Big Band Scene (Oct. 2016)

    Les Paul, who died last month at the age of 84, was born in Kolkata India, one of five children of Gerald and Minni Paul.  He was studying for an engineering degree when his family decided to move to England in 1951, where they settled in Croydon.  He embarked on an apprenticeship and studied at night school for five years in order to become qualified as an engineer, specialising in heating, air conditioning and ventilation. While living there, he met Margaret and they married in 1960.

    For ten years from 1965, he was posted abroad, living initially in Malaysia, then finally in Australia.  In 1975, the family returned to this country, settling in Brighton, at Patcham.  

    Like many of his generation, Les was a self-taught musician, initially playing clarinet. He met like-minded colleagues in the local office and started his first band, a Dixieland quartet.  This gradually expanded to an octet playing more mainstream jazz. He also worked his way through the saxophone family. In the mid 1980s he realised his musical ambition and formed the Les Paul Big Band (Profiled in SJM 6 and SJM41), playing baritone.  At this time he was working away from home, leaving first thing Monday and returning in time for the 8pm rehearsal on Friday.

    Les retired in 1993 and was able to devote more time to music including giving saxophone lessons, advertised every week in the Musical Services section of the Friday Ad.  He also had the time to play in other bands in the Brighton area, including the then Dave Masters Big Band and a brief stint with the Sussex Jazz Orchestra.

    As a consulting engineer, he applied his professional skills to running his band. He studied his market and organised the pad into five different libraries, each designed to provide music to suit the occasion. For many years, the band ran its own very successful ballroom dance evenings at the King Alfred Ballroom in Hove, as well as playing for all types of functions at all types of venues all over the Sussex area, for which band members were rewarded financially.  Clearly the band had something special about it. Unlike many other big bands in the area, it was never short of trombones.

    In his later years, as his health began to fail, although he still played, Les passed on the day to day running to his trumpeter son Steven, who ensures the survival of this well-established big band.

    Les is survived by Margaret, their children Angela and Steven, and four grandchildren.

Percival Llewellyn (Les) Paul, born November 10th 1931; died August 14th 2016.

 

    Now some developments in the county.  The Big Band@Brunswick series of gigs on the first Sunday evening of each month is set to continue next year.  If you would like to secure a slot for your band, contact Alex Bondonno, alex@bigbandjazz.co.uk

    Trombonist and keyboard player Richard Nield, who has played with many high profile names, is relocating to Sussex from Leamington Spa where he ran the highly successful The Badgers Big Band.  He wants to do it all again, and get to meet and play with musicians based in this area. And to set up a new band in Haywards Heath. Focussing on the likes of big band arrangements of Pat Metheny/Lyle Mays compositions, great swing and funk charts that haven’t been played to death by other bands as well as some of the better known charts – but only the really good ones.

    If you are interested, you can contact Richard at richard.nield@virgin.net or through the new band’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/284981015205306/

 

Next month:  News and views plus possibly a 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 November’s Big Band Scene, please send it to me by Monday October 24th.  My email address is g8aac@yahoo.co.uk.

 

Big Band Gigs

October – Early November 

 † a regular monthly gig

bold italics part of a regular series

 

Sunday 2nd October

†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 – 10:30  pm, Big Band @Brunswick: Straight No Chaser at The Brunswick, 3, Holland Road, Hove BN3 1JF (01273 733984).  Free entry with collection.

 

Wednesday 5th October

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

 

Friday 7th October

7:30 – 9:30 pm, Jazz & Cocktails at St. Nic’s: The Sussex Jazz Orchestra with Mark Bassey at St. Nicholas of Myra Church, Church St. off Dyke Road, Brighton BN1 3LJ (01273 205360) £12. Doors open 7:00 pm.  Tickets available direct from St. Nicholas, the Dome Box Office, or at the door.

 

Tuesday 11th October

†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.

 

Saturday 15th October

7:30 pm, Frankly Sinatra: Stephen Triffit with big band at The Pavilion Theatre Marine Parade, Worthing, West Sussex BN11 3PX (01903 206206).   £25.50/£24/50. 

 

Sunday 16th October

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. 

 

Sunday 23rd October

†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.

 

Friday 28th October

†8:30 – 11:00 pm, The Les Paul Big Band (Family & Friends evening) in Patcham, BN1, £5. For further details contact Steve (01273 509631) steven_paul1@yahoo.co.uk (Bring your own refreshments.)

 

Wednesday 2nd November

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

 

Sunday 6th November

†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 – 10:30  pm, Big Band @Brunswick: The Sussex Jazz Orchestra with Mark Bassey and special guest star Simon Spillett playing the charts of Tubby Hayes at The Brunswick, 3, Holland Road, Hove BN3 1JF (01273 733984).  Free entry with collection.

 

Photo of Les Paul by Patrick Billingham.