Kevin Grenfell’s Jazz Giants – 29 September 2019: What can I say – simply one of my favourite bands. Kevin (lead) on trombone and trumpet, Jeremy Huggett on reeds, Richard Hughes on piano, Simon Smith on bass and Jack Cotterill on drums gave us a smashing performance of music and comedy. Some of the numbers included: “Running Wild”, “Algiers Strut”, “Tikka Masala”, “Girl of My Dreams”, “There Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens”, “China Town My Chinatown” through to their finishing number of “Bye Bye Blackbird” received some pretty high scores and drew a strong audience.
Robin Mason’s Apex Jazz & Swing Band – 22 September 2019: Since its formation some twenty years ago this band always gives a polished performance. Robin Mason (leader) on reeds, Jon Stone on trumpet, Ron Hills on trombone, Jim Harney on drums, Bob Boucher on bass and Nick Wiltshire on piano brought joy to Stafford. Unfortunately there is no picture since I was in London that weekend so cannot report personally. However I can say that everyone I spoke to said it was a good concert, something we have come to expect from Robin and his merry men.
Manchester Jazz – 15 September 2019: The lead is Louis Lince on banjo, with Allan Dent on trumpet, Derek Galloway on trombone, Chris Pendlebury on drums, Roger Browne on piano, Allan Wilcox on bass and Eric Newton on clarinet. The music ranged from “Stevedore Stomp”, through “Jambalaya” and “Louisiana Fairytale” to “Lady be Good” and “It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie”. The band finished with “Sweet Georgia Brown” and looking around the room I could see that this band was well received by Stafford jazzers.
Mat Palmer’s Eagle Jazzband – 8 September 2019: It was lovely to see this band again. We had Dave Morwood in place of Brian Mellor, who is poorly – speedy recovery from SJS – on banjo/guitar and vocals, Matt Palmer on reeds, Pete Brown on trumpet, Terry Williams on trombone, Brian Lawrence on double bass and Tim Jones on drums. I will say at the outset I thought Tim’s drumming was very good indeed. People think it’s quite easy to beat out a solo piece but that’s not the case. However Tim produced several really fine pieces which I think the whole room appreciated. Numbers included: ‘Algiers Strut’, ‘Travelling Loose’, ‘Mama’s Gone – Goodbye’, ‘Bugle Boy March’, ‘High Society’, ‘Everywhere You Go the Sunshine Follows You’, ‘Poor Butterfly’ and ‘Cakewalking Babies’ – to name but a few. Look forward to their next visit.
Mike Owen’s Storyville Six – 1 September 2019: This is the first concert after the summer break, and what a concert. Mike Owen had been selected as SJS Musician of the Year and so was presented with his trophies. This time his family took centre stage for the presentation and all three girls and his mother presented him his various trophies. The band was at its best and for those starved of jazz for the last three months it was delicious to hear the blues, the struts and the Dixieland-style music we had been missing. Some of the pieces included: ‘You Can’t Escape from Me’, ‘Hey What’s the Matter Now’, ‘Four or Five Times’, ‘Take it Easy Greasy’, ‘Give It Up’, ‘Get out of Here’ and ‘The Wabash Blues’. What a way to start a season.