What a busy month! There were eleven gigs in total, including three private functions – one wedding and two birthday parties, including the celebration of Gilbert’s father’s birthday at The Talbot – packed with jazz fans and musicians as well as family. In addition to our regular gigs at Maghull, Didsbury, Eastham and Grappenhall, we played at St James Parish Hall, Ashworth; the Woodvale Festival in Southport, Eagley Jazz Club at Dunscar and Barnsley Jazz Club at Dodworth.
Some of the Usual Suspects were away during the month, so we had to ring the changes for some gigs and were joined by several “Innocent Accomplices”. While Ed was away “researching wine in Spain”, Rae switched to guitar and banjo at Maghull, with Dave Parr taking over on bass; and Dave Rigby filled the “chordal” role for us twice. And, while Brian had a well-deserved break in Italy, we were joined on drums by Fred Boggan for two gigs and Tony Lunney for one. On reeds, John Hallam featured seven times for us, while John Padfield played three times; and we were joined for one gig by the ever-youthful Harold Troughton. On trumpet, Phil Lucas deputised for his dad twice; while Andy Henderson also joined us twice. And last – but not least – we were without Andrew at The Talbot where Laurie Cooper joined us on trombone. Phew!!
Seventy-one different numbers featured in our setlist this month, as usual mostly fired from the traditional jazz canon! Teddy Bears Picnic has now become re-established as our opening “salvo” and Goin’ Home (Ken Colyer’s 1953 tribute to New Orleans) regularly finishes the “barrage”. Among the numbers we don’t play so often, this month we featured Big Butter And Egg Man (about a chap whose vulnerability to female charms is heavily outweighed by his wallet – none of those in our band!), the Ellington classics Mood Indigo and Satin Doll, the rather haunting Wabash Blues, the Clarence Williams favourite My Bucket’s Got A Hole In It; and the 1919 pop song Breeze, which Ken Doran used to sing. Among the vocals this month, the heavily nostalgic Someday Sweetheart and the distinctly silly Ding Dong Daddy From Dumas were favourites. Features this month included Jimmy Lucas‘s rendition of Bad Penny Blues, John Padfield‘s soprano saxophone version of Autumn Leaves; and Andrew Mackenzie’s solo performance of Avalon. John Hallam performed two of his regular features – The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise and Running Wild; but also two less regular numbers – Ed Hall’s Flyin’ High and the delightful 1917 composition, Rose Room. The latter enjoyed it’s greatest popularity in the swing era and Duke Ellington’s 1932 recording is generally credited with its return to popularity. A memorable month and the Swing Low championships this month were won by – wait for it – Didsbury!