27 March 2022 – Andy Leggett’s Centenary Serenaders: This fabulous band, leader Andy Leggett (clarinet & saxes); Lewis Taylor (trumpet); Dave Deakin (trombone); Rachel Hayward (guitar & banjo), Joe Trudgeon (double bass) and Dave Andrews (drums) take you back to New Orleans in the 1920s and 30s. They opened with ‘Halle Halle Halleluja’ and went on to give us renditions of ‘Everywhere You Go’, ‘Flee as a Bird to your Mountain’ – this Louis Armstrong number was dedicated to Ukraine, ‘The Coffee Grinder’ ‘Poncho Trail’, ‘Louisiana (my Home)’, Pat du Bouche’, ‘Jacqueline’, ‘The Mooch’, ‘Poppa’s Gone Goodbye’, ‘Weary Blues’ were some of the numbers I wrote down to remind myself. They concluded with ‘Dans Les Rue d’Entibes’. The applause at the end of the concert was thunderous and people leapt to their feet in a standing ovation. This group brought a whole heap of magic to a Sunday lunchtime in Stafford.
It was announced that the money bucket for donations for Ukraine over the past three weeks now tallied £615. Well done Stafford jazzers.
20 March 2022 – Sussex Jazz Kings: Welcome to Sussex Jazz Kings consisting of leader Dave Stradwick on cornet, Bernard Stutt on clarinet, Iain McCauley on trombone and vocals, Pete Lay on drums and vocals, Peter Clancy on bass and tuba and Paul Segley on banjo. They did look smart, wearing matching green short sleeve shirts. The opening number was ‘The Old Spinning Wheel in the Park’ and the session went on to include such numbers as ‘Painting the Clouds with Sunshine’, ‘Rose of Tralee’ (an Irish number sung by a Scotsman in Enland!!), ‘Gigaminco Blues’, When You and I were young Maggie’, ‘Magnolia’s Wedding Day’, ‘Big Chief Battle Axe’, ‘The Curse of an Aching Heart’ (which the band said they were renaming ‘The Curse of an Aching Everything – ha ha), ‘Creole Love Call’ and ‘My Blue Heaven’. They ended with ‘You are My Sunshine’. Toes were tapping around the room at this New Orleans-style jazz. Great.
13 March 2022 – Wabash Jazzmen with Nick Ward: Yes, the Wabash Jassmen are back bringing with them a fine percussionist – Nick Ward. The group consists also of Tony Pipkin on cornet/trumpet, Richard Leach on trombone, Mark Challinor (leader) on banjo, ukulele and guitar with some vocals, Richard Vernon on string bass and in place of Mike Hayler (currently unwell) we have the renowned Eric Newton with his clarinet. They opened with ‘At a Georgia Camp Meeting’ and went on to include numbers such as ‘China Boy’, ‘The Bogalusa Strut’, ‘The Moose March’, ‘Good Night Sweet Prince’, ‘This Love of Mine’, ‘The Weary Blues’, ‘Muskrat Ramble’ and ‘Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out’ to name a few. The afternoon flew by and before you know it we were packing up to go home. Could have gone on for longer but all good things must end. I am sure they will be back in the next season.
We had an unexpected guest by the name of John, a ukulele player celebrating his 80th birthday with family. I hope he enjoyed the concert – I am quietly confident he did!
6 March 2022 – Ron Hills’ Swing Kings: The opening number was dedicated in tribute to two fine musicians gone to the jazz front in the sky: Roy Sainsbury and Frank Nicholls (also a skilled painter who painted the SJS portrait of Louis Armstrong). The Band, consisted of Tony Pipkin on trumpet + vocals, Terry Roberts on reeds (recovering from a nasty bout of shingles so very brave of him to come along today), Ron Hills (leader) on trombone + vocals, Nick Wiltshire on keyboard, Simon Smith on double bass and Roy Dutton on drums. Some of their programme included ‘Sing, Sing, Sing;, ‘ All I Do The Whole Day Through is Dream of You’, ‘Blue Bossa’, ‘My Blue Heaven’, ‘I Never Knew’, ‘I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter’, ‘It’s d’lovely’ and ‘Bye Bye Blackbird’. There was a lovely trio (piano, bass and drums) in the middle of this when they played ‘My Romance’. Great to see them again.
You would be interested to know that £320 was raised for the Ukraine situation by taking donations at the desk. Well done everybody.