WJC 2008

Wakefield Jazz – Support set – 2008

Since 2006, I have maintained the website for Wakefield Jazz Club. One day, I asked Chris de Saram (former promoter of Wakefield Jazz, now sadly deceased) if I could try out the Yamaha Grand Piano sometime – thinking, when no one else was around. “Come and do a support set for us”, he suggested. Chris was always generous with his encouragement for anyone who wanted to play, yet I thought he was brave asking me, since he’d never heard me play a single note. Not one to turn down such an opportunity, though with some trepidation, I accepted.

At the time of writing this, I cannot remember much about the details. I had thought it was Tim Whitehead, but the drummer I’m going to mention later, was not listed. Anyway, after searching the archive for the drummer, the closest I can get is Friday 3 October, 2008, when the Benn Clatworthy Quartet was the main attraction. I also remember that audience numbers were a bit disappointing that night and the bulk of people arrived quite late – so I probably played to only about 35 people and the main gig played to only about 50.

Just before I began, Chris suddenly asked: “Do you want a drummer?” I was a bit taken aback, as firstly, it had never occurred to me; secondly, I’d never played to a drum beat – let alone with anyone, before; and thirdly, I was worried that the drummer wouldn’t know what I’d be playing – even if I could keep in time! It wasn’t until the main gig came on, that I discovered who I’d turned down. It was the legendary Martin Drew – one of my favourite drummers. With his years of experience, he would have easily fitted in with me, rather than me with him. What a missed opportunity. Sadly, Martin died a year or two later.

The lineup on the night would have been:

Benn Clatworthy – tenor sax / flute
Robin Aspland – piano
Simon Thorpe – bass
Martin Drew – drums

‘Bootleg Eric’ (also sadly now deceased) kindly made a CD recording for me and took a bit of video with a camera I had probably borrowed from work.

Traditionally, it seemed, the arriving audience tended to keep on talking through support acts and only hush when the main gig began – so that’s why you’ll hear some background noise:

Steinway Banks Boogie 1

Steinway Banks’s Boogie 2