Big Band Scene (July 2016)

    Saxophonist Patrick Billingham has good news and bad news. He also profiles community group The Wacky Band.

    Well, that’s it.  The referendum is history.  And the result, from my point of view, as a big band musician, is worrying.  The secretive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) referred to in SJM50 (March) is, this month, undergoing the fourteenth round of negotiations between the United States and the European Union. And looks like continuing for some years yet. 

    But our government has already stated its willingness to sign without discussion. It looks as though once we are no longer members of the EU in a couple of years or so, TTIP will apply in this country.  This means that if the large US companies owning copyright regard our freedom to reproduce music for rehearsal and practice purposes as unfairly depriving them of income, they can sue the government.  Our photocopied charts and digital archives may be at risk. It might be worth starting to write your own material, or downloading Paul Busby’s excellent charts from www.scoredchages.comWatch this column for further developments.

    Now for some good news. Even though the weather has given little sign so far, Summer has officially arrived, and with it the annual programme of Thursday evening big band concerts on Eastbourne Bandstand.  The Big Band Sound.  Details at the foot of the column.

Now for some more good news.  There is a new venue in town.  With room for a big band. It is Horatio’s Bar on Brighton Pier. The capacity is 280 inside or 350 altogether if the large beer gardens are included.   Although the plan is for afternoon gigs, mainly at weekends, it opens on Tuesday July 12th. And if you wish to perform for an evening fundraiser or similar, that can be arranged.  Likewise it would be possible for a smaller ensemble to play at the front of the pier to drum up publicity for the band.

Fees are by negotiation.  Riders include refreshments for all band members as well as some light snacks. If you are interested, you should contact Marc Thorley, MarcT@brightonpier.co.uk.

    If you do get a gig there, please let me know, so that I can include it the calendar.  Ideally, I would like to include all gigs open to the public in my lists.  Last month, there were at least seven that I missed.  Meaning that barely 70% of big band gigs in the county were included.  As I appealed last month, if you play in a big band, and you know of any such gigs, please let me know as far in advance as you can.  I would rather have a dozen notifications of the same event than not to include it.  If you know of anything coming up next year, the 2017 calendar is already open.  I would appreciate accuracy on your websites and Facebook pages, not to mention all the important details such as timings and entry charges.

Last month I had the pleasure of depping with Big Band Sounds. Their profile, SJM 43 (August 2015), mentioned then that they were short of trombones.  The shortage was even more acute this time.  There weren’t any.

    If you are a trombonist, or if you know one, who would like to play with this band, then please get in touch with Darren Vassie, (07973 450213). ukbigbandsounds@gmail.com.

    The band still rehearses 8-10 pm on the first and third Wednesdays of each month at the East Sussex National Golf Hotel, Little Horsted near Uckfield, TN22 5ES.  This may seem a bit remote, and is some distance from the nearest, infrequent, bus services, but regular band members live in Eastbourne, Hailsham, Haywards Heath, Hove, Newhaven, Peacehaven, Polegate and Worthing. So if you don’t have your own transport, contact Darren, and he can put you in touch with the appropriate band member to arrange lifts.

 

This month we feature The Wacky Band.

    This is a community wind band based in Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex.  The band has performed regularly in the East Sussex area for a number of years, playing at music festivals such as the annual Bexhill Music Festival and supporting local community groups and charities.  They play everything from classic jazz and blues through to popular and film music, medleys, and even the occasional classical piece. 

    The band can draw on a pool of more than 40 amateur musicians of a range of ages and abilities, led by a professional conductor, though typically this will reduce to around two dozen in performance.  The instruments played are typical of a community wind band with a reed/woodwind section (clarinets, flutes, saxes), a brass section (trumpets, trombones, horns) and a rhythm section (drums and bass guitar).

    One of the distinctive features that sets The Wacky Band apart from many other ensembles in the area, is that it welcomes players of all abilities and ages, allowing them to develop within the band.  It believes that making music should be fun and prides itself on being an exceptionally friendly and welcoming environment in which to rehearse and play, and hopefully this sense of fun is transmitted to the audience through the music!

    Rehearsals take place every Thursday evening, 7:30 – 9:30 pm, at St Stephen's Church Hall, Down Road, Bexhill TN39 4HD.

    For further information, if you are interested in joining the band, or to book the band, contact Paul at paul@classicbikes-sussex.co.uk.  or Graham at thewackyband@outlook.com.   

    The Band also has an open Facebook page that can be viewed and used by non-Facebook members at www.facebook.com/thewackyband.  It provides comprehensive information on the Band including details of forthcoming performances, photos and videos of the Band in both performance and rehearsal, and full contact details.

 

    Next month – more news and views and perhaps 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 August’s Big Band Scene, please send it to me by Monday July 25th.

 

Big Band Gigs for July – Early August

† means a regular monthly gig

bold italic type indicates part of a regular series

 

Friday July 1st.

8:30 pm, The Simon Bates Big Band presented by Steyning Jazz Club at The Steyning Centre, Fletchers Croft, Church Street, Steyning, West Sussex BN44 3YB (01903 814017).   Members & students £7, guests £12.  

 

Sunday July 3rd.

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.

11:30 am, Beats & Pieces Big Band in The Arena, 

12:00 pm, 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.

1:00 – 3:00 pm, The Bexhill Music Festival: The Wacky Band on the De La Warr Pavilion Bandstand, 51 Marina, Bexhill, TN40 1DP, (01424 229111).   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 July 6th.

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

 

Thursday July 7th.

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

 

Sunday July 10th.

†12:30 – 3:00 pm, Graham Mintram's Groovin' High Big Band the Ravenswood Hotel, Horsted Lane, Sharpthorne, East Sussex RH19 4HY (01342 810216).  Free entry.

 

Tuesday July 12th.

†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.

 

Thursday July 14th.

8:00 – 9:30 pm, Big Band Sound 02: 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.

 

Sunday July 17th.

7:00 – 9:00 pm, The Sussex Jazz Orchestra with Mark Bassey at The Round Georges, 14-15 Sutherland Road, Brighton BN2 0EQ, (01273 691833).   Free entry with collection. 

 

Thursday July 21st.

8:00 – 9:30 pm, Big Band Sound 03: The Johnny Spice Swing Orchestra on Eastbourne Bandstand, Grand Parade, Eastbourne, East Sussex BN21 3AD.  Advance bookings (01323 410611) £5/£2.50, or on the night £7/£3.50.

 

Friday July 22nd.

7:30 pm, The Bratislava Hot Serenaders at The Congress Theatre, Carlisle Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex BN21 4BP (01323 412000).  £ 18.50

Saturday July 23rd.

2:00 pm, The Downsbeat Swing Band at The Ropetackle Arts Centre, Little High Street, Shoreham-by-Sea, BN43 5EG. (01273 464440)  Free entry.

 

Sunday July 24th.

†12:30 – 3:00 pm, The South Coast Big Band at The Junction Tavern, 99 Station Road, Polegate, East Sussex BN24 6EB (01323 482010).   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.

3:00 – 5:35 pm, The Glenn Miller Orchestra with Ray McVay at The Pavilion Theatre, Marine Parade, Worthing, West Sussex, BN11 3PX (01903 206206) £21.50/£19.50.

 

Thursday July 28th.

8:00 – 9:30 pm, Big Band Sound 04: The Brighton Big Band with Jackie Sampson on Eastbourne Bandstand, Grand Parade, Eastbourne, East Sussex BN21 3AD.  Advance bookings (01323 410611) £5/£2.50, or on the night £7/£3.50.

 

Friday July 29th.

†8:30 – 11:00 pm, The Les Paul Big Band (Family & Friends evening) in Patcham, BN1, £5.  For further details contact Les (01273 558009) les@lespaulbigband.co.uk  (Bring your own refreshments.)

 

Wednesday August 3rd.

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

 

Thursday August 4th.

8:00 – 9:30 pm, Big Band Sound 05: The Central Band of The Royal British Legion on Eastbourne Bandstand, Grand Parade, Eastbourne, East Sussex BN21 3AD.  Advance bookings (01323 410611) £5/£2.50, or on the night £7/£3.50.

 

Sunday August 7th.

†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.

3:00 – 4.30 pm, The Brighton Big Band with Dave Williams on the seafront terraces, Rottingdean, East Sussex BN2. Free admission.

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

 

 

As in previous months, this list is very likely incomplete.  If you play in a big band, and you know of any gigs open to the public, please let me know as far in advance as you can.  I would rather have a dozen notifications of the same event than not to include it.