September Concerts

30 September 2018 – Savannah Jazz Band: This is such a great band and a joy to listen to.  My all time favourite is the deadpan presentation of jokes by reedsman Roger Myerscough.  Other members of the band are:  Bill Smith (leader) on trumpet, harmonica and vocals, Dave Morrell on trombone, Tony Pollitt on double bass, John Meehan on drums and Chris Marney on banjo.   The music was an exhilarating mix of blues, marches and jazz so there was something for everyone.   “Move Your Body Over”, “My Gal Sal”, “Beedlum Bum” (just don’t ask!!), “Walking with the King, "The Dallas Blues” to the final “Going Home”, to name but a few, were all well received.

23 September 2018 – Kevin Grenfell’s Jazz Giants: Always lovely to have a visit from this versatile group and this time we had an additional treat in the shape of Jeremy Huggett on reeds.  Kevin was his usual jokey self, on trombone and trumpet, Jack Cotterill on drums, Federico Leonori on double bass and Ian Parry on guitar and banjo all played some pretty good jazz.   The session included the likes of “New Orleans”, “It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie”, “Some Day You’ll be Sorry” and “Swing that Music” and finished with “Bye Bye Blackbird”.  The group received a standing ovation from more than half of the room.

16 September 2018 – Robin Mason’s Apex Jazz & Swing Band:  With almost a year since we last had a visit from this band, everyone was pleased to see Robin Mason and his band back.  Giving us a repertoire that included “My Baby Just Cares for Me”, “Watermelon Man”, “Happiness”, “I Hate to see that Evening Sun Go Down” and “Autumn Leaves” this was music to our ears.  The band consisted of Robin Mason on reeds, Dick Wiltshire on keyboard, Ron Hills on trombone, Roy Dutton on drums, Bob Boucher on guitar and John on trumpet

9 September 2018 – Matt Palmer’s Eagle Jazz Band: This band is an old favourite of Stafford Jazz Society.   Matt Palmer leading on reeds, Baby Jools on drums (a rare treat), Mike Owen on trombone, Pete Brown on Trumpet, Brian Lawrence on double bass and sousaphone and lastly Brian Mellor on guitar and Banjo.  A good mix of music and a good bit of singing from Matt through numbers like “I Ain’t Gonna Give Nobody None of my Jelly Rolls” (don’t you just love that title?!), “You’re Driving Me Crazy”, “Dans La Rue Entibe” and “Yellow Dog Blues”, ending with as always “Bring me Sunshine”. They most surely do.

2 September 2018 – Phoenix Jazzmen with Sheila Fawkes: Well, the moment all have been waiting for … the start of the new jazz season.  And what a band to open with – winner of the Band of the Year in 2012-13.  A room full of enthusiastic jazzers suffering from acute withdrawal symptoms visibly relaxed to the likes of “That’s My Home”, “The Creole Love Call”, “Stevedore Stomp” and “It’s Times Like That”, along with many more.  The musicians were the usual suspects:  Peter Robinson on guitar & trumpet, Mike Hayler on reeds, Pete Ainge on trumpet, Terry McGrath on trombone, Ken Wright on drums and Mark Johnson on double bass.

May Concerts

27 May 2018 – Baby Jools & the Jazzaholics:  This is the last concert of the season, sadly, but nevertheless what a concert to go out on.  This 6 piece band wowed the audience.  Baby Jools – leader, on drums, Jim Swynnerton on double bass, Mike Owen on trombone, Denny Ilett on trumpet, Karl Hird (from Australia) on reedsc and Brian Mellor on banjo and guitar.   Along with “Old Spinning Wheel” was “Travelling Blues”, “Muskrat Ramble”, “Old Rocking Chair”, Black Cat on a Fence", “Lucille”, “A Hundred Years from Today” and the “Chimes Blues”.  The band played to a large size audience as SJS members have good memories for good groups and so flocked in to hear Baby Jools.  I just know its only a matter of time before they are back at the White Eagle Club once more.

20 May 2018 – Steve King Big Band featuring Lynn Dawes:  This band, with traditional Dixieland-style jazz and swing repertoire, has proved popular with SJS audiences.  USA born vocalist Lynn Dawes adds to the entertainment. The band leader, with his bright orange jacket and tie, was easy to spot and gave occasional input on his trumpet. Numbers played included: “Ain’t Misbehaving”,  "Let the Good Times Roll", “Frankie & Johnny”, “Googletown Races”, “Sweet Georgia Brown”, “What a Wonderful World” and “I Want to be Loved by You”. With 20 musicians in the house you can imagine the music filled all four corners and then some.  

13 May 2018 – Pete Allen & his Hot Rhythm:  This four-piece played at the White Eagle Club as part of the Stafford Music Festival.  Leader, Pete Allen, is on reeds, Richie Bryant on drums, Dave Hanratty on bass and Dave Moorhead on banjo and guitar.  The group injected humour into its programme and the concert was well received by Stafford jazzers.  Some of the numbers were:  "Nobody’s Sweetheart Now", “Roses of Piccardy”, “Way Down Yonder in New Orleans”, “Lady be Good” and “You Meet the Nicest People in your Dreams”.   They finished with a rousing “When the Saints Go Marching in”.  

6 May 2018 – Pedigree Jazz Band “Salute to Trad Jazz”: As you can tell from the photograph, the day was one of those rare sunny days and yet there were still many people attending Stafford Jazz Society to hear this concert.  The band consisted of leader on clarinet, Chris Walker, on trumpet was Andy Chislett, trombone was Tony Mann, double bass was Mike Bennett, Banjo + guitar was John Noddings and on drums, taking over from Colin Larn who sadly passed away earlier this year, was Jim Newton.   The numbers were all recognisable even for beginners with sons such as “In a Persian Market”, “Bourbon Street March”, “Peter and the Wolf”, “Original Dixieland One Step”, “Autumn Leaves” and of course “Midnight in Moscow” and “Stranger on the Shore”.  All in all the concert was well received and we look forward to seeing them again next year during Stafford Music Festival.

April Concerts

29 April – Tame Valley Stompers “Terry’s Dead Good Boys”:  The band started, appropriately, with “April Showers”.  The band consisted of Norman Pennington (drums and leader), Terry Brunt (trombone), Roger Wimpenny (trumpet), Paul Broomhead (reeds), Peter Smith (guitar) and John Gordon (banjo & guitar).  The numbers included “Savoy Blues”, “When I’m with my Baby”, “You Belong to me”, “Stevedore Stomp” and “Royal Telephone Line”.  A Good balanced programme played by skilled musicians who enjoy their music.  SJS look forward to having them back again in the not too distant future.

22 April – Kevin Grenfell’s Slide by Slide:  A concert that had it all … good music, good jokes and something for everyone.  All musicians were skilled and enjoyed playing together.  The music was varied and included numbers such as: “Going to New Orleans”, “Chico Chico”, “In a Persian Market”, “St James’s Infirmary”, “The Old Rugged Cross”, “Bye Bye Blackbird” and No Moon at All.  The group played in trios, quartets and quintets, as required, and there was even a trombone ‘argument’ in “Back Home Again in Indiana”.  Well done to one and all and we look forward to you coming back.

15 April – Matt Palmer’s Rhythmic Reeds featuring Christine Tyrrell:  A band created by Matt as a platform to get Christine singing once more in Stafford, this band consists of Matt Palmer (reeds) as leader, George Huxley (reeds), Mark Challinor (guitar, banjo and ukelele), Brian Lawrence (bass) and SJS Musician of the Year Nick Ward (drums).  Some of the numbers:  "Cake Walkers",  "Dr Jazz", “Somerset”, “China Town”,“ At the Mardi Gras”,“ Weary Blues”, “Dans La Rue d’Antibes” and “What the Lord Has Done for Me”, to mention but a few.  Feet were tapping, hands were clapping and everyone had a great two hours.

8 April – Chase Jazzmen:  This is a traditional band whose repertoire is drawn from the early half of the 20th century.  Tony Billingsley (trumpet) leads with Dave Deakin (trombone), Corman Loane (reeds), Jim Harney (drums) and Dave Boxold (guitar and banjo).  Tunes included “When You’re Smiling”, “I Scream (Ice Cream?) You Scream”, “A Kiss to Build a Dream on”, “King of the Swingers”, “Sweet Sue”, “Stranger on the Shore” and “Down the Mississippi”.

1 April – Matt Palmer’s Aces of Rhythm:  This five-piece band thrives on music from the 1920s.  Chris Mercer (cornet), David Kimmins (banjo & guitar), Doug White (double bass & sousaphone) and Joe Nutman on piano join leader Matt Palmer (reeds) for a classy sound.  Sadly missed by myself but all reports indicated a good concert which was well received by SJS.

March Concerts

 18 March 2018 –
Wabash Jazzmen:  
A traditional
jazz combo and today they appeared in matching shirts which gave them a very
professional look.  Mark Challinor
(leader) plays banjo, guitar and ukelele, Bill Smith on cornet and harmonica,
Mike Hayler on reeds, Richard Vernon on string bass and Mike Pembroke on
trombone.   Their concert included In the
Sweet By and Be, Lonely, Let me Call You Sweetheart, Stormy Monday and the 1919
March amongst others and Mike Hayler played a lovely rendition of Stranger on
the Shore.   The weather may have been
classed as wintery and miserable but for two hours SJS had a smashing concert
with foot tapping music throughout.

11 March 2018 –
Willys Weepers with Eric “Busker” Newton:  
Welcome back Willys Weepers and Eric.
As always the band were in good form and
playing with enthusiasm and humour.  
There was Eric “Busker” Newton leading and playing the
clarinet, Terry Brunt on his trombone and, I think, euphonium, Pete Brown on
trumpet, Peter Robinson on guitar and banjo, Chris Pendlebury on drums and John
Musket on double bass.  Numbers
included:  April Showers, Whistling
Rufus, Happy Days and Lonely Nights, St James Infirmary (sung with pathos by
Terry), and Creole Love Song, to name but a few.

4 March 2018 –
Jake Leg Peg Band:
 And now for
something different.  A delightful six
piece with instruments like dobra + banjo (Toby Wilson), double bass (Duncan
Wilcox – leader), guitar (Neil Hulse), harmonica + jug (Liam Ward), washboard
(Sarah Miller) and trombone (Mike Pembroke).  
The name comes from prohibition days when a form of alcohol was made
from Jamaican ginger extract and the peculiar gait of someone would be a
give-away to having imbibed this and therefore said to be “Jake
leg”.  There was mostly music from
the 1920s but all manner of songs were included as this group sings well
together:  Kitchen Man, Hot Feet, Your
Feet’re too Big, A Handful of Jam, There’s a Black Train a’coming and Sugar in
my Bowl.  Many of the songs had a touch
of double entendre.  A marvellous cross
of jazz, blues and folk.  I hope it won’t
be too long before we see them back with us again.

December Concerts

17 December 2017 – JB Jazz & Blues Band

This was a good choice for our last concert
before Christmas.  The band were in fine
form and played a range of numbers from “Please Don’t Talk About Me When
I’m Gone”, through “Is You Is Or Is you Aint My Baby” to
“Mister Sandman” with lots more in between.  On keyboard/vocals was John Beckingham
(leader), reeds/vocal – Roger Mainwaring, Guitar/banjo/vocals – Phil Probert,
drums/vocals – Paul Holder and double bass/vocals – Ed Millar.

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During the interval there was a
presentation by Jenni & Ian D’Arcy of the SJS Band of the Year Trophy –
third time and thus making a new record – to this much appreciated band.  

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Also during the interval there
was as presentation by Jenni & Ian of a special retirement award to
reedsman, Roger Mainwaring, who made this appearance at the White Eagle Club
his final performance.  I am sure he will
be sadly missed.

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And finally a presentation was
made to Ann Crofts who won the SJS Member of the Year trophy for 2017.

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10 December 2017 – sadly this concert by Kevin Grenfell’s Jazz
Giants had to be cancelled due to the weather.

3 December 2017 – Savannah Jazz Band:  The room was packed and the music hot.   Their New Orleans style jazz had feet
tapping.   The pace switched back and
forth from frenetic to gentle.  The
fabulous sound of the harmonic worked its magic along with the merry humour of
this great band.  On
trumpet/harmonica/vocals was leader Bill Smith, trombone/keyboard – Brian
Ellis, double bass – Tony Pollitt, drums – John Meehan, Reeds/vocals (and
jokes!) – Roger Myerscough and on banjo was Chris Marney.

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14 January 2018 – Chris Pearce & Andy Leggett’s Sopranos:  How lovely to see the familiar faces of this well-known band.   It was a mixed programme from blues, to big band to an old jug number, so Aint Misbehaving, Whisky Drinking Woman, The Mooch, Dans La Rue d’Antibes and a brolly parade to When We Were young Molly.   The musicians were:  on reeds were both Chris Pearce and Andy Leggett, on guitar was Phil Probert, on drugs was Roger Watts, on double bass was Tony Sharp and on trombone was Dave Deakin.  Always lovely to hear a group of this calibre and the programme was interspersed with humour throughout.

7 January 2018 – Roy Sainsbury’s Rhythm Chief’s featuring Dave Newton.  This was the first concert of the year and what a concert.   Six musical instruments melted into one glorious sound.  This was modern jazz played with evident enjoyment, enthusiasm and expertise.  It was not so modern that it did not include numbers such as ‘Slow Boat to China’ but also had numbers I was not familiar with such as ‘Corner Pocket’ and ‘My Little Red Top’.   Roy Sainsbury, leader, played guitar, Tom Hill was on bass and also sang, Bryan Corbett on trumpet, Charlie Wright on tenor sax, Mal Garrett on drums and Dave Newton on keyboard.   This group was well received and we look forward to hearing them again.

November Concerts

26  November 2017
Chicago Swing Catz.  This was the last
gig in November and what a good mix in their programme, with ragtime, gospel
and New Orleans type jazz as well as a small band sound that was pretty
cool.  Jeff Matthews (leader) was on
reeds, Pete Berresford on kayboard, Pete Ainge on trumpet, Mike Carney on
drums, Louis Lince on guitar and banjo and Pete Friel on trombone along with
Dave Margaroni on double bass.  I am sure
we shall see them again in 2018.

19 November 2017 – Wabash Jazzmen with Nick Ward.  As previously this band was well received by
the SJS audience.   For me a favourite
piece was the harmonica playing by Will Smith which took me back to the USA and
a train station somewhere down south …
The programme contained blues, a cakewalk and gospel to name a few.  On guitar/banjo/ukelele was Mike Challinor
(leader), on drums was Nick Ward, on Trombone was Mike Pemberton, on trumpet
(and harmonica) was Will Smith and on reeds was Mike Hayler.

Nick Ward seen receiving his SJS Musician of the Year
2017/18 trophy presented by Ann and Brian Crofts.   Nick is the first drummer ever to receive
this accolade.

12 November 2017 – Mell Hill’s Fine & Dandy.  Though there were only four musicians they
made a big sound.  It was lovely to see
our President, Mel Hill, back in action again.
There were some unusual numbers, not least Moon over Burslem (a take on
a Kenny Ball piece with lyrics written by Mel) and Jolie Blonde (a Cajun number
with steel guitar, fiddle and vocals in French).  What a smashing lunchtime concert.  Musicians were Mel Hill on trumpet (leader),
Richard Vernon on string bass, Jake Reeves on banjo/guitar/ukelele/steel guitar
and Willie Entwhistle on a mixture of reeds, fiddle and claviole (posh name for
penny whistle I am told).

29 October – Debonaires Little Big Band:  If there was a prize for best dressed band this week’s contestants would win hands down.  The band opened with a brief snatch of the theme tune to Strictly Come Dancing to herald Nick Balmforth in his role as compere  onto the stage.  This led on to songs from the 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s played in style by Leader and trumpet player – Max Debon, Austin Ralphson on the trombone, Rick Halliwell on the alto sax, Sarah Eastwood on clarinet and vocals, Peter “Pedro” Robinson on double bass, Rob Turner on drums, Peter Wilson on keyboard and Anne Holder on saxophone.  We had it all – Mambo Italiano, The Folks who Live on the Hill, Stardust, Americal Patrol, Tiger Rag, My Baby Just Cares for Me and much much more, ending with an appropriate swing version of The Addams Family.   In line with Strictly’s favourite straight-talking Craig Revel Horwood it was “Fab-u-lous”.