
A programme that included such tunes as "Long Tall Brown Skinned Gal" and "Perdido Street Blues" showed off the talents of Chris Carmel on cornet, guest Phil Wall on clarinet, Dave Braidley on trombone and slide whistle, Rob Hodges on bass, George Linders on banjo and Tony Quinn on percussion.

Many of the numbers they played can be heard on their latest CD "New Orleans Shuffle" which can be obtained from Tony Quinn 01922 612374

In order for Marie to follow the example set by the Queen and have more than one birthday celebration the band played "Happy Birthday" in their own style and Mo presented Marie with a card from the Sunday gang along with chocolates and more vouchers!

By special request the band played one of Marie's favourite tunes, "Running Wild", which brought forth the most unlikely comment from Chris Carmel....he said that one rather deranged member of the public, on hearing Dave Braidley sing this Marylin Monroe song, likened the beer drinking, bearded David to the delectable Marylin , both in his appearance and his vocal talent! These comments would no doubt be disputed by all who saw and heard today's version!

New Washboard Syncopators will be back on Feb. 13th. 2007
Tuesday, November 21st.....Heart Of England Jazz Band once again produced one of their most entertaining sessions with numbers ranging from "Strutting with some Barbecue" to Selwyn Newton's "Streets of London".
The band line-up of Selwyn on clarinet, Pete Ainge on trumpet, Malcolm Smith on trombone, Dave Smith on banjo, Clive Millward on drums and Roger Heath on bass surprised Marie at the end of the first set when they played "Happy Birthday" in anticipation of her 60th. on Saturday. The usual discordant rendering of this delightful piece of music was accompanied by the Harp audience choir and the birthday girl was presented with a card, flowers and chocolates by John Hill, on behalf of the "Tuesday" crowd, to thank her for all the hard work she puts in to keep the jazz going at the Harp. It is amazing that the usually very observant Marie had no inkling of what had been going on over the last couple of weeks to get the card signed and contributions collected!
The band was further augmented during the second set with the inimitable Frank Pardoe on tenor sax. Apart from his tenor playing Frank also joined in the spirited vocal of "Bourbon Street Parade".

The solos and vocals from all the members of the band added enormously to the almost party atmosphere

A rare treat was a song from Dave Smith in response to a petition from the audience...his version of "I can't Give You Anything But Love" was heard for the first time at the Harp and greeted with rapturous applause!.
Needless to say Marie thoroughly enjoyed the evening, as you can see, especially the giant birthday cake!
This superb band will be back on Tuesday January 9th. 2007
Sunday, November 12th. was one of those sessions you wish could go on forever......we always have good jazz gigs, some are just a little bit special and occasionally one comes along which is absolutely brilliant.... today was one of the latter!

Richard Leach's Club House Five features some of the Midlands finest jazz musicians so we were expecting an enjoyable session but I think this beat all our expectations.

Led by Richard on trombone the "Club House Five" started off as the "Four" as banjo player Dennis Mowatt was caught in the Remembrance Day traffic in Wolverhampton.

The front line of Gordon Whitworth on trumpet, George Huxley on clarinet and saxes and Richard on trombone had the superb bass playing of Howard Worthington to drive them along.....not that any of them really needed pushing in their rocking versions of numbers such as "Papa Dip", "Old Miss Rag" and "Rent Party Blues". In the photo Richard and George are seen during a great version of "When I Get Too Old To Dream" with Gordon listening to every note.

Dennis arrived in time to join Howard on bass to complete the rhythm section,  backing George in a trio version of "Red Sails in the Sunset".

Richard, Howard and Dennis played a rather nice version of "Until The Real Thing Comes Along" with Howard taking the vocal and excellent solos from his two accomplices.

A bonus during the second set was the appearance of Amy Roberts on alto sax. Amy came in with Antique Six drummer Graham Smith and his wife, and what a revelation she was! Truly superb alto playing with all the confidence in the world and able to fit in quite brilliantly with the "slightly" older and much more experienced Club House Five. Her "Georgia on My Mind" duet with George, acknowledged as one of the finest reed  players in the country, was truly breathtaking from one so young.

Other numbers that featured Amy were "Canal Street Blues" and a cracking version of "East Coast Trot". After more excellent numbers from the band Amy was called upon to join them for the finalé, "Salutation March".

My comments at the end of the session included an invitation for Amy to bring her own band to the Harp next year, even if it meant cancelling a Club House Five or Antique Six gig!

Amy would be welcome anytime and Richard's band will be back on April 3rd.
November 5th...we have many excellent bands at the Harp whether they be local or touring bands but they don't come much better than New Orleans Heat. With musicians who come from places as far apart as Loughborough, Swansea, Derbyshire, Herefordshire, Dudley, Lincoln and Cardiff the band play as if they all live just round the corner from each other, they gel together so well.

Led by Barry Grummett on the keyboard (no that isn't the bands interval refreshment in the background!) NOH played numbers as varied as "Old Kentucky Home" and, sung by Gwyn Lewis without a mike, a splendid version of "Breeze". 

Also in the first set was a high tempo "China Town", again with vocal by Gwyn and further variety from "Lead me Saviour" and the interval waltz, "Sunday Morning at the Harp Blues!".

Starting the second set with "Apple Blossom Time" we were treated to more superb music with some numbers that we don't hear very often such as "When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano" sung by Gwyn.

This was followed by a truly remarkable "Ciri, Ciri Bin" by John Skentlebury on alto, a number that proved to be so good that even hardened saxophone haters admitted to loving it and demanding he be brought back before too long!

Stan Stephens showed there is plenty of talent in our neck of the woods with excellent trombone solos.

The front line of Gwyn Lewis on cornet and flugelhorn, John Skentlebury on clarinet /alto sax, "local lad" Stan Stephens on trombone and Barry on keyboard were driven along by the backroom boys Tony Peatman on banjo, Harry Slater on bass and Dion Cochrane on drums with Barry on keyboard (yes he does play front line and rhythm!

One comment heard more than any other (except how brilliant the band were!) was how nice it was to see a band who only used a mike for announcements and vocals, quite refreshing in a small venue like the Harp!


October 24th....13 years ago Jazz Club 90 moved into what has now become a jazz venue known around the world....the Harp in Albrighton

Tonight's session with the Heart of England Jazz Band was a celebration of "Jazz at the Harp", and a chance to thank Terry for his backing and our audience for their support.

Hiding in the corner here is Bill Bickerton on keyboard, depping for banjo player Dave Smith, with Pete Ainge on trumpet and Malcolm Smith on trombone whilst the rest of the cast of thousands for this extravaganza were  Roger Heath on bass, Clive Millward on drums and Selwyn Newton on clarinet.

The band's talent for entertaining ensured that the evening was enjoyed by another very full house

In the absence of Dave Smith the bands programme was printed by Pete Ainge with some decidedly dodgy spelling of most of the tune titles. Tunes announced as "Underecidered" and "Wherey Blues" were met with laughter and Selwyn played an excellent version of "Bungainy Street ".

After a break for sandwiches, black pudding and Spanish onion, provided as a small "thank you" to our audience, the mis-spelt numbers continued with "Isle of Crapi" (which Selwyn at first wouldn't announce to our very correct and proper audience!) and "Rail Garden Blues" to name but a few.

In order to raise funds to help to keep the jazz "live" at the Harp we had been running an extra raffle over the previous 3 sessions and the draw was made tonight. A grand total of 18 prizes including a case of wine, a CD/radio, several Cds, chocs etc. all eventually found their way to new homes....we are only sorry that not everyone could win! Marie and I would like to thank all who donated the prizes.

A superb evening, enjoyed by everyone and a chance to say "thank you" to Terry for putting so much funding in to the jazz....what more could you want?!

HoE will be back on November 21st.


October 22nd.....John Beckingham, seen here with bass man Tony Capaldi, brought in his JB Jazz and Blues Band to another full house at the Harp with many regulars arriving early to ensure their places for the 12.30 start.

The band have featured the same line-up for some time now and it shows in their approach to entertaining the audience. Blues, boogie, jump/jive, even a couple of "trad" numbers were all brilliantly played in the styles of Louis Prima, Louis Jordan and Fats Waller to name but a few who went along the same entertainment path.

Roger Manwaring on reeds, Andy Wood on guitar, Paul Holder on drums and Tony on bass all made sure that the solos, the vocals, the jokes(!) all contributed to an excellent session.

No excuses for this report being very similar to the last JB report, the band are just brilliant every time...comments like "the best" or "truly professional" and "a great polished performance" were just a few of the remarks from the audience.

Next year...January 21st...they will be back...be there!


October 15th...the long awaited return of the Ralph Allin Quartet gave us another truly brilliant session.

This time we had the same four excellent musicians who amazed us all the first time that Ralph brought them in about 3 years ago....Jadie Carey on bass, Steve Street on drums and, after spending some months in the sunshine of Cyprus, Rich Hughes on piano with of course Ralph on violin. .A most varied choice of tunes meant there was something for everyone (I would suggest every number suited everyone!) and once again time passed much too quickly.

If you haven't heard these wonderfully talented, and young musicians I would suggest you look out for them......if you haven't booked them for your club give your audience a treat....book them now!

Ralph will be back at the Harp on February 27th.....don't miss!


September 26th....a rare visit by the Millennium Eagle Jazz Band once again showed why they are a very popular band on the jazz club circuit.

Right from the start they played the music guaranteed to put a smile on faces and get feet tapping.

The front line of Matt Palmer on clarinet, soprano and tenor sax, Andy Holdorf on trombone and Pete Brown on trumpet and trombone produced superb solos and duets with driving backing from the rhythm section of Brian Lawrence on double bass, Chris Etherington on banjo and action man himself, Julyan "Baby Jools" Aldridge on drums

With numbers ranging from "Gatemouth" to "Petite Fleur" and "Panama Rag" there was something for everyone, with brilliant drum solos from Julyan just to make sure no one was nodding off!

Millennium Eagle Jazz Band will be back on Tuesday, November 14th. and are booked in for several gigs next year 


September 19th....another chance to see the Heart of England Jazz Band, this time with drummer Barry Norman standing (or rather sitting) in for Clive Millward.

During a "little French number" there was rather more audience participation than usual when several HoE fans put on berets (and one fez!) to match the bands headgear whilst Selwyn was singing "La Vie en Rose".

There is no truth in the claim that the  name on the front of John's T-shirt (Mr. Grumpy) is in any way a true reflection of his mood! 

From the opening "Wabash Blues" to a brilliant "Chimes Blues" and on to a superb "Sweet Georgia Brown" by Malcolm Smith the music was of the usual high standard we expect from this bunch of extremely talented musicians, with excellent solos by all concerned.

Harp regular Frank Pardoe joined the band for a couple of rousing numbers, "Dr. Jazz" and "Sit right down and write myself a letter", during which Frank's solos drew the now compulsory rapturous applause from the audience!

All too son another evening of great entertainment came to a close.....

   Heart Of England will be back on October 24th.


Sunday, September 17th....plaudits galore for the Antique Six Jazz Band, another band who fulfil all our criteria for a successful session, superb musicians who enjoy playing their music and entertaining the audience.

With the young Dave Deakin on trombone (brought in not only for his exceptional talent but also the fact that he brought the average age of the band down by several years!) the music was as brilliant as usual. Graham Smith on drums, Andy Robins on bass and Clinton("up the Baggies!") Sedgley on banjo backed Chris Pearce on clarinet and soprano, Chris Mercer on trumpet and of course Dave on trombone. 

Whilst 5 year old grandson Jamie spent some of the time with his hands over his ears, much to the amusement of the band, the music must have had a soothing effect as he managed to fall asleep on my lap for about half an hour! Another excellent session which kept everyone else very much awake!

Antique 6 will be back on December 3rd....don't miss!


Tuesday, September 12th...the end of an era with the last visit of Mark Challinor's Wabash Jazzmen.

Led by Mark on banjo the Jazzmen have been firm favourites at the Harp since their first appearance some 8 or 9 years ago.

Their tremendous swinging front line led by Mike Hayler on clarinet and tenor sax was  driven by along the superb duo of Mark on banjo and Howard Worthington on bass, surely the best ever two man rhythm section. The cornet section over the years has featured the likes of Geoff Wilde, Ged Hone, Bill Smith and latterly Gordon Whitworth while the trombone has appeared with Dave Vickers, Mike Pembroke, Reg Fuery, Derek Halford and Malcolm Smith.

If ever Mark decides to reform the Wabash they will be more than welcome at the Harp! 


Sunday, September 3rd....Robin Mason brought in his Apex Jazz and Swing Band which featured deps. Ian Royle on trumpet and Roger Heeley on piano.
The regular members of the band were Malcolm Smith on trombone, Jim Harney on drums, Tony Cave on bass and, of course, Robin on assorted reed instruments, including the baritone sax which caused much amusement as Robin tried to adjust his "bra straps" to hold the mighty machine. Robin did express some sympathy for the ladies in the audience who had to do such adjustments on a daily basis! This minor problem in no way detracted from the superb music played by the band.
Malcolm as usual played superb trombone solos, with Robin excelling on his numerous instruments whilst the trumpet playing of the unknown (in this part of the world!) Ian Royle was a joy to listen to. The rhythm section drove the front line along superbly with delightful piano of Roger Heeley complementing Tony's bass and Jim's drums as if they played together on a regular basis.

Apex will be back on October 17th.

 


Sunday, August 27th....Today we saw the Jamie Brownfield Quintet who are the youngest band to play for Jazz Club 90 (not counting school bands!).

Led by Jamie on trumpet and flugelhorn the line-up was Joe Northwood...alto sax, Dan Horgan...piano, Mike Waters...guitar and Lydia Glanville...drums. Their style of music was in the main very different to our usual "traditional" offerings but was superbly played by 5 excellent young musicians.

With ages ranging from 14 to 18 these talented youngsters have been studying music for several years, apart from Mike on guitar who amazingly is self taught(!), and have played in bands as diverse as the Bill Basey Big Band, the Shropshire Youth Big Band, The Freshman Jazz Ensemble at Shrewsbury College and Wellington Brass Band. With this sort of experience it is no wonder they entertained a full house with numbers from "Summertime" to "Take the A train" and finishing with "The Saints"........along the way there was a touch of Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie.

They all have a future in jazz, whether it will be in the "traditional" style remains to be seen but I'm sure they will all be a credit to the big wide world of jazz.

The pictures show the band (top), the rhythm section setting up (middle) and the front line (bottom).



Sunday, August 13th......Another superb session by JB's Jazz and Blues Band was today's great way of spending a Sunday lunchtime.

Led by John Beckingham on piano the band have featured the same line-up for some time now and it shows in their approach to entertaining the audience. Blues, boogie, jump/jive, even a couple of "trad" numbers were all brilliantly played in the styles of Louis Prima, Louis Jordan and Fats Waller to name but a few who went along the same entertainment path.

Roger Manwaring on reeds, Andy Wood on guitar, Paul Holder on drums and Tony Capaldi on bass all made sure that the solos, the vocals, the jokes(!) all contributed to an excellent session as did the appearance once again of the brilliant young trumpet player Jamie Brownfield.

 With the encouragement of the band Jamie played a couple of numbers which he had never played (or even heard!) before and received very warm applause from the audience. It was very nice to see all the band make the effort to speak to Jamie at the end of the session to say how much they enjoyed his playing and to give him even more encouragement for the future.

Two and a half hours went by much to quickly but the band will be back on October 22nd whilst Jamie will be bringing his own JB Quintet in on August 27th.



Tuesday, August 1st....a very different session when Carole Westwood and the Archie Cotterell Trio were again "top of the bill", and that is where they deserve to be! Carole, with her own interpretation of many popular and jazz standards, from slow, smooth ballads to uptempo foottappers, was ably backed by the talented trio of Archie Cotterell on piano, Derek Brown on bass guitar and Barry Watts on drums.

Piano solos by Archie, including an excellent "Take 5", gave Carole's lovely voice a break and allowed the two other members of the trio to show off their talents.

We are fully booked for 2006 but Carole and the boys(!) will be back for a few gigs next year.


Sunday, July 30th......not a day for the fainthearted or devotees of serious/classical jazz!

Heart of England Jazz Band were playing their first Sunday gig at the Harp for some time, and how they livened up our Sunday lunchtime! The jazz they played was as brilliant as ever and further enhanced by the wonderful sense of humour from all the band.....jokes from Dave Smith seriously lowered the tone but brought tears to the eyes, even if some jokes had to be explained to the more genteel members of the audience!

This combination of superb musicians who enjoy entertaining their audience is exactly what we want from our bands...perfect!

Selwyn Newton announced that the donations in memory of Derek Halford had exceeded £1,000 which was to benefit research into pancreatic cancer. A letter of thanks from Derek's wife for the contribution to this sum from the Harp audience is now on the pub notice board.


Sunday,May 21st.

Another band who I had never heard before gave us a superb lunchtime session.

Liberty Street Jazz Band from the Swansea area proved once again that Wales can produce brilliant jazz musicians as well as singers! On their way home from Doveholes a stopover at the Harp fitted in very well and gave us an unexpected treat.

With the trumpet/flugelhorn, introductions and vocals in the capable hands of the eloquent Marcus the rest f the line-up was Dr. John on clarinet/saxes, Simon on trombone, Graham on drums and Derek on bass/sousaphone. In the absence of banjo player Dewi (we hope his wife Ann recovers from her heart operation) we had Harp regular Dave Smith taking the banjo spot.

With tunes ranging from lesser known numbers such as “Poor Papa” to “12th. Street Rag” and “Stevedore Stomp”, with Billie Holiday’s “Comes Love” and Bessie Smith’s “Trombone Chollie” (featuring Simon on trombone and Marcus on vocal) time went all too quickly.

A superb version of “Cathedral Blues” with a diversion into a double time “Chimes Blues gave the front line the opportunity to shine with superb backing from drummer Graham, satellite dish exponent Derek and Dave on banjo.

The band’s inimitable version of “Happy Birthday” brought a smile to birthday boy Terry (the boss!), along with a card signed by most of our regulars.Liberty Street gained even more devotees when they played one of our regular requests “Running Wild”

Following my congratulatory comments at the end of the session the shy, retiring(?!) Dave Smith (right) added his own few words when he said how much he had enjoyed playing with the band, even though he had to use the chord book for some of the unknown numbers or arrangements!

We have really only two criteria for bands who play for us….they must be competent musicians (Liberty Street were brilliant!) and must enjoy playing together (there is no doubt they do that, even though we Midlanders find it difficult to understand the implied attraction of Welsh sheep!!)

We sincerely hope to book the band for more than one session next year and suggest they would grace the stage of any jazz club in the land! (find more on their website: www.libertystreet.co.uk)


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