Booking any kind of entertainment way in advance is always a risky business. What if it rains? What if the road is closed? What if all manner of disasters occur? You can go on forever asking, what if? So to book a band of six professional musicians to play jazz on an Easter Monday could be classed as risky, very risky, especially as nearer the date it was found there was also the possibility of snow on that day. Snow at Easter? Surely not! This is, after all our wonderful British weather, so why not? Now the main worry is that no one would turn up to listen just in case the weather was bad. Perhaps they would be still away or returning from their Easter break. Not so in this case. A capacity audience turned up and the large car park was unusually full! A couple of the musicians nearly didn’t turn up for various reasons beyond their control and nails were beginning to be bitten to the quick, but it all turned out right in the end. And that was the point at which the clouds went away and the sun came out and the day was a gorgeous one, metaphorically speaking. This is what happened on the Easter Monday session when Roy and his rhythm chiefs started to play.
What a band. Based on some of the tightly arranged small bands this six-piece must have had the carpet down its backing in a number of places due to the tapping of feet. It may be a six-piece but this allowed for a number of trio spots featuring Dave Newton, guitarist and leader Roy, bassist Bill Coleman and drummer Mal Garrett. This band was almost as on their album, except on this occasion with Bill Coleman stepping in for Tom Hill. All the other musicians were the same as the CD personnel; Bryan Corbett and Charlie Wright occupying the trumpet and saxophone chairs. They even played the music that comprised their CD and how good it was to hear a live band of that standard in full flight. They played a mixture of jazz standards with a few well chosen home-brewed compositions which did not stand out as being fillers in any way.
Roy told the stories of how he met the musicians in the band and that just added to the entertainment. People left that night with a combination of smiles on their faces and glazed eyes – both emotions because they had enjoyed their evening so much. Many also said as much as they left. After all, if you check out the calibre of artists this band plays with as individual musicians; if you reel off the list of household names who they accompany now or have backed in the past, then you will realise just how high the standard of musicianship that was on stage that night.
We don’t live in a big city environment so how lucky we are to be able to see and hear this standard of jazz within easy reach of where we live.