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Bebop Spoken There

Aubrey Logan: "I chose trombone because trombone just kicks my ass, and I needed to do something that was hard" - (DownBeat June 2019).

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2019 Parliamentary Jazz Awards

The voting is open between now and May 31 to enable site visitors to nominate their choices in the various categories of this year's APPJAG awards which can be done here.
BSH was very proud to be nominated and to win the 2018 Media Award and hope we can have your support again this year.

Today Wednesday May 22

Afternoon

Jazz

Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Cullercoats Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 4QS. Tel: 0191 253 0242. 1:00pm. Free admission.

Julija Jacenaite & Alan Law - Jazz Café, Newcastle Arts Centre, Westgate Road, Newcastle NE1 1SG. Tel: 0191 261 5618. 2:00pm. Free. Café Mezzanine (first floor, access via crafts shop).

Evening

Take it to the Bridge - The Globe, Railway Street, Newcastle NE4 7AD. 7:30pm. £1.00.

Blues

Moonshine Sessions - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 8:30pm. Free.

To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

THE RIVER CITY JAZZMEN-- REPRINTED FROM JUST JAZZ INTERNATIONAL MAGAZINE. Part one.

This is a copy of a 2005 article from Just Jazz International magazine by trombonist and leader of the River City Jazzmen, Gordon Solomon. It is re-printed here as a tribute to the band which called it a day earlier this year.
Lance.
The RCJ was formed in 1955, making this year, 2005, the 50°’ anniversary for the band. To the best of my knowledge only two other bands have played together continuously for this length of time - the Chris Barber band, of course, - and the Merseysippi band from Liverpool. The story actually began in 1953 at Max Share's music shop in Percy Street, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. In an effort to interest young people in music, (if only it would happen today!) Max had formed a weekly harmonica club in a room above his shop. It was here that three youngsters, Ray Shenton, Herbie Hudson and Harry Stevenson met up and decided to set up a harmonica trio which they called the Harmonica Hoodlums! The boys got quite a lot of work, and in 1954 they were invited down to the Lime Grove Television Studios in London to appear on an early talent show called “All Your Own” which was presented by Huw Weldon. Following this they did regular radio broadcasts in the North of England until, with the addition of three more keen friends, they decided to form a traditional jazz band, hence the River City Jazzmen were born. The band was an immediate success with the quickly growing number of jazz followers. The personnel changed slightly at this time but soon settled down to a stable unit made up of John Potts - Trumpet, Herbie Hudson - Trombone, Harry Stevenson - Clarinet, Colin Hopper – Banjo, Ray Shenton - Tuba, Brian Sanson - Drums. Shortly after this Ray Shenton’s brother Joe joined on washboard giving the band a very distinctive sound. Joe also took over as band manager and later proved himself to be an ideal front man for the band. This group became very popular and usually played 5 to 6 nights a week at venues all over the North, -- there were many thriving clubs in the area at that time such as the Royal Arcade , the New Orleans Club and the Downbeat in Newcastle, and the likes of the Coatham Hotel in Redcar and Baileys in South Shields. Obviously there have been personnel changes over the years, and the sound of the band has changed , but it is still going strong and is fortunate to still have a good number of loyal followers. During 1980 clarinetist Bruce Bakewell joined, and his lovely New Orleans style was much appreciated. Bruce later played and recorded with Ken Colyer. Also, at this time, trumpeter Joe Errington, now with Papa Bue in Denmark, was with the group and stayed for many years. Probably the most famous musician to play with us was a certain Gordon Sumner, known nowadays as Sting. Sting had played bass with trombone player Gordon Solomon for 12 months in 1973 in two earlier bands, the Phoenix Jazzmen and the Newcastle Big Band, and when Gordon left to join the RCJ Sting followed and helped out for a few gigs. Gordon Solomon 2005 (to be continued...)

4 comments :

Ray Shenton said...

Hello It is Ray Shenton here. How nice to read your article on the formation of the River City Jazzmen. It certainly brought back memories. My tuba has more leaks than Wales so I now play the piano and harmonica with some of the boys about twice a year. Come to Great Whittington Jazz picnic on 8th August 2010 from noon to 3pm for a trip down memory lane

Joe Shenton said...

This is Joe Shenton here and I will be specially flying in from America for that gig! My agent will contact you for further details. Good luck for the day!

Ray Shenton said...

hello Joe, If you are flying in to Bardon Mill watch for a winedy runway with potholes. You might be better off on the one near the Roman Wall as it's a bit straighter. Looking forward to seeing you at Great Whittington on 8th August for what is promising to be a gig to remember

Brian Hopper said...

Hi I am Colin Hopper's(Banjo) son Brian who sadly passed away in 2007. Its good to see that Ray continues to have the gig's at Great Whittington. I know my dad really enjoyed them. Since he passed away I have been looking into history of the band. I have found the site very informative and interesting. To see that the band continues after 50 years is great testiment to the orginal members!!!!

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