The players

The black & white photographs of The Usual Suspects below were taken at our Grappenhall residency on 24th August 2017 and are reproduced by kind permission of Elena Santillán. The colour photos were taken when we played at Stafford Jazz Society’s 36th Anniversary Concert on 22nd October and are reproduced by kind permission of Alison Fleming.

The Usual Suspects

Brian Singleton – drums

Brian started listening to British trad jazz in the 1950s and is a great fan of the sound as exemplified by Barber, Bilk, Ball, Lightfoot and Wallace. He took up drumming in the Air Force and played in a variety of bands before returning to trad when he joined the Teds in 1980. His drumming role model is Ron McKay who played with the Paramount Jazz Band. Brian lives near Warrington and is the guy to call about booking the band.


Rae Owens – string bass, tuba, banjo, guitar

Rae was born in Liverpool and initially learned piano, which he can no longer play! His first instrument was guitar – which he taught himself – and he played this and similar instruments in a variety of bands until the 1980s. Then, in Bahrain, he switched to string bass after meeting bandleader David Mills, who urgently needed a bassist for the Bahrain Jazz Quartet. Thus began Rae’s second musical career, which gave him the opportunity to meet, socialise and work with some of the finest musicians in Europe. He joined the Teds in 1994 and is now the band’s front man – leading from the rear!


John Hallam – reeds

John is one of the best known and most gifted reeds players in the UK. He has played with the Teds since 2007 and is a regular at our Grappenhall residency and many of our gigs elsewhere. Click here for a biography of John on his own website.


James Lucas – trumpet

Known to the band as “James T. Lucas, the Squire of Hale”, as a young teenager, Jimmy played classical French Horn in the Merseyside Youth Orchestra and then the Camel Laird Brass Band. When that folded in 1972, he bought a trumpet, joined a dance band and became “a jazzer”. Jimmy has been with The Teds since 2013 and admires many jazz trumpeters but especially Armstrong, Beiderbecke, Wynton Marsalis and James Morrison.


Andrew Mackenzie – trombone

Known to the band as “Mr Moonlight”, Andrew began playing trombone aged 12 and was classically trained. However, after looking through his dad’s vast collection of books and recordings, he decided he wanted to be a jazz musician. Andrew is based in West Kirby on the Wirral and has been with the band since 2014. Among many musical influences he singles out the playing of George Chisholm, Roy Williams, Jack Teagarden and Campbell Burnap. In November 2017, Andrew came 5th in the British Jazz Awards! Congratulations to Andrew! You can see the full results here.


Ed Lee – piano

Ed only joined the band in late 2016 and has – quite how, he isn’t sure – acquired a reputation as a singer of risqué songs. Born in St Helens, as a teenager he played rock ‘n’ roll before discovering blues and jazz in the early 60s. His idol at this time – and still a big influence – was Ray Charles. Real work and a move to the south of England interfered with his musical activities from the late 1980s until a return to St Helens in 2011. At that point, a renewal of old friendships introduced him to a number of local jazz bands and led him, eventually, to the Teds.


The innocent accomplices

John Padfield – reeds
John has played regularly at our Maghull residency. This photo was taken at Marston’s Sports & Social Club in November 2017 at our gig for Burton Jazz Club. It is reproduced by kind permission of Graham Tunnicliffe.

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George Galway – reeds
George often played at our Didsbury residency where the audience always enjoyed an Irish jig in his feature spot. At present, George has a health problem and is unable to play. We wish him a speedy recovery.

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Phil Lucas – trumpet
Son of James, Phil sometimes deps when his dad is on a cruise!

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Andy Henderson – long cornet
St Helens born but now living in Leeds and a former member of the Scots Guards Regimental Band.  Andy joins the Teds for some of our out-of-town gigs.

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Dave Burke – reeds
Another St Helens man, Dave is a regular accomplice on clarinet and sax. This photo was taken at our Stafford Jazz Society gig in October 2017 and is reproduced here by kind permission of Alison Fleming.

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