Our 12th Riverboat Shuffle was a huge success with the weather, sunny in high 70s. This year we sailed from our new berth for the first time at the Town Quay. This is also the berth that the Hythe Ferry uses, and as they have first call on its use it caused our boat leaving 15 minutes late. The Sussex Jazz Kings soon got us in a festive mood with their excellent tune selection.
This year I dedicated the Shuffle to the memory of my great friend, Roger Grier who left the building last December. As I have in the past I cast a wreath in the Solent as a mark of respect to special members of our club. There were many highlights this year but for me it was having Mary, the two girls, Debbie and Jayne plus husbands Roger and Shawn also granddaughter Hannah and partner Michael to sail with us. On the way back, I said a few words by pointing to the wreath which had been on display in front of the band which had a photo of him in the middle. I went on to say I hadn’t seen him for 50 years and explained we tend to change the way we look so the next time I saw him was about 10 years ago, I was enjoying listening to Cuff Billett and the Solent City Jazzmen at a local pub, when this very rude man stood in front of me wafting my latest newsletter in my face saying ‘You call this a newsletter mush, well I think its crap’ I couldn’t believe what I was hearing when a smile came across his face as he said ‘You don’t recognise me do you’ ? ‘No, I bloody well don’t’ I murmured ‘I’m Roger Grier’. In that Nano second, I had a paradigm shift in my thinking from one of anger to one of love. Rodge you old bugger what have you been up to etc’ As a result of that meeting, Rodge not only agreed to help me run the Yellow Dog he also devised and developed the club’s website, he maintained it and was also the club’s photographer. I then, with Mary and her family took the wreath to the back of the boat while the band played Just a closer walk with thee as we cast the wreath in the Solent as I screamed to the sky ‘Thank you and good bye my friend’
I must thank Jim Buck for taking some excellent photos especially of the Wreath Ceremony. I also thanked Lesley Stradwick for devising and printing the Flyers at her own cost, and for announcing the Shuffle at all the Sussex Jazz Kings gigs throughout the year. Finally, my thanks to John Tall for supplying the strawberry’s as he has done for the last 12 years.
Last month we had Tim Eyles Gentlemen of Jazz with us. Tim brought an unusual line up with him including a Brass bass, not a Double bass that I would have preferred also a very loud drummer. Obviously, they are not a New Orleans sounding band more of a good show band. On every visit to the Dog he has bought at least two different musicians with him. 80% of the tunes played were at break neck speed. After saying that I did enjoy John Bell using a megaphone when he sang Varsity Rag to great effect. Near the end, they marched around the club which was much appreciated.
I go to the Concorde club nearly every Sunday evening and sometimes on a Wednesday also when the club is only about 20% full. Recently I went to see Chris Barber, guess what, the club was 95% full. The jazz wasn’t any better than I sees every week. I am full of admiration for Mr Barber who by just having his name on the bill can still fill jazz venues both here and on the continent.
On Saturday we get back to the real thing when the Solent City Jazzmen make their second visit to our club this year. With no change in personnel for the last six years this band is a joy to listen to. Leading the line is Cuff King Billett, John Wiseman trombone, John Laws clarinet, Doug Kennedy banjo, Chris Saterley piano, Ray Goold double bass, and Pete Jackman drums.
Jazzy Joe 023 8086 9720
PS. Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.