February Jazz Notes
It may be a short month, but we have some splendid jazz for you.
Somehow John Maddocks has escaped bringing his own band to Wantage before now, but we are about to put that right. John is a fine clarinettist, and has always run great bands with imaginative repertoires and super musicians. Andy Dickens will join him on trumpet. (I work with Andy in Pete Allen’s band and always enjoy his fiery playing.) On trombone will be Chris Gower, another of my favourites, but I am not familiar with the members of the rhythm section so that will be a new treat.
Bob Dwyer’s Bix & Pieces, January’s band, was a great success, featuring as it did Sarah Spencer, who played some storming tenor sax, and Allen Beechey, another of my favourite trumpeters. The regular stalwarts in the rhythm section, Hugh Crozier (piano), David Price (banjo/guitar), John Bayne (bass and bass saxophone – an amazing feature by him), and that tasteful and expert drummer Graham Collicott did their stuff as only they do. We almost made it financially – two more tickets would have done it! We are wondering if we should raise the ticket price to £12 on our next “anniversary” in April. We await some feedback on this thorny subject.
On another matter: there is much talk about plastic waste, and it has been suggested that we could make a small contribution by encouraging you to bring your own “eating irons” if you are partaking of fish and chips. We shall keep an “emergency store” so you won’t have to do without, but it seems like a good idea to us. The polystyrene containers are so efficient that I’m not sure if anything can be done about them, but we’ll enquire further.
Lots of you enjoyed Duncan Hemstock at the Lamb. What a fine player he is; he slotted himself into the Rascals without batting an eyelid. We have been very lucky to have had such a fantastic array of guests to present to you – some of the best players in the country.
I suppose I must bring up the subject of money again, which I hate doing. The system at the Lamb is that the pub puts a sum towards paying the five Rascals and we raise the rest, including the fee for guests, with the raffle. It isn’t possible to charge on the door, so we think of the raffle as a sort of ticket price. As we pay most of our guests anywhere between £60 and £120 (incredibly good value) you can see we need to sell you more than one or two tickets! Many of you chip in a fiver, which is perfect, but I thought it worth making it clear why we operate this somewhat convoluted system.
Anyway, in February we welcome Lizzie Newbery back to sing with us. She is very popular with you, quite rightly, having a repertoire of excellent songs and a bubbly personality which shows strongly in the way she presents her music – and she is great fun to work with!
A string of great trumpeters will be fronting Graeme Hewitt’s Band at Theale Village Hall (just south of Reading): Allen Beechey (6th), Chas McDevitt (13th), Peter Rudeforth (20th), and Enrico Tomasso (27th – also with Mark Aston, trombone and baritone sax) – that’s every Tuesday at 8.30.
Pete Allen returned to the Chequers at Newbury on February 4th, and the next one will be Sunday, March 4th, 3pm start, with Roger Marks on trombone. If Devizes isn’t too far for you, Pete is at the Bear Hotel in the Market Place, also at 3pm, on Sunday February 18th (I shall be at both of course!).
That’s it for now. Such a lot of lovely music available to you – we look forward to seeing you!