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LongfordLad
Toronto
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1 of 48  Sun 26th Jan 2014 3:33am  
Member: Joined Jun 2012  Total posts:196

As a life-long jazz enthusiast, which life-long enthusiasm started in Coventry, I think it may be interesting to test our collective knowledge of this subject. There were so many places in Coventry - when I was a young man - to sate my hunger (anyone's hunger) for jazz of all persuasions. However, before I get into that, I wish to test the water by discussing jazz that was played in Coventry by musicians who, in the 1950s/1960s, were Coventry residents - often semi-pro musicians who gave their all - for minimal compensation - in Coventry's jazz clubs. And by jazz clubs, I mean rooms in Coventry pubs, set aside for the evening for jazz music, and for which an admission charge was involved. For my purposes, as I write, I shall start on the basis of what was played where in week order. For example, I shall start with the - MONDAY. The Tierra Buena Jazz Band played at THE PILOT in Radford from the time that Noah, still a Sea Cadet, was planning his Ark. This music, to the extent that the band could manage it, was New Orleans jazz, sometimes called Trad Jazz (a term generally not used outside of Britain and some parts of Europe), as played by its earliest exponents on the earliest jazz recordings. The band, comprised - to the best of my recollection - Brian Bates (cornet, later trumpet), Brian Wathen (trombone, Mac Randle (clarinet), Bernie Overton (piano), Dave Wagstaffe (banjo/guitar), and Johnny Astle (drums). I'm sure that there was a bass player (brass or string) in there somewhere, but I do not recall his name, though I know that someone out there will! The band's Monday night gig at the Pilot in Radford, was always full to over-flowing, and never short of fellow musicians to provide harmonic back-up vocals during individual solos, and while this proved annoying to me, not having the "ears" these musicians had, I nevertheless sang along, wordlessly. But people came not just for the music, but also for the dancing, for the Pilot offered in this Monday-night upstairs room, a very spacious dance floor. The audience was into stomp, and stomp the audience did. Was there a Tuesday night jazz club back then in Coventry? If there was, then this is your time to shine, if you offer details.
Coventry Jazz Clubs
dutchman
Spon End
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2 of 48  Sun 26th Jan 2014 3:39am  
Member: Joined Mar 2010  Total posts:2999

The Earlsdon Cottage held regular jazz evenings during the period when Wally Haydon was the landlord, 1967-82.
Coventry Jazz Clubs
flapdoodle
Coventry
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3 of 48  Sun 26th Jan 2014 9:50am  
Member: Joined Nov 2010  Total posts:875

I can't speak of the past, but Warwick Arts Centre has had gigs by some of the biggest jazz bands around, the last decent jazz festival in Coventry was excellent. The current jazz scene in the UK is thriving, with a lot of new, young bands. I found this website: www.jazzcov.co.uk They appear to be struggling to find a venue suitable - no surprise, as most of them have been knocked down. I myself prefer the more avant-garde side of things, plus Northern European Trios and people like the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Although I'm currently collecting the back catalogue of The Modern Jazz Quartet - more into the John Lewis side of things than Milt Jackson's bluesy stuff, but that stuff sometimes really gets going.
Coventry Jazz Clubs
deanocity3
keresley
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4 of 48  Sun 26th Jan 2014 12:40pm  
Member: Joined Nov 2013  Total posts:358

The Umbrella Club
Coventry Jazz Clubs
VernonDudleyBohay-Nowell
Coventry
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5 of 48  Sun 26th Jan 2014 2:18pm  
Member: Joined Nov 2011  Total posts:43

In case there are Trad 'cats' still in need of their 'fix'. Still playing Monday nights at 8:30, the Tierra Buena Jazz Band continue their musical adventures at Green Lane Ex-services Club, Leasowes Avenue. All original/surviving members would welcome you! They've come a long way from The Pilot/The Cottage/Cov & North Warwicks/Cocked Hat and The Coombe Social Club. And as an aside, I think LongfordLad's 'group of ex-pats' comment about the show-band didn't receive the kudos it deserved. Smile
Coventry Jazz Clubs
LongfordLad
Toronto
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6 of 48  Mon 27th Jan 2014 12:50am  
Member: Joined Jun 2012  Total posts:196

To say, VDBH, that my "ex-pats" comments on a specific Banba Club showband merited kudos it did not receive, is most gracious of you. But to the nub of things, I have been aware for some time that the Tierra Buena Jazz Band has continued for lo these many years, though the chance of my hearing the band diminishes year over year. I believe Brian Bates still leads on cornet/trumpet, and Brian will remember, I'm sure, my selling to him (for 20 quid) a trumpet that he used in the Dud Clews Jazz Orchestra appearances at the Mercers' Arms, but seldom used at the Pilot, but at the Pilot it was New Orleans music or none at all, thus demanding the cornet! All of the musicians cited on my post about the Pilot were friends back then, save for Dave Wagstaffe, with whom I never reached a point of engagement, not that this was any fault of Dave's, more likely a fault with my rather aggressive personality. Let me re-state this - WAS a fault with my over-aggressive personality! My last visit to Coventry (2008) was to see John and Maureen Astle. John's health was poor, and I thought it best to see him as soon as possible. Though obviously in poor health, John welcomed me with enthusiasm. We had a great visit, John and I, orchestrated by Mo (Maureen), who delivered me back to Coventry's railway station. To my great regret, having lost (again - because I always lost it) the Astle telephone number, for six years have not been in contact. (Do you have a telephone number? An email address?) John was 76 when last I saw him in 2008, but - poor health and all aside - I would be surprised if he was no longer alive and kicking, so I would love to phone him a discuss how great he was, how great the TBJB was/is. Brian Bates was like a vacuum-cleaner of ideas. He would suck-up new influences all the time, mainly from listening to records, but the speed at which he grew as a cornetist/trumpeter astounded all who came into contact with him in those days of yore. But, to clarify, throughout he sounded like Brian Bates, he had his own sound, brassy as all get out, lyrical beyond my power of description. One of the finest jazz musicians Britain produced, all down to his dogged personality that never allowed him to settle for what he already had as a musician. You have to love the guy. I regret that my recollections of the band are from so long ago, but - as Coventry correspondent of Jazz News & Review back then - I believe I was always positive about Batesie. I owe more than you might suppose to you and your post on this site. An anecdote - Once, during a clarinet solo by Mac Randle, I shouted (in the spirit of a time that had long passed) - Get hot, Mac! His response, when he was able to take the reed from his mouth, was Get Stuffed, ______. he was never less than open in his opinions.
Coventry Jazz Clubs
LongfordLad
Toronto
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7 of 48  Mon 27th Jan 2014 4:39am  
Member: Joined Jun 2012  Total posts:196

On 26th Jan 2014 12:40pm, deanocity3 said: The Umbrella Club
The Umbrella Club, Deano - was just as you described, and it certainly filled a gap for young people in Coventry who were too old to feel anything but out-of-place in a Youth Club, but too young to make their presence felt in any of the various clubs in town that held their putative "meetings" in pubs. At the Umbrella Club you would find young people, aspiring intellectuals, who - having graduated from secondary school, and preparing to attend college/university, or not, satisfied as they were with their place in the scheme of things and not wishing further education - were bent on pursuing more information about their specific arts interests, including music of the concert hall, jazz, painting, literature. You name it, and the were in there pursuing it. Lest anyone think I say these things in any pejorative sense, allow me to add that these young people, and those who were their elders/mentors, I should add that I never found a better person in my life than a member of the Umbrella Club. Having read the attachment to your posting, I am surprises by the heady company (I mean, Tynan!?) in which history has placed me, for I once was invited to perform a jazz record recital when the club was on Victoria Street. I arrived with a carefully selected bunch of LPs from my collection, played a number of tracks, defended my musical choices, and generally had a good time. My final track was a recording by alto-saxophonist Benny Carter, accompanied by the Art Tatum Trio. The recording was made in the mid-50s, was Hi-Fi but pre-dating stereo, and the good people attending appeared to enjoy the music immensely. After the playing of that recording was over, and capitalizing on that enjoyment, I launched into a comparison between the LP track I had just played, and the music of the then popular surfing music bands - Jan & Dean, the Beach Boys, well you know what I mean. I likened Carter's alto improvisations to a surfer, riding the majestic waves that pianist Art Tatum provided (oh, that strong left hand of Art Tatum, a hand that lent itself to every metaphor, including waves from the Pacific hitting the Californian shore). The observation I made, improvised on the spot, caused the most fearful row, for I was accused of likening a serious art form (jazz) and serious musicians (jazz) to pop's/rock's non-serious musicians who were in it for the money. Oh, was I chastened by that experience. I have not done a record recital since that night, and - had the Umbrella Club invited me back, which Umbrella Club did not, I would have declined the invitation. I did, however, learn a lesson - never allow your words to diminish the precepts of your audience, however well-meaning you intentions, and NEVER, NEVER use imagery if quotidian expressions will suffice as well. I'm pleased that I did not play Ralph Vaughan Williams's The Lark Ascending. Having proved a less-than-stellar record recitalist, I now live in greatly-reduced circumstances in Toronto's east end. Would that I had ended the recital at the close of the audience's applause for Benny Carter and Art Tatum's recording. Thank you, Deano, for bringing to mind one of my life's failures. Would that I was living in Toronto's east end in greatly-Seduced circumstances.
Coventry Jazz Clubs
heritage
Bedworth
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8 of 48  Mon 27th Jan 2014 8:17am  
Member: Joined Sep 2011  Total posts:374

To me Monday nights at the Pilot were an important part of growing in the late 1950s-early 60s. The band was always entrtaining and the beer was 1/10d a pint. Seems cheap today but as an apprentice (at the Morris) I was always happy to be treated to a pint. I never tried to understand the music, all I wanted was to be entertained. Heard about the Umbrella Club but it never appealed to me. Had a boxed set of Trad CDs for Christmas, still enjoyable.
Coventry Jazz Clubs
LongfordLad
Toronto
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9 of 48  Tue 28th Jan 2014 6:12pm  
Member: Joined Jun 2012  Total posts:196

On 26th Jan 2014 9:50am, flapdoodle said: I myself prefer the more avant-garde side of things, plus Northern European Trios and people like the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Although I'm currently collecting the back catalogue of The Modern Jazz Quartet - more into the John Lewis side of things than Milt Jackson's bluesy stuff, but that stuff sometimes really gets going.
That you are now exploring the back catalog of the Modern Jazz Quartet is most commendable, particularly given your interest in John Lewis, and it takes no rocket-scientist to understand why the quartet's vibes-player, Milt Jackson, garnered the most interest by critics in the time of the quartet's overwhelming the jazz audience - live and on record - throughout the jazz world. He was a superb performer of the Blues. Lewis, a great admirer of Bach, was an "original mind" in what became known - in time - as "third-stream" music, was a "minimalist", and his recording in the 1950s, his recordings in his later life, confirm as much. Like Basie, he knew that "less is often more", and accompaniment of Milt Jackson's vibraphone solos are supreme examples of such. Lewis was a musical scholar, a pianist of the first order, that could present a note here, a chord there, that should have astonished listeners with its appropriateness, but - and this is the sorry fact - he was not appreciated by more than a handful of critics in the golden years of the MJQ, for all that the audiences understood - instinctively - the appropriateness of his comping. Of you enthusiasm for the avant-garde in jazz I have less to say, save that - of the groups you mentioned - the Art Ensemble of Chicago - in "looking back" as enthusiastically as they "looked forward" was a group that that gave me, by way of recordings in the 1970s, enormous plessure. Now do not think I missed Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane, both of whom gave me delight in their time, but the Art Ensemble of Chicago could be a hit-or-miss class of a band. My personal favourite by this quartet is the ECM recording, FULL FORCE, and its superb tribute to Charles Mingus, written by Lester Bowie, CHARLIE M, continues an engrossing experience to this day. Please contact me directly, should you need the counsel of someone who went through the days of jazz avant-garde with varying degrees of enthusiasm.
Coventry Jazz Clubs
LongfordLad
Toronto
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10 of 48  Tue 28th Jan 2014 6:51pm  
Member: Joined Jun 2012  Total posts:196

On 26th Jan 2014 3:39am, dutchman said: The Earlsdon Cottage held regular jazz evenings during the period when Wally Haydon was the landlord, 1967-82.
Now, when I came "home", as I did from time to time in the 80s, the only jazz at the Cottage of which I knew was at the Sunday lunchtime, for these Sunday sessions involved musicians I had known in my youth, the only musicians who had engaged my younger self. If there were regular jazz sessions at this time at the Cottage, at other times through the week, then I will defer to Dutchman, who knows the city far better than I do, far better that I ever did. The music - New Orleans revivalist - was great, and my old mucker John Astle was in charge of the "traps", i.e. drums. I don't know if there ever was before, ever was since, a Sunday lunchtime jazz club in Coventry, but the Earlsdon Cottage was something that merited a commendation in its day, an urgent call for something similar to this forever. Wow! What a great jazz club, what great musicians, what a great atmosphere to colour the afternoon's enjoyment of the Sunday dinner, the post-dinner perusal of the Sunday newspapers, the lapse into a semi-comatose condition, the revival (by way of tea) 4:30 to 5pm, and preparation for the evening's onslaught of more jazz. By the way, I am writing of a time when the Sunday lunchtime experience was put-together by men and women together, each of whom (in the Cottage's case) were present at the pub . These were men and women who went home to finish their dinner preparations, serve their dinner, eat their dinner before the afternoon nap. (Others stayed at home, prepared and ate their dinner, then watched John Wayne in the 700th BBC showing of SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON.) Ah, yesteryear, I love it as much as I love today.
Coventry Jazz Clubs
Disorganised1
Coventry
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11 of 48  Wed 29th Jan 2014 2:33am  
Member: Joined Nov 2012  Total posts:215

Tuesday night was jazz night at The Cottage and strictly trad was the rule. The late 70's and early 80's would find me there regularly, though more often for the free and easy nights (you didn't have to pay) but you did have to put up with my singing.
Coventry Jazz Clubs
LongfordLad
Toronto
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12 of 48  Wed 29th Jan 2014 6:38pm  
Member: Joined Jun 2012  Total posts:196

Ah, but that post demands more information - what did you sing, who were your influences, did you even remember as much when you mounted the stage to show Earlsdonians what a "free & easy" truly meant? I'm sorry, Disorganised 1, even the disorganised need to justify their nefarious deeds, but only up to a point, you understand. If you could vouchsafe by return that you never once sang "Lady of Spain", "The Story of Tina", or hummed the Dick Barton or Paul Temple radio-drama theme music (with piano, piano-accordion, or just accordion accompaniment), then you may be well on the way to recovery, without any action demanded of the "good taste police", but I should tell you that there are no statutes of limitation where these crimes are involved, but you may get off with a promise of good behaviour for singing a harmless enough song as "Goodbye", providing you left the place immediately after so doing. Let us hear the voice of the people, the voice of a person having been found wanting.
Coventry Jazz Clubs
Disorganised1
Coventry
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13 of 48  Sat 1st Feb 2014 11:37am  
Member: Joined Nov 2012  Total posts:215

My contribution would depend upon how much alcohol had been partaken before grasping the microphone. Selections include Red River Rock, Scarborough Fair, The Green Fields of France, Jerusalem (And did those feet version, Wally did the other one.) and probably The Black Velvet Band. My infuences were mainly Blackthorn and Smirnoff. Cheers Blush Blush
Coventry Jazz Clubs
LongfordLad
Toronto
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14 of 48  Sun 2nd Feb 2014 4:23am  
Member: Joined Jun 2012  Total posts:196

You are redeemed in the my eyes, if not in the eyes of all. Your material, on the face of things, seems awful, with one striking exception - but your influences appear to be okay; indeed, more than okay. That you never would have sung LADY OF SPAIN or THE STORY OF TINA may be down to your relative youth (and not knowing the lyrics of either song, perhaps), but I - for one - am prepared to accept your story on its face value. However, given that you slid this post into a thread devoted to jazz clubs in Coventry, others may be less forgiving. My old dad, was a free and easy kinda guy while still with us, and compered quite a staggering number of occasions in his three-score-years-and - twelve. He would have forgiven anyone who - having the drink taken, as they say in Ireland - could stagger towards the stage, mount that stage, give a nod to the pianist for the intro, and lead a rousing JERUSALEM. I should tell you that I am similarly disposed. Blake - William not Sexton - would say, and I join him: God Bless you, Disorganised1!
Coventry Jazz Clubs
mich
New Zealand
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15 of 48  Thu 21st Aug 2014 6:30am  
Member: Joined Aug 2014  Total posts:33

Greetings Lads, I have just signed up after reading this post on the Jazz Band, I was a bass player with this band which was The Sherbourne Jazz Band in the 50s the line up was Brian Bates, Brian Watham and Johnny Reid front line, Bernard Overton piano, Charley Webly Guitar/banjo John Hassle (Astle) Drums also I think Johnny Hazelwood on Drums, our venue was I think The Engine Inn at Longford?? once a week I hope I have remembered that correctly. Cheers ~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~ After a nights sleep I have to confess I have the venue wrong it was in fact “The Pilot” at Radford, the band formed a guard of honour at my wedding 1958 and provided the music for a reasonable sum of a few beers I will find the wedding photos. Can anyone tell me if any of the Lads are still around ? I have checked out some of their videos on Youtube and perhaps Brian Bates is still alive and kicking.
Coventry Jazz Clubs

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