November 2022 Concerts

Richard Leach’s Street Band – 27 November 2022:  Playing its debut at SJS today was this amazing band comprising Richard Leach (leader) on trombone, Will Robinson on cornet (replacing Tony Pipkin – currently out of action), Zoltan Sagi on clarinet + alto sax, Mark Challinor on banjo + ukulele, Dave Deaken on sousaphone and Nick Ward on drums/percussion.  They opened with ‘Give Me Your Telephone Number’, and went on to play, in no particular order, ‘Should I Reveal’, ‘That’s A Plenty’, ‘Bogalusa Strut’, ‘Let The Light from the Lighthouse Shine on Me’, ‘Too Busy’ and ‘Redwing’.  One of their numbers is an old favourite of mine – ‘St James Infirmary’ – and this never fails to move me.  They finished with ‘Wolverine Blues’.  The room was rocking.  Smiling faces and tapping feet.  Can’t wait to see them back again.

Sax Shack Big Band – 20 November 2022:  This big band of 20 highly talented local musicians from the Stoke-on-Trent area, created only in 2018 with Nigel Ashworth as their Musical Director, played at the White Eagle Club for the first time.  I list all the names of the musicians:  on piano was Aidan Goldstraw, on electric guitar was James Shufflebotham, on drums was Rob Phillips and on bass guitar was Sam Johnson.  On baritone sax we had Chris Davies, on tenor sax were Ben Oakes and Steve Slater, on alto sax were Nicola Letts and Kevin Sharpe, on trumpet were Jo Austerberry, Adam Bentley, Paul Connor, Steve Harris and Tez Smith and on trombone were Derek Hurst, Neil Lawton, Steve Lee and Dave McGarry.  On vocals was Charlotte Phillips.   Their opening number ‘You Gotta Try Harder’ was followed, in no particular order by ‘Witchcraft’, ‘Don’t Know Why I Didn’t Come’, ‘I’ve Got the World on a String’, ‘Smooth Operator’ and ‘Spain’ and others and finishing with a wonderful rendition of ‘Riverdance’.  First time with us I sincerely hope it is not their last.  Many smiley faces left the room, which you can see from the picture, was full to bursting.

Bob Dwyer’s Bix & Pieces – 13 November 2022:  It was lovely to see this band again with their music influenced by Bix Beiderbecke.  Leader and trombonist, with vocals, was Bob Dwyer, Mike “Magic” Henry on trumpet and cornet, Hugh Crozier on keyboard, Paula Jackman on reeds, Marc Easener on sousaphone and Graham Collicott on drums played, in no particular order, ‘Love Nest’, ‘Savoy Blues’, ‘Caldonia’, ‘So Do I’, ‘Beale Street Blues’, ‘I Scream You Scream Everybody Likes Ice Cream’, ‘When You’re Smiling’, ‘Maple Leaf Rag’, ‘Strutting at the Waldorf’ and ‘Putting on the Ritz’.  The verdict – simply smashing.  Hope to see you back again before long.

Savannah Jazz Band – 6 November 2022:  We learnt with sympathy that this band’s leader and drummer, John Meehan, was in hospital in Halifax following a stroke.  We asked the band to pass on our wishes for a speedy recovery and a card was set up in the front for people to sign.  Replacing John was Ray Barron, on bass was Tony Pollitt, on banjo and vocals was Chris Marney, on trombone and keyboard was Brian Ellis and on reeds and vocals (replacing the irreplaceable Roger Myerscough) was John Bird.   The opening number was ‘Let me Call You Sweetheart’ and selected randomly throughout the concert were:  ‘All Alone’, ‘Going Home’, ‘Bourbon Street Parade’, ‘Old Ragged Cross’, ‘Can’t Escape from You’, ‘Together’, ‘Magic in the Moonlight’ and my far and away favourite ‘C.C. Rider’.  Bliss.  Come back soon.

October 2022 Concerts

Jeremy Huggett’s Jazz & Boogie Band – 30 October 2022:  What a brilliant band this was.  Leader – Jeremy Huggett – usually known for his reeds was on keyboard and wow could he boogie.  Along with Jeremy were Alex Clarke (saxophones), Kevin Grenfell (trumpet, trombone and vocals), Mike Green on bass and Steve Street on drums.  Their opening number was ‘It Don’t Mean a Thing if it Aint Got that Swing’.  Various titles, selected randomly from the concert were: ‘ Hello How Do You Do?”, “Indiana”, “Some Day You’ll be Sorry”, “I’m confessing that I Love You”, “I’m Walking”, “Any Time You Feel Downhearted”, “My Blue Heaven” and a fantastic performance of “A Whole Lot of Shaking Going On”.  There were grins from ear to ear on faces as people staggered out of the Club at the end of an amazing performance.  I am not the only one who can hardly wait to hear them again.

(Sorry folks – no iPad, no phone and so no pictures of the lovely Andy Leggett’s Centenary Serenaders).

Andy Leggett’s Centenary Serenaders – 23 October 2022:  This Band had the pleasure of playing on the 41st anniversary of Stafford Jazz Society, and they did us pround.  Kerry Williams (trumpet), Dave Deakin (trombone), Rachel Hayward (guitar/banjo), Bill Frampton (bass), Dave Andrews (drums) and Andy Leggett – leader – on clarinet/soprano sax/alto sax and tenor sax played their socks off.  Their opening number was ‘Black Cat on the Fence’ and the programme throughout included numbers such as ‘Everywhere You Go (Sunshine Follows You)’, ‘The Savoy Blues’, The Coffee Grinder (also known as the Rubber plant Rag in New Orleans)’, You’re Nobody’s Sweetheart Now’, ‘Poncho Train’, ‘Jacqueline’, ‘Bourbon Street Parade’, ‘Breeze Blow My Baby Back to Me’ and ‘Halleluja’.  Great sound, great playing – we look forward to them coming back soon.

Mike Owen’s Scarlette’s Serenaders – 16 October 2022:   This band is always welcome in Stafford.   The band consists of Mike Owen (leader) on trombone, Sarah Spencer on reeds and vocals, Ian Wynne on piano, Nick Ward on percussion and Richard Vernon on bass.  Sadly Christine Tyrrell who was due to guest with them had to cry off as she was unwell.  The band opened with ‘All I Do is Dream of You’ and went on to include ‘Memories’, ‘Absolutely Positively’, ‘Tie Me To Your Apron String Again’, ‘Don’t Tell Jesus’, ‘Pay Day Blues’ and one with a real long title – ‘If That Isn’t Love it’ll Just have to do Until the Real Thing comes Along’.  I loved every minute of the show and look forward to seeing them back at the White Eagle Club next year.

Chicago Teddybears Society Jazzband – 9 October 2022:   It was lovely to see this favourite band back with us once more.   There was Rae Owens (leader) on banjo and guitar, Jim Lucas on trumpet, John Padfield on reeds, Andrew McKenzie on trombone, Dean Revera on brass and Brian Singleton on drums.  Some of the numbers they played included ‘Dr Jazz’, ‘China Boy’, ‘Canal Street Blues’, My Blue Heaven’, ‘Sunday’, ‘Swing Low Sweet Chariot’, ‘Indiana’ and ‘Everybody Loves My Baby but My Baby Don’t Love Nobody But Me’ and ‘The Muskrat Ramble’.  Such music, such musicianship, such a lovely time had by all.

September 2022 Concerts

25 September 2022 – Baby Jools’ Jazzaholics:  Now this was the one everybody was waiting for – a particular favourite of the man who runs the White Eagle Club (Andrew).  Baby Jools on drums, ‘Magic’ Mike Henry on trumpet, Karl ‘Tarzan’ Hird on reeds, Jim ‘Lord’ Swinnerton on bass, Warren ‘Lonnie’ James on banjo and guitar and Ian ‘Professor’ Bateman on trombone produced the most amazing sounds, including taking us back to the days of Lonnie Donnegan.  They opened with ‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band’ and went on to give us ‘Dinah’, ‘Lost John’, ‘Down by the Riverside’, ‘Basin Street Blues’, ‘Putting on the Style’, ‘Dr Jazz’ and ‘Tiger Rag’.   The room was awash with memories and faces wreathed in smiles – this was certainly a concert worth waiting for.  A little bird tells me that they are due to return in January 2023 … can’t wait!

18 September 2022 – Wabash Jazzmen featuring Nick Ward:  How lovely to see this band back with us again.   Lead by Mark Challinor on banjo and guitar (and occasionally his ukulele), there is also Mike Hayler on reeds, Richard Leach on trombone, Tony Pipkin on cornet, Richard Vernon on string bass and Nick Ward on percussion.  Music at its best included ‘At a Georgia Camp Meeting’, ‘My Blue Heaven’, ‘The Gospel Train’, ‘Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out’, ‘The Bobalusa Stroll’ and ‘The Algiers Strut’ to name but a few but the title that really caught my imagination was ‘Take Off your Suit and Dance in Your Bones’.  Looking around the room one could see heads bobbing in time to the music, feet tapping and a general atmosphere of admiration for this band.

11 September 2022 – Tame Valley Stompers:  This band has come year after year.  Today, after a one minute silence in respect for the Queen’s passing, Terry Brunt played the National Anthem on his trombone. There was sad news that Norman Pennington had passed away recently.  A warm welcome was given to the new drummer – Rod Macmanara.  Other members of the band included Terry Brunt on trombone, Paul Broomhead on reeds, Roger Wimpeny on trumpet (and mirth!), Peter Smith on bass guitar and John Gordon on banjo and guitar.  Some of the numbers they played were as follows: ‘Roll Out the Barrel’, ‘Just a Little While’, ‘It Don’t Mean a Thing if it Ain’t Got That Swing’, ‘As We Danced at the Mardi Gras’, ‘Lady be Good’, ‘Basin Street Blues and Downtown Strutters Ball’ to name a few.   See you again fellas.

4 September 2022 – Sarah Spencer’s Transatlantic Jazz Band:  As first gigs go this one went down to hugh applause after each number.  The band consisted of Sarah Spencer on saxophone, Mike “Magic” Henry on Trumpet, Mike Owen on trombone, Hugh Crozier on piano, “Lord” Jim Swinnerton on string bass and “Baby” Jools Aldridge on drums.  Their programme included ‘First Choice’, ‘Blue Monday’ (which was my favourite of the afternoon), ‘If It Don’t Fit Don’t Force It’, ‘It feels So Good’, ‘All that I Ask is Love’,  ‘Send Me Some Loving’, ‘Get Out of Here and Go Home’, ‘Going Down by the Levee’, ‘Eh! La Bas’ (which means Hey, Over There), ‘Without You for an Inspiration’, ‘Kansas City Stomp’ and Papa’s Got No Jim Jams’ to name some.  There were smiling faces and tapping feet – no doubt that these fine musicians were well received.  We look forward to hearing from them again in the near future.

May 2022 Concerts

Tame Valley Stompers – 29 May 2022:  Unfortunately the Band Leader, Norman Pennington, was in hospital.  However the show still hit the road with Roger Wimpenny on trumpet (and humour), Paul Broomhead on reeds, Terry Brunt on trombone, Peter Smith on bass guitar and John Gordon on banjo and guitar.  Their opening number was ‘Just a Little While to Stay Here’.   Some others during the gig included:  ‘Night on the Delta’, ‘Petit Fleur’, ‘All of Me’, ‘It Don’t Mean a Thing if it Ain’t Got that Swing’, ‘Bourbon Street Parade’, ‘St James’s Infirmary’, ‘The Stevedore Stomp’ and ‘Canal Street Blues’.  They ended with ‘The Royal Telephone Line’.   Roger was in ‘fine fettle’ with his lovely sense of humour having the audience chuckling in their seats.  See you again soon I’m sure.

As this was the last concert of the season, with the exception of the free concert on Saturday 4 June to celebrate HM The Queen’s platinum jubilee, tokens of thanks for all their invaluable service were given to Julie and Martin from the Sunset Café and a box of chocolates for the lovely ladies behind the bar.

The County Darts fixture list had only been received on Friday 27 May and apart from letting you know that the season for 22/23 will start on Sunday 4 September with Sarah Spencer’s Transatlantic Band, and that bands like Wabash Jazzmen featuring Nick Ward, Chicago Teddybears Society Jazzband, Savannah Jazz Band, Sax Shack Big Band, Richard Leach’s Street Band, the Jake Leg Jug Band and Kevin Grenfell’s Jazz Giants have provisionally agreed to come, I can let you know that there will be no jazz on 2 October, 11 December, 26 September, 5 February 2023, 5 March 2023 and 16 April 2023 I can give you no further information.  We will ensure that a full gig list is made available as soon as Nick can put everything in place.  Keep an eye on our website for a full programme.

Max Debon’s Debonaires Little Big Band – 22 May 2022:   It was lovely to see this little big band back with us.   Led by Max Debon (trumpet) the following players were:  Sarah Eastwood (vocals and clarinet), Rick Halliwell (alto sax), Anne Holder (tenor sax), Austin Ralphson (trombone), Pete Wilson (piano), Peter ‘Pedro’ Robinson (bass) and Rob Turner (drums).   The opening number was ‘Sing Sing Sing’ which set the mood for the next two hours.   In no particular order the following numbers were played ‘The Folks Who Live on The Hill’, ‘Don’t Get Around Much Any More’, ‘I’m Beginning to See The Light’, ‘Fever’, ‘Come to the Cabaret’, ‘My Heart Belongs to Daddy’, ‘You’ve Gotta See Moma Every Night or You Can’t see Moma At All’ and ‘Midnight in Moscow’.   It was good to see and hear this popular band and we look forward to welcoming them back in the future.

Sheila Fawkes’ Café Orchestra – 15 May 2022:  It was good to see this band back in action again with everyone fit and well.   There was George Huxley on reeds, Mike Owen on trombone, Tim McGrath on guitar/banjo, Mark Johnson on bass, Andy Lowe on drums, Gary Bell on trumpet, Terry McGrath on trombone/saxophone and the always lovely songster, Sheila Fawkes.  They opened up with ‘Crazy Rhythym’ and went on with numbers such as ‘If I Could Be With You’, ‘All That I Ask From You Is Love’, ‘Stardust’, ‘Petit Fleur’, ‘Lover Come Back To Me’, ‘The Folks Who Live on The Hill’, ‘Happy Feet’, ‘I’m Coming Virginia’, ‘I Hate to See the Evening Sun Go Down’ and ‘I’m a Little Blackbird’ to name but a few.  The balloons overhead were remnants of decorations the previous day and were a tribute to Ukraine, the winning country in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.  

Pedigree Jazz Band’s ‘Salute to Trad Jazz’ – 8 May 2022:  This Band is an old favourite of SJS and indeed we will be seeing it again at our free concert on Saturday 4 June to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.   Leader, Chris Walker, plays clarinet, Tony Mann on the trombone, Andy Chislett on trumpet and flugelhorn, John Noddings on banjo and guitar, Sy Gorelick on drums and Colin Cooper on double bass.  Their opening number was ‘Bourbon Street Blues’ which set the pace for the rest of the show.  Some of their other numbers included ‘Livery Street Blues’, ‘Martinique’, ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’, ‘It’s At Times Like That’, ‘Creole Love Call’, ‘Blueberry Hill’, ‘The William Tell Overture’, ‘You Are My Sunshine’ and ‘You’re gonna See Baby Tonight or you can’t see Baby at all’.   In recognition of the crisis in Ukraine there was a beautiful rendition of ‘Hymn to Freedom’. The finishing number was the ever green ‘Midnight in Moscow’.   All around the room people’s toes were tapping to the beat and smiles on everyone’s faces.  Simply a lovely concert.

Baby Jools’ Jazzaholics – 1 May 2022:  The Band consisted of Baby Jools on drums (also leader), Karl Hird on reeds, Kevin Grenfell on trombone, Warren James on guitar/banjo, ‘Lord’ Jim Swinnerton on double bass and ‘Magic’ Mike Henry on trumpet (ex-Chris Barber band).  Immediately you can see how much talent was available for the concert.   They opened with a rousing ‘Alexander’s Jazztime Band’, went on with several numbers such as ‘Careless Love’ and ‘Jambalaya’ and ‘Sheik of Araby.   Once in the first half of the concert and once in the second half of the concert Jim on double bass and Warren James on his banjo got together to give us skiffle music, such as Lonnie Donegan played, and which although originating in the USA came over to the UK and went underground in jazz venues.  There is only one word for these pieces – FABULOUS.  The room was rocking and such energy you could have burnt lights on those listening.  Amongst other numbers were ‘Who’s Sorry Now’, ‘Rock Island Line’, ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’ and finishing with a trumpet solo by Mike ‘New Orleans’.  What a concert, simply smashing and hitting all the right notes for a very appreciative audience who leapt to their feet at the conclusion.  See you all again soon I hope.

April 2022 Concerts

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.

March 2022 Concerts

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.

February 2022 Concerts

The ever-cheerful Julie and new cafe sign (produced by Dave Rochelle)

You will see a photograph of the ever young Julie – best bespoke bap maker in the area – who seems pleased to finally have a sign up to front the catering hatch.   Dave Rochelle, one of our newer members, had very kindly produced this lovely sign for Sunset Café, which is what Julie’s place has been called for a long time.  Indeed it is rumoured that we get such good bands because they like their food and cuppa from Sunset Café.

27 February 2022 – No Concert

20 February 2022 – Savannah Jazz Band:   Delighted to see these back again.   We had Brian “Sam” Ellis on trombone and keyboard, Richard Church on trumpet + vocals, Roger Bird – replacing the much missed Rogers Myerscough – on reeds, Tony Pollitt on bass, Chris Marney on banjo and vocals and their leader, John Meehan, on drums.   The started off with ‘When You and I Were young Maggie’ and nostalgia poured around the room.  Other numbers included ‘Why Don’t You go Down to New Orleans’, ‘Black Cat on the Fence’, ‘My Old Kentucky Home’, ‘Willie the Weeper’, and there was a magical switch when, following ‘The Old Ragged Cross’ we got ‘CC Rider’ – fabulous.  Finally one of my own favourites ‘Like a Louisiana Fairy Tale’.

13 February 2022 – New Orleans Hotshots:   We were so looking forward to hearing this group.  The band consists of Dave Harmer (leader) on trombone and vocals, Dave Leithend on trumpet and vocals, Kelvin Smith on clarinet, Joe Nutman on keyboard, Al Harris on bass and vocals and Keith Chaplin on drums.  They opened with ‘At the Georgia Camp Meeting’.  Some of the numbers were as follows:  ‘Everybody Loves My Baby’, ‘Ain’t Misbehaving’, ‘Please Don’t Talk About Me’, ‘Down Town Strutters Ball’, and ‘Summertime’.  We also had the pleasure of two solos by Joe Nutman – ‘Binks Waltz’ and ‘The Entertainer’ – both Scott Joplin numbers.  In the second half were:  ‘I’m The King of the Jungle’, ‘Georgia’, ‘Mr Saturday Night’, ‘What a Wonderful World’, ‘Hello Central Give me Doctor Jazz’ and ‘Basin Street Blues’ amongst others.   Simply lovely.

6 February 2022 – Mike Owen’s Scarlette’s Serenaders:   With a good audience this band played really well.  The band consists of Mike Owen (leader) on trombone + vocals, Sarah Spencer on reads + vocals, Nick Ward on percussion, Ian Wynne on piano and Jim “Lord” Swinnerton on bass.   Their opening number was ‘Should I Reveal’.   Other numbers included ‘Down Amongst the Southern Pines’, ‘You Don’t Love Me’, ‘Waiting for the Sunrise’, Let the Rest of the World Go By’, ‘Over in the Gloryland’, ‘The Talk of the Town’, ‘Whenever You’re Lonesome’ and ‘We’ll Meet Again’.   This was a fine way to start February.

Platinum Jubilee and All That Jazz

DATE:    Saturday4th June 2022             

TIME:     12-30pm to 2-30pm


VENUE:   White Eagle Club, Riverway, Stafford ST16 3TH

Stafford Jazz Society, which celebrated its own 40th anniversary in October of last year, is throwing a free jazz concert on Saturday 4th June 2022 from 12-30pm to 2-30pm during the long PLATINUM JUBILEE weekend.

It will feature live music from 70 years ago, in keeping with the H.M. the Queen’s seven-decade reign.

The fifties was a good time for British “trad jazz”, with the “three Bs” – Ball, Barber and Bilk – just starting out. The PEDIGREE JAZZ BAND, sponsored by Marston’s Brewery, authentically and nostalgically reproduces that era. The band includes musicians who actually played in the three outfits.

The White Eagle Club has ample free parking as well as bar and refreshments availability for which there is a charge.

The Stafford Jazz Society meets weekly for live concerts of mainly traditional jazz at the White Eagle Club on Sunday lunchtimes from September to May every year. The Society’s Chairman, Nick Balmforth MBE said: “We thought it a good idea to mark the Platinum Jubilee in this way. It promises to be a happy, foot-tapping couple of hours of iconic jazz music.”

ENQUIRIES: Nick Balmforth 07974 131797 or email

January 2022 Concerts


Jake Leg Jug Band: We were all so looking forward to seeing this very popular young band again and they didn’t disappoint.  Duncan Wilcox – leader – was on double bass and vocals, Neil Hulse on guitar and vocals, Liam Ward on harmonica, jug and vocals (not forgetting the love child of a kakoo and a Trombone – a kazombone!), Bryony Rose Ward on washboard and vocals, Jack Tasker on banjo, mandolin and vocals and Alex Clarke on clarinet and saxophone.   They opened with ‘Can’t Dance – Got Ants in My Pants’ and Duncan explained the meaning of hokum music (it means slightly more than a double entendre as I understand it).   Other numbers included ‘Some of These Days’, ‘I Had to Give Up Gin’, ‘I Love Me’, ‘Making Whoopee’, ‘Can’t do Without my Kitchen Man’ and ‘I Hate a Man Like You’.  They also included a number called ‘Goodbye to Booze’ which is the title track of their latest album.  Looking forward to them coming back already.

Matt Palmer’s Aces of Rhythm:  A big welcome back to Matt and his musicians.   Matt is the leader and reeds player (also vocals), with Chris Mercer on trumpet and cornet, Dave Kimmins on banjo, guitar and vocals, Al Harris on double bass and Joe Nutman on ragtime keyboard.   They mainly perform music from 1920s and 1930s, and this time the concert had two departures from whole band playing with Joe and Matt doing a duet (Shreveport Stompers) and a solo with Joe performing a Scott Joplin number (Elite Syncopations).  Well done – I think everyone enjoyed these.  Some of the numbers played were ‘Candy Lifts’, ‘Oriental Man’, ‘When Shadows Fall’ (I just love this one!), ‘Wolverine Blues’, Bouncing Around’ ‘Try a Little Tenderness’ and ‘Happy Feet’.  Their whole show is a tribute to some of the great musicians of the 20s and 30s and your feet just tap whether you want them to or not.

New Orleans Heat:   Before the band began to play the audience is told that sadly today this would be one of the few last concerts before breaking up.   They had a few members of the band missing so had asked musicians to fill in.   New Orleans Heat was Barry Grummet (leader) on the piano, Matt Palmer on reeds, Rob Smith on bass, Ray Bowden on drums, Dave Vickers on trombone and Phil Lucas on trombone.  Their music, in true New Orleans style, included numbers such as ‘Bugle Boy March’, ‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band’, ‘I can’t give you anything but love Baby’, ‘The Sheik of Araby’, and ‘I Scream You Scream Everybody Likes Ice Cream’.   The playing was superb and the packed room loved every minute of it.  Barry said he would be prepared to put a band together to come to play again in Stafford one day in the future which we might just hold him to.

9 January 2022 – No Concert.

2 January 2022 – No Concert.

December 2021 Concerts

Chicago Teddybears Society Jazzband:  This four times winner of the SJS Band of the Year Award was welcomed back to the White Eagle Club with enthusiasm, even on such a murky day.  In the line-up were leader Rae Owen (banjo, guitar and vocals), Deano Revera (bass), Brian Singleton (drums), John Padfield (reeds), Jim Lucas (trumpet) and Andy Mackenzie (trombone and vocals).  The concert was a mix of new Orleans and Dixieland jazz flavoured with a few Christmas carols.  Some of the numbers were: ‘Apex Blues’, ‘Hello Central This is Dr Jazz’, ‘China Boy’, ‘Ain’t Misbehaving’, ‘Everybody Loves My Baby’, ‘Canal Street Blues’ and ‘Swing Low Sweet Chariot’.  Of course it would not be Christmas without ‘I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas’.  We look forward to a return visit.

Matt Palmer’s Eagle Jazz Band:  What a cracking line-up and concert.  The band consisted of leader Matt Palmer (reeds & vocals), Pete Brown (trumpet), Terry Williams (trombone), Mark Challinor (banjo, ukulele and vocals), Brian Lawrence (double bass & sousaphone) and Tim Jones (drums).  They opened with ‘Red Wing’ and closed with their regular ‘Bring Me Sunshine’.  In between we had assorted music, some of which were ‘Good Night Sweet Prince’, ‘Passport to Paradise’, ‘That’s a’plenty’, ‘Birth of the Blues’, ‘Precious Lord Take My Hand’ and ‘You Made me Love You’.  There was delight on every face in the packed room and you could really not have wished for a better concert.

Sarah Spencer’s Transatlantic Band:  With some changes in the line-up the Band consisted of Sarah Spencer – leader and reeds/vocals, Mike Owen – trombone/vocals, “Magic” Mike Henry – trumpet, “Lord” Jim Swinnerton – string bass, Hugh Crozier – piano and finally Graham Smith on drums (in place of Rod Brown).  The music was lively, and occasionally wistful, and brought back many memories such as the Inkspot number ‘Someone’s Rocking my Dream Boat’.  Amongst the other numbers were ‘New Orleans Hopscotch Blues’, ‘Yes It’s Me and I’m in Love with Him’, ‘If I didn’t Care for You’ ‘My Dear Mr Shane’ and the wonderfully named ‘Papa’s Got the Jim-Jams’.  The whole concert went down well and we look forward to welcoming them back in 2022.