Club Reviews

Jeff Barnhart (USA) & Thomas “Spats” Langham

Wednesday 30th April 2014

I don’t think that these two musicians need introducing to anyone in the Midlands let alone the UK. They are both renowned for the playing of tJeff+Spatsheir instruments – Jeff on piano and Spats on banjo/guitar and you could travel miles to hear and see better.  We hired a lovely piano from Vale Pianos for Jeff so that we could enjoy the full benefit of his playing.  The evening started and continued in the same vein with tunes that they both loved and even some that either one of them did not know – did this matter? – of course not they can cope with anything. We heard tunes that we do not have the opportunity to hear very often and a jazz history lesson on composers and tunes. How they both store such a lot of information and tunes in their heads is unbelievable. Mixed in with all this there was the inevitable humour and the exceptionally large audience enjoyed a thoroughly entertaining night, which exceeded all expectations. Jeff and Tom gel so well together that this duo act is top class. No amount of superlatives would be good enough to describe them – they were just exceptionally excellent!
Photo: Andy Fletcher

Ben Holder’s Quartet (BHQ)

26th March 2014

Ben Holder vocals/violin, Jez Cook guitar, Paul Jefferies double bass, Malcolm Garrett drums

We expected a good night this evening with Ben’s new band and we were not disappointed. A great crowd turned up to see this new band and followers from as far away as Swansea had made the trip. How is that for support? Ben gave a concert that was varied in its repertoire and mixed with some ‘balladetic’ (Ben’s new word) pace numbers as well as his very well known energetic fast paced numbers. His enthusiasm came across to the audience and you could feel the passion he has for his playing. Where he lacked in knowledge of the who’s who of jazz he certainly made up for with his talent.

His little stories in between numbers were humorous and gave him an opportunity to show just how much the band gel together and what a close relationship they all have. Malcolm Garrett was the drummer tonight and superb he was too and what a drum solo he gave us – it was brilliant. Ben says that it is his ambition to make jazz accessible for everyone and he certainly does this with his presentation of jazz standards together with his own compositions. Why had we waited two years to have Ben back to the club …… I don’t know!!!!

If you want to see Ben and the quartet again have a look at his website for more details and his gig diary.

John Hallam (reeds) and others

26th February 2014

John Hallam (reeds), Rod Kelly (piano), Tony Sharp (bass), Graham Smith (drums)

To a full house, John performed an evening of sophisticated jazz and as expected he never fails to provide great music and also tunes we do not always get the opportunity to hear. An added bonus tonight was John’s stories of his meetings and experiences when he had met famous reed players and this was all delivered with his amusing dry sense of humour. Tonight John was joined by a talented rhythm section of Rod Kelly on piano and our very own Tony Sharp on bass and Graham Smith on drums. A fabulous night and if you missed it ……. you certainly missed a good one! However, John will be back at Pershore Jazz Festival during the weekend of 15/16/17 August but should you wish to see him sooner see details on his website diary –

Brownfield/Byrne Hot 6

29th January 2014

Jamie Brownfield(trumpet), Liam Byrne (reeds), Andy Hulme (guitar), Tom Kincaid (piano), Frank Grime (double bass), Jack Cotterill (drums)

What a way to start the New Year with youth, enthusiasm and really hot jazz. Jamie & Liam work so hard to generate the sounds of the jazz standards inspired by the swing era of Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, Fats Waller and Duke Ellington, in their own inimitable way and it certainly works well. They have a sound all of their own and will keep the tradition of jazz alive for years to come. Unfortunately Jim Swinnerton couldn’t be with the band on this occasion but the very capable Frank stood in for him on double bass. The remaining rhythm section of Tom Kincaid on piano, Andy Hulme on guitar and Jack Cotterill on drums gave the band their great swing. You can not fail to see why Jamie, won the Rising Star category in the 2012 British Jazz Awards, and why Liam, who is responsible for the bands arrangements, will not take this band from strength to strength. It was a great evening of musical talent and we certainly hope to invite them back.

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