1 June 2017

Big Band Scene (June 2017)

Patrick Billingham reviews recent big band gigs and looks at/for missing parts.

It is flaming June at last.  Time to say goodbye to May. 

I have been to a couple of gigs recently.  One of which was a Saturday Afternoon of Jazz in the packed out foyer of The Ropetackle Arts Centre in Shoreham.  With bands ranging from small groups up to what appeared to me to qualify as a big band. With seven saxes, a clarinet, brass, a violin, and rhythm section: Mark Bassey’s Jazz Carousel.  His jazz improvisation workshop students’ public performance première.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

The set opened with a rollicking Nostalgia in Times Square followed by Song For My Father, Autumn in New York and Cherokee. All of which gave everyone the opportunity to showcase their soloing skills.   The encore was C Jam Blues (in F) which segued into the evening’s jam session.

Anyone interested in signing up to these workshops can find details in the Jazz Education Guide elsewhere in this magazine.

Terry Pack’s Trees were again in fine form for their Big Band@Brunswick slot.  The programme was a mixture of charts familiar to followers of the band, and some recent additions.  Three pieces: Simeon, The Story So Far and Baka are by Hilary Burt. The Holy Well is a collaboration between Imogen Ryall and Terry.  Pantaleón, The Ridge, Friston to Cuckmere and El Pueblo Unido are all Terry’s own work, as is Heart of Oak which featured, for me, the high point of the evening, a blistering trumpet trade off between those Sussex stalwarts Raul D’Oliveira and Moshe Ibelo.

Altogether, there were 33 musicians involved.  Almost, but not quite, outnumbering the disappointing, but not disappointed, audience.  There were some first timers in the band, most of whose names were familiar to me. Including Mike Hext in the trombone section.  Who I felt I should recognise. And as viewers of a certain age have reminded me, was the first ever winner of the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition. In 1978.                                                                                                                                                                  

If you are not familiar with any of the aforementioned charts, you have the opportunity, not only to hear some of them on Friday 23rd (details in the big band gig list, below), but also the opportunity to take them home on a freshly launched CD.   


And now some appeals.

Nick Duckett, n.duckett1@gmail.com, has compiled a four CD set of the Harry South Big Band.  He is seeking information on these BBC broadcasts.  If you have any recordings, please get in touch with him.

The Harry South Big Band: Jazz Club: 11th September 1966, 4th December 1968 & 29th November 1969.

The Harry South Big Band with Georgie Fame: Jazz Club: 11th December 1966, 29th June 1968, 10th August 1968 & 10th May 1969.

The Harry South Big Band with Humphrey Lyttleton, 4th Dec 1968.

The Harry South Quartet: 26th December 1971 & 23rd Apr 1972.

Radio 2: Sounds of Jazz: 12th January 1975.

No further details: 28th January 1974.


Back in December (SJM 59), I asked for help in finding missing parts.  I had a good response, and most of these charts are now complete. Some parts turned out not to be missing after all.  For example, Trumpet 4, where the arrangements turned out to have only three trumpet parts.  

These are currently on my list.

Big Mama – in F, (Steve Parry) – Trumpet 4

Easy Living – in Bb, (Unknown arranger) – Trumpets 2, 3 & 4

Mouse in the Dairy – no key – Ken Wheeler – Piano, Guitar & Drums.

Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most arr. Frank Mantooth – Guitar, Bass & Drums

Straight Life – in F, Freddy Hubbard (arr. Ian Hamer) – Piano, Guitar, Bass & Drums,

Swinging Shepherd Blues in C, Dennis Wright – Trumpet 4

Will You No Come Back Again (arr. Steve Gray) – Trumpet 4

If you have any of these, or you know that the parts never existed, then please email me.  And if your band’s library appears to be missing any parts, I can add them to this list in a future column.

    Finally, it is the general election on the 8th. I live in a marginal constituency. There is a strong possibility that the current incumbent can be ousted.  I want this to happen for personal reasons. Thanks to him the Sussex Jazz Orchestra almost folded.  

Fifteen years ago, The Lift, in Queen’s Road, Brighton, was a flourishing music venue.  The SJO played there six times per year.  It hosted two Brighton Jazz Club gigs each week.  Then he bought the pub downstairs. Deciding that live music was not a money spinner he closed The Lift without notice. Bands and audiences turned up to find it shut.  The Lift was turned into a sports room. Without regular gigs, interest in the SJO waned, and at the lowest point only three of us turned up for a rehearsal.  The Jazz Club also struggled to survive.  

Although, I suppose if he is not re-elected, he might go back to his old profession of prioritising personal profits above the interests of the wider community.  It’s a risk I’m prepared to take.  I shall vote against him. I hope you will also go out and vote.  To ensure a strong and stable Sussex big band scene.


Next month:  More news and views, and hopefully, another band profile.  If you would like your band featured, and I have not already contacted you, please get in touch.  Or if there is anything else, such as gig news, or feedback on this column, that you would like me to include in July’s Big Band Scene, please send it to me by Saturday 24th June. Which, by the way, is Armed Forces Day. So if you are going to a gig, and there is a parade in that area, make sure you are on the appropriate side of the route.  Otherwise you may be late.  My email address is g8aac@yahoo.co.uk.  

Big Band Gigs

June – early July

 † a regular monthly gig

bold italics part of a regular series


Thursday 1st June

†7:30 pm, The Maestro Big Band with Nicki Day at the Hope Inn, West Pier, Newhaven, East Sussex BN9 9DN (01273 515389).  Free entry  


Saturday 3rd June

7:30 pm, Brighton Festival Fringe: Strike Up The Band: South London Jazz Orchestra at St. Mary’s Church, 61, St. James St, Brighton BN2 1PR (01273).  £10/£8.

8:00 pm, The Brighton Big Band at The Round Georges, 14-15 Sutherland Road, Brighton BN2 0EQ, (01273 691833).   Free entry.


Sunday 4th June

†12:45 – 3:00 pm, Sounds of Swing Big Band at The Horseshoe Inn Hotel, Posey Green, Windmill Hill, Herstmonceux, East Sussex BN27 4RU (02035 645225).   Free entry.

13.00 – 15:00, Bexhill Music Festival: The Wacky Band at The De La Warr Pavilion, Marina,  Bexhill, East Sussex, (01424 229111) TN40 1DP.  Free entry. 

8:00 – 10:30  pm, Big Band @Brunswick: Studio 9 Orchestra at The Brunswick, 3, Holland Road, Hove BN3 1JF (01273 733984).  Free entry with collection.


Tuesday 6th June

8:00 – 10:30 pm, The Ronnie Smith Big Band presents music from the 40s at St. Symphorian’s Church, Durrington Hill, Durrington, Worthing, West Sussex,  BN13 2PU (01903 268109).  £7 (proceeds to church building funds).


Wednesday 7th June

†8:30 pm, The Fred Woods Big Band at the Horsham Sports Club, Cricketfield Road, Horsham, West Sussex RH12 1TE (01403 254628).  £2 (Club members free.)


Sunday 11th June

†12:00 – 3:00 pm, Groovin’ High Big Band at the Ravenswood Country House Inn, Horsted Lane, Sharpethorne, West Sussex RH19 4HY, (01342 810216).   Free entry. 

3:00 – 5:00 pm, The Sussex Jazz Orchestra with Mark Bassey at The Roebuck Inn, Lewes Road, Laughton, Lewes, East Sussex BN8 6BG, (01323 811081).   Free entry.


Tuesday 13th June

†8:00 – 10:30 pm, The Ronnie Smith Big Band at The Humming Bird Restaurant, Main Terminal Building, Shoreham Airport, West Sussex,  BN43 5FF (01273 452300).  Free entry with collection.


Sunday 18th June

2:00 – 5:00 pm, Tea Dance with The Maestro Big Band at Newhaven Fort, Fort Road, Newhaven, East Sussex BN9 9DS (01273 517622).   £7.50/£5.95/£4.95 etc. Families £19.95.


Friday 23rd June

8:00 – 10:00 pm: Terry Pack’s Trees at The Ropetackle Arts Centre, Little High Street, Shoreham-by-Sea, BN43 5EG (01273 464440).  £10.


Saturday 24th June

2:45 – 4:00 pm, The Les Paul Big Band with Pam Dabell at Steyne Gardens, The Steyne, Worthing, West Sussex, BN11 1NZ (01273 509631) Free entry with collection.  


Sunday 25th June

1:30 – 4:30 pm, Sunday in The Park with Jazz, B.O.A.T, Dyke Road Park, Dyke Road, Hove BN1. Free entry with collection for donations.

    1:30 pm, Trees

3:15 pm, The One World Orchestra.

2:00 – 4:00 pm, The Brighton Big Band at the Pavilion Gardens, New Road Brighton, BN1 1 UG (01273 730712), weather permitting.  Free entry.  (To be confirmed)

3.00 – 5:00  (time tbc), The Wacky Band at The Bull’s Head, Boreham Street, East Sussex, BN27 4SG.  (01323 831981).   Free entry.


Friday 30th June

†8:30 – 11:00 pm, The Les Paul Big Band at Patcham Community Centre, Ladies Mile Road, Patcham, Brighton BN1 8TA, £5.  For further details contact Steve (01273 509631) 


(Bring your own refreshments.)


Sunday 2nd July

11:00 am – 11:00 pm Love Supreme Jazz Festival:  Glynde Place, Glynde East Sussex BN8 6SX (01273 858224). Day event tickets from £59.40.

11:15 am – 12:00 noon, Trees on The Bandstand.

†12:45 – 3:00 pm, Sounds of Swing Big Band at The Horseshoe Inn Hotel, Posey Green, Windmill Hill, Herstmonceux, East Sussex BN27 4RU (02035 645225).   Free entry.

7:30 – 10:00  pm, Big Band @Brunswick: The Brighton Big Band at The Brunswick, 3, Holland Road, Hove BN3 1JF (01273 733984).  Free entry with collection.


Wednesday 5th July

†8:30 pm, The Fred Woods Big Band at the Horsham Sports Club, Cricketfield Road, Horsham, West Sussex RH12 1TE (01403 254628).  £2 (Club members free.)


Thursday 6th July

8:00 – 9:30 pm, Big Band Sound 01: The Swingshift Big Band on Eastbourne Bandstand, Grand Parade, Eastbourne, East Sussex BN21 3AD.  Advance bookings (01323 410611) £5/£2.50, or on the night £7/£3.50.

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