The Divas come to Kansas City……!

Today we come back to our beloved Hunter Club for promoter (and great pal) Jim BAYNE to celebrate ‘Kansas City Jazz‘ and ‘The Divas of Swing‘ – all in one session! Such a commission demands an all-star cast and at the club I’ll be joined by exactly that: ALAN BARNES and JULIAN MARC STRINGLE (Reeds) ROY WILLIAMS (trombone) the great CHRIS INGHAM TRIO and special guest VAL WISEMAN direct from her ‘Lady Sings The Blues’ touring presentation. The Hunter Club is at 6, St Andrews Street, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP33 3PH and Jim’s gig is at LUNCHTIME from 12.30-2.30pm. For reservations please call Jim on:01284 762508 or e-mail:jwbayne@guildhallproperties.co.uk

We look forward to seeing you!

On the Isle with JULIAN MARC…..

Today I’m sailing across to the ISLE OF WIGHT to play a concert for my dear friend BILL WILLS’ Newport Jazz Club at the Apollo Theatre with my pal of so many years , the great JULIAN MARC STRINGLE and Friends. The address is Pyle Street, Newport, PO30 1JT and this concert takes place – as usual – in the afternoon starting at 3pm. For tickets please telephone Bill on 01983 523879 or e-mail:  to reserve tickets.

Learn to croon………

Back to the Cricketers Jazz Bar (by popular demand) comes the wizardly SPATS LANGHAM; master-guitarist, virtuoso banjoist and connoisseur interpreter of the choicest selections  from the golden years of American popular song. Expect nothing less than excellence from Spats, who unashamedly describes himself as a ‘crooner’ but whose hot vocals will regularly blow you away too. I may even join him for our unique version of Johnny Mercer’s ‘Dr Heckle and Mr Jibe’!! Joining Spats and I will be Roger Curphey (bass) Alan Clarke (drums) – and dropping in for a blow will be an extra special guest: CHRIS GOWER from my HALF DOZEN! Book early by calling Cassie or Cristina on 01702  345053 or email: thecricketersrestaurant@gmail.com

Rocking in Rhythm comes back to Goring….

Tonight we bring our show ‘ROCKING IN RHYTHM’ (for the third year in the row!) to GORING VILLAGE HALL, High Street, Goring RG8 9AG. Our star, of course, is blues-and-Manfreds legend  PAUL JONES and with him will be our pollwinning HALF DOZEN back on the road:Julian Marc Stringle, Chris Gower, Craig Milverton, Dominic Ashworth, Al Swainger and Nick Millward!). Tickets are £19.50 and the show begins at 8pm. Do book early (we were sold out last time!!) by contacting BILL JACKSON: 01491 875758/07885 251803 and you can also buy tickets at ‘Inspiration’, 1 The Arcade Goring on Thames RG8 9AY or ‘Music Box’ Market Place, Wallingford OX10 0AD

Look forward to seeing you again for a rockin’ night!

Another first for The Cricketers!

Tonight to the club we welcome ROBERT FOWLER – a great saxophonist whom you can see with the re-formed Humphrey Lyttelton Band and just as regularly as featured tenorist with the John Wilson Orchestra. Robert (Bob to friends!) is one of those players who takes his inspiration from the classic era of jazz saxophonists including Coleman Hawkins, Chu Berry and Lester Young – so be prepared to be swung out of the joint! With Robert (and me for a tune or two) will be our house rhythm section: Tim Huskisson, Roger Curphey and Alan Clarke. The music’s FREE (aren’t we nice?) and starts at 8.30. But don’t forget to book a delicious meal with chef Carlo before settling down for some classy Swing! Call 01702  345053 to book or email: thecricketersrestaurant@gmail.com

The Hunter is on……!!

Today I’ll be coming back to our beloved HUNTER CLUB for JIM BAYNE and one of Jim’s extra-special lunchtime  presentations celebrating two of the greatest American jazz giants: EDDIE CONDON and DUKE ELLINGTON!  Our star players include: JULIAN MARC STRINGLE and  DUNCAN HEMSTOCK (Reeds) CHRIS GOWER (trombone)  and the CHRIS INGHAM TRIO with MICK HUTTON and GEORGE DOUBLE.  And of course a red-hot  musical time is guaranteed for all! The Hunter Club is at 6 St Andrews Street, Bury St. Edmunds Suffolk IP33 3PH and for tickets please call Jim:01284 762508. Do it soon – as Jim tells me there are already only a few tickets left! But it’s worth a try! Hope to see you…..!!

‘Lady Sings The Blues’ back on the road……..

It’s wonderful  to be touring again with VAL WISEMAN’S legendary tribute to Billie Holiday, ‘Lady Sings the Blues’  co-starring Roy Williams, Alan Barnes, Brian Dee, Len Skeat and Eric Ford! Tonight we’re playing at  LINCOLN DRILL HALL, 3 School Lane, Lincoln LN2 1EY. The music starts at 7.30 and please contact the venue for tickets: 01522 873894 or e-mail: boxoffice@lincolndrillhall.com

Can’t wait to see you!

A top trumpeter at the Cricketers!

Tonight at the Cricketers Jazz Bar we welcome the young trumpeter who for me is the most brilliant new arrival in the UK! FREDDIE GAVITA plays with the Ronnie Scott All Stars  and also has a brilliant solo career ahead of him: his first new solo album ‘Transient’ belies its title as Freddie will be with us for many years to come! I look forward to taking a few lessons too! Joining him  will be Tim Huskisson (piano) Roger Curphey (bass) and Alan Clarke (drums) and do book early as this is Freddie’s first appearance as a soloist in Southend. For bookings call (01702) 345053 or e-mail Cassie or Cristina at: thecricketersrestaurant@gmail.com

A great fundraiser for The Jazz Centre UK…..

Tonight I’m pleased and proud to be joining the ladies of The Orpheus Singers with their Director David Clark for a wonderful fundraiser in Westcliff for my beloved Charity ‘The Jazz Centre UK’ – now up and running in Southend’s Beecroft Art Gallery! For our concert, called ‘All That Jazz!’ I’ll be joined by two of the greatest jazz musicians in Britain: the great BRIAN DEE (piano) and our Time Lord LEN SKEAT at the bass. Both the trio and the singers will play two nice long sets – and we may even have a jam-session at the end too! The concert takes place at Crowstone Christian Centre, Crowstone Road, Westcliff on Sea SS0 8LH and the music starts at 7.30pm. For tickets please call Mo Harding (Concert manager) on 07866 807279 or e-mail: mo48@btinternet.com

I really look forward to seeing you at this wonderful event!

Tina comes to town…….

Tonight at The Cricketers my guest is the lady who –  for me – is the most original jazz singer in the UK (and well beyond!) and the greatest to grace our shores since Dame Cleo Laine! TINA MAY joins us, presenting songs from her many albums (I have a baker’s dozen of them!) including ‘Divas’ ‘My kinda Love’ and many more. And if you haven’t (by some oversight!!) seen and heard Tina before book early for what will be a truly unforgettable evening! Co-starring with her will be DOMINIC ASHWORTH (guitar) along with our wonderful house rhythm section: Roger Curphey (bass) and Alan Clarke (drums). You know the number to call(!):01702  345053 or e-mail;the cricketersrestaurant@gmail.com

Swingin’ with Roan……

One of my favourite musicians is Roan Kearsey-Lawson who doubles on vibraphone, drums and percussion with equal flare (and his recent album ‘Presence in Mind’ with Duncan Lamont is great too! – check it out!). Tonight I’m guesting with Roan to open his brand-new club in Chatham! Final arrangements are still in the making but ‘watch this space’ for details of time and venue. You can also call Roan on (01634) 365453 to check for updates! Look forward to seeing you there!

St. Valentine’s day at the Cricketers…

Due to the ever-growing need for political correctness – as well as musical – we don’t want to say that our guest at The Cricketers this month is anything other than one of Britain’s greatest saxophonists! And the fact that she deserves more Valentines from male admirers young and old than any other player in the country is strictly an ‘off the record’ bonus!! Yes: our (returning guest is none other than the wonderful KAREN SHARP, who can’t be with us too often! With Karen will be our fine house-band: Chris Kibble (piano) Roger Curphey (double bass) and Alan Clarke (drums). So come with your favourite heart-throb  to celebrate St. Valentine’s Day – and don’t forget to sample Carlo’s extra-special menu before the show! Music from 8.30 and for bookings please call Cassie or Cristina on 01702 345053 or e-mail: thecricketersrestaurant@gmail.com

Christmas at the Cricketers!

Well it’s Christmas time and we’re having a jazz party at the Cricketers – but we’d like to know who YOU’D like to hear most of all joining Digby and the house rhythm section! So why not send an e-mail with your requests to: gwendolinesweetingham@gmail.com – and we’ll count up the votes!

Look forward to hearing from you…….!! And MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

THE HALF DOZEN AT THE REFORM CLUB……

Tonight the full HALF DOZEN – at the end of their poll winning year (eleven British Jazz Awards in twelve years!) – end their tour at the world-famous REFORM CLUB for their great friend KEITH McDOWELL! All the gentlemen of the Mighty Orchestra – DIGBY, JULIAN MARC, CHRIS GOWERM CRAIG MILVERTON, DOMINIC ASHWORTH, AL SWAINGER and NICK MILLWARD – will be warming up the seventeen days up to Christmas  with an early celebration of Swing and their favourite songs. It’s a private concert we think – but I’ll let you know if there are seats to spare!! Merry Christmas! Digby.

KAREN at the KRICKETERS…..

Well, we couldn’t resist the spelling! – sorry! Tonight the great KAREN SHARP comes back to the Cricketers Jazz Bar for a welcome return visit after her sell-out appearance last time! Karen began her career with the legendary HUMPHREY LYTTELTON band back in the 1990s but now tops polls everywhere as a soloist and with her own groups! Tonight she’s joined by our house rhythm section – Tim Huskisson, Roger Curphey and Alan Clarke – and I’ll be joining Karen for a tune or two too! Music from 8.30 as usual but if you’d like to dine beforehand call Carlo, Cassie and Christina on (01702) 435053 for their superb cuisine!

Back to the HUNTER CLUB for JIM BAYNE

It’s always good to come back to our favourite – The Hunter Club – and this time our friend Jim Bayne has devised a show celebrating two legends: BIX BEIDERBECKE and BUCK CLAYTON. Expect selections from Buck’s immortal Jam Sessions from the 1950s (‘Jumping at the Woodside’ ‘The Hucklebuck’ and more) and cherry-picks from the   immortal Beiderbecke canon including selections from ‘The Wolverines’ his great ‘Gang’ recordings and Paul Whiteman’s immortal recordings with Bix and Frankie ‘Tram’ Trumbauer too. With us will be the all-star A-team assembly of Roy Williams, Alan Barnes and Julian Marc Stringle so the stories – as well as the music – will flow fast and furious! Jim’s shows are always sold out so DO book early to get good seats: 01284 762508! We look forward to seeing you there!

At the Club for Acts and Actors!

Just a few tickets left for this marvellous evening at the renowned C.A.A., 20 Bedford Street LONDON WC2E 9HP. I have the great good fortune to be guesting at the Club tonight with Dominic Ashworth, Alec Dankworth and Clark Tracey. What an all-star team! And my great friend Verona Chard will be singing some songs too. For tickets please  e-mail:chris.hare123@ntlworld.com or Verona: veronachardmusic@virginmedia.com Look forward to seeing you!

CHRIS INGHAM AT THE CRICKETERS…!

In recent years the great pianist-singer CHRIS INGHAM has made a huge name for himself playing and singing with his great quartet at RONNIE SCOTT’S. PIZZA EXPRESS, THE PHEASANTRY  and other top London venues. He’s also produced two exquisite albums dedicated to the musics of HOAGY CARMICHAEL and DUDLEY MOORE. Tonight we’re very lucky to have Chris at the Cricketers with Roger Curfey and Alan Clarke and maybe Dig will sit in for a tune or two! Music at 8.30 – and you know the rest! Fizzing jazz cocktails, the best selection of beers in the county, and Carlo’s fabulous menu! Here’s the number for bookings:01702 435053

Chas and Dave play a fundraiser for The Jazz Centre UK!

Tonight our good friends (and legendary stars!) CHAS AND DAVE are playing a fundraising concert for THE JAZZ CENTRE UK at the SPOTLIGHT THEATRE, Broxbourne Civic Hall, High Street, Hoddesdon EN11 8BE. Their great show will be: ‘CHAS AND DAVE;THE FULL STORY LIVE’! What lovely chaps – and thank you both from the Trustees of The Jazz Centre! For tickets please call: 01992 441946.

I’ll be there to say ‘hello’ and enjoy the music of course! See you there!!

‘Rocking in Rhythm’ at Aberjazz…….

Getting together with the great PAUL JONES is always a pleasure! And tonight our long-running show ‘Rocking in Rhythm’ plays the Aberjazz Jazz and Blues Festival with Paul and my poll-winning Half Dozen! We’re at the Theatr Gwaun, West Street, Fishguard, Pembrokeshire SA65 9AD. There are lots of free events throughout the weekend but for tickets you need to contact Alice Stonhold and here’s her e-mail: alice@aberjazz.com

Looking forward to seeing you!

SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE PERSHORE JAZZ FESTIVAL

We couldn’t be happier that our great friend (and occasional P/A supplier!!) GRAHAM SMITH (and wife MAGGIE!) have invited us back to the PERSHORE JAZZ FESTIVAL! So all the members of our pollwinning HALF DOZEN (DIGBY, JULIAN MARC STRINGLE, CHRIS GOWER, CRAIG MILVERTON, AL SWAINGER and NICK MILLWARD) will be on hand – and, who knows, you may find various members of the H/D circulating around stages on Sunday as well!)! Thanks Graham. For tickets please call: 01386 554235 or e-mail:festival@pershorejazz.org.uk

Can’t wait to play for you!

The Cricketers forms its own team!!

Tonight the Cricketers presents its very own house band – ‘Six of the Best!’ Celebrating some of the greatest musicians who make their home in good ol’ Southend on Sea – but play music all over the UK and beyond – the ‘SOTB’ includes MICK FOSTER (saxes) CHRIS KIBBLE (piano) ROGER CURPHEY (bass) ALAN CLARKE (drums) and a SPECIAL GUEST (tba!). Oh – and me too! Come early as the room gets crowded and you need to find a seat before they’re all gone. Don’t forget the fabulous fizzing jazz cocktails served by our gorgeous bar-staff and the un-missable Creole cooking of Carlo from 6pm. Phone (01702) 435053 for bookings.

‘ROCKING IN RHYTHM’ is back on the road……

We don’t get to do our ‘ROCKING IN RHYTHM’ show with the great PAUL JONES as often as we’d like, but tonight we’re delighted to come back to GORING JAZZ, GORING-ON-THAMES with the great Paul and our complete Half Dozen: DIGBY, JULIAN MARC STRINGLE, CHRIS GOWER, CRAIG MILVERTON, DOMINIC ASHWORTH, AL SWAINGER and NICK MILLWARD. The venue is Goring Village Hall, High Street, Goring on Thames RG8 9AG – and for tickets please call Bill Jackson:01491 875758. (Tonight I promise to get nothing stuck up my cornet – remember last year??????!!!!!!!!)

Back to the great Birmingham and Solihull Jazz and Blues Festival!

From Wednesday 19 to Friday 21 July I’m back at Birmingham playing with some of the greatest musicians in the city – and beyond! So here’s my schedule:

Wednesday July 19th:

3pm with the very fine CHASE JAZZMEN, Hagley Road Village, 322-336 Hagley Road B17 8BH

and then on to: the Hampton by Hilton (with the CHASE JAZZMEN again) 200 Broad Street, B15 1SU. Music from 7pm.

Thursday July 20th

With the (wonderful!) JOHN PATRICK TRIO at The Lord Clifton, Gt Hampton Street B19 3DL

Friday July 21st

I’m coming to join you to see one of my favourite jazz movies of all time: ‘Pete Kelly’s Blues’ at: ‘Around the World’ 195 Broad Street, B15 1AY. (I’ll be introducing it too – and a great new album by ‘Pete Kelly’ himself – aka DICK CATHCART. Dick was one of the greatest jazz trumpeters and my new album of his work is on Retrospective RecordsRTR4308)

And then, after that, I’m moving on to: West Bromwich Central Library,  316 High Street, West Bromwich B70 8DZ with KEITH BILL (piano) BILL COLEMAN (bass) and NICK MILLWARD (drums)

For me this is the greatest festival in the UK – directed by JIM SIMPSON and packed with both ‘we veterans’ and some of the most exciting new acts (174 in all!) from all over Britain and Europe – so make a block booking and come and join us all!

It’s time for some rockin’ blues and soul at The Cricketers!

Everybody loves the blues – and tonight at The Cricketers we present: well, for me, the most exciting blues singer I’ve ever heard in Southend – or pretty much anywhere! We’re joined by DAWNETTE FESSEY – and if you don’t know the name yet, you’ll never forget it again once Dawnette hits the stand! With her will be our house trio: Tim Huskisson, Roger Curphey and Alan Clarke plus special guest DOMINIC ASHWORTH! Music at 8.30 and for Carlo’s amazing cuisine call the number: 01702 345053

A Jazz Day for the VILLAGE GREEN FESTIVAL in Chalkwell Park, Southend

This year, on Saturday July 8th, The Jazz Centre UK is teaming up with Colette Bailey, Artistic Director of ‘Metal‘ to hold a full day of live jazz at Metal’s legendary ‘Village Green’ Festival! The music’s happening in a specially created ‘Jazz Cafe’ in the park’s Chalkwell Hall – so we’re safe from the rain too! The music plays from 12 noon to 7pm and the visiting stars playing live include Steve Fishwick (trumpet) Mick Foster (baritone) Karen Sharp (tenor) Clare Foster (songs) Paul Shanti (trumpet) Dominic Ashworth (guitars) and Roger Curphey (bass). Tickets are £15.00 for the day and the address is Chalkwell Park, Chalkwell Avenue, Southend-on-Sea SS0 8NB.

There’ll also be a fascinating exhibition of exhibits from The Jazz Centre (UK)!

This fantastic festival attracts thousands of visitors so it’s a good idea to turn up early if you don’t want to join a LONG queue!!

Look forward to seeing you there for an unforgettable day!

BACK TO BUXTON FESTIVAL – for the second year!

Tonight my wonderful poll-winning Half Dozen (eleventh British Jazz Award for Top Small Group in 2017!) comes back to the great Buxton Festival  and our good friend RANDALL SHANNON – for the second year in a row after our sell-out show in 2016! This will be an extra-special night in what is our 2017 ‘Farewell Tour’ and JULIAN MARC, CHRIS, CRAIG,DOMINIC, AL  and NICK will all be on the stand at The Pavilion Gardens Café, St. John’s Road, Buxton, SK17 6BE – right behind the Buxton Opera House. We have loads of new music to play – and sing ! –  and can’t wait to see you!

Jazz in Parkyland…..

Tonight I’m coming back to BARNSLEY (the one-time home of my great friend Sir Michael Parkinson!) to finish my tour with  FRANK BROOKER and TOM KINCADE’S Trio. We’ll be at the Fairway Hotel, Elmhirst Lane, Dodworth, Barnsley S75 4 LS and our host will be STUART CURRIE! Thanks Stuart! For more details please e-mail Stuart: mail-currie37@btinternet.com – and look forward to seeing you!