Upton Jazz Festival Day 2 Part 2

Once my lunch was over and I had thoroughly digested it I proceeded over to “Fat’s Place” where ‘Pete Allen’s Traditional Jazz Seven were performing, as I entered the tent they were playing the Bix Beiderbecke associated number “At the Jazz Band Ball”, unsurprisingly there was no Bass Saxophone in the ensemble to recreate Rollini’s solo, but there was a vocal refrain which I never knew existed bridging the beginning and end sections. Amongst the line up was once again was drumming ace John Peters helping steer the band through a very solid session. Next up the band played a Dixieland standard called “I Want A Little Girl”, which despite its rather dubious sounding name is a rather touching little ballad and about loneliness… perhaps to follow up the wonderfully titled piece they should of done “Thank Heaven For Little Girls” and really set the factor to seedy…. Instead they performed another well known Dixieland standard called the Darktown Strutter’s Ball, I have various recordings of this including ones by Ella Fitzgerald, Sid Philips and my personal favourite being the one by Harry Roy. Useless little titbid of information for you here but Harry Roy was a favourite band leader of the late Jon Pertwee, for those unfamiliar with Jon Pertwee he was a much loved British comic actor who had a disguised career as a funny man appearing in many films including several of the Carry On’s, One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing. He is however perhaps best known for his roles in long running radio comedy The Navy Lark and on television for being the third Doctor Who and later for playing Worzel Gummage. The band then played a few more numbers which I sadly do not seem to of recorded and i then moved one. First up I used the facilities, then as I went to make my way out of Jazz City I made a quick call at a Samaritans stall and purchased a copy of John Le Carre’s The Constant Gardener to add to my ever expanding ‘to read’ list. Once of the main campus and on my way to the road I spotted that the Lamerotte boys had set up an little unofficial performance on the river bank, the only saw of amplification being used was a megaphone attached to a microphone strapped around the Soprano Saxophone players waist, so you could say the band was playing out of his arse! As I got there they had just finished off a number and started up a lovely little number called “I Still Love You All”, it is a smashing number which was famously recorded in the trad jazz boom of the late fifties/early sixties by Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen. Once this number was drawing to a close, I spotted Laura from the bar approaching the boys with a wad of plastic glasses and two four point jugs of ale, perhaps I should of pointed out there were nine people in the band but I guess that would be churlish. Once the boys had had their beer break and had a small chin-wag with some of the audience they went on to perform a little known number called Boodle-am-Shake, this is something of a novelty number which I remember hearing being performed by Acker Bilk, Sandy Brown and Terry Lightfoot on the album “Clarinet Jamboree”. The lyrics are absolute nonsense of course but the tune is rather catchy and fun, if you like Dixieland and clarinet players I strongly suggest you buy this album. Once this impromptu gig had finished I crossed the bridge, pausing to try and scrape some of the Jazz City mud off my feet and went to the bridge bar to refill my pint, this took several attempts as the two beers I first chose ran out on me as they pulled them and were rather cloudy. I settled on what was really a Hobson’s choice for the moment on the Teme Valley beer ‘This’, yup you guessed correctly, they had beers called “This”, “That” and “T’Other”. I did take a photo of the badge for “T’Other” which was in the shape of a finger pointing at the barrel next to it… surely that’s not a good advertising design, odd thing was that as I photographed the badge my camera said it detected a blink, how on Earth does an inanimate object blink????? Once I had consumed my ale and had a brief chat with the barman whose name I still did not find out, I ventured into the town of Upton once again and went to the social club where former Harp regular Bill Bailey was hosting a gig and jam sessions. I was partially hoping to see if I would encounter my friend and mentor Malcolm Holgarth, but alas it was not to be. I arrived up at the social club towards the end of the gig which was very cramped as the room was not huge, they were playing Royal Garden Blues with some Louis Armstrong style vocals, the tune then merged with Duke Ellington’s C-Jam Blues before switching to Shake, Rattle and Roll before reverting back to the Royal Garden Blues. While I was at this gig I purchased a pint of the ever excellent Wye Valley Bitter and for the first time since Thursday night had a pint of beer in an actual glass as opposed to a plastic. Well I say plastic, the cup declared it wasn’t plastic but a biodegradable imitation of plastic which is a good thing as there is way too much waste which can’t be broken down clogging up our green and pleasant isle. Well the band finished off their set with Kenny Ball’s number ‘Midnight in Moscow’, a big hit which got to number 4 and 2 in the UK and USA billboard charts respectively, I had a weird experience because I could of sworn blind Rodney Bewes (Bob Ferrries from The Likely Lads), was standing next to me. Obviously it wasn’t him as the man here was too young to be him, but he looked like him a few years older than in the show, I joked to him about this hoping he wouldn’t get offended. Happily he didn’t and was used to it and was quite surprised I knew who Rodney Bewes was! Once I consumed my pint I started to make my way back to the bridge, stopping briefly to talk to some lads and lasses of around my age who were quite well dressed and recommend a couple of gigs for them to go to, once at the bridge I nipped into the portaloo and changed into my Tweed jacket and Bow tie ready for the evening’s festivities. Now the amusing thing about these portaloos is that in a superficial way they resemble a police box, or if you prefer the TARDIS, but unlike the TARDIS these aren’t bigger on the inside and are very cramped inside, especially if your getting changed. Once I was in my evening attire, I donned my Fez and got the barman to photo me as I posed for a photo as Matt Smith’s Doctor, I later captioned it “No Doctor, that isn’t the TARDIS”.

Roger Marks’ Cornish Armada Jazzband started their performance meaning that shortly at the appropriately named venue, the fantastic Edinburgh originated Fat Sam’s Band were due on soon. I took a few snaps of the Roger Marks’ band and moved back to the Jazz City quagmire which was quite bad once again, especially on the way to the entrance to Fat’s Place. I arrived just as the band was beginning to play and I was somewhat surprised to see that the band leader had forgone his usual white and black checked suit for a plain red suit. This may well of been due to the issues with mud, but I do recall that last year the suit was looking quite faded with the white looking grey, on the upside he still had his white clarinet. Noting that the audience response to their first number was a bit muted, the band leader suggested that we “all close our and eyes and join hands to see if we can contact the living.” Which did make me smile if no one else, to get people hep to the jive he led the band into a rip-roaring performance of Cab Calloway’s famous signature tune “Minnie the Moocher”, a tune which thanks to its inclusion in the cult hit The Blues Brothers, is recognised across the generations. This did help get the jive going a little and they followed the number up with Louis Jordan’s “Ain’t Nobody here But Us Chickens”, this prompted several people to get on to the dance floor and boogie. While this number was being played my Fez did the rounds on the dancers and one of the lads sheepishly admitted to me it was rather embarrassing that his dad was a better dancer then him. Once the number was over the lad’s dad returned from the floor and thanked him for the lone of his wife. As the next number started up, the dad returned to the floor with a young lady who could of been either his younger wife/girlfriend or his daughter, I didn’t think it my place to pry. She was a brunette, petite in size but an ample figure and an absolutely cracking pair of… I’ll say eyes… They were somewhat disconcerted to find that the number they were dancing to was a semi-original self-titled piece called “Fat Sam’s Band”, I say semi original because the tune is in fact “Old McDonald” with the farm yard lyrics replaced with details about his band. Once this childishly fun number closed, the band slowed down the pace with a rendition of my favourite ballad; Hoagy Carmichael’s song Stardust. This opened with a fantastic unaccompanied trumpet solo of the opening version before the rest of the band kicked in for the main melody, the number closing off with more focus on the trumpet but this time with rhythm section accompaniment. I made a recording of this performance which is sans the opening solo and cuts out a bit at the end, it is on You Tube and my user name there is Fransure. Once the melody had settled, the tempo got more upbeat and more jivers took to the dance floor, evidently my level of consumption had not reached the saturation point as I had not yet had the urge to go and strut. After this number the band went to intermission and I popped out to have a look around some of the stalls as opposed to heading back to the bar. I called in on the music stall where I noticed that there was a piccolo on sale for £150, I corrected the guy who was manning the stall for the moment who believe it was £15…hey I’m an honest man. Now the reason I was looking at the piccolo was because my sister played the flute for a long time and often talked about getting s piccolo, so I thought it would make a nice belated birthday gift for her as I haven’t bought her a good birthday day present since… well ever. So I paid a deposit and returned to the beer tent to refuel on the Dragon’s Blood, since there was still time I made my way over to another stall. This was a music themed novelty tent and the lady running the stall recognised that I was wearing one of her bow-ties, I purchased a little saxophone pin-badge for Mary Moo and had a quick chat with the lady. Turns out she used to be good friends with the late John Burnett, a trumpeter/bandleader who was a frequent regular at the harp until his sudden and unexpected death in 2004. He used to front a band called John Burnett’s Jazz Bandits which was a little more boppy and mainstream then most of the Harp bands of the time, the band sort of continues under the direction of reedsman Pete Clayton under the name Pete Clayton’s Jazz Friends and frequently play at the Waterworks Jazz Club in Birmingham. Once this little catch up was completed I returned to Fat’s Place for the remainder of the Fat Sam’s Band gig, once it was over I purchased a T-Shirt and a couple of CD’s two for myself and one for Amy which I got signed for her. Once this gig was over I went across the bridge and had a bit of quick chin wag with Laura and the other bar girl before nipping out to the local fish and chip shop for my tea. I had a battered burger and chips, something I don’t think I’ve had since I was aged in single digit numbers and felt that perhaps I should just have someone inject fat directly into my arteries, doing my best to be a nice chap I also bought a bag of chips for the girls at the bar. By now the joys of the British summertime were showing their full due as the rain had started once again, ensuring that the quagmire would get more stick for the remainder of the evening. Luckily the gig I was waiting for was not in Jazz City but under the bridge so I had a relatively easy time of waiting in the beer tent Carl Sinclair’s second gig of the festival. While I was waiting I was joined at the bar by Carl Sinclair’s brother who is a children’s entertainer and was keeping Laura and the bar staff amused making balloon animals, one of which was a dog with a puppy in its belly, must admit he certainly can shape balloon animals. Now despite being told he was Carl’s brother I would of guessed it as there was a strong family resemblance between the two… although he is rather more corpulent then Carl. He borrowed my Fez and did a few Tommy Cooper poses for camera, a not totally inappropriate exercise in this case. Now due to the previously mentioned issue with the Taxi booking my intended plan to see the Big Chris Barber Band had to be jettisoned so I stayed under the bridge for the Carl Sinclair gig, a wise move as the rain was still beating down and the Jazz city quagmire would no doubt be intensifying. Once again it was the quartet and he kicked off his set with the Ray Charles associated number “What’d I Say” followed by a rather bizarre choice, the Monkee’s “Now I a Believer” played in a suitable blues boogie-woogie style. After that he played homage to Winfred Attwell with “The Poor People of Paris”, a number I associate more with Kenny Ball. While this was being played I nipped off for a drink and this may come as a shock to some but I actually had a cup of Earl Grey, I returned to the gig just as Carl Sinclair started a rendition of a number called “My Babe” (I think) which as I listened to made me think of the criminally over locked pianist and vocalist Mose Allison, an artist who you could say was a musical child of Hoagy Carmichael. It took me a few moments as the caffine cleared the synapses a little, on Mose Allison’s album ‘The Way of the World’ the opening track is called ‘My Brain’ and is based on this tune. Needless to say, the lyrics of the Allison song are far more intelligent and witty. This was the last number for the set and I made my way out to the high street and ran into the lads I met from outside the social club and we went on a last minute hike around the area photographing as many people as we could wearing the fez, a surprising number of people were up for it including an Irish Setter. There is something rather ridiculously amusing about a dog wearing a fez! We made a brief detour to the Jazz City quagmire and got a few people there including most of the band members of Lamarotte, whom each thought it was a fun idea to gurn various faces for the photos. It was then I had to leave for my taxi and discovered how much of a quagmire the pitch was becoming as my shoe came off in the mud and I somehow managed to keep my balance hopping while pulling my shoe out the mud. So my second day at Upton drew to a close earlier then I hoped, it was a shame I never got to see the Big Chris Barber Band but from what I heard on the grapevine the next day, it would seem I didn’t miss out too much. First of all there was quite a lot of queuing to enter the venue, he spot out a bit of time talking rather than playing as well apparently. Well, perhaps an early night was good for me, once back at the hotel I downloaded the pictures and videos of the day, made myself a cup of Pukka Night Time tea and caught up with my book.


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