Big Band Scene (Jan. 2020)

Happy New Year. In contrast to the general gloom about the state of the nation, there is good news on the big band scene. 2020 shows an increase of four Sussex based big bands compared with 2019. Who are included in my annual January list of active gigging big bands based in the county. 

As well as the name of the band, the list includes websites, where known, Facebook pages, if any, and contact details.

Big Band Sounds

Contact: Darren Vassie,

Bognor Regis Big Band

Contact: Mike Bosley, 01243 821434,

Brighton Jazz Mafia Big Band

Contact: Alex Bondonno, 07941 971411,

ConChord Big Band

Contact: Frank Osborne, 01342 322646,

Happy Days Big Band

Contact: Chris Merryfield-Day, 07910 127785

JL Dance & Swing Band

Contact: James Lelean,

Phoenix Big Band

Contact: Debby Wells,


Contact: Peter Thompson, 07855 008116,

Some Like It Hotter

Contact:  Jo Wood, 07545 305690,,

Sounds of Swing

Contact: Chris Tanner, 07769 789225 / 07860 182734

Sussex All-Stars Big Band

Contact: Peter Blackmore, 01323 764192,

The BYG (Bells Yew Green) Big Band

Contact: Karen Wardrop, 

The Brighton Big Band

Contact: John Lake, 07950 317496,

The CH Big Band

Contact: Christ’s Hospital School, Horsham.

The Fred Woods Big Band

Contacts: Richard Guest,,

Bill Woods, 07776 200586,

The Horsham RBL Legionnaires Big Band

Contact: Richard Guest,

The Johnny Spice Swing Orchestra

Contact: Paul Hyde, 01273 516632,,

The JP Big Band

Contact: Jim Prior,

The Les Paul Big Band

Contact: Steve Paul, 01273 509631 com

The Maestro Big Band

Contact: Paul Boswell, 01273 517999

The One World Jazz Orchestra

Contact: Paul Nieman. 01273 256521 / 07706 165768

The Perdido Players’ Swing Band

Contact: Peter Swann, 01444 450335

The Ron Green Big Band

Contact: or 01798 813008 / 07752 405493,

The Ronnie Smith Big Band

Contact: Rod Burrows, 01903 783053,

The Simon Bates Big Band

Contact: Simon Bates, 07739 231467,

The South Coast Big Band

Contact: Duncan J. Reeks, 01323 767804/ 07721 184031,

The Studio 9 Orchestra


The Sussex Jazz Orchestra

Contact: Patrick Billingham, 07812 418560,

The Sussex Universities’ Big Band


The Swingshift Big Band

Contact: Jonathan Bailey, 01825 872574, or

Sarah Lofthouse, 01825 873677

The Tony Strudwick Big Band

Contact: Tony Strudwick, 01903 764328,


This list is of conventionally constituted big bands. Bands with a less conventional line up will be listed next month. Some of these bands perform regularly, perhaps more than a dozen times a year, others occasionally. Some were formed to raise funds for one-off charity events, but due to popular demand, may well be heard again in 2020. The following bands occupy these regular monthly slots.

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

First Monday: 8:00 – 10:30 pm, The Rox Sessions Live at ‘The Hoff’. Bognor Regis Big Band open rehearsal at the Hothampton Arms, London Road, Bognor Regis, West Sussex,  PO21 1PR. Free entry with collection for the Rox music charity.

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

Second Sunday: 12:30 – 3:00 pm, The South Coast Big Band at the Fishermens Club, Royal Parade, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN22 7AA  £5 

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

Last Friday: 8:30 – 11:00 pm, The Les Paul Big Band at Patcham Community Centre, Ladies Mile Road, Patcham, Brighton, BN1 8TA, £5. 

Up to date details can be found in the listings elsewhere in the magazine.

Next month: Hopefully more news and views. 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 February’s Big Band Scene, please send it to me by Sunday January 12th.  My email address is