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Bebop Spoken There

Charles McPherson: “Jazz is best heard in intimate places”. (DownBeat, July, 2024).

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Josh Weir: I love the writing on bebop spoken here... I think the work you are doing is amazing.


16590 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 483 of them this year alone and, so far, 29 this month (July 14).

From This Moment On ...


Mon 15: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Mon 15: Nathan Lawson Trio @ The Black Bull, Blaydon. 8:00pm. £8.00. Blaydon Jazz Club.

Tue 16: Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Victoria & Albert Inn, Seaton Terrace, Seaton Delaval NE25 0AT. 12:30pm. £15.00 (tel: 0191 237 3697). Summer BBQ in the Beer Graden.
Tue 16: Jam session @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free. House trio: Alan Law, Paul Grainger & Abbie Finn.

Wed 17: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 17: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 17: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.
Wed 17: John Pope & John Garner + Nisha Ramayya @ Cluny 2, Newcastle. 7:30pm (doors). £15.00. (£12.00. adv.). A Gem Arts Masala Festival event.

Thu 18 Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Brunswick Methodist Church, Newcastle NE1 7BJ. 2:30pm. £4.00.
Thu 18: Theo Croker @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.
Thu 18: Brad Linde’s Continentals @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Thu 18: Eva Fox & the Jazz Guys @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Thu 18: Ray Stubbs R&B All Stars @ The Mill Tavern, Hebburn. 8:00pm. Rhythm & blues.
Thu 18: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guest band: Darlington Big Band.

Fri 19: Luis Verde with the Dean Stockdale Trio @ The Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 1:00pm. SOLD OUT!
Fri 19: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 19: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 19: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 19: Luis Verde with the Dean Stockdale Trio @ Traveller’s Rest, Darlington. 8:00pm. Opus 4 Jazz Club.
Fri 19: Zoë Gilby Trio @ Seventeen Nineteen, Hendon, Sunderland. 7:30pm.

Sat 20: Snake Davis & Helen Watson Duo @ Chopwell Community Centre NE17 7HZ. 7:30pm. £17.50.

Sun 21: Paul Skerritt @ Hibou Blanc, Newcastle. 2:00pm.
Sun 21: Salty Dog @ The Globe, Newcastle. 3:00pm.
Sun 21: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay. 3:00pm. Free. Sun 21: The Big Easy @ The White Room, Stanley. 5:00pm.
Sun 21: Ben Crosland Quartet @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Peter Fielding and his Band - Oxford Galleries 1936

Our man in Hong Kong - the intrepid Colin Aitchison - sent me this rare poster of Peter Fielding and his Band who, many years ago, were resident at Newcastle's Oxford Galleries. Colin tells me the poster dates from around 1936. I thought Fielding's tenure at Newcastle's once most famous ballroom began a little later although the uniform of the lounge lizards pictured tallies with the era.
I wonder if anyone can put names to the faces? Also, did Peter Fielding's Band record?
Sounds like a case for John Carstairs Hallam.
(Photo below from J.C.Hallam)


steve Andrews said...

John Hallam will no doubt be able to give you chapter and verse, but according to what he has told me, Peter Fielding was resident during the winter season at the Oxford galleries between 1934 and 1948, after which George Evans replaced him. (Query? - did Don Smith do a stint BEFORE George - I know he came in later on? I thought George went in in 1951 - he was still recording vocals with Geraldo in 1948, e.g. "So tired"). One of Fielding's band members in the 1930's was Max Cresswell, who was the original owner of my beautiful Pierret "Vibrator" tenor. Peter Fielding's real name was Antonio Volpe, and I think, although I'm not sure, that he may have been an ancestor of a very talented young trumpet player called Pete Volpe who, 40 years ago, used to play alongside the equally talented Cormac Loane at the Gosforth Hotel. Colin Aitcheson was also there and will remember how they used to blow the rest of us out of the room even as teenagers!

Mal Maddock said...

Great bits of nostalgia....... I had the pleasure of working with Peter Fielding's son Mike when I was around 14..... what a lot I learnt from him... & what a gentleman... & swung like crazy....... Happy Evenings
Mal Maddock

Colin Aitchison said...

Fascinating information on Peter Fielding, my father remembers seeing the band, and he told me it was a very good band,and then it was George Evans, and of course Don Smith, and Steve, yes I remember those sessions, while the big band was on holiday, and it was my first shot at putting something together, I think I was around 17 or 18, I also have 3 tracks from one of those sessions,on tape, Sting & Kevin Elliot are also on them, I think there was only around 4 sessions that we did at the Gosforth, and I do remember you chaps blowing like hell on those sessions, fond memories of days gone by....

Anne DeVere said...

Saw this item on Peter Fielding and out of interest I thought I'd mention that my father worked with his band pre-war--he was a pianist and his name was Bunny Young. I never knew him as he left my mother during the war and went off with a 'modull' in London. I was a miracle baby, as my mum was told she could never have children, however 6 years into the marriage out I popped much to her surprise!--and his dismay!
My father worked in London and recorded with many bands of the day--he also backed Sophie Tucker et al. I inherited his height, his poor eyesight and his fair hair and his great love of music--my mum was no slouch as a singer too! She warned me in my late teens NEVER to marry a musician, which is understandable and guess what--yes 3 of the so and so's!!! But I saved the best till last.
Best Wishes and keep up the good work

Desmond Jones said...

I had the pleasure of knowing Peter Fielding (and his son, Michael) when he 'depped' for the Syd Dean Orchestra at the Regent Ballroom, Brighton. This would have been around the mid fifties. Peter helped give we Southerners a chance to hear just how good the bands were 'North of Watford Junction'! At that time Peter was based at the Sherwood Rooms, Nottingham.
For me Peter's claim to fame was his amazing arrangement of the Perry Como hit 'Til The End Of Time' (Based on Chopin's Polonaise in A flat minor) It was the only time I'd ever seen dancers just stop and listen to the band!
In Peter's line up was a young guitarist by the name of Judd Proctor, who went on to become one of our leading jazzmen.
Your photos of Peter's Orchestra certainly are from the mid Thirties. I notice that the drummer was one George Sumner, who I later knew at the Scala Ballroom, Leeds.
I have some sheet music of 'Little Lady Make Believe' published 1936(price 6d), featuring Peter's photograph on the front and crediting the Oxford Galleries.
I'd like to thank you for the opportunity of taking me back through time and to a special part of my life!

NB: I thought Barbara Jay's comments on the Astoria, Charing Cross Road (alas, no longer)a little unfair. When I was there, it was a great place to be - with many fine bands, including Harry Leader, who gave Matt Monro his first job when he returned from the Far East.

roberta blair said...

peter fielding was my god father my family lived next door to his on heaton road im 65 now and remember fond memorys

John Carstairs Hallam said...

Perhaps to be kept a secret........ According to one of my early Melody Makers Peter Fielding was originally a banjo player!
Around 1934 there were several photos taken of Fielding at the Oxford. Sadly, I lent the one showing the band on the stand (with all their doubling instruments) to the Evening Chronicle. FOOL! Of course it was never returned. An original was owned by a widow of one of the band members - and I believe she tore it up along with other photos when she became poorly.
Has anyone got any copies?

Dorothy Cheesmur said...

Peter Fielding (Antonio Levio Volpe 1902-1966) was my uncle, known as Tony in our family. His parents (my grandparents) came from Castelforte, Latina, south of Rome. He played many instruments, mandolin, banjo, guitar etc. His sons were all musically talented and three of them played in his band in Newcastle - Tony, Peter and Mike - the Peter Volpe in the comments above was not 'an ancestor' but his son. And a grandson, Peter Volpe, now living and running a jazz band in Paris is his grandson.
In the 1950s, when big bands began to go out of fashion, Uncle Tony formed a trio and took them on cruise ships, they also played at The Dorchester Hotel, London. He was often on BBC Radio, sometimes appearing by himself and playing mandolin.
During the early 1960s Uncle Tony developed cancer. He died in 1966 at my aunt's house (his sister Esterina) in Pimlico, London. He was my mother's favourite brother and she often went to Newcastle to help look after his children when the band toured. My grandfather, Salvatore Volpe, took him to his home in Italy often when he was a young boy.

Steve Andrews said...

I was actually referring to Peter Fielding as being an "ancestor" of Pete Volpe, with whom I played in the early '70's, which, of course, he (PF) was, as confirmed by Dorothy above.

Anonymous said...

My name is Davina Brown and I have just discovered that Antonio Volpe was my great uncle! My mother and uncle are Joy Brown and Michael Harnetty. So Dorothy I would assume that they are your first cousins. My Grandmother was Gilda Volpe, so she must of been Antonio's sister. We
live in Australia and have lost contact with
the Italian side, although my Uncle Mike has been researching and making contact ovet the last few years. I'm truly fascinated by this connection and have always had a deep love of Jazz...perhaps it is just in my blood! I also would love to get my hands on any recordings if anybody manages to
track any down!

Louise and Paula said...

We are two of Antonio Levio Volpe's grand daughters-Louise and Paula from a family of the eight children(6 girls and 2 boys)of Peter Volpe and wife Anne.
Our father changed our surnames to Fielding by deed poll many years ago.
It is fascinating to read this blog and we are actually in Sora,Italy on holiday at this time visiting the family of Peter's youngest son Richard who by chance met his wife Emilia in Newcastle and moved to Sora where her family lives.They have 2 sons,Luca and William Fielding.
Sora is only 80km from Castelforte where our grandfather originates from!!.
We are planning to visit Castelforte in the next 2 days and it will be great to make contact with any of the Volpe family connected to our grandfather if possible.
Please get in touch via this blog ASAP and look forward to hearing more!!!.

Katrina Heywood said...

So fascinating to read these posts about my great-grandfather Peter Fielding (aka Antonio Volpe). I am the grand-daughter of his eldest son Tony Volpe, who sadly passed away 4 years ago. We were very close and he is missed greatly, he had a great love of music like his father before him and was always playing away on his piano-keyboard. I remember taking him to see a Glenn Miller tribute band when he was in his 80's which he loved. It was so lovely recently to see many of the Volpe descendants at Gloria's 80th birthday last weekend (Peter Fielding's only daughter). Only four of his six children are still alive, with his son Peter still a practicing musician in Ireland in his late 80s! Looking forward to seeing my uncle the younger Peter Volpe when he comes over from Paris this Christmas. Talented family I'm proud to be part of it!
Katrina Heywood

carstairs said...

If you're anywhere near Cullercoats on a Monday afternoon, I'd love to meet you. We have a quartet which plays from 1 to 3. Do you have any family photos? The best one I had, with PF at the Oxford, was lost by the Evening Chronicle and the original was destroyed by the widow of one of PFs prewar musicians when she was clearing up!
John Carstairs Hallam

Unknown said...

It's so amazing to hear all these stories and connections to Peter Fielding, I am his daughter Gloria's grand daughter, so it appears I am distantly related to a few of you! I am a photography student in my final year at Southampton Solent, and for my final major project doing a research project into my Italian Heritage. I am planning a trip to Castelforte next month and will hopefully be meeting up with some Volpes still living in the area. It's amazing to be part of such an interesting and talented family and I am excited to see how the project will unfold.

Anonymous said...

Hello Evie,
How did your trip to Castleforte go?
I'm Antonio Volpe's grandson - Stephen - and son of Roy Victor Emanuel Volpe (and Norma).
I'm on holiday in Mexico and tonight my friends were asking about my surname so I googled this blog and saw your post.
It would be great if you could let me know more about your trip to Castleforte.

carstairs said...

I still haven't located any more photos of Peter Fielding. A few years ago I traced one through a 1960s Chronicle. However, they did not have a copy in the archives and when I traced the source he had disposed of it!

Unknown said...

I am the son of Mike Fielding,(Mike Volpe, the son of Antonio Levio Volpe, (Peter Fielding). 'Carstairs', if you send me your email address I will email you some photographs of both Peter and my father Mike!

carstairs said...

Thank you Miki. My email address is
Did you live in Belsay Avenue? I still do!

Lisa Woodcock said...

Hi all I’m a little late to the party here! I’m Salvatore Volpe’s great grand daughter. His daughter Erminia was my Nonna, her son David was my Dad. I’m in touch my Mike Harnetty in NZ and their cousin Sandra. I have pictures that you may or may not have seen of Salvatore and Maria, along with some of the family. Not sure how to share them on here, can we get a group together to share pictures and history? X

Lisa Woodcock said...

Hi all, bit late to the party here! I’m Salvatore and Maria’s great granddaughter, their daughter Erminia was my Nonna, her son David was my lovely Dad who passed away on 31st August last year. We also lost her eldest daughter, my Aunty June on 1st June last year. They both shared wonderful stories of their grandparents, and I was lucky enough to know a number of my dad’s uncles and aunts, as well as his cousins. I have some pictures from way back that you may or may not have seen which I would love to share, along with lots of memories and stories, and would love to see and hear anything that you all have too. I’m in touch with Mike in NZ, along with their cousin Sandra in the UK, and was close to Dorothy before she sadly passed. Would love to set up a group so we can be in touch xx

Peter Courtley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Barry Langford said...

My mother, Ethel Langford (nee Aldridge) talked often about Peter Fielding and his band, who played regularly at the King's Theatre in Sunderland in the late 1930s and 1940s. She and her friends all had crushes on Peter, who she said was smart, stylish and handsome!

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