JAZZING ABOUT 

PART FOUR: 

EVERYBODY LOVES THURSDAY NIGHT!

DIDSBURY JAZZ CLUB

Weekly at Didsbury Cricket Club, Wilmslow Road, Didsbury, Manchester , M20 2ZY


Tel: 0161 4455347

Admission £6

DIRECTIONS AND PARKING

Parking is no problem with any amount of space being available around the cricket ground. Obviously there are many different ways of approaching somewhere as conveniently situated as this. Those coming on the M62 should leave the motorway at Junction 20 and take the first exit at the roundabout onto the A627M), continuing on Broadway until picking up the Ring Rd(E&S)/M60 signs. At Junction 1, take the A5145 exit to Stockport (West) and at the roundabout assume the third exit to Didsbury Road/A5145. After a couple of miles turn right at Wilmslow Road, then left at Didsbury Park and then after a couple of hundred yards, opposite The Towers, an impressive nineteeth-century mansion now a conference centre, turn right, following signs for Didsbury Cricket Club.

The Bar

Prices are reasonable and the bar is well stocked with the usual assortment of bottled drinks, soft and hard. Beer drinkers will be pleased to see pumps marked Jennings and Mansfield, two good beers from Marstons’.

The Club’s History

There has been jazz at the Cricket Club since 1983 when the City Syncopators moved across from the Golden Lion in Withington to become the regular Sunday night attraction. In the 1990s, jazz was so popular that three nights a week were given over to it, with Harlem Hot Stompers on Fridays and Mart Rodger’s Manchester Jazz on Mondays.

Currently, Jazz night is Thursday and four top bands, Terry’s Dead Good Boys, the Savannah Jazz Band, the Chicago Teddybears’ Society Jazz Band and the Harlem Hot Stompers, play on successive weeks, with the addition of the Old Fashioned Love Band in a five-week month. It’s worth noting that reedman Paul Broomhead, now of the Dead Good Boys, was one of the original City Syncopators.

The Boss.

The promoter and ‘general dogsbody’, as he describes himself, is the affable Roger Wigley, who has been running things since 2000. Roger has missed few nights since 1983 and it seemed logical that he should take charge when Alan Downes retired to Colwyn Bay . He knows what local punters want and gives them it - a heady mix of New Orleans and Dixie. Roger, was occasionally assisted by Geoff Purdy (RIP), mans the door, arranges the raffle and does all publicity work himself, using his graphic designs’ skills. A lifelong jazzer, he was originally turned on when hearing Chris Barber’s ‘Tight Like That’.

Conclusion

The acoustics are particularly good in this compact club which comfortably holds 80 and is generally approaching its capacity. A larger audience can be accommodated by the simple expedient of removing the tables and having people sit in rows. With so many packed in, the atmosphere can be electric and the applause long and loud. This is a commendably gimmick-free club dedicated to Jazz, where nobody talks during the set. It combines the best of a jazz residency with all the benefits of having a rotational policy. The audience know the band and the band, the audience and they greet each other rapturously – once a month! Not the least of the attractions is the presence of a real piano – properly tuned and infinitely preferable to the electric keyboard!

Didsbury thinks of itself as a village rather than, say, a suburb of Stockport or Manchester and it is undoubtedly an extremely affluent, desirable area, with nice, warm-hearted people. It’s a real delight to turn up on a warm summer evening, smell the newly-cut turf and take in a few overs of cricket before the Jazz begins. You’ll have a great night here in one of the few remaining Jazz clubs in the area. Nice work if you can get it!

Andrew Liddle, 8th February, 2011

 

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