Club Reviews

Graham Smith’s Shades of Jazz

14th December 2016ensemble

Gary Wood – trumpet
John Hallam – reeds
Martin Veasey – trombone
Rod Kelly – keyboard
Jim Douglas – guitar
John Day – bass
Graham Smith – drums

What a band – what a night – what a way to end our sessions for 2016.

This band just goes from strength to strength and the musicians play together as if they played every night of the year. Graham originally put this band together for a one off performance in order to enjoy playing with musicians that he and Jim Douglas wanted to perform with – their aim being to provide an eclectic mix of music. Such was their success they are now in demand to perform as an ensemble on a more regular basis. Their repertoire for this evening was certainly varied, entertaining and interspersed with humorous introductions. It had a festive flavour with a couple of Christmas tunes and occasional musical festive quotes. In fact there was something for everyone!!

Tunes played in the first set were Crazy Rhythm, Swingin’ Shepherd Blues, That’s My Baby which Gary sang, That Da Da Strain, Mr Sandman & Panama. In between
these tunes were features by John Hallam, Martin Veasey and Rod Kelly.

The second half was equally exciting starting with Exactly Like You, then Don’t Get Around Much another Gary vocal, Crazy Bout My Baby, At the Jazz Band Ball, Perdido, Do You Know What it Means, Route 66 which was brilliant and finishing with a great tune St Thomas. This tune, with a Caribbean vibe to it, is considered a jazz standard and is based on the traditional English song The Lincolnshire Poacher.

Look out for this band to see where they are performing and join them for a guaranteed great evenings entertainment of quality music of a high standard. If you don’t catch them at a jazz club you will have the opportunity to see them at Pershore Jazz Festival 2017 in August.


Nigel Price Organ Trio

30th Novembertrio
Nigel Price – guitar
Ross Stanley – organ
Matt Home – drums

A superb evening’s entertainment with a variation from the style we usually present at Pershore Jazz Club was well received by the audience and I feel that some were pleasantly surprised by what they heard.

The trio’s visit was part of a 56-day tour around the UK and I am so pleased that we were able to witness the great musicianship from all three of them.

Nigel says on his website that “he remembers the first time that he became aware of the Hammond organ, an instrument that technology has tried, but failed, to make obsolete”. It certainly has a sound all of its own and all credit to Ross for the way that he transports the organ and the large Leslie speaker to and from his gigs. A mammoth task! It was also a joy to be able to see him play it and it was a great topic of conversation with the audience. “A young Nigel checked out the jazz guitar and its history and it was inevitable that he would come across the Hammond sound at some stage. He is often bracketed with Wes Montgomery who made some of the best organ trio albums amongst other devotees. Aside from offering a consistency, or near-consistency, in terms of sound quality, the organ trio is also self-contained. It doesn’t suffer from the variable quality of instrument that can afflict a touring band that requires a piano. It’s very immediate in terms of communication between the three of us,” he says. I miss bass players but with organ and guitar it’s very easy to signal just with a twitch of an eyebrow what you intend to do. Plus when Ross is soloing he has the bass lines covered and there’s a gap in the middle begging for someone to comp, and that’s my place. I find it a really creative, sociable unit.”

It was excellent and we listened to some great tunes, Back to Back, Lover Man, Sweet Georgie, Hit the Road, Detour Ahead, All In, Who Can I Turn To, Up Jumped Spring, It Ain’t Necessarily So, Dreamsville and Blue Genes which is the first track on their latest CD called Heads & Tales Volume 2.

I am so glad that we introduced a different genre to our audience and thank Nigel, Ross & Matt for such a great evening.


Matt Home


Nigel Price


Ross Stanley

Old Hat Jazz Band

26th October 2016dscn1128

Lizy Exell leader/drums
Will Scott – reeds
Mike Soper – trumpet
Andrew Oliver – piano
Louis Thomas – bass

An outstanding session and the evening definitely goes into the “one of the best nights” in the history of our club programmes. The band performed with ease and passion and crafted some of the favourite tunes from the 20’s and 30’s and blended them with their own compositions so excellently. They are certainly very talented in what they do and achieve and they deserve much acclaim.

The band’s latest CD is called “The Sparrow” and their compositions played are all listed on this album. Throughout the evening their repertoire was well mixed with the tunes we knew with their own numbers. From their CD they played Sparrow, Eternal Sunshine, Boatyard Blues, Passion Wings, Treasure, Feverish Blues, Sancy Strut and Ledra Street Stomp which they use as their signature sign off tune.

I especially liked these numbers as they have been carefully composed and contain beautiful harmonies and differing tempos.

The favourites we listened to were Weary Blues, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, Jelly Roll Blues, Muskrat Ramble, Baby Won’t You Please Come Home, Shim Me Sha Wabble by Spencer Williams.

dscn1126For me the outstanding tunes were Smoke Gets In Your Eyes – it was beautiful, Boatyard Blues for its trumpet and clarinet intro and up-tempo rhythm, Treasure for the lovely harmonies, Feverish Blues as it was an excellent arrangement with varying tempos and had a bass solo played with the bow and lastly Sancy Strut a jolly tune.

The applause at the end resulted in an encore which was called Grandma Iris – a tune written by Lizy for her Grandma Iris and what a way to end our evening.

We really enjoyed the freshness that the band brings to their repertoire and indeed to their performance and they will be back again next year by popular demand.

Washington Whirligig Jazz Band

Wednesday 28th September 2016photo

David Hepworth – reeds
Wil Robinson – trumpet
Liz Hepworth – bass
Andy Bramall – guitar
Rob Cotterell – drums

What a night we had! A very organized and professional band from the Barnsley area and we know now why they have been voted Band of the Year by Rochdale Jazz Club.

The band themed their repertoire for the evening on the tunes played by Alex Welsh and started with It’s Right Here For You. Fidgety Feet and Exactly Like You, sung by Liz, were followed by the jolly tune of Montmartre. Love is Just Around the Corner, Up a Lazy River with a vocal from Wil were followed with the energetic tune of Dippermouth Blues a tune written by King Oliver in 1923.
The band benefits from three vocalists and the next tune It Had To Be You was sung by Andy and the first set finished with a tune called Oh Baby written by a New Orleans jazz drummer named Paul Barbarin. He also wrote Bourbon Street Parade and Come Back Sweet Papa.

S’Wonderful started the second set followed by Serenade in Blue from 1975. Surfside Samba was a treat as was their version of Dapper Dan the classic tune from the Dresden Concert in 1971. This had a beautiful vocal duet from Andy & Wil and a great bass solo from Liz. The next tune was a reminder of when Alex played at the Dancing Slipper Club in Nottingham and it was a vocal from Liz – On the Sunny Side of the Street. Wil sang the next tune, which was It Don’t Mean, a Thing and the band played the proper ending to the tune. Another tune from the Dresden concert was 9.20 Special, which David said, was complicated but they smashed it and everyone loved it. Coming to the end of the evening’s performance we listened to Home before their final tune of Royal Garden Blues.

During the evening the band were asked where their name of Washington Whirligig came from and David explained that it came about while he was looking to form a new band and while on a holiday of a lifetime for his and Liz’s 25th wedding anniversary in New York. Charlie Barnet an American jazz saxophonist, composer and bandleader wrote the tune Washington Whirligig but his major recording was Skyliner.

Thanks to the entire band we had another successful evening at Pershore Jazz Club.

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