August Jazz Notes
In July we welcomed The Savannah Jazz Band who are regular visitors to Zelda’s Jazz Room. The band was founded in Yorkshire 40 years ago. Leader and drummer John Meehan is now the only original member, but Brian Ellis (trombone & piano) and Tony Pollitt (double bass) joined not long after, and trumpeter Bill Smith (also responsible for the bluesy harmonica solos) has a long history with the band. The clarinet and sax role has been played by that amiable Essex Scouser, Roger Myerscough – can it be for the last 10 years! The banjo chair is held by Chris Marney, who certainly isn’t a north countryman but suits the band perfectly. Their long history and busy schedule ensure an enviable cohesion, but there is a freshness brought about by continually adding new pieces to the band’s repertoire. Was it a great night? Of course it was – and well attended. Thanks everyone.
The following week the Rascals were without a holidaying Mike Wills, but instead welcomed an original Rascal back into the ranks, trumpeter Ben Cummings, who is always a joy to work with. Our official guest was that splendid clarinet and sax player Sue Greenway. A recipe for a terrific evening – which it duly was with a number of new charts to play, largely from the early Duke Ellington period.
On to August. On the 21st at ZJR we welcome back The Old Hat Jazz Band, who are pretty close to being the age of Savannah’s grandchildren (and mine!) Last time they were led by a remarkable drummer, Lizzy Exell who is busy with other things for the time being. Rather than find another compatible drummer, which would be pretty difficult, guitarist John Kelly has joined them. Trumpeter Michael Soper and reedman Will Scott front the band, with Andrew Oliver on piano and Louis Thomas on bass. They present a delightful mix of classic jazz tunes by the likes of Jelly Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong and music written by members of the band. A most refreshing example of our favourite music living on.
If you happen to be in Yarnton Garden Centre on the afternoon of Saturday the 17th you’ll find Mike Wills, Perry and me making music amongst the flowers!
The next day I’m with Pete Allen’s Band at the Chequers Hotel in Newbury from 3pm. We have a guest – a fine vocalist, Hilda Clemas who is, of course the other half of Pete’s super pianist James.
It’s a busy month – I’m in Colchester on the 11th with Brian White, the Rascals are in Hastings with Andy Woon (trumpet) on the 15th, Bournemouth on the 19th, and Colchester with Andy again on the 25th. Colchester twice in a month!! I’d better get some rest!
That’s it for now. Keep jazzing, and if you’re on holiday during the month have a great time.