19 February – Annie Hawkins’ Funky Butt Hall Jazzmen. Sadly Annie was unable to come along on this
occasion due to a nasty chest infection.
In her place came Isabel Toner.
Joining her were Peter Wright on cornet, Jeff Milner (tailgate
trombone), Karl Hird (reeds), Malcolm Hogarth (piano), Bob Rowbottom (banjo)
and Barry Wood on drums. The second set,
in particular, reached out to all in the room.
We hope Annie recovers soon and look forward to seeing this group again
in the future.
12 February – Baby Jools & The Jazzoholics). This was our first evening concert and what a
concert! Each and every musician is so
talented from Baby Jools on drums to Jim Swinnerton on double bass. Joining them were Denny Ilett (trumpet), Mike
Owen (Trombone) and Brian Mellor (banjo and guitar). The music was mixed and marvellous. It was impossible for anyone to sit still and
there was such a buzz in the room – electric.
5 February – Savannah Jazz Band. Unfortunately due to a chest infection I had
to miss this show. I am reliably
informed that, as always, this band “produced the goods”. The players were Bill Smith (trumpet &
harmonica), Brian Ellis (trombone & piano), Roger Myerscough (reeds), Chris
Marney (banjo), Tony Pollitt (double bass) and John Meehan (drums). Always a welcome band for Stafford Jazz
29 January – Merseysippi Jazz Band. I think it fair to say that clarinetist Dave
Dixson had by far the best voice so shame he only sang the one number. More next time please. This is the longest established band in the
country. An interesting addition to
today’s concert was the mounted mirror devised by one of our members, Chris
Latham, which enabled the pianist – Malcolm Hogarth – to see the rest of the
band who were playing behind him.
Ingenious device – hope Chris has taken out a patent on it! The remainder of the band were John Higham on
trumpet, Peter Fryer (trombone), Dave Dixson (clarinet), Isabel Toner (double
bass) and Pete Darwin on drums. As a
previous winner of BBC’s Jazz Heritage Award you know you have something
special when you get this band.
22 January – Stafford Grammar School Big Band. This band received their SJS Band of the Year
Award in amazement. Today’s programme
was a mixture and I am absolutely delighted to say that a piece I heard for the
first time when they last played for us – Children of Sanchez (composed by
Chuck Mangione) – was played again with trumpet solo by Gavin Lamplaugh, the
band’s musical director. This is such an
emotional piece of music and if you have never heard it track it down – it’s
wonderful. This band continues to make
its mark on the music scene.
15 January – Jake Leg Jug Band with Mike Pembroke. Firstly a big apology to Mike who for months
I have been mis-naming as Mike Pemberton. So sorry Mike – it’s probably down to
my age! The band has a new singer, Sarah
Miller, an attractive young woman with a lovely voice. JLJB are folksy in the nicest possible way
and received rapturous applause at the end of each number. Doubtless whatever genre this music falls
into JLJB have got it right. The pace
changed frequently but the quality remained high. I simply loved this concert. The band are:
Duncan Wilcox (double bass), Neil Hulse (guitar), Toby Wilson (banjo
& dobro) and Liam Ward (harmonica & jug). I cannot wait for them to return.
8 January – Jon Critchley’s Original Panama Jazz Band. This band welcomed SJS back after it’s
Christmas break. They played a variety
of music and we had nice solos by both pianist (Malcolm Hogarth) and
clarinetist (Dave Thomas). Additional
members of the band are Jon Critchley on trumpet, Laurie Cooper on trombone,
Isabel Toner on string bass and Bill Buck on drums. During the show’s interval there was a
presentation to one of the SJS members, Heather Mansell, of her very own brolly
as a reward for the enthusiasm she shows during the brolly parade.