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Last Updated 03 January 2020 11:42

The quarterly newsletters are written by Joe Croll and are his personal account of activities at the club during that period. The opinions and comments contained in the newsletters are the sole responsibility of the author. If you have any observations to make please ring 023 8086 9720 or email joecroll@sky.com

Newsletter - October, November & December 2019

I’m sure Friday October 18, 2019 will go down in the annals of our club history as its most successful when the club had 101 happy jazzes celebrating its 40th birthday. Besides Wendy who was a joint founder we had four people who were there at the Greyhou nd pub in Wilton back in 1979. They were Jean Chase, Gordon Pigeon, Gordon Plumb and 10-year-old Lisa, Wendy’s daughter.

We had Pete Allen’s band as they were the first band that Wendy booked all those years ago. I have never seen Pete or his band before and I must admit I was blown away by their high tempo playing and Pete interaction with his audience. I had no idea how popular they are as they don’t play in Jazz Clubs, mores the pity. Not only did he walk amongst the jazzers playing his clarinet he also engaged in conversation with them while signing his biography. I am sure a lot of band leaders could learn a thing or two from Mr Allen.

John Maddocks Jazzmen paid us their annual visit in November. John has developed a style all of his own reminiscent of that great New Orleans clarinettist Johnny Dodds and sticks to a tried and tested list of tunes however he surprised me by playing a tun e called Just Gone recorded by King Oliver in 1923. John’s band recorded this about 6 years ago but dropped it from there play list. They also played Love Songs of The Nile Originally recorded by Billy and Dede Pierce in New Orleans. It could be me, but I felt they played it in the wrong key. I have it by the Barry Martyn band and featuring Cuff Billett, boy oh boy what a difference. I have been listening to ‘Our Music’ for over 65 years and this is the only band that needs to have music stands with the m usic written. Other bands play from memory.

For the second year running the Sussex Jazz Kings were our Christmas guests. As usual they turned in another very good performance. There is no doubt in my mind with Peter Clancy bass, Paul Sealy banjo and Pete Lay drums this band must have one of the bes t rhythm sections in the country. They started with Traveling Blues and went on to play a further 19 tunes including Lousina Fairy tale, One Sweet Letter from You and I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas

What a year we have had, only one gig under 50 and one of over 100. We must be one of the best attended jazz clubs in the country with an average of 75. Unlike other clubs in the South I don’t need to increase the admission even when Doc Houlind’s band fr om Denmark came over in March.

On the downside it was sad to hear that Lionel and Irene Green have had to call it a day. Lionel felt it wasn’t safe driving at night any more so has wisely decided to call it a day. I could write a whole page on what they have done for the club, but spa ce does not permit this, so I’ll just say thank you both for your unswerving commitment to the Salisbury Jazz Club.

Which just leaves me to say Happy New Year on behalf of Wendy and myself and and and thank you for supporting the great Salisbury jazz club.

Jazzy Joe email joecroll@sky.com or phone 023 8086 9720

PS I’ve learnt so much from my mistakes, I’m thinking of making some more.

Newsletter – April, May & June 2019

Out of the stillness of the evening a horn uttered its impassioned plea. A drummer began an endless beat; the other players took up the music’s wail, each in his own style. Feet shuffled and a hoarse voice sang in a mood that was half sad memory, half tragic appeal. The tempo quickened, the mood brightened and through it evolved the music we call New Orleans jazz, thanks to the sons of black slaves once owned yes owned by their CHRISTIAN masters and one in particular Charles Joseph ’Buddy’ Bolden, said to be the father of jazz. Sadly, he never recorded or if he did it never came to light. They still about the lost cylinder recording but despite many attempts, it has never been found.

119 years later the Salisbury Jazz Club was entertained by that same music when the Golden Eagle Band were our guests in April. They kicked off the session with Algiers Strut followed by June Night, Jambalaya, and a further 18 tunes. They will be back next year. One of the best bands we have to dance to……so I’m told. Talking to the leader, Kevin Scott he informed me that Johnny St Cyr was playing the guitar on the Jelly Roll Morton recording of Dr Jazz. I have had that LP (Remember them?) for over 50 years and I have always thought it was a banjo. So, you see, it’s never too late to learn.

I was watching trumpeter Wynton Marsalis being interviewed on an American television programme. During the interview he said that the statue of Robert E Lee, the Confederate general has been taken down as were other civil war monuments and not before time in my opinion. It was a painful reminder to Afro Americans of the city. For any of you who are familiar with New Orleans, it was at the intersection of St Charles and Howard Avenues.

As you may or may not know it was Wendy’s suggestion that we try to see if it made any difference having the band use the stage. Despite my initial reservations as I wrote in my last Newsletter, I was pleasantly surprised with the result however it came at a cost. For using the stage, the club will be charged an additional £27.00 on top of the normal hire fee…. ouch!

Recently I was reading an article entitled ‘Jazz Therapy for Listeners’ by Tony Lawrence. Listening to ‘Joyful’ music (and traditional jazz is certainly that) has proved, by the Maryland University Medical Centre, to dilate the blood vessels by 26 percent. This helps to keep your blood pressure low, preventing vessels becoming stiff and blocked, which leads to heart attacks, Dr Michael Miller, the cardiologist who led the study, now prescribes this type of music on a regular basis to his patients.

On May 10th we had the return of Richard Leach’s Street Band. There was one enforced change in the line-up when Ray Butt on reeds replaced Chris Pearce who was recovering from a Gallbladder operation. I have since enquired on his progress and am pleased to say, Chris is doing OK and will soon be playing again, also I could not make it due to having an Endoscopy procedure. The best way I can describe it is having a camera inserted into that part of your body where the Sun don’t shine. Apparently, I am anaemic, that’s why many of you have noticed how pale I look and that procedure was part of finding out what is causing it. Last month Malc Murphy, drummer with the New Orleans Jazz Bandits was very kind and thoughtful when he phoned me the following day after their gig to commiserate with me.

Last month I was listening to Louis Armstrong playing ‘Old Man Mose is Dead’ a Zilna Randolph composition and it brought back memories of one of the best funerals I have been to in years. The Vicar, a lady conducted the ceremony with genuine feelings and emotion and as we were leaving the Crematorium she shook hands with the mourners as we filed out and I couldn’t help but to thank her for being so good and added ‘You’re the type of person I would like to do my funeral. Without batting an eyelid, she got out her diary and said, ‘I get quite busy this time of year, what date did you have in mind’? Priceless humour.

Moving on to June 7th when the New Orleans Jazz Bandits were on stage. As I have mentioned before having Allen Beechey on Cornet has made such a difference to the overall sound of the band. I have noticed the changes are rather subtle for instance as the leader Allen without warning will turn to any of the other musicians to either take a solo or play in harmony which not only keeps them on their toes also improves the quality. My only reservation was the singing, boy oh boy do they like to sing. In the first set they sang five tunes out of the first nine tunes they played. There are words to nearly all the tunes they played but they didn’t have to sing so many, but that’s just my opinion, tell me what you think.

Well we have been at our new home for 6 months and I am happy how the transition has been especially as we have no bar or food. Yet again I must thank Wendy for making it possible. On average we have had 82 guests except for last month when only 64 came through the door. I think it was a combination of the rainy night and having the gig on the first Friday. Where possible we will always stick to the 2nd Friday in the month.

On behalf of Wendy and myself we thank you for supporting your jazz club.

Jazzy Joe 023 8086 9720

PS If a man could be crossed with a cat, it would improve the man but deteriorate the cat.

Newsletter – October, November and December 2018

First, the good news, Geoff Rooks has resurrected the Verwood club. They now meet at the Ringwood Conservative club on the 3rd Thursday in the month.

And now for some sad news, Doug Kennedy left the building on November 18th. I first saw Doug when he played banjo with the Colin Kingwell Jazz Bandits in the 80s when I lived in London. After he retired, he relocated to the Christchurch area. He replaced Brian Mitchel in the Solent City band when Brian died. In the last 18 months he also played in the John Maddocks band. He was one of the few banjo musicians who could really play his instrument not just strum it. I counted over 24 musicians at the wake, 11 of which formed a marching band, uniforms and all just like a typical New Orleans funeral.

Our October band the New Orleans Bandits entertained us. As I have previously said, new comer to the band, Allen Beechey really makes this band swing. They have a refreshing distinctive sound, based on the New Orleans style, which is recognised and appreciated by jazz enthusiasts and connoisseurs.

New band to the club in November was the Richard Leach Street Band. I had no idea if we would like them but as soon as they started the first number, The Royal Garden Blues my concerns were alleviated, we all liked them so before I go any further, yes, I have already booked them. Besides Richard it was nice catching up with the reed muso. Chris Pearce and banjoist Ian Parry who I hadn’t seen for ages. Listening to them play ‘It Don’t Mean a Thing’, ‘Serenade in Blue’ and ‘Georgia On My Mind’ makes me realize what a good band they are.

They play in the Chicago style rather than the New Orleans one which is not surprising as Richard is a big fan of the late Alex Welsh. As I have said before I judge a band by their ability to play tunes in the right tempos for the dancers, after all we are a dancing club. For me, seeing the floor full of you all dancing, jiving, lindy hoping or whatever makes me very happy, I only wish I could join you, but my sciatica problem prevents me.

For the second year running Dave Stradwick’s Sussex Jazz Kings were our Christmas band who entertained 100 of us. The atmosphere was electric with nearly everyone dancing throughout the evening.

This year I awarded the Club Person of the Year to a relatively newcomer, Brian Wilton who constantly bought new people to our club every month. As usual it was our Publicity Officer who spotted this and bought it to my attention. Sadly, this was our last gig at the Stockman’s Lounge, but life goes on and I look forward to seeing you all on January 11th at our new venue, The Michael Herbert Hall South Street Wilton SP2 0JS and remember there is no bar or kitchen so bring your own refreshments.

I can’t finish without thanking those of you who were kind enough to give me Christmas card and I am saving my last thank you for our Publicity Officer, Wendy who has done a fantastic job throughout the year.

Jazzy Joe 023 8086 9720

Newsletter – July, August and September 2018

Three months ago I heard the sad news that the Verwood jazz club has folded. They used to meet at the St Leonards Hotel just outside Ringwood. Jazz promoters are at the mercy of the owners who can charge what they like. As I understand it they increased the monthly rental by 120% making it totally untenable to continue. Geoff Rooks, the promoter is a bloody good bloke who deserves our commiserations. Through no fault of his own, the club had to move six times. Any other promoter would have given up a long time ago but Geoff with the help of his partner, Janet Wild are true jazz people. They remind me of that line in that Rudyard Kipling poem. ‘If you can meet with triumph with disaster and treat those two imposters just the same’. In the end it was a bridge too far.

July saw us have our ‘Dress for Summer’ gig when the Sussex Jazz King’s entertained us. It was lovely to see so many of you dressed for the occasion in all your Summer attire also the band showed up with their Hawaiian outfits even down to a deck chair draped with a towel. Also, the colourful brolly parade in the second set. I am sure we all know whose idea that was.

With the addition of Paul Sealy on banjo the band had a much-improved rhythm section. Paul is our top banjo musician and I am sure Dave Stradwick is very pleased to have him on board.

Wendy had one of her ‘Sales Tables’ which allows us who have any jazz things like CDs Books magazines to donate them to the club. Just like previous sales tables it was full to overflowing which resulted in funds for the club.

We had New Orleans Heat back after too many years in August. The last time they were with us they had a Dep drummer and as is usually the case they are the first ones to arrive. Not being familiar with the layout he went into the auction room where he saw a suitable carpet to set up his drums on. Half way through the first number the proceedings were bought to a halt when auctioneer wanted the carpet back as it was Lot 98 with a reserve of £20.00 on it. After much laughter and confusion, the carpet eventually sold for £30.00 and we enjoyed the jazz. Wendy saw what was going on and took a photograph which I saw in the Just Jazz magazine.

Recently I paid a visit to the Bluebird Club in Ferndown to see the New Orleans Z’Hulus. We had them three years ago and they are still as good, they play in the revivalist style. From the Uk Emile Martyn who is heads and shoulders our best New Orleans style drummer which is no surprise as he had his dad, Barry for a tutor. Paul Sealy on banjo, again the number one we have and that includes Doug Kennedy. On double bass was Brian Turnock who plays without the need to have his instrument plugged into an ampliphire who lives in Belgium. Dan Vercruysse trumpet and Philippe De Smet on trombone also from Belgium. I didn’t catch the clarinettist name other that he was from France.

Do any of you remember when they had jazz at the Cathedral Hotel or at the White Heart pub in Quidhampton? I have been going through a 1966 Jazz Times magazine. I recon trombonist Bobby Fox probably played at these venues, please let me know if you do.

Last month we were entertained by the Savannah Jazz Band all the way from ‘E by gum’ country. No doubt the best band to come out of Yorkshire. They now have the same line up for many years now and it shows. They must have pleased our audience for the floor was full all night with dancers. I still can’t get over the high standard of dancers we have from Steve and Stephany James, John Parkin and partner Tiziana Byonopane also a married couple from Ringwood whose name escapes me.

It didn’t go unnoticed that no one left after the raffle, again a testament to the band as usually is the case. No doubt you will be happy to note that I will be booking them next year. A few of the highlights were Nothing Blues featuring Bill Smith on trumpet and harmonica, That very moving tune composed by Oscar Peterson Hymn to Freedom played by Roger Myercough on clarinet. As usual they always send us home with that Ken Colyer tune, Go’in Home where Ken composed it while in the Parish prison in New Orleans awaiting to be deported.

I must end on a sad note. Our lovely hostess, Sue Davis has decided to take early retirement to spend more time with her husband. When Margaret and Geoff called it a day from running the club it was Sue together with Maggie who persuaded me to take over as no Salisbury regular wasn’t able or willing to assume the responsibility of this pleasurable task. On behalf of every member we wish you a happy retirement.

Jazzy Joe 023 8086 9720

P. S. No one can help everyone, but everyone can help someone. 2018

Newsletter - April, May & June 2018

What a fantastic night of pure New Orleans jazz we had on the last Friday in March when Doc Houlind’s Revival All Stars from Denmark entertained us at the Michael Walker Hall in Wilton . Despite it being a rainy night 74 happy jazzers enjoyed what must be Europe’s top band. As soon as they started playing it became very obvious whose style they were influenced by, for instance drummer Doc Houlind Cie Frazer, clarinets Jesper Capion Larsen George Lewis, trombonist Peter Goetz Jim Robertson/Louie Nelson, the trumpet player Dede Pierce, pianist Lis Kroyer Alton Purnell and the bass Brian Turnock Slow Drag Pavageau. Undoubtedly the star of the evening was Jesper Capion Larsen especially when he played Bundy Street Blues with so much feeling which deservedly got the loudest applause of the evening. A beautiful tune composed by George Lewis. They will be back with us next year. John Maddocks Jazz Men were with us in April and the difference between Doc Houlind’s band was like chalk and cheese. John prefers the ‘Classic’ style where Doc’s jazz is rooted in the ‘Revivalist’ one. The main difference John plays very loud never having the courtesy to enquire if it is where other bands do. Although to be fair when I hear him at other venues he isn’t loud. It’s a shame as he had very good musicians in his band. I think it was because he had Andy Dickens on trumpet.

Our May band, the Golden Eagle were on top form entertaining 88 jazzers. Years ago, Pete Lay, editor of Just Jazz magazine said this band was a very danceable one and so it proved when they kicked off with the Kid Thomas Avery Piece. Within seconds the floor was full of dancers and so it went on right to the end. It was nice that a few of you e-mailed the band thanking them for such a fantastic evening of jazz.

When I leave home to come to the club I usually tick off a ‘Things To Do’ list but for some reason I didn’t for this gig and so when I arrived at the club I realised I hadn’t brought any raffle tickets with me. In sheer panic, Margaret Gilbert kindly volunteered to jump in her car and find a shop that sells them. Ten minutes later she was back with the tickets. I told Wendy who promptly took some from her purse. I think Wendy was once a Girl Guide who’s moto is Be Prepared. Thank you ladies for help. As a result of my forgetfulness I am now on a waiting list for a brain transplant…..the medical people are still looking for a suitable……. CHICKEN !!!

Every now and again I will be including a ‘Bio’ of various musician’s lives. I started with John Maddocks last year, now it’s the turn of drummer Malc Murphy which I hope will please Wendy.

"I started playing drums in 1953. Two years later I heard a 78 record of Bunk Johnson’s jazz band playing ‘One Sweet Letter From You’ with George Lewis on clarinet and Warren ‘Baby’ Dodd’s on drums which sent shivers down my neck listening to this wonderful music that had everything……feeling, swing, soul. From then on, any spare money I had I bought 78 records of King Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton, Kid Ory and the George Lewis band among others.

I joined my first band at 15, the Soar Valley Jazz Band, then the Climax jazz band, and the San Jacinto jazz band, all working in the Midlands area. In 1967, Ken Colyer auditioned me for his band at the 51 club in Gt Newport Street London and I was very pleased when he offered me the drum chair in the band. Ken folded the band in June 1971 through illness. The band decided to carry on under the name of Johnny Bastable’s Chosen Six with John Shillito on trumpet. This lasted 18/24 months then we all went our separate ways. I formed my own band/quartet, Malc Murphy’s Storyville Stompers and this continued for 20 years or so. As with the Colyer band, we toured the UK and Europe every year.

I went to New Orleans for the first time in 1970 and played with local musicians. I visited many times over the years and I have recorded with various New Orleans musicians. I was with Colin Kingwell’s Jazz Bandits for 25 years, which has continued as the New Orleans Jazz Bandits following Colin’s retirement. I was also playing with the Ken Colyer New Orleans Trust Band which changed its name to the KC Legacy band after the Trust organization was terminated.

My main inspirations as far as New Orleans style drumming goes are Zutty Singleton, Baby Dodd’s, Paul and Louis Barbarin, Cie Frazier, Alfred Williams and Ray Bauduc. The highlight from this list is actually visiting Zutty Singleton on my way back from a New Orleans trip, in his apartment in New York. I will always remember the moment he appeared in the hall outside his apartment and the following conversation he shared with me in his spare kit room. I hope this wonderful music makes everybody happy and continues way into the future. It’s the music that matters. Best Wishes Malc Murphy."

Last month we had the return of Baby Jools Jazzaholics. At 7.40 they still had not showed up and I expressed my concern to Wendy. She calmed me down saying she had spoken to Baby Jools that afternoon and sure enough they showed up at 10 to 8 and hastily put their instruments together. They were about to start when the bass player had a problem with his amplifier. Sadly only a few bass players can play acoustically these days, what a shame. I was told they need a ‘Pick Up’ as it gets very tiring during a 2 hour gig. I wonder what the old time New Orleans bass players would have thought, it was nothing for those guys to play from 8 till 4 and still have a day job. Just listen to ‘Slow Drag Pavageau or Pops Foster, no confounded microphone attachments on their instruments.

The highlight for me was when Karl Hird played Saint Philips Breakdown on his tenor saxophone. All in all they are a very good band and it surprises me they are not better known. I think it would help if they had a web site and a dedicated band manager. I am pretty sure Simone Larson, Baby Jools girlfriend could do a good job, given the chance. They sent us home with that Mary Hopkins tune, Those Were The Days to a very happy audience. Well you Salisbury jazz people that’s it for this quarter.

Jazzy Joe 023 8086 9720

P.S. Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.

Newsletter – January, February & March 2018

We kicked off the 2018 season with a bang, literally when the microphone went bang just as Wendy was about to speak. I won’t mention his name but the clarinet player, Loz Garfield, was entrusted to bring a working microphone with him but he obviously forgot the carpenter’s rule, measure twice, cut once so Wendy had to shout her announcements at the beginning of the evening. Oh dear I have just realised I have mentioned Loz Garfield by name. They started with 1919 Rag and went on to play another 23 tunes including Canal Street Blues; Wabash and Savoy Blues, sending us home with Maryland My Maryland.

I have noticed that we have a member from Italy so I am including a paragraph in her language as a courtesy to our friend:

La ringrazio per la Sua fedeltà, Tiziana. L’Italia è uno dei più bei paesi che io abbia mai visto. Ci sono stato un bel po’ di volte perché mia sorella era agente consolare a Firenze. Quello che mi piaceva di più era la magnifica architettura e l’arte. Mi ricordo la mia prima visita ai famosissimi Uffizi dove ho visto dei dipinti di Giotto, Leonardo, Raffaello, Michelangelo, Botticelli e tanti altri. Ho visitato anche la Borghese a Roma e l’Accademia a Venezia. Venezia è famosa per i quadri di Tiziano. Se ha mai l’occasione di andare a Venezia, vada a vedere la chiesa di Santa Maria dei Frari per ammirare due dei suoi dipinti meravigliosi. L’Italia mi piace molto; ho persino sposato una bellissima signora calabrese. Translation "Thank you for your patronage Tiziana. Italy is one of the most beautiful countries that I have ever visited. I have been their many times as my Sister used to be the British Consul in Florence. The attraction for me was the beautiful art and architecture. I remember my first visit to the world famous Uffizi art gallery seeing paintings by Giotto, Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, Botticelli and many more. Other galleries I have visited include the Borghese in Rome, the Academia in Venice. Venice is famous for the works of Titian. If you ever visit Venice do drop in to the Santa Maria Dei Frari church to see two of his magnificent paintings. I must like Italy; I married a beautiful lady from Calabria."

Our February band, John Shillito’s, was better received this year than last year but I feel they are more suited to a concert environment as opposed to a jazz club one. Moving on to March when we were entertained by the New Orleans Jazz Bandits despite having no heat on. The previous week Salisbury, like the rest of the country, was covered in snow which resulted in our Gas supply not being delivered in time for our gig. Wendy had the presence of mind to notify our members so obviously our numbers were down but as usual the Raffle saved us from a catastrophe. We had 59 brave souls who shammied and shimmied their way through the evening. Nearly all the dancers came from one table and apart from showing us their dancing skills, nine of them did a dance called the Charleston Stroll.

Wendy displayed her excellent ‘Sales Table’ which included various magazines, beads and many Jazz Cassettes and CDs. One was Kenny Ball’s Midnight in Moscow which was rather apt considering the recent incident in Salisbury. I remember when it was popular in 1962. At the time I was in New York and every music shop on Broadway was playing it. I’m sure Kenny was a good musician but did nothing for New Orleans jazz.

This year we had an extra gig thanks to the visit of Doc Houlind’s Revival All Stars from Denmark. When I was offered the gig even though it wasn’t on our usual 2nd Friday I jumped at the chance, having had a near sell out last year. As I have been having trouble with my computer lately, the following is a tribute to all the Grandmas and Grandpas who have been fearless and learnt to use the Computer.

The computer swallowed up grandpa, yes, honestly its true, he pressed ‘control and enter’ and disappeared from view, it devoured him completely, the thought just makes me squirm, he must have caught a virus or been eaten by a worm. I’ve searched through the recycle bin and files of every kind; I’ve even used the internet, but nothing did I find. In desperation, I asked Jeeves. My searches to refine, the reply was negative, not a thing was found ‘on line’ So, if inside your ‘Inbox’ my Grandpa you should see, please ‘Copy, Scan’ and ‘Paste’ him and send him back to me.

Thank you for your support from the Salisbury Jazz Club team, Wendy, Paddy and Joe

PS I did not realise it was the season of lent in the Christian calendar until I saw the following on a church notice board 'The Fasting and Prayer Conference includes meals'.

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