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Farewell Blues

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Bebop Spoken There

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Postage

14845 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 14 years ago. 1094 of them this year alone and, so far, 93 this month (Nov. 30).

From This Moment On ...

November

December

Sun 04: Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.
Sun 04: Foundry Jazz Ensemble @ The Exchange, North Shields. 3:00pm.
Sun 04: Remi Harris & Tom Moore @ Bowes & Gilmonby Parish Hall, Co. Durham. 7:30pm.
Sun 04: Liane Carroll @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. £10.00. adv., £12.00. door.
Sun 04: Let Spin + Ceitidh Mac @ Bobik's, Punch Bowl, Jesmond, Newcastle (8:00pm).

Mon 05: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Mon 05: Sia Ahmad & Raymond MacDonald @ Blank Studios, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Tickets: £5.00. from www.seetickets.com. Live recording session - note no late admissions. BYOB.

Tue 06: Paul Skerritt @ The Rabbit Hole, Durham. 7:00pm. Free (table reservations 0191 386 5556). Feat. Johnny Murphy (keyboards).

Wed 07: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 07: Jam session @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 12 noon-3:00pm.Free. New!
Wed 07: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 07: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm.
Wed 07: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.

Thu 08: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Last one of the year, resuming Jan 26.
Thu 08: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library. 3:00-5:00pm. £1.00. All welcome.
Thu 08: Indigo Jazz Voices @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:45pm.
Thu 08: Christmas Crooners @ Alnwick Playhouse. 7:30pm.
Thu 08: Musicians Unlimited @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. £5.00. on the door.

Fri 09: Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon. £25.00. 'Afternoon Jazz with Festive Lunch'.
Fri 09: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 09: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 09: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 09: Jason Isaacs @ Northern Rugby Club, Gosforth, Newcastle. 7:00pm. £25.00 (inc. two course Xmas meal). Isaacs performing with backing tapes.

Sat 10: Lindsay Hannon & Martin Douglas: Life Drawing & Improvised Music @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 2:00-4:00pm. TBC.
Sat 10: Alan Barnes Octet: A Jazz Xmas Carol @ Black Swan, Newcastle. 8:00pm. £20.00. All-star band!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Farewell Ray Chester


One of the north east's most respected musicians passed away this morning surrounded by his devoted family.
Ray Chester was a renowned north east band-leader  trombonist, trumpet player, pianist, educator and arranger. As a leader his band won several prestigious awards whilst as a player he enhanced many bands with his smooth trombone playing. I last met him at the funeral of his frequent musical collaborator Stan Coates. Wheelchair bound he looked vulnerable and frail but still managed to chat with those he knew - which meant everyone.
Will be much missed.
Website.
Funeral details to follow. Thanks to Mia Webb for passing on the sad news.
Lance.
PS: I came across this report from 2002 of Ray's success in the BBC's Big Band Competition.

10 comments :

Steve Andrews said...

A lovely man and a great musician. He will be much missed.

Anonymous said...

Very sad to hear this. Ray was a lovely man.
He brought his superb big band to Blaydon in October 2011 and everyone loved it, the way he presented it, the whole thing was a joy.
Roly

Anne DeVere said...

Very sad to hear this. I phoned Ray about 6 weeks ago and he sounded good but I was concerned when he told me he was having carers in 3 times per day and to help him to bed. I had known Ray for a long time as well as his wife Joan, who was an amazing woman and very supportive of Ray in his musical career.
She worked full time so that he could go to College full time to obtain his qualifications. He was an excellent arranger--probably his best talent! He provided years of work for local musos as well as vocalists including myself. He had a lovely family who will be extremely distressed--they looked after him as much as possible.
He had a problem with 'clumsiness' which was well known--on one gig he (1) knocked over my drink (2) knocked over his own pint all over the pad on the floor (3) the stand for the keyboard which was converted from Joan's old ironing board, collapsed! and as it was Xmas and very large trees were stationed at each side of the stage, the drummer hissed at me ''for Gawds sake keep him away from the b......y trees!!
I could give you many more stories like these which have kept us entertained over the years but I was very grateful that Ray gave me work when I really needed the gigs when my son was young. He will be sorely missed--his big band was very popular and his enthusiasm and knowledge was outstanding.
Anne DeVere
P.S. Please no more we are getting scared!!

Mia Webb said...

I am in mourning. My Musical Director, Arranger, Big Band Leader and personal friend Ray Chester passed away this morning. When I got the news at 4.13 this morning I was OK but after speaking to and sending messages to the few musicians I have in my library I am feeling very teary. I cannot comprehend how his family is coping. I watched the BBC4 proms with John Williams tonight which was a repeat. First time round Ray rang me to see if I was watching it - weird really. Ray and I used to buy each other tickets for our birthdays to see various concerts at the Sage. How I will miss those "nights out". God Bless you Ray. Let perpetual light shine upon you and may you rest in peace. Your Songbird M xxx

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for all your lovely tributes to my dad.

They're very much appreciated by me and all of the family.

Ian Chester

Andy Hudson said...

Ray was a fine player, soloist and great asset to tighten up the Trombone section. On many occasions he played with the Newcastle Big Band, and his scholarly approach to precision brightened up the powerful sound of an often 4 instrument section.
I was saddened to hear of his passing. The last time I heard him play was a few years ago when we put a private little gig together at the Baltic to celebrate Sting's music award.
He was quipping, grinning and enjoying being a consumate "Team" player. My sympathies to his family.

Andy Hudson

Scott Adair said...

So very sad to hear the news about Ray,a lovely man who gave so much to the music scene here in the North East.
I spent some time talking with him last year at the Corner House after i had played in the Mike Gilbey tribute night. I thoroughly enjoyed his company and we had a good laugh going through some memories and stories from over the years.He will be missed by us all.
My sympathies to his family.

Scott Adair

Jim and Valerie McDowell said...

My wife and I were fortunate to work at Reyrolle's of Hebburn in the 1960's and got to know Ray a multi talented musician with a very pleasant personality.
Sorry to hear of his passing.
Jim and Valerie Mcdowell

Erik Strodl said...

If you would like to know more about Ray's work and leave a tribute.....his website is here...
http://51958003.gb.strato-hosting.eu/RCBB/

copy and paste this in your address bar
If you missed Ray's ceremony you can read about it too.
Our thoughts are with Ray's family at this very sad time.

Lez_D said...

Ray Chester was one of my comprehensive school teachers and I also went along to his Saturday morning music sessions in Shields. I am told my biological father was in the Ray Chester Big Band many years ago - played drums, but no contact since I was around 5. I have fond memoried of Ray and he tolerated my flute and saxaphone efforts remarkably well !

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