Zelda’s Jazz Room, April 2018 Jazz at the Lamb, April 2016

April Jazz Notes

We hope you are having a pleasant Easter despite the somewhat off-putting weather. My Dad always used to plant his potatoes on Good Friday! Hmmmmm!

Zelda’s Jazz Room is still having a hard time breaking even, despite the excellent bands that grace our stage. The musicianship of Graham Hughes’ aptly named Sunshine Kings was quite breathtaking, and their enjoyment in playing for you made up for occasional organizational hiccups. They also played some lovely and unusual tunes, something dear to my heart, and I hope yours as well.

In April we have the annual visit of the Big Bears, and will face the usual tricky problem of fitting all 9 of us on the Comrades Club stage. It’s interesting to think I started the sessions at Lains Barn in January 1991 to create a venue for the original BBS because it was so hard to get work for a nine piece band – no change there then! Since we reformed after my 8 year stint full-time with Pete Allen the personnel hasn’t varied much, and we are lucky to have such fine players as Andy Woon and Tony Davis on trumpets, Mike Wills and Chris Gower on clarinet and trombone respectively, and a great rhythm team – Perry Lock, piano, John Arthy, tuba, Andy Crisp, drums and myself, plus of course the soulful singing of Judy Eames. Do come and hear us! BBS has already lasted longer than most larger bands but ...

The session at the Lamb, however, produced probably the largest audience we have had there, and we had a super evening. A lot of the success was down to our superb guest, Enrico Tomasso, who played magnificently; but perhaps the clocks going forward giving us lighter evenings, and some extra advertising in the Roundandabout magazine, also helped.

With luck you’ll all make it back to the Lamb in April for trombonist Graham Hughes’ second visit to Wantage in two months. He is another really nice chap and a magnificent player. The quality of musicianship of our guests is something to be really proud of, and the fact that I am lucky enough to have a superb band for them to work with makes the Lamb sessions a really worthwhile venture.

We have an extra event on Saturday April 21st when the Rascals will be at The Beacon in Wantage playing a charity concert for Wantage Rotary. We will also have the delightful Lizzie Newbery singing with us, so it will be an enjoyable and varied evening. Tickets are £10 and available at the Beacon, Bretts in Grove, the Regent Bookshop, or phone Colin Gibbens on 01235 770393.

I’ll be with Pete Allen at the Chequers Hotel in Newbury on Sunday April 1st at 3pm, with singer Susan Valliant Speer making a guest appearance.

Graeme Hewitt’s HSJB has a variety of guests at Theale Village Hall every Tuesday at 8.30: Ben Cummings (3rd); Tim Eyles, trumpet and Mike Pointon, trombone (10th); Allen Beechey (17th); Ben again (24th); Andy Dickens (May 1st).

It’s all happening, so I hope you have squirrelled away some pennies to keep up with us! We look forward to seeing you – keep Jazzing!