VENUE: White Eagle Club, Riverway, Stafford ST16 3TH
Stafford Jazz Society, which celebrated its own 40th anniversary in October of last year, is throwing a free jazz concert on Saturday 4th June 2022 from 12-30pm to 2-30pm during the long PLATINUM JUBILEE weekend.
It will feature live music from 70 years ago, in keeping with the H.M. the Queen’s seven-decade reign.
The fifties was a good time for British “trad jazz”, with the “three Bs” – Ball, Barber and Bilk – just starting out. The PEDIGREE JAZZ BAND, sponsored by Marston’s Brewery, authentically and nostalgically reproduces that era. The band includes musicians who actually played in the three outfits.
The White Eagle Club has ample free parking as well as bar and refreshments availability for which there is a charge.
The Stafford Jazz Society meets weekly for live concerts of mainly traditional jazz at the White Eagle Club on Sunday lunchtimes from September to May every year. The Society’s Chairman, Nick Balmforth MBE said: “We thought it a good idea to mark the Platinum Jubilee in this way. It promises to be a happy, foot-tapping couple of hours of iconic jazz music.”
VENUE: White Eagle Club, Riverway, Stafford ST16 3TH
DAY: Sunday lunchtime
TIME: All concerts commence at 12.30 unless otherwise notified or indicated on the programme
CLOSE: Concerts generally conclude by 2.30pm but there are a few which go on until 3.00pm (please refer to programmes available throughout the town or contact Nick Balmforth on 07974 131797 or email@example.com
PRICE: Admission is currently £6 for members and £7 for non-members.
REFRESHMENTS: There is always an interval when raffle tickets are sold. This also provides an opportunity to select something delicious to eat from the kitchen or purchase a hot drink. There is also a bar available.
PARKING: There is adequate parking but anyone not a member of the White Eagle Club is asked to park on the left hand side of the building
Tame Valley Stompers – 29 May 2022: Unfortunately the Band Leader, Norman Pennington, was in hospital. However the show still hit the road with Roger Wimpenny on trumpet (and humour), Paul Broomhead on reeds, Terry Brunt on trombone, Peter Smith on bass guitar and John Gordon on banjo and guitar. Their opening number was ‘Just a Little While to Stay Here’. Some others during the gig included: ‘Night on the Delta’, ‘Petit Fleur’, ‘All of Me’, ‘It Don’t Mean a Thing if it Ain’t Got that Swing’, ‘Bourbon Street Parade’, ‘St James’s Infirmary’, ‘The Stevedore Stomp’ and ‘Canal Street Blues’. They ended with ‘The Royal Telephone Line’. Roger was in ‘fine fettle’ with his lovely sense of humour having the audience chuckling in their seats. See you again soon I’m sure.
As this was the last concert of the season, with the exception of the free concert on Saturday 4 June to celebrate HM The Queen’s platinum jubilee, tokens of thanks for all their invaluable service were given to Julie and Martin from the Sunset Café and a box of chocolates for the lovely ladies behind the bar.
The County Darts fixture list had only been received on Friday 27 May and apart from letting you know that the season for 22/23 will start on Sunday 4 September with Sarah Spencer’s Transatlantic Band, and that bands like Wabash Jazzmen featuring Nick Ward, Chicago Teddybears Society Jazzband, Savannah Jazz Band, Sax Shack Big Band, Richard Leach’s Street Band, the Jake Leg Jug Band and Kevin Grenfell’s Jazz Giants have provisionally agreed to come, I can let you know that there will be no jazz on 2 October, 11 December, 26 September, 5 February 2023, 5 March 2023 and 16 April 2023 I can give you no further information. We will ensure that a full gig list is made available as soon as Nick can put everything in place. Keep an eye on our website for a full programme.
Max Debon’s Debonaires Little Big Band – 22 May 2022: It was lovely to see this little big band back with us. Led by Max Debon (trumpet) the following players were: Sarah Eastwood (vocals and clarinet), Rick Halliwell (alto sax), Anne Holder (tenor sax), Austin Ralphson (trombone), Pete Wilson (piano), Peter ‘Pedro’ Robinson (bass) and Rob Turner (drums). The opening number was ‘Sing Sing Sing’ which set the mood for the next two hours. In no particular order the following numbers were played ‘The Folks Who Live on The Hill’, ‘Don’t Get Around Much Any More’, ‘I’m Beginning to See The Light’, ‘Fever’, ‘Come to the Cabaret’, ‘My Heart Belongs to Daddy’, ‘You’ve Gotta See Moma Every Night or You Can’t see Moma At All’ and ‘Midnight in Moscow’. It was good to see and hear this popular band and we look forward to welcoming them back in the future.
Sheila Fawkes’ Café Orchestra – 15 May 2022: It was good to see this band back in action again with everyone fit and well. There was George Huxley on reeds, Mike Owen on trombone, Tim McGrath on guitar/banjo, Mark Johnson on bass, Andy Lowe on drums, Gary Bell on trumpet, Terry McGrath on trombone/saxophone and the always lovely songster, Sheila Fawkes. They opened up with ‘Crazy Rhythym’ and went on with numbers such as ‘If I Could Be With You’, ‘All That I Ask From You Is Love’, ‘Stardust’, ‘Petit Fleur’, ‘Lover Come Back To Me’, ‘The Folks Who Live on The Hill’, ‘Happy Feet’, ‘I’m Coming Virginia’, ‘I Hate to See the Evening Sun Go Down’ and ‘I’m a Little Blackbird’ to name but a few. The balloons overhead were remnants of decorations the previous day and were a tribute to Ukraine, the winning country in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.
Pedigree Jazz Band’s ‘Salute to Trad Jazz’ – 8 May 2022: This Band is an old favourite of SJS and indeed we will be seeing it again at our free concert on Saturday 4 June to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Leader, Chris Walker, plays clarinet, Tony Mann on the trombone, Andy Chislett on trumpet and flugelhorn, John Noddings on banjo and guitar, Sy Gorelick on drums and Colin Cooper on double bass. Their opening number was ‘Bourbon Street Blues’ which set the pace for the rest of the show. Some of their other numbers included ‘Livery Street Blues’, ‘Martinique’, ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’, ‘It’s At Times Like That’, ‘Creole Love Call’, ‘Blueberry Hill’, ‘The William Tell Overture’, ‘You Are My Sunshine’ and ‘You’re gonna See Baby Tonight or you can’t see Baby at all’. In recognition of the crisis in Ukraine there was a beautiful rendition of ‘Hymn to Freedom’. The finishing number was the ever green ‘Midnight in Moscow’. All around the room people’s toes were tapping to the beat and smiles on everyone’s faces. Simply a lovely concert.
Baby Jools’ Jazzaholics – 1 May 2022: The Band consisted of Baby Jools on drums (also leader), Karl Hird on reeds, Kevin Grenfell on trombone, Warren James on guitar/banjo, ‘Lord’ Jim Swinnerton on double bass and ‘Magic’ Mike Henry on trumpet (ex-Chris Barber band). Immediately you can see how much talent was available for the concert. They opened with a rousing ‘Alexander’s Jazztime Band’, went on with several numbers such as ‘Careless Love’ and ‘Jambalaya’ and ‘Sheik of Araby. Once in the first half of the concert and once in the second half of the concert Jim on double bass and Warren James on his banjo got together to give us skiffle music, such as Lonnie Donegan played, and which although originating in the USA came over to the UK and went underground in jazz venues. There is only one word for these pieces – FABULOUS. The room was rocking and such energy you could have burnt lights on those listening. Amongst other numbers were ‘Who’s Sorry Now’, ‘Rock Island Line’, ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’ and finishing with a trumpet solo by Mike ‘New Orleans’. What a concert, simply smashing and hitting all the right notes for a very appreciative audience who leapt to their feet at the conclusion. See you all again soon I hope.
24 April – Mike Owen’s Scarlette’s Serenaders: Led by Mike Owen on trombone the band also had Ian Wynne on piano, ‘Lord’ Jim Swinnerton on bass, Nick Ward on percussion and Danny Blythe on reeds. Their opening number was ‘There’s an Old Spinning Wheel in the Parlour’. Other numbers, in no particular sequence, included ‘I want a Little Girl to Call my Own’, ‘Trust Me’, ‘Alabama Jubilee’, ‘Easter Parade’, ‘All Alone By the Telephone’, ‘I’ll Fly Away’ and ‘Beg Your Pardon’. They finished with ‘Hold That Tiger’ with Mike making a good fist of tiger growls on his trombone. This band was put together at short notice when the original band booked – Henderson Big Band – felt they were not ready to perform in public. So a big thank you to Scarlette’s Serenaders for saving an audience from disappointment.
17 April – Kevin Grenfell’s Giants of Jazz: What an Easter treat we had in store with the arrival of the Jazz Giants, led by Kevin Grenfell (trombone, trumpet and vocal). He was joined by Jeremy Huggett in fine form on reeds and vocals, Richard Hughes on piano, Simon Smith on double bass and Jules Aldridge (Baby Jools) on drums. Their opening number of ‘Running Wild’ set the stage for this concert. Kevin was on the button with his comedy and indeed introduced a song dedicated to Boris Johnson ‘It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie’. Some of the other numbers included ‘Up a Lazy River’, ‘Love’ with the audience happily joining in with the spelling of this with their arms, ‘Some Day You’ll be Sorry’, ‘Slow Boat to China’, ‘There Ain’t Nobody here but us Chickens’, ‘Hello Dolly’ and ‘Blueberry Hill’. Since it was Easter there was a brolly parade to Bourbon Street and the group finished with ‘Bye Bye Blackbird’. We will see both Kevin and Baby Jools for the Baby Jools’ Jazzaholics on 1st May. Can’t wait to see them again. Fantastic music and a standing ovation at the conclusion of their concert said it all.
10 April – Fret & Fiddle: Led by Sally Minchin on jazz violin, this band exceeded all expectations. Along with Sally were Andy Bole (guitar), Richard Hughes (piano), Steve Street (drums) and Jodie Carey (string bass). The music they made simply blew me away. They kicked off with ‘Stomping at Decca’ and then went on to play, in no particular order, the following selected from the day: ‘Jeeves & Wooster (theme tune)’, ‘Make Me a Pallet on Your Floor’, ‘Caravan’, ‘Dance Me to the End of Love’, ‘Tinko Tinko’, ‘Je t’endreai’, ‘Misirlou’ (spine-tinglingly lovely), ‘Chardash’ (also amazing) and ‘Dark Eyes’. Individuals in the audience leapt to their feet to applaud after a number which simply blew them away.
The sons of Sally and Andy were with their parents and Fred – only 6 years old – found the courage to come up on stage to play with the band whilst his brother, Ben (9) found it a little challenging and remained in his seat. Good to see youngsters ready to take over. What a concert, what music, such a show. Look forward to seeing this group again.
3 April – Original Panama Jazz Band: This band, led by John Critchley on trumpet, plays a mix of classical and contemporary jazz. John also has quite a line in humour. The rest of the band consisted of Dave Dixson on reeds and vocals, Andrew McKenzie on trombone and vocals, Malcolm Hogarth on piano, Isabel Toner on string bass and Bill Buck on drums. Some of their numbers included the following: ‘China Town’, ‘Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans’, ‘Dinah’, ‘’deed I Do’, ‘Sorry’, Autumn Leaves’ (sung in French by Dave – Les Feuilles Mortes in French should you be interested), ‘Hold That Tiger’, ‘One, Two, Buckle my Shoe’, ‘The Goof and I’ (a new one on me) and ‘My Blue Heaven’. They finished with ‘Maryland My Maryland’. Good jazz, good musicians, good attendance.
Additionally the amount collected for Ukraine as at 3 April stood at £730 until a very generous and kind-hearted person put an envelope in with £1,000 in cash. God bless whoever did this.
27 March 2022 – Andy Leggett’s Centenary Serenaders: This fabulous band, leader Andy Leggett (clarinet & saxes); Lewis Taylor (trumpet); Dave Deakin (trombone); Rachel Hayward (guitar & banjo), Joe Trudgeon (double bass) and Dave Andrews (drums) take you back to New Orleans in the 1920s and 30s. They opened with ‘Halle Halle Halleluja’ and went on to give us renditions of ‘Everywhere You Go’, ‘Flee as a Bird to your Mountain’ – this Louis Armstrong number was dedicated to Ukraine, ‘The Coffee Grinder’ ‘Poncho Trail’, ‘Louisiana (my Home)’, Pat du Bouche’, ‘Jacqueline’, ‘The Mooch’, ‘Poppa’s Gone Goodbye’, ‘Weary Blues’ were some of the numbers I wrote down to remind myself. They concluded with ‘Dans Les Rue d’Entibes’. The applause at the end of the concert was thunderous and people leapt to their feet in a standing ovation. This group brought a whole heap of magic to a Sunday lunchtime in Stafford.
It was announced that the money bucket for donations for Ukraine over the past three weeks now tallied £615. Well done Stafford jazzers.
20 March 2022 – Sussex Jazz Kings: Welcome to Sussex Jazz Kings consisting of leader Dave Stradwick on cornet, Bernard Stutt on clarinet, Iain McCauley on trombone and vocals, Pete Lay on drums and vocals, Peter Clancy on bass and tuba and Paul Segley on banjo. They did look smart, wearing matching green short sleeve shirts. The opening number was ‘The Old Spinning Wheel in the Park’ and the session went on to include such numbers as ‘Painting the Clouds with Sunshine’, ‘Rose of Tralee’ (an Irish number sung by a Scotsman in Enland!!), ‘Gigaminco Blues’, When You and I were young Maggie’, ‘Magnolia’s Wedding Day’, ‘Big Chief Battle Axe’, ‘The Curse of an Aching Heart’ (which the band said they were renaming ‘The Curse of an Aching Everything – ha ha), ‘Creole Love Call’ and ‘My Blue Heaven’. They ended with ‘You are My Sunshine’. Toes were tapping around the room at this New Orleans-style jazz. Great.
13 March 2022 – Wabash Jazzmen with Nick Ward: Yes, the Wabash Jassmen are back bringing with them a fine percussionist – Nick Ward. The group consists also of Tony Pipkin on cornet/trumpet, Richard Leach on trombone, Mark Challinor (leader) on banjo, ukulele and guitar with some vocals, Richard Vernon on string bass and in place of Mike Hayler (currently unwell) we have the renowned Eric Newton with his clarinet. They opened with ‘At a Georgia Camp Meeting’ and went on to include numbers such as ‘China Boy’, ‘The Bogalusa Strut’, ‘The Moose March’, ‘Good Night Sweet Prince’, ‘This Love of Mine’, ‘The Weary Blues’, ‘Muskrat Ramble’ and ‘Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out’ to name a few. The afternoon flew by and before you know it we were packing up to go home. Could have gone on for longer but all good things must end. I am sure they will be back in the next season.
We had an unexpected guest by the name of John, a ukulele player celebrating his 80th birthday with family. I hope he enjoyed the concert – I am quietly confident he did!
6 March 2022 – Ron Hills’ Swing Kings: The opening number was dedicated in tribute to two fine musicians gone to the jazz front in the sky: Roy Sainsbury and Frank Nicholls (also a skilled painter who painted the SJS portrait of Louis Armstrong). The Band, consisted of Tony Pipkin on trumpet + vocals, Terry Roberts on reeds (recovering from a nasty bout of shingles so very brave of him to come along today), Ron Hills (leader) on trombone + vocals, Nick Wiltshire on keyboard, Simon Smith on double bass and Roy Dutton on drums. Some of their programme included ‘Sing, Sing, Sing;, ‘ All I Do The Whole Day Through is Dream of You’, ‘Blue Bossa’, ‘My Blue Heaven’, ‘I Never Knew’, ‘I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter’, ‘It’s d’lovely’ and ‘Bye Bye Blackbird’. There was a lovely trio (piano, bass and drums) in the middle of this when they played ‘My Romance’. Great to see them again.
You would be interested to know that £320 was raised for the Ukraine situation by taking donations at the desk. Well done everybody.
You will see a photograph of the ever young Julie – best bespoke bap maker in the area – who seems pleased to finally have a sign up to front the catering hatch. Dave Rochelle, one of our newer members, had very kindly produced this lovely sign for Sunset Café, which is what Julie’s place has been called for a long time. Indeed it is rumoured that we get such good bands because they like their food and cuppa from Sunset Café.
27 February 2022 – No Concert
20 February 2022 – Savannah Jazz Band: Delighted to see these back again. We had Brian “Sam” Ellis on trombone and keyboard, Richard Church on trumpet + vocals, Roger Bird – replacing the much missed Rogers Myerscough – on reeds, Tony Pollitt on bass, Chris Marney on banjo and vocals and their leader, John Meehan, on drums. The started off with ‘When You and I Were young Maggie’ and nostalgia poured around the room. Other numbers included ‘Why Don’t You go Down to New Orleans’, ‘Black Cat on the Fence’, ‘My Old Kentucky Home’, ‘Willie the Weeper’, and there was a magical switch when, following ‘The Old Ragged Cross’ we got ‘CC Rider’ – fabulous. Finally one of my own favourites ‘Like a Louisiana Fairy Tale’.
13 February 2022 – New Orleans Hotshots: We were so looking forward to hearing this group. The band consists of Dave Harmer (leader) on trombone and vocals, Dave Leithend on trumpet and vocals, Kelvin Smith on clarinet, Joe Nutman on keyboard, Al Harris on bass and vocals and Keith Chaplin on drums. They opened with ‘At the Georgia Camp Meeting’. Some of the numbers were as follows: ‘Everybody Loves My Baby’, ‘Ain’t Misbehaving’, ‘Please Don’t Talk About Me’, ‘Down Town Strutters Ball’, and ‘Summertime’. We also had the pleasure of two solos by Joe Nutman – ‘Binks Waltz’ and ‘The Entertainer’ – both Scott Joplin numbers. In the second half were: ‘I’m The King of the Jungle’, ‘Georgia’, ‘Mr Saturday Night’, ‘What a Wonderful World’, ‘Hello Central Give me Doctor Jazz’ and ‘Basin Street Blues’ amongst others. Simply lovely.
6 February 2022 – Mike Owen’s Scarlette’s Serenaders: With a good audience this band played really well. The band consists of Mike Owen (leader) on trombone + vocals, Sarah Spencer on reads + vocals, Nick Ward on percussion, Ian Wynne on piano and Jim “Lord” Swinnerton on bass. Their opening number was ‘Should I Reveal’. Other numbers included ‘Down Amongst the Southern Pines’, ‘You Don’t Love Me’, ‘Waiting for the Sunrise’, Let the Rest of the World Go By’, ‘Over in the Gloryland’, ‘The Talk of the Town’, ‘Whenever You’re Lonesome’ and ‘We’ll Meet Again’. This was a fine way to start February.
Jake Leg Jug Band: We were all so looking forward to seeing this very popular young band again and they didn’t disappoint. Duncan Wilcox – leader – was on double bass and vocals, Neil Hulse on guitar and vocals, Liam Ward on harmonica, jug and vocals (not forgetting the love child of a kakoo and a Trombone – a kazombone!), Bryony Rose Ward on washboard and vocals, Jack Tasker on banjo, mandolin and vocals and Alex Clarke on clarinet and saxophone. They opened with ‘Can’t Dance – Got Ants in My Pants’ and Duncan explained the meaning of hokum music (it means slightly more than a double entendre as I understand it). Other numbers included ‘Some of These Days’, ‘I Had to Give Up Gin’, ‘I Love Me’, ‘Making Whoopee’, ‘Can’t do Without my Kitchen Man’ and ‘I Hate a Man Like You’. They also included a number called ‘Goodbye to Booze’ which is the title track of their latest album. Looking forward to them coming back already.
Matt Palmer’s Aces of Rhythm: A big welcome back to Matt and his musicians. Matt is the leader and reeds player (also vocals), with Chris Mercer on trumpet and cornet, Dave Kimmins on banjo, guitar and vocals, Al Harris on double bass and Joe Nutman on ragtime keyboard. They mainly perform music from 1920s and 1930s, and this time the concert had two departures from whole band playing with Joe and Matt doing a duet (Shreveport Stompers) and a solo with Joe performing a Scott Joplin number (Elite Syncopations). Well done – I think everyone enjoyed these. Some of the numbers played were ‘Candy Lifts’, ‘Oriental Man’, ‘When Shadows Fall’ (I just love this one!), ‘Wolverine Blues’, Bouncing Around’ ‘Try a Little Tenderness’ and ‘Happy Feet’. Their whole show is a tribute to some of the great musicians of the 20s and 30s and your feet just tap whether you want them to or not.
New Orleans Heat: Before the band began to play the audience is told that sadly today this would be one of the few last concerts before breaking up. They had a few members of the band missing so had asked musicians to fill in. New Orleans Heat was Barry Grummet (leader) on the piano, Matt Palmer on reeds, Rob Smith on bass, Ray Bowden on drums, Dave Vickers on trombone and Phil Lucas on trombone. Their music, in true New Orleans style, included numbers such as ‘Bugle Boy March’, ‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band’, ‘I can’t give you anything but love Baby’, ‘The Sheik of Araby’, and ‘I Scream You Scream Everybody Likes Ice Cream’. The playing was superb and the packed room loved every minute of it. Barry said he would be prepared to put a band together to come to play again in Stafford one day in the future which we might just hold him to.
Chicago Teddybears Society Jazzband: This four times winner of the SJS Band of the Year Award was welcomed back to the White Eagle Club with enthusiasm, even on such a murky day. In the line-up were leader Rae Owen (banjo, guitar and vocals), Deano Revera (bass), Brian Singleton (drums), John Padfield (reeds), Jim Lucas (trumpet) and Andy Mackenzie (trombone and vocals). The concert was a mix of new Orleans and Dixieland jazz flavoured with a few Christmas carols. Some of the numbers were: ‘Apex Blues’, ‘Hello Central This is Dr Jazz’, ‘China Boy’, ‘Ain’t Misbehaving’, ‘Everybody Loves My Baby’, ‘Canal Street Blues’ and ‘Swing Low Sweet Chariot’. Of course it would not be Christmas without ‘I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas’. We look forward to a return visit.
Matt Palmer’s Eagle Jazz Band: What a cracking line-up and concert. The band consisted of leader Matt Palmer (reeds & vocals), Pete Brown (trumpet), Terry Williams (trombone), Mark Challinor (banjo, ukulele and vocals), Brian Lawrence (double bass & sousaphone) and Tim Jones (drums). They opened with ‘Red Wing’ and closed with their regular ‘Bring Me Sunshine’. In between we had assorted music, some of which were ‘Good Night Sweet Prince’, ‘Passport to Paradise’, ‘That’s a’plenty’, ‘Birth of the Blues’, ‘Precious Lord Take My Hand’ and ‘You Made me Love You’. There was delight on every face in the packed room and you could really not have wished for a better concert.
Sarah Spencer’s Transatlantic Band: With some changes in the line-up the Band consisted of Sarah Spencer – leader and reeds/vocals, Mike Owen – trombone/vocals, “Magic” Mike Henry – trumpet, “Lord” Jim Swinnerton – string bass, Hugh Crozier – piano and finally Graham Smith on drums (in place of Rod Brown). The music was lively, and occasionally wistful, and brought back many memories such as the Inkspot number ‘Someone’s Rocking my Dream Boat’. Amongst the other numbers were ‘New Orleans Hopscotch Blues’, ‘Yes It’s Me and I’m in Love with Him’, ‘If I didn’t Care for You’ ‘My Dear Mr Shane’ and the wonderfully named ‘Papa’s Got the Jim-Jams’. The whole concert went down well and we look forward to welcoming them back in 2022.
21 November 2021 – Bob Dwyer’s Bix & Pieces: Such a treat to see this London-based band again. With leader Bob Dwyer on trombone, Paula Jackman on reeds, Mike Henry on trumpet, Hugh Crozier on piano, Marc Easener on tuba and Graham Collicott on drums the band swung into action by opening with ‘Avalon’. Many smiling faces and feet tapping through the rest of the programme with numbers such as ‘Struttin’ with Some Barbecue’, ‘I’m Looking at the World Through Rose Coloured Glasses’, ‘West End Blues’, ‘The Original Dixieland One Step’ and ‘I Believe in Miracles’ to name but a few. Most people in the room were sorry to hear the words “… and our last number is”. I am sure we will see this band again soon.
14 November 2021 – Matt Palmer’s Rhythmic Reeds: It was lovely to see Matt and his band today and to learn that Matt had recently got married. We wished him felicitations. Along with Matt (leader) on reeds was George Huxley also on reeds, John Penn on Piano, Brian Lawrence on string bass and Nick Ward on drums, or should we say the band’s percussionist in view of his SJS Musician of the Year Award – the only percussionist to be voted for and win. The opening number was ‘I’ve Found a New Baby’ and included numbers such as ‘Creole Love Call’, ‘Coffee Grinder’, ‘Louisiana’, ‘It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie’, ‘Old Fashioned Love’ and ‘Weary Blues. Not only was the music great but the band overcame adversity with problems with the sockets in the White Eagle Club and still they put on a great concert. The only thing we missed out on was the dulcet tones of Matt Palmer. Perhaps next time!
7 November 2021 – Steve King Big Band: Hello and welcome to the big band. With around 20 players there was great excitement to hear this band as it is a nine times prize winner of the annual Musicians’ Union’s Big Band Award, winning the title on two occasions. Along with the Band was vocalist, USA’s Lynn Dawes who sang several numbers (‘Who’s Sorry Now’, ‘I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter’, ‘Hard Hearted Hannah’ and a fantastic ‘My Baby Just Cares for Me’ to name just a few. Throughout both halves there is commentary from leader, conductor and trumpet player Steve King, to give background to each number. So much energy is produced by the sound of this band it’s like being plugged into the electric supply! Some of the other numbers played by the Band were: ‘Poor Little Butterfly’, ‘Bye Bye Blackbird’, ‘Dark Town Strutters Ball’, and ‘Chicago’ were some of the numbers and ending with ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ – just wonderful. I am looking forward to seeing them back in Stafford again.
31 October 2021 – Robin Mason’s Apex Jazz & Swing Band: The turnout was a little down – maybe changing the clocks had caught some folk out. It was so nice to see one of our favourite bands. There was the leader, Robin Mason, on reeds, Jon Stone on trumpet and vocals, Ron Hills on trombone, Jim Harney on drums, Bob Boucher on bass and Nick Wiltshire on keyboard. Some of their numbers included: ‘St Louis Blues’, ‘Don’t Get Around Much Any More’, ‘Beale Street Blues’, ‘Blue Bossa’, ‘Whispering’, ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’, ‘Farewell Blues’, ‘Somebody Stole my Gal’ and ‘Stevedore Stomp’ The one that got the biggest applause was Ron Hills singing ‘Take The A Train’. I am sure we will see them again.
24 October 2021 – Savannah Jazz Band: Such excitement around the room as Savannah Jazz Band strike up. With leader, John Meehan, on the drums, Roger Myerscough on reed and vocal, Chris Marney on banjo, Tony Pollitt on bass, Brian “Sam” Ellis on trombone and keyboard and Phil Lucas on trumpet they went straight into their opening number of ‘Washington & Lee Swing’. During the course of the concert many numbers were played and to name a few we had ‘Davenport Blues’ (a trumpet solo), ‘The Lily of the Valley’, ‘Running Wild’, ‘Bourbon Street Parade’ (for the brolly parade), and one I did not know ‘I Want a Girl Just Like the Girl who married Dear Old Dad’. The house was packed and feet tapped merrily throughout. Roger had a few funnies up his sleeve and the whole concert was a delight. See you again soon Savannah.
As it was the 40th anniversary of Stafford Jazz Society Maurice Blisson very kindly provided a lovely anniversary cake (see picture). Thanks Maurice.
17 October 2021 – Dave Moorwood’s Rascals of Rhythm: This was the Band’s first performance for Stafford Jazz Society. The band was led by acoustic guitar and vocals, Dave Moorwood, with multi-instrumental reedsmen Mike Wills and Tony Blinowe , Mike Bennett on bass and Geoff Barwell on piano. I now have to confess I had not heard anyone play many of their numbers, from the 20’s and 30’s, but it may be because I have really only taken an interest in jazz about twelve years ago. Their opening number was ‘Copenhagen’, followed by – in no particular order – ‘Indian Summer’, ‘Doggin’ Around’, ‘Candy Lips’, ‘Shake It and Break It’ and ‘When’. I think my favourite was ‘Vo-Do-Do-De-O Blues’ and yes, that was one I did know. What a lovely concert and we look forward to seeing them again.
10 October 2021 – Sheila Fawkes’ Café Orchestra: Due to traffic problems there was a late start whilst waiting for the arrival of George Huxley and Tim McGrath. The opening number was ‘Crazy Rhythm’. Sadly neither Sheila Fawkes nor Terry McGrath were able to come due to health problems but Richard Leach very ably stepped in to fill the gap. Numbers included ‘Stardust’, ‘Hello Dolly’, ‘A Day in the Life of a Fool’, ‘Way Back Home in Indiana’, ‘ Moonglow’ and ‘Beautiful Girl of My Dreams’. Lots of smiling faces and foot tapping took place, especially when George played ‘Petit Fleur’ – always a favourite.
Leader, Kevin Grenfell, played trombone and trumpet along with the occasional vocals, Richard Leach was on trombone, Simon Smith played bass, Richard Hughes on piano and last but not least David Wilkes on percussion. The temperature in the room went up several degrees when faced with cheeky Kevin and his endless jokes. Some of the music included ‘Give Me a Kiss to Build a Dream On’, ‘Mood Indigo’, ‘Tea for Two’ and for the brolly parade we had ‘Bourbon Street Parade’. In addition there was ‘Strike Up The Band’ (my personal favourite with a fantastic intro by David) which left nobody sitting without tapping hands or feet, ‘The Gypsy’ and ‘It Had To Be You’, finishing with ‘Bye Bye Blackbird’. It was so lovely to see this band once more and we hope it won’t be too long before we see them once more.
19 September 2021 – Tame Valley Stompers
It was delightful to see this vibrant band in action. With Norman Pennington on the drums (leader), Terry Brunt once more on trombone, Roger Wimpenny on trumpet, Paul Broomhead on reeds, John Gordon on banjo and guitar and Pete Smith on bass guitar the opening number was ‘Just a Little While to Stay Here’. This was followed, in no particular order, by well known numbers such as ‘Stevedore Stomp’, ‘Blue Bossa’ and ‘Dark Town Strutters Ball’ (and for years I had thought it was Downton Strutters Ball!!) and Savoy Blues. Terry gave a good rendition of ‘St James Infirmary Blues’ and the band also played ‘Hiawatha Rag’ and ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’ amongst others. The music was great, the band in good form and the audience highly delighted.
12 September 2021 – Eric Newton’s Jazz Band
How lovely to see Eric back to his old self again following his recent ill health. This band was a delight to listen to with Eric Newton (clarinet), Terry Brunt (trombone), Pete Brown (trumpet), Mark Challinor (banjo), Jack Cotterill (drums) and Richard Vernon (bass). They received a very warm welcome from SJS and the band opened with ‘Way Down Upon the Swanee River’. Amongst others the programme included ‘Careless Love Blues’, ‘The Gospel Train’, ‘Lily of the Valley’ and the ‘Stevedore Stomp’. They ended with ‘Going Home’, highly appropriate.
5 September 2021 – Mike Owen’s Celebration Jazz Band
With a name like this how could it not be first consideration for the band to kick start the season now that we can meet up again. It was lovely to see so many people attending and the hope is that we go from strength to strength. The band consisted of Mike Owen (leader and trombone), Tony Pipkin (trumpet), Jim Swinnerton (bass), John Irwin (banjo/guitar), Jack Cotterill (drums) and Jeff Matthews (reeds). The music was varied and included ‘Should I Reveal Exactly How I Feel’, ‘Lily of the Valley’, ‘Linger a While’ and ‘Moose March’. All that lovely music and Julie and Martin in Sunset Café. Welcome back one and all.