May – Jeff & Anne Barnhart with
Thomas “Spats” Langham and Graham Smith in ‘Ragtime, Swing, Blues and
Beyond. As last concerts go this
went with a crash, bang, wallop. It was
a mixed bag with jazz from the 20s up , classical music and gospel music. There were several numbers that very few
people had heard before and there is always joy in listening to something for
the first time. The room was packed and
the audience highly appreciative. I
might say that this is the only group we have had who got a standing ovation at
the end of the first set … and that is saying something. Musicians were Anne Barnhart on flute, Jeff
Barnhart on piano, Graham Smith on the d4rums and Thomas “Spats”
Langham on banjo and guitar.
May saw the Merseysippi Jazz Band,
who last came to SJS in June 1966 when we were based at the Gatehouse. The musicians were: John Higham, Malcolm Hogarth, Pete Fryer,
Dave Dixon, Pete Darwin, Derek Vaux and Dave Rigby. There was one number entitled ‘Wocka the
Fish’, which was enchanting, and another number about a chap who was with a
large 20 stone girl and would draw chalk marks to show where he had come from
and these crossed paths with a chap with a larger than life girlfriend coming
the other way! You couldn’t make it
up. Such an enjoyable concert.
May – Stafford Grammar School Big
Band (part of the Stafford Music Festival). This was their first appearance at Stafford
Jazz Society but with a reputation that preceded them following their highly
acclaimed performances at last year’s Stafford Music Festival and the Upton Jazz
Festival. Quite how successful they were
is reflected by the fact that they were chosen as Band of the Year!
May – Swingin’ Jim’s Dance Band
gave us a high performance, as always in the past, with a couple of new arrangements
thrown in for good measure. They are
always assured of a warm welcome at SJS.
May – Tame Valley Stompers – Terry’s Dead Good Boys. Repertoire included songs from films from
the early 1930s, most of which were instantly recognisable. Terry played ‘Wonderful World’ on the
trombone, which was really special.
Chicago Swing Katz made an appearance on 24 April.
From blues to boogie, this group really knows how to appeal across the board. The banter gave an intimate feel to the
whole show. I applaud Derek Harris for
sporting red braces to match his (and the rest of the band’s) red tie. There were Pete Ainge on trumpet, Mike
Blakesley on trombone, Dave Margaroni on bass, Mike Carney on forurns, Derek
Harrison on keyboard and vocals and Geoff Matthews on reeds.
Steve King Big Band visited on 17 April. This
band was so professional both in performance and in appearance. As a treat Steve King played on his trumpet
for ‘Georgia On My Mind’ and Lynn Dawes gave some fine renditions, my favourite
being ‘Hard Hearted Hannah’. Starting
the second set ‘Honeysuckle Rose’ was lead into the full number with just the
vocalist singing and the double bass providing the beat – just beautiful.
10 April we welcomed Matt Palmer’s
Rhythmic Reeds with Christine Tyrrell.
Considering this band has only been in existence for a year it works
wonderfully well. The audience were
jumpting in their seats with heads bobbing and feet tapping – always a good
indicator of a band being well received.
The musicians were Mark Challinor on banjo, Jim Switherton on double
bass, Nick Ward on drums, George Huxley on reeds and Matt Palmer on reeds. Christine Tyrrell gave us some great songs –
she is always a favourite with us.
April saw Pete Allen’s Reeds ‘n’
Rhythms. What a pleasure to
welcome three talented musicians. They
played music garnered mainly from the 20s and 30s, including ragtime. It is easy to get the decades muddled up as
most of the really good tunes have been recycled again and again so seem so
familiar to us.