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.


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.  


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.


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


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.


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”.  

1 October 2017 – Matt Palmer’s Eagle Jazz Band:  This band is always welcome at the White Eagle Club and they regularly feature in the top ten of our League Table of Band Ratings.  Led by gifted reedsman, Matt Palmer, the rest of the band consisted on Baby Jools on the drums, Pete Brown on trumpet, Terry Williams on trombone, Brian Lawrence on double bass and sousaphone and Brian Mellor on guitar and banjo.  There were also vocals from Matt, Pete, Brian and Terry which added some flavour.  Sadly there were not so many there on 1st October, unusually, but those attended thoroughly enjoyed a smashing concert which ended, as always, with ‘Bring Me Sunshine’.

Sussex Jazz Kings – 3 September 2017

The SJS first concert of the season began with the Sussex Jazz Kings.   This 6-piece band comprised:  Peter Lay (drums), David Price (banjo), Roy Stokes (trombone), Peter Clancy (bass), Bernie Stutt (clarinet) and stepping in for cover today on the trumpet was Gordon Whitworth.  Their New Orleans jazz style went down well with a good crowd in attendance.  This was the first of a longer concert (12.30-3.00), the others being on 22 October and 17 December.   What a welcome back to jazz this was.

23 April to 28 May

Brolly paraders getting younger and younger and brollies getting smaller.

28 May – Ivory & Gold (now renamed The Sweet & Hot
Quartet).  The final concert in the SJS
2016/17 year.  This foursome is really
the thinking man’s jazz.  Great music –
ranging from syncopated to blues and cakewalk and blues – and great fun.  Graham Smith (drums) gave his maiden vocal
rendition which brought tears to the eyes!!
Thomas ‘Spats’ Langham (current SJS Musician of the year) was on banjo
and guitar, Jeff Barnhart on piano and his wife Anne on flute.  I hope they are back with us soon.

21 May – Chicago Swing Katz.
Playing music from the jazz age to the swing craze and in the Chicago
style were musicians Jeff Matthews (reeds), Pete Ainge (trumpet), Mike Owen
(trombone), Roy Sainsbury (guitar), Derek Harrison (piano), Mike Carnie (drums)
and Edward Lloyd-Hughes (double bass).  A
power cut affected electric instruments and put the lights out so instead of
jazz in the park we had ‘jazz in the dark’.
Initially non-plussed for ten seconds the band valliantly played on.

14 May – The Wabash Jazzmen.    This was the second of two Stafford Music
Festival concerts that we managed to arrange.
Hot, driving jazz in a distinctive rhythmic, foot-tapping style led by
Mark Challinor on banjo, with Gordon Whitworth (trumpet), Mike Pembroke
(trombone), Mike Hayler (reeds) and Richard Vernon (double bass).  This band really packs a punch and was well

7 May – The Pedigree Jazzmen.  The first of two Stafford Music Festival
concerts they gave us ‘A Salute to Trad Jazz’ with music from the 50s and
60s.  Chris Walker led on clarinet, with
Tony Mann (trombone), Andy Chislett (trumpet), John Noddings (banjo/guitar),
Ken Ames (double bass) and Colin Larn (drums).
Great music, great playing, great concert.

30 April – Christine Tyrrell with Matt Palmer’s Rhythmic
Reeds.  Such a foot-tapping
performance.  Matt Palmer always gives
101%.  Richard Vernon was sitting in for
Brian Lawrence on the bass,k Mark Challinor (guitar/banjo), George Huxley
(reeds) and Nick Ward (drums).  Christine
Tyrrell was in good voice and is always welcome at the White Eagle Club.

23 April – Richard Leach’s Clubhouse 6.  This was last SJS evening concert as this has
now been discontinued.  Richard and his
band were in great form and played with a richness and vibrancy delightful to
hear.   There was a good range from fast
and furious, through soulful to gentle.
Band consisted of Richard Leach (trombone), Gordon Whitworth (trumpet),
George Huxley (reeds), Brian Mellor (banjo + guitar), John Fellows (bass +
sousaphone) and Nick Ward (drums).