Working for The Past, Present and Future of Jazz
Hello again and I hope you have all had the ‘Jab, my second one is due on April 1st and most of the country will have had theirs soon which hopefully will mean the easing of the ‘Lock Down’ regulations which in turn will mean being able to be listen and dance to good old New Orleans jazz at your favourite club in the not-too-distant future.
For those of you who have not heard Chris Barber died recently at the age of 90. Journalist Duncan Eaton did a two-page spread in the Daily Echo on the Godfather of jazz. Chris was the last surviving member of his 1954 band. Gone on before Chris were Jim Bray, bass Ron Bowden, drums Lonnie Donegan, banjo who left the band to find fame and fortune becoming the ‘King of Skiffle making him nearly as wealthy as Mr Barber himself. Monty Sunshine on clarinet who always used a white mouthpiece as does Colin Bryant who was Gerry Browns first clarinettist who now plays on a Friday night at the Concorde (when open). And Pat Halcox who played in the band for 57 years. Our own Tony Carter was in the band for 7 years and as I understand now teaches all the Reed instruments so get in touch and be tutored by the best and learn to play Petite Fleur just like Monty Sunshine did at fluteplayeruk @ gmail.com
I have always thought Chris Barber deserved to be recognised with a Knighthood for his services to jazz and the blues. He brought Sony Terry and Brownie McGhee, Muddy Waters, Sony Boy Williamson and my favourite gospel singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe to our shores. If you ever get a chance listen to her singing ‘Didn’t it Rain’ on YouTube, then you’ll understand.
Google "Momma Don’t Allow Wood Green Jazz Club" and you will be taken back to where it started. It was filmed in The Fisherman’s Arms where occasionally together with friends we would visit if we were in London in the 50s to watch the ‘Saints’ play either Tottenham Hotspurs or Arsenal. Getting there was a pilgrimage driving up the A30, no M3 Motorway back then and keeping our fingers crossed the old Austin 7 would not break down.
Recently I was reading an old copy of the Just Jazz magazine where a reader sent a letter stating where he heard his first live jazz and I thought it would be interesting to hear from you when you ‘Saw the Light’. I will start the ball rolling; it was 1956 in a pub in Northam called the ‘Whites Home’, sadly the pub or the road have long gone. The gigs were played in a room above the pub which was reached by some rickety stairs at the back. No Health and Safety laws in those days. As a 17-kid venturing into Southampton on a Saturday night was quite exciting together with friends we would meet in the Red Lion in Totton for a pint before catching a bus into town. It was here that I Learnt to jive also it was where I noticed members of the opposite sex. A few of the musicians I seem to recall were Mick Erridge, Colin Brenton, Cole Mathieson, Don Gordon and Tony Goffe. It wasn’t long before we ventured further afield when we found the Dolphin in Botley the mecca of jazz but that’s another story.
Do email your story so I can share it with our members who would love to know, thank you.
Well lovers of the music of Buddy Bolden, Willy Cornish, Frank Lewis etal, that’s all for now.
Keep Safe Jazzy Joe, email@example.com or 023 8086 9720