Sunday 18th of February marked the end of a consecutive five-week run of Jazz Club 90 at Albrighton Sports and Social Club, normally the gigs are every other week, but no doubt other bookings at the club have cause a slight change of schedule. I attended four out of five of these gigs and this one will probably be the last gig at Jazz Club 90 I attend for a while, due to work commitments. This week’s band was Mark Challoner’s Wabash Four on their second gig this year, the first being a last minute stand-in for after Bev Pegg had to cancel his gig for health reasons. I did wonder if the gigs would have been inverted as consequence but it was not the case.
Mark Challoner: Banjo/Guitar/Ukulele
Mike Hayler: Reeds
Pete Ainge: Trumpet
Richard Vernon: Bass
As I arrived the Band had just finished their first number and I found myself a nice comfortable place to view the band from. The line up is pretty familiar with Pete Ainge being a somewhat common sight in the West Midlands Jazz scene and has been for over 15 years, he’s always a good sign of quality. With their following number the band went back to the roots of Jazz with a number called the Storyville Blues, so called after a somewhat suspect part of New Orleans in which Jazz was developed and became popular.
Pete Ainge lent his dulcet vocal to the next number which was a nice tune that has a title which is advice I have given out and received “If You Can’t Be Good, Be Careful.” Following this little ditty was an Acker Bilk associated tune from the film “Band of Thieves” called “Lonely”. Not an Acker Bilk tune I am familiar with I will confess, and no, I haven’t seen the movie either. Well here is the band:
I must confess I didn’t catch the name of the next number which was one with a French title, following this the band went in Shakespeare territory with a number called “Goodnight Sweet Prince”, as a nod to Hamlet. It is too old to be a memoriam for that annoying actor/restaurant owner from The Two Doctors. The set closed with a number I think is one favoured by Peter Ainge as I have heard him play several times with The Chicago Swing Katz and back in the day with the Heart of England Jazz Band back in the early-mid Noughties. The title is a request I have often made to the young ladies and usually results in me being propelled onto the pavement with a punt up the posterior, it is of course “Give Me Your Telephone Number.”
Set two opened with two number which again took the band back to the city of New Orleans with Canal Street Blues, a King Oliver associated number and Jelly Roll Morton’s Wolverine Blues (or perhaps the feeling viewers get after watching Logan). Here’s a random bit of trivia: Canal Street Blues is the name of the LGBT supporters club for Manchester City.
Peter Ainge returned to his vocal duties with a number unfamiliar to me called “Home When Shadows Fall”, a nice little number I hope to hear a few more times. I believe the next number was a Lil’ Hardin composition and was called “Brown Skin Mama” and was followed by a Duke Ellington number I missed the title of and while familiar I couldn’t place the name of,
Back to some video with Tuxedo Rag
Being a Sunday the band then played a spiritual number before performing a very lively version of the classic “Everyday I Have the Blues” which capture the essence of the performance of Joe Williams with Count Basie and a later version by the legendary BB King.
The final number was a very very old number. So old in fact it was written by Stephen Foster and is known by two titles: “The Old Folks at Home” and “Swanee River”. The later was the title the band went with. It is interesting that this particular number seems to have caught on in the Jazz world with Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles, Kenny Ball and Hugh Laurie having covered it.
All in all it was a very good gig.
For more in formation on Jazz Club 90 click here