Well this gig was quite a departure for me, as I’ve always self-imposed a remit of Blues, Rock and Folk for my blog. But in spite of using an old Jazz band photo for my header picture, and on my calling cards, (see my blog entry #8 for an explanation of the old photo), I had no intention of writing anything on the genre – I recently even refused a Jazz band that contacted me asking if I’d like to review their album. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve always had a great respect for Jazz; I just felt that I didn’t know enough about it to do it any justice. Its also another massive field of music, like those I already write about, and there is only so much one blogger can do! However, when I was alerted to the fact that the bowls club In Brentwood, Essex, was to host a Jazz Night, I felt that I’d like to go along out of interest; as I like to think I have a broad and open mind to as many musical genres as possible.
Booked for the evening were the remarkable six-piece Dixieland Jazz combo: Rance’s Rockin’ Chair Band – normally resident at the Landsdowne Club in Luton. I’m not sure if this was the normal line-up for the band, but this particular evening they were a six-piece combo consisting of band leader Dave Rance (Trumpet / vocals); Brian Webb (trombone / vocals / yodelling); Mike Brewerton (double bass); Henry Harrison (drums); Dave Fawcett (banjo); and the inimitable Derek Scofield (saxophones / clarinet / piccolo / vocals / tap dancing / and flirting with the ladies). Experienced jazz musicians all.
The gig was in two parts, split by an excellent ploughman’s supper (provided by the bowls club) for all present. Part One saw the boys start with ‘Oh Happy Days’. There then followed a feast of Jazz of tunes in quick succession, such as ‘Isle Of Capri’ with its Latin vibe; the classic ‘Hello Dolly’; the fine instrumental ‘Magnolia’s Wedding’ featuring Derek on Baritone Sax; and finishing with the famous ‘Bare Necessities’. If anything, I thought Part Two had even better songs; such as the Disney famed ‘King Of The Swingers’; the thoughtful ‘Wonderful World’; Blind Blake’s ‘Jumpin’ The Line’; and my personal favourite, the amusing ‘Me And Jane In A Plane’ featuring Brian on trombone. All the band members did a great solo spot, and all proved themselves to be highly competent with their instruments. All in all a fine performance which I enjoyed very much. If you’re into this kind of brassy, old-time Jazz then I’d highly recommend going to see Dave Rance’s boys playing their set.
Here’s a video of the band (at a different gig) performing the amusing ‘Me And Jane In A Plane’…
Thanks to Byron, Kate, and all those who help out at the bowls club, for a great evening. Special thanks too, to Brian W and ‘Dave The Banjo’ of the band for taking an interest in my Grand Uncle Jim’s musical career; and agreeing to let me know if they ever come across any info on the bands that he played in. Incidentally, if anyone should happen upon any reference or recordings by these bands, please let me know. Jim Coker played banjo and sax in: Albert Kersey’s Solo Band; The Original Syncarmony Dance Band; and The Lucas Family Band; during the 1920s and 30s. PTMQ