January 2019 Concerts

27 January 2019 – The Debonaires Little Big Band:  It was good to welcome back this classy and versatile little big bang and their little singer, Sarah Eastwood, with a huge voice.   The band consists of Max Debon – leader (trumpet), Austin Ralphson (trombone), Rick Hallwell (alto sax), Peter Robinson (double bass), Rob Turner (drums), Peter Wilson (keyboard) and Anne Holder (saxophone).  As well as singing Sarah also plays the clarinet.  Some of the tunes were: “Cheek to Cheek”, “You’ve got to see your Moma every night or you ain’t gonna see her at all”, “It don’t mean a Thing if it ain’t got that Swing”, “Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend”, “Mambo Italiano” and the theme tune to Austen Powers, International Man of Mystery – Soul Bosa Nova.

During the interval there was a presentation of a cheque for £1,000 from Stafford Jazz Society made by Nick Balmforth and Gwen Kenyon in support of a guide dog for the blind.  Accepting the cheque was Colin Proudlock with his dog, Oakley, and Helen Stokes, Secretary of the Association.  There will be a collecting tin for ongoing support for this project.

20 January 2019 – The Alex Clarke Hot Five: This was a great performance from a fairly young band. The band consists of Alex Clarke (reeds & flute) – leader, Mike Owen (trombone), Tom Kincaid (piano), Richard Vernon (double bass) and Jack Cotterill (drums).  What seems to happen is they take songs we all know and love and just put their bit of magic into them.  Numbers included “Way Down Yonder in New Orleans”, “Sheik of Araby”, “Nobody’s Sweetheart Now”, “Some of These Days”, “I’ll Fly Away” and “The Man I love”.   The White Eagle Club was pretty full and the band were well received.   I know most people will be delighted to see them back on stage again soon.

13 January 2019 – Matt Palmer’s “Aces of Rhythm”:  It was lovely to see Matt, in one of his combination bands, along with Chris Mercer (cornet), Dave Kimmins (banjo + guitar), Al Harris (double bass) and Jo Nutman (not just a keyboard player but a genuine ragtime pianist).  Dave, in particular, was able to give much knowledgeable insight into the numbers although Matt was no slouch in that department either.  Some of the numbers they played for us included:  "Keg Walking Babies", “Candy Lips”, “Got Butter On It”, “Wolverine Blues” and “I Never Knew What a Girl Could do”.  Many of these numbers were new to me so as well as enjoying the music it was a learning curve.  Matt will be back in March with his “Rhythmic Reeds” and Christine Tyrrell.

6 January 2019 – Chris Pearce & Andy Leggett’s “Sopranos”:   It was a lovely way to start the second half of this year’s programme.  This band has long been a favourite of Stafford Jazz Society. As well as Chris Pearce (leader) on reeds, Andy Leggett also on reeds, Dave Deakin on trombone and Tony Sharp on double bass we had Dave Andrews on drums and Rachel Haywood on guitar and banjo. A quick flavour of some of the numbers they played:  "Way Down Upon the Swanee River"; “Trogs Blues”; “Oh You Beautiful Doll”; “Buddy Bolan Stomp”; “Angel Flying too Close to the Ground”;  "Russian Lullabye" and “In my Darkest Hour” there was a fine rendition of “The Mooch”.  Terrific jazz all with the unmistakable quips by the two reeds players.

Stafford Jazz Society General Information


The White Eagle (Polish) Club, Riverway, Stafford ST16 3TH (01785 242327)


All Concerts: 12-30pm to 2-30pm


All Concerts: £8 / £7 (SJS Members)


Home-baked light refreshments by Award-Winning Tiggy’s Pies + Licensed Bar


Concert & Band: Nick Balmforth MBE
21 Drakeford Court, Wolverhampton Road, Stafford ST17 4BS
(079 74 131797)   e-mail:  nickbalmforth@gmail.com

Membership: Shirley Ollier: 01782 399066

Publicity: Ian D’Arcy: 077 78 193394

Web:  www.staffordjazz.org


 £10 per person   Under 21: £5

December Concerts

16 December – Chicago Teddybears Society Jazzband: We warmly welcomed back this band for our Christmas concert.  We have Rae Owens on double bass and vocals (and jokes!), Andrew MacKenzie on trombone, Jim Lucas on trumpet, John Padfield on reeds, Ed Lee on keyboard and Brian Singleton on drums.  Some of their numbers were: “China Town My China Town”, “Dr Jazz”, “That’s My Fun Day”, “Canal Street Blues”, “Doo Wah”, “Magnolia’s Wedding Day” and ended up with a medley of Christmas numbers which had everyone singing along.  During the interval Ian and Jennie D’Arcy presented the band with SJS Band of the Year Trophy, an accolade they have now received for the third time.

9 December – Jake Leg Jug Band:  This band represents the sounds of America in the 1920s and 1930s.  The leader is Duncan Wilcox on double bass, Bryony-Rose Ward on washboard and vocals, Neil Hulse on guitar, Toby Wilson on banjo and dobra and Liam Ward on harmonica and jug.  Numbers from the afternoon included: “I can’t Dance because I’ve got Ants in my Pants”, “Little Black Train”, “Kitchen Man”, “My Feets too Big”, “Nuts for Sale”, “I Need a Little Sugar in my Bowl” and “On the Road Again”.  Duncan explained for all those who may not have heard them before that Jake Leg was an ailment – a paralysis of the lower limbs due to consuming assorted home-made alcohol.  During prohibition money was scarce and so musicians used various substitute instruments, such as a job for bass.

2 December – No Concert

November Concerts

Mike Owen’s Scarlette’s Serenaders – 25 November:  Jazz reminiscent of the New Orleans dance hall bands.  Musicians are: Mike Owen (trombone), Sarah Spencer (reeds), Brian Mellor (guitar & banjo), Jim Swinnerton (bass) and Baby Jools (drums).  Sadly there is no photograph for this gig.

18 November – No concert

Frog Island Jazz Band – 11 November:  This band was formed in 1962 and still has two existing members from those days.  This is proper New Orleans-style jazz at it’s best.  The band comprised John Whitehead (cornet & leader), Jim Hurd (clarinet), John Jeanes (trombone), Rob Fullalove (brass base), Keith Durston (keyboard) and Brian Lawrence (banjo).  During the second half Chris Mercer on his coronet joined the band. Music included “The Charge”, “The Dip”, “Room Rent Blues”, “Spanish Shore”, “Mandy Make Up Your Mind” and timely “Santa Claus Blues” to name just a few.

Thame Valley Stompers – 2 November:  This band has such a sense of fun.  This band is top entertainment and quality.  Some of the numbers were:  "Dr Jazz", “The Entertainer”, “When There’s a Shine on Your Shoes”, “Don’t Bring Lulu”, the “Stevedore Stomp” and “I’ve Found a new Baby.  Band members are Terry Brunt (trombone), Norman Pennington (drums), Paul Broomhead (reeds), Roger Wimpenny (trumpet – and the jokes!), John Gordon (banjo/guitar) and Peter Smith (bass guitar).

October Concerts

28 October – JB Jazz & Blues Band:  Well this was it – the final performance by JB Jazz & Blues Band on the circuit.  Roger Mainwaring had come out of retirement to play on this occasion and there was the addition of Owen Williams on bass guitar.  Owen had been the original bass player when the band was first formed, under the name of JBQ (John Beckingham Quartet).   This band was a three times winner of our coveted Band of the Year Award.  John as always played the keyboard with enormous energy and was accompanied, in addition to Owen and Roger, by Phil Probert on guitar and banjo and Paul Holder on drums.  The group seemed to put their very soul into this their last gig and the music, by turns lively and poignant, was sooo enjoyable.  Some of the numbers were: ‘Pennies from Heaven’, ‘That’s the Story of Love’, ‘Hello Dolly’, ‘Caldonia’, and finishing with ‘Bye Bye Paris’ (surprisingly they couldn’t find anything about farewell to Stafford!!). A presentation of an engraved dish was made by Shirley Ollier and Ian D’Arcy presented each member of the band with an SJS Pin Badge.

21 October – Baby Jools & the Jazzaholics: It’s always a joy to have this band play for us but especially today and with an extra long concert to celebrate the 37th anniversary of Stafford Jazz Society.  Baby Jools on drums (leader), Mike Owen on trombone, Brian Mellor on guitar/banjo, Jim Swinnerton on double bass, Denny Ilett on trumpet and Karl Hird on reeds play together so well.  The room was crowded and extra seating had to be brought in.  Numbers included ‘Who’s Sorry Now’, ‘The Postman’s Lament’, ‘I’ve Found a New Baby’, ‘Black Bottom Stomp’ and ‘Since I Laid my Burden Down’. Joining the band for a few numbers was Alex Clark with her saxophone.  During the interval it was with great pleasure that Ann Crofts presented Jim Swinnerton with his award for winning SJS Musician of the Year Award and he seemed truly delighted.  

14 October – No Concert.

7 October – Chase Jazzmen:  Sadly I was not available at this concert, which I am given to understand was well attended, although there were some technical problems. You will find earlier reference to this band for concert on Sunday 8 April 2018.

September Concerts

30 September 2018 – Savannah Jazz Band: This is such a great band and a joy to listen to.  My all time favourite is the deadpan presentation of jokes by reedsman Roger Myerscough.  Other members of the band are:  Bill Smith (leader) on trumpet, harmonica and vocals, Dave Morrell on trombone, Tony Pollitt on double bass, John Meehan on drums and Chris Marney on banjo.   The music was an exhilarating mix of blues, marches and jazz so there was something for everyone.   “Move Your Body Over”, “My Gal Sal”, “Beedlum Bum” (just don’t ask!!), “Walking with the King, "The Dallas Blues” to the final “Going Home”, to name but a few, were all well received.

23 September 2018 – Kevin Grenfell’s Jazz Giants: Always lovely to have a visit from this versatile group and this time we had an additional treat in the shape of Jeremy Huggett on reeds.  Kevin was his usual jokey self, on trombone and trumpet, Jack Cotterill on drums, Federico Leonori on double bass and Ian Parry on guitar and banjo all played some pretty good jazz.   The session included the likes of “New Orleans”, “It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie”, “Some Day You’ll be Sorry” and “Swing that Music” and finished with “Bye Bye Blackbird”.  The group received a standing ovation from more than half of the room.

16 September 2018 – Robin Mason’s Apex Jazz & Swing Band:  With almost a year since we last had a visit from this band, everyone was pleased to see Robin Mason and his band back.  Giving us a repertoire that included “My Baby Just Cares for Me”, “Watermelon Man”, “Happiness”, “I Hate to see that Evening Sun Go Down” and “Autumn Leaves” this was music to our ears.  The band consisted of Robin Mason on reeds, Dick Wiltshire on keyboard, Ron Hills on trombone, Roy Dutton on drums, Bob Boucher on guitar and John on trumpet

9 September 2018 – Matt Palmer’s Eagle Jazz Band: This band is an old favourite of Stafford Jazz Society.   Matt Palmer leading on reeds, Baby Jools on drums (a rare treat), Mike Owen on trombone, Pete Brown on Trumpet, Brian Lawrence on double bass and sousaphone and lastly Brian Mellor on guitar and Banjo.  A good mix of music and a good bit of singing from Matt through numbers like “I Ain’t Gonna Give Nobody None of my Jelly Rolls” (don’t you just love that title?!), “You’re Driving Me Crazy”, “Dans La Rue Entibe” and “Yellow Dog Blues”, ending with as always “Bring me Sunshine”. They most surely do.

2 September 2018 – Phoenix Jazzmen with Sheila Fawkes: Well, the moment all have been waiting for … the start of the new jazz season.  And what a band to open with – winner of the Band of the Year in 2012-13.  A room full of enthusiastic jazzers suffering from acute withdrawal symptoms visibly relaxed to the likes of “That’s My Home”, “The Creole Love Call”, “Stevedore Stomp” and “It’s Times Like That”, along with many more.  The musicians were the usual suspects:  Peter Robinson on guitar & trumpet, Mike Hayler on reeds, Pete Ainge on trumpet, Terry McGrath on trombone, Ken Wright on drums and Mark Johnson on double bass.

May Concerts

27 May 2018 – Baby Jools & the Jazzaholics:  This is the last concert of the season, sadly, but nevertheless what a concert to go out on.  This 6 piece band wowed the audience.  Baby Jools – leader, on drums, Jim Swynnerton on double bass, Mike Owen on trombone, Denny Ilett on trumpet, Karl Hird (from Australia) on reedsc and Brian Mellor on banjo and guitar.   Along with “Old Spinning Wheel” was “Travelling Blues”, “Muskrat Ramble”, “Old Rocking Chair”, Black Cat on a Fence", “Lucille”, “A Hundred Years from Today” and the “Chimes Blues”.  The band played to a large size audience as SJS members have good memories for good groups and so flocked in to hear Baby Jools.  I just know its only a matter of time before they are back at the White Eagle Club once more.

20 May 2018 – Steve King Big Band featuring Lynn Dawes:  This band, with traditional Dixieland-style jazz and swing repertoire, has proved popular with SJS audiences.  USA born vocalist Lynn Dawes adds to the entertainment. The band leader, with his bright orange jacket and tie, was easy to spot and gave occasional input on his trumpet. Numbers played included: “Ain’t Misbehaving”,  "Let the Good Times Roll", “Frankie & Johnny”, “Googletown Races”, “Sweet Georgia Brown”, “What a Wonderful World” and “I Want to be Loved by You”. With 20 musicians in the house you can imagine the music filled all four corners and then some.  

13 May 2018 – Pete Allen & his Hot Rhythm:  This four-piece played at the White Eagle Club as part of the Stafford Music Festival.  Leader, Pete Allen, is on reeds, Richie Bryant on drums, Dave Hanratty on bass and Dave Moorhead on banjo and guitar.  The group injected humour into its programme and the concert was well received by Stafford jazzers.  Some of the numbers were:  "Nobody’s Sweetheart Now", “Roses of Piccardy”, “Way Down Yonder in New Orleans”, “Lady be Good” and “You Meet the Nicest People in your Dreams”.   They finished with a rousing “When the Saints Go Marching in”.  

6 May 2018 – Pedigree Jazz Band “Salute to Trad Jazz”: As you can tell from the photograph, the day was one of those rare sunny days and yet there were still many people attending Stafford Jazz Society to hear this concert.  The band consisted of leader on clarinet, Chris Walker, on trumpet was Andy Chislett, trombone was Tony Mann, double bass was Mike Bennett, Banjo + guitar was John Noddings and on drums, taking over from Colin Larn who sadly passed away earlier this year, was Jim Newton.   The numbers were all recognisable even for beginners with sons such as “In a Persian Market”, “Bourbon Street March”, “Peter and the Wolf”, “Original Dixieland One Step”, “Autumn Leaves” and of course “Midnight in Moscow” and “Stranger on the Shore”.  All in all the concert was well received and we look forward to seeing them again next year during Stafford Music Festival.

April Concerts

29 April – Tame Valley Stompers “Terry’s Dead Good Boys”:  The band started, appropriately, with “April Showers”.  The band consisted of Norman Pennington (drums and leader), Terry Brunt (trombone), Roger Wimpenny (trumpet), Paul Broomhead (reeds), Peter Smith (guitar) and John Gordon (banjo & guitar).  The numbers included “Savoy Blues”, “When I’m with my Baby”, “You Belong to me”, “Stevedore Stomp” and “Royal Telephone Line”.  A Good balanced programme played by skilled musicians who enjoy their music.  SJS look forward to having them back again in the not too distant future.

22 April – Kevin Grenfell’s Slide by Slide:  A concert that had it all … good music, good jokes and something for everyone.  All musicians were skilled and enjoyed playing together.  The music was varied and included numbers such as: “Going to New Orleans”, “Chico Chico”, “In a Persian Market”, “St James’s Infirmary”, “The Old Rugged Cross”, “Bye Bye Blackbird” and No Moon at All.  The group played in trios, quartets and quintets, as required, and there was even a trombone ‘argument’ in “Back Home Again in Indiana”.  Well done to one and all and we look forward to you coming back.

15 April – Matt Palmer’s Rhythmic Reeds featuring Christine Tyrrell:  A band created by Matt as a platform to get Christine singing once more in Stafford, this band consists of Matt Palmer (reeds) as leader, George Huxley (reeds), Mark Challinor (guitar, banjo and ukelele), Brian Lawrence (bass) and SJS Musician of the Year Nick Ward (drums).  Some of the numbers:  "Cake Walkers",  "Dr Jazz", “Somerset”, “China Town”,“ At the Mardi Gras”,“ Weary Blues”, “Dans La Rue d’Antibes” and “What the Lord Has Done for Me”, to mention but a few.  Feet were tapping, hands were clapping and everyone had a great two hours.

8 April – Chase Jazzmen:  This is a traditional band whose repertoire is drawn from the early half of the 20th century.  Tony Billingsley (trumpet) leads with Dave Deakin (trombone), Corman Loane (reeds), Jim Harney (drums) and Dave Boxold (guitar and banjo).  Tunes included “When You’re Smiling”, “I Scream (Ice Cream?) You Scream”, “A Kiss to Build a Dream on”, “King of the Swingers”, “Sweet Sue”, “Stranger on the Shore” and “Down the Mississippi”.

1 April – Matt Palmer’s Aces of Rhythm:  This five-piece band thrives on music from the 1920s.  Chris Mercer (cornet), David Kimmins (banjo & guitar), Doug White (double bass & sousaphone) and Joe Nutman on piano join leader Matt Palmer (reeds) for a classy sound.  Sadly missed by myself but all reports indicated a good concert which was well received by SJS.

March Concerts

 18 March 2018 –
Wabash Jazzmen:  
A traditional
jazz combo and today they appeared in matching shirts which gave them a very
professional look.  Mark Challinor
(leader) plays banjo, guitar and ukelele, Bill Smith on cornet and harmonica,
Mike Hayler on reeds, Richard Vernon on string bass and Mike Pembroke on
trombone.   Their concert included In the
Sweet By and Be, Lonely, Let me Call You Sweetheart, Stormy Monday and the 1919
March amongst others and Mike Hayler played a lovely rendition of Stranger on
the Shore.   The weather may have been
classed as wintery and miserable but for two hours SJS had a smashing concert
with foot tapping music throughout.

11 March 2018 –
Willys Weepers with Eric “Busker” Newton:  
Welcome back Willys Weepers and Eric.
As always the band were in good form and
playing with enthusiasm and humour.  
There was Eric “Busker” Newton leading and playing the
clarinet, Terry Brunt on his trombone and, I think, euphonium, Pete Brown on
trumpet, Peter Robinson on guitar and banjo, Chris Pendlebury on drums and John
Musket on double bass.  Numbers
included:  April Showers, Whistling
Rufus, Happy Days and Lonely Nights, St James Infirmary (sung with pathos by
Terry), and Creole Love Song, to name but a few.

4 March 2018 –
Jake Leg Peg Band:
 And now for
something different.  A delightful six
piece with instruments like dobra + banjo (Toby Wilson), double bass (Duncan
Wilcox – leader), guitar (Neil Hulse), harmonica + jug (Liam Ward), washboard
(Sarah Miller) and trombone (Mike Pembroke).  
The name comes from prohibition days when a form of alcohol was made
from Jamaican ginger extract and the peculiar gait of someone would be a
give-away to having imbibed this and therefore said to be “Jake
leg”.  There was mostly music from
the 1920s but all manner of songs were included as this group sings well
together:  Kitchen Man, Hot Feet, Your
Feet’re too Big, A Handful of Jam, There’s a Black Train a’coming and Sugar in
my Bowl.  Many of the songs had a touch
of double entendre.  A marvellous cross
of jazz, blues and folk.  I hope it won’t
be too long before we see them back with us again.