The Bourbon Street Roof Raisers

Left to Right Back -

Steve Allen, John Parratt, Dave Haslam

Front -

Ted Watton, Allan Riley, Barrie Booth


 

The band formed in 1996 making its first public appearance at the Shadsworth Neighbourhood Centre, Blackburn. They have become popular entertainers at venues in Lancashire and Merseyside, playing at; Weddings, Flower shows, Steam rallies and Jazz clubs. They have also ventured south to the Newbury Show and North to Silloth and Dundee. Although at best indoors with amplification the band does not shy away from outdoor "unplugged" work in Carnivals and Processions.

The line-up is : John Percival (Trumpet), Ted Watton (Reeds), Barrie Booth (Trombone), Allan Riley (Banjo/Guitar), Dave Haslam (Helicon), Steve Allen (Bass Guitar) and John Parratt (Percussion). Jeff Gilpin, the well- Known Grand Marshall, is a close associate of the band and appears with them on some events.

 

ALLAN RILEY (banjo/guitar)

Allan was first attracted to Traditional Jazz in the early 60's through record collecting and visits to Blackburn Jazz Club. Having never owned a musical instrument a friend took him along to a rehearsal of the Darwen and Hoddleston Silver Prize Band and he came away with the loan of a cornet. This provided the opportunity to learn an instrument and he soon became "hooked" on the fun of banding and the camaraderie of band people. He extended his interest to guitar and eventually banjo having played in many outfits ranging from duos to big-band. A chance meeting with two accomplished instrumentalists John Percival (trumpet) and Alf Wentworth (clarinet) led to the formation of the Roof Raisers


TED WATTON (Reeds)

Ted has very broad tastes in music ranging from Brass Band and Chamber Music to Big Band Swing and all shades of Jazz. His original inspiration to take up an instrument came ,curiously, from hearing Sunrise Serenade, the B-side of a Glenn Miller hit and he soon became a regular visitor to the famous Bodega Club in central Manchester in the 1950’s where he heard many top Bands of that era. Ted took up the saxophone and became a well-known figure on the semi-pro Dance Band scene in the North West during the 60’s through to the 80’s.

For a few years Ted opted for a quieter life away from the late night gigs but maintained his interest by practicing his reeds and also the bass-guitar whilst also playing a leading role in the development of the highly successful Eagley Jazz club where he manages bookings. It was here that he met members of The Roofraisers and was invited to come along to their regular rehearsals. When a vacancy came up, Ted’s career was re-launched to the benefit off all concerned.


JOHN PARRATT (Drums)

John Parratt (not the snooker ace) studied Rock and Jazz at the prestigious Guildhall School of Music in London. Whilst there it was not unusual for him to bump into people such as Leonard Bernstein and Art Blackey in the corridors. It was here that the foundation was laid for his broad tastes in music that ranges from Jazz to Metal and Funk.

Originally from Bournemouth he moved to London and spent his youth as a freelance drummer working at venues such as Ronnie Scotts and the Hammersmith Odeon, whilst finding time to support Chelsea Football Club. His favourite drummer is Dave Weckl.

John has been a practicing Buddhist for twenty-five years and loves to travel having a particular affinity for Canada and the Carribean Islands. John now feels he has found a home amongst the rolling Pennine Hills and the steadying influence of The RoofRaisers Jazz Band.


DAVE HASLAM (Brass Bass)

As a young man David had initially held an ambition to play the Trombone. He waited until he had completed his studies before joining The Eagley Brass Band in Bolton where it was found he was more suited to playing the E-flat tuba. Eventually he moved to The Walkden Band, Manchester and for many years performed at a high level in the demanding world of Brass Band competitions. During this period he was also a long term member of the popular Brasshoppers, a Bavarian ten-piece Group made up of soloists drawn from the Brass Band movement.

David also found time to put his singing talents to use as a member of Choirs and Operatic Societies in the Bolton area.

Having often been asked to deputise in The Roof Raisers he became more attracted to this kind of music so that when a vacancy arose on Helican/Sousaphone David was happy to become a permanent member. On this occasion when the "high brow" meets the “low brow” has had a happy outcome since David also remains a member of the sophisticated singing ensemble The Brixi Singers.


STEVE ALLEN (Electric Bass)

As a child Steve was always singing around the house and still does, but now more formally with The Combined Choirs of Bolton School. He took up the Cornet at age eleven and in the Brass Band "hot-house" of Bolton attained the Principal Cornet position in the local Borough Band at the age of thirteen. Eventually becoming disenchanted with the intense competitive Brass Band scene he broadened his interests to include classic (Mahler) Rock, Swing, Big Band and Jazz, Maynard Ferguson and John Faddles becoming his favourites. By this time, having took up Bass Guitar, he was running his own Rock Group and toured the country appearing at prestigious venues. On retiring from this hectic scene he dusted off his brass-playing skills and in 1991 joined John Percival's " Touch of Brass"10-piece Group. When this ensemble evolved into the Roof-Raisers Steve pursued other interests but met up with John again playing in the horn section of a Blues Band . On learning that the string bass position in the Roof-Raisers had just become vacant he did not hesitate in joining the band with his considerable vocal and instrumental skills.
 


BARRIE BOOTH (Trombone)

Barrie began playing Cornet with a Stalybridge Brass Band at the age of 13.  He eventually changed to trombone and played with several brass bands in the North-West and also, when his work location took him, in the south of England.

His talent and versatility on his chosen instrument has secured him places in Symphony Orchestras, Wind Bands and Big Bands. Now permanently based in the North-West he currently plays mainly Traditional Jazz but is still often in demand to appear with Mainstream and Modern Jazz groups.


JOHN PERCIVAL (Trumpet)

Originally classically trained, John entered the world of competitive brass bands at the age of twelve as an aspiring cornet player and went on to play under the direction of some of the country's leading conductors. His tendency to improvise and play in a swinging jazzy style earned him numerous rebukes from his teachers and musical directors until in 1986, tired of the stiff competitive nature of the brass band world, he formed his own brass group, playing a more upbeat, jazzy type of music. The group achieved some success and was asked to entertain Her Majesty The Queen on a Royal Visit to Bolton in 1990. Other members of the band included Terry Walsh, Karen Johnson (nee Barlow), and latterly Allan Riley, all of whom later became members of the Bourbon Street Roof Raisers. In 1990, John visited New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz, where he found his true musical vocation and was inspired to become a jazz trumpeter.


JEFF GILPIN (Grand Marshall)

One-time wrestler and still active swimming coach Jeff can be seen marshalling the Roof-Raisers on some outdoor events such as Parades and Flower Shows. A well-known figure in the community, ex hotel chef and one-time accordionist in the legendary Percy Hickman Dance Band, Jeff began marshalling in the 1980's. He has visited New Orleans and studied the jazz scene there in his quest for authenticity in his performance, but often credits local jazz musicians for initially advising him on marshalling protocol. Jeff's accomplishments in Ballroom and Latin American dancing have helped him develop attractive routines and he has become a much-loved, widely recognised figure as Grand Marshall at many prominent events such as the Upton-on Severn Jazz Festival. He now confines his appearances to a few prestigious events, with his elegantly decorated "brolly", made by his wife Joan, held aloft.

 




 Band Contact - Allan Riley 01204 308552


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