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.