The band was formed in 1984, making its debut at the Leeds and Liverpool Hotel in Brierfield establishing the regular Friday evening sessions that became its hallmark for more than twenty years. From there it moved to the Springbank Hotel (four years), the Wellsprings Inn at Sabden (five years), the Higher Trapp Hotel (two years), the Grey Mare at Belthorn (four years), the Holden Arms (three years), the Whitchaff (two years), the Village Inn (three years) and Rosegrove Unity Club. The Summer season of Sunday lunch-time at The Britannia, Oswaldtwistle has now come to an end.
For bands, the closure of so many hostelries - caused by harsh economic circumstances - has resulted in fewer and fewer venues able to sustain regular jazz sessions. Hence, most of the Pendle Jazzmen's recent gigs have been private events, but the Band has recently secured a 'residency' at 'The Inn on the Wharf', Manchester Road, Burnley, every Thursday evening at 8-00pm.
Over the years there have been inevitable changes in personnel but, always, the basic philosophy has been maintained - the fun of playing and the sharing of their enjoyment of Dixieland/Mainstream jazz with other enthusiasts and the general public.
A very popular band, it has performed at venues throughout Lancashire and Yorkshire with occasional invitations to play in Wales, the Wirral, the Lake District, Knebworth and Vitry -Sur - Seine, in France.
It is in demand for special occasions - engagements, weddings, birthdays and christenings as well as promotional events for large, medium and small companies.
The current line-up is usually: Stuart Whiteley (trumpet), Colin Ball (trombone), John Brunton (clt/sax), Mike Reddin (guitar/banjo), Frank Lowe (bass) and Colin Mason (drums).
Colin Ball (Trombone and trumpet)
It was at school that Colin started piano lessons before teaching himself the ukulele and performing George Formby songs at its concerts. A few years later he bought his first clarinet and had lessons from a Royal Marine Band sergeant, before moving on to an alto saxophone. He also played clarinet with the local Youth Orchestra where he was asked to play the Rondo from Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto. He was soon gigging around the Plymouth area before joining Rod Mason’s first band.
Previous to joining the Royal Artillery Staff Band for his National Service he taught himself to play the trumpet. He gained experience in military, dance bands and small jazz combinations. At that time he started doing musical arrangements. The Eb clarinet was also taken up. He gained further inspiration by frequent visits to London’s West End to both Ronnie Scott’s and the Flamingo Clubs as well as gigging around South East London in addition to his army duties.
After being demobbed Colin worked as a professional musician on the Mecca dance hall circuit as well as appearing on Summer seasons, on boats, in theatres and in clubs. His musical ability allowed him to cope comfortably with double bass, bass guitar and, later, the flute. He played jazz whenever the opportunity arose.
In 1984 he formed ‘Chicago Classic’ in London – playing cornet. He wrote all the arrangements for this 1920’s-style band. Around this time he recorded 10 hymns in a jazz style for BBC 2. Four years later he came to live in the Manchester area, gigging on reeds and trumpet before securing a full-time job at Alton Towers, playing reeds, trumpet and sousaphone.
He has formed several ensembles – ‘Cafe Society’, ‘Metro swing’ - in the latter years as well as depping with various bands but only on trumpet because of a hand complaint which has severely affected his fingers.
He has now become a valued member of the Pendle Jazzmen; his colleagues and audiences benefitting from his exceptional jazz phrasing and his wide experience.
Frank Lowe (Double Bass)
Frank joined the Pendle Jazzmen in 1984, shortly after its formation. Playing bass guitar, he was coerced into buying a double bass shortly afterwards - followed by a second one around five years later which he used for his jazz work. Both basses became an integral part of his family and were recently joined by a third. The latter was made by Frank himself and is a small version of the "slim bass" which became, briefly, popular in the 1960s. Not surprisingly, Frank began his working life as an engineer with Rolls Royce and later trained as a Craft and Technology teacher and worked in Accrington . He has a wide-ranging interest in music and has played in several other bands and ensembles including pit orchestras of Amateur Operatic Society productions. Recently, he has taken on the role as Musical Director for a local Church Society. He played for a time with the Burnley Municipal Symphony Orchestra and studied under a professional tutor. At present he is a member of the King's Park Big Band. When asked which music he likes best, he says it's the one he's playing at the time. Music continues to be Frank's main leisure interest but this is being swayed by the arrival of his grandchildren who are taking up more of his time. He has recently returned to playing the bass guitar. Frank's wide experience - on bass and on vocals - have made him an important and long-standing member of the Pendle Jazzmen.
Stuart Whiteley (Trumpet)
Stuart was born and raised in Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire and was inspired to learn the trumpet in 1953 after hearing Harry Mortimer play the Haydn Trumpet Concerto with the Halle Orchestra. His work as a chartered accountant took him (and his wife, Kath) to Jamaica in 1969 where he played in the pit orchestra for several musicals. On his return to England, in 1972, he worked for a number of local companies as accountant/company secretary. Around ten years later he was approached by the late Len Fletcher to start a new jazz band – the Pendle Jazzmen. Sadly, from the point of view of the band, he moved to Thurso (Northern Scotland) in 1994 to pursue his career in accountancy. Whilst there he continued to play with various ensembles: North Coast Jazz Band, After Hours Rhythm and Blues Band and the Caithness Symphony Orchestra. Returning to Lancashire in 2010 he joined the Burnley Alliance Silver Brass Band where he distinguishes himself on Eb soprano cornet. He is delighted to have been asked to re-join the Pendle Jazzmen. Stuart is a fastidious and dedicated brass player, rarely allowing a day to pass without some form of practice to “keep his lip in” and improve and consolidate his technique. His great enthusiasm for his music making and his irrepressible, happy personality infects both audience and band members.
Mike Reddin (Guitar/banjo)
At the age of fifteen Mike, following parental pressure, found himself in a 'Minstrel Band' despite being unable to play a note on the banjo he was given. Regular lessons from the leader led to a life-long fascination with the instrument even though he soon outgrew his minstrel days. Once again, he was "pushed" into turning up for an audition - with the Jazz Aces after borrowing a guitar and re-tuning the strings to a banjo configuration. To his surprise he got the job! A few years later an invitation to turn professional in London was dashed by his call up to do National Service. An established Manchester musician engineered a position for him in the Army band where he took up clarinet, playing in many small groups as well as jazz/dance bands. Turning down the temptation of signing on he returned to his job with the C. W. S. but continued with small group playing on both instruments. Music faded somewhat as the demands of developing his own business (and family commitments) meant his time was limited. Later, he joined Pete Haslam's Band and has worked for many years with Jed Hone's various groups as well as Colin Ball's 'Metro Swing' and, of course, the Pendle Jazzmen. He has an established reputation in the North West as a popular, reliable and accomplished rhythm guitar/banjo player as well as being a notable soloist.
Colin Mason (Drumkit)
Colin started listening to dance band and jazz music in the mid-fifties before purchasing an old set of drums (for £20) and playing in a "skiffle" group at his local church. He studied to be a teacher in Manchester and whilst at College helped to form a jazz group and took part in his first recording. The demands of the profession left little time for playing - except cricket where he was a stalwart of the amateur league for no less than five decades. A growing interest in music by his children (two of whom now have degrees in music) revived Colin's own enthusiasm and he began to study and play timpani and percussion with the Burnley Municipal Symphony Orchestra before returning to his first love - jazz - inspired by the late Stan Barker and Digby Fairweather of Jazz College. At that time he was approached to join a new band being formed, to be called the Pendle Jazzmen. He studied New Orleans, Mainstream and Be-bop drumming with the acclaimed teacher/drummer Dave Hassell. Poor health brought about early retirement but by husbanding his limited energy and strength he has been able to set up, organise and act as Musical Director for the Burnley JUNIOR Alliance Brass Band. He also plays with (and occasionally conducts) the SENIOR Band but has relinquished his role in the Kings Park Big Band and the Symphony Orchestra to concentrate on the administrative side of the above commitments.
John Brunton - Reeds
John, inspired by ‘The Benny Goodman Story’, began to learn clarinet at the age of sixteen, with an interest in the Blues and New Orleans developing at the same time. His particular inspirations were Johnny Dodds, George Lewis and Albert Burbank. In the late 1950s and early 1960s he saw many of his American jazz and blues favourites who were visiting the Manchester area. He started playing with local musicians there.
The years 1962/3 were spent travelling with friends
– living and working in Jersey, France and Spain. On his return to Burnley, and
for the next few years, his leisure time – apart from listening to jazz and
attending concerts – involved playing football and cricket at a very good
amateur standard. By the late sixties he was working as a clerk at the Lucas
factory and was married with two sons – both of whom, having been brought up
steeped in jazz, are now professional musicians in France and Germany
respectively. Still continuing his sport he began playing music again and joined
the Accrington-based Riverside Jazzmen and also took up the tenor saxophone.
His superb sound – on both clarinet and tenor – with
an amazing knowledge of tunes means that he is in great demand, playing with
Spirit of New Orleans, Forest Jazz Band, Martin Sharp’s Mighty Four as well as
the Pendle Jazzmen.
Cassette Tapes -
The Pendle Jazzmen at the Higher Trapp
I Can't Believe that You're in Love with Me; I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and ...; Dans les Rue d;Antibes; How Can You Face Me?; Lady Be Good; Misty; Walking Down the Champs Elysee; S'Wonderful; Alice Blue Gown; High Society; Blues My Naughtiy Sweetie Gave to Me; Roses of Picardy; Muskrat Ramble; Black and Blue; Chimes Blues; Someday You'll be Sorry; Pendle Jazzmen Stomp; I Want a Little Girl; Bugle Boy March; Livery Stable Blues; Milenburg Joys; Bourbon Street Parade.
Band Contact - Colin Mason Tel/Fax 01282 699571
The Pendle Jazzmen launched their first CD -
At The Whitchaff
This CD is still available
Once In A While : Wabash Blues : Louisiana : Darkness On The Delta : Willie The Weeper : Georgia On My Mind : I Aint Gonna Give Nobody None Of My Jelly Roll : Stack O' Lee Blues : Oh, Miss Hannah : I Found A New Baby : I'm Washing The Blues From My Soul : West End Blues : Angry : On The Sunny Side Of The Street : Avalon : Rockin Chair : Oh Baby
and their second CD on 4th November 2005
At The Village Inn
The CD is still available for £11.00 which includes Post and
Packaging in the UK
A sample of their latest music can be heard on the tracks below, made by local enthusiast, Colin Wakefield, at a recent session at The Inn on The Wharf, Manchester Road, Burnley. Inevitably, imperfections occur due to the 'live nature' and background noises in a busy bar.
You can download the tracks by clicking on the titles, or listen to them using the players
Please note there may be a small delay before the file appears
Personnel as above