JAZZING ABOUT 

PART THREE: 

JAZZ ON A SUNDAY

ROCHDALE JAZZ CLUB

Fortnightly at Castleton Sports Centre, Mayfields, Rochdale.

Entrance via Keswick Street, off Manchester Road, Castleton, Rochdale. OL11 3AG

(Note that since this article was written, the club has moved to
Newtown National Club Ltd 3 Nixon St Castleton OL11 3JN - FB)


Tel: 01706 527103 

Normal Admission £6 (travelling bands may be more)

Photographs by Valerie Bracken

DIRECTIONS AND PARKING

The club has a large car park. If you are coming on the M62, take exit 20 signed for Rochdale/Oldham and get on to on to A627 (M) following signs for Rochdale At the traffic lights, turn left on to the A664 still following signs for Rochdale, then, by Tesco’s, turn left on to Manchester Road , for about a quarter of a mile. Opposite the Farewell pub, turn right down Keswick Street, continue through a housing estate and the Mayfield Club is at the end of the road.

The Club and Bar

This has recently been refurbished to a high standard and the pillars which once partially obstructed the view have been removed. It is large and spacious, capable of comfortably accommodating in excess of a hundred. Prices are very reasonable on a good selection of drinks, including the excellent bitter produced by J. W. Lees, independent brewers of Manchester. Peroni and Guinness are also available on draught, as well as the usual assortment of wines, spirits and soft drinks.

The History

“If you forget where you came from, you will never get where you want to be!” : Tony Sheldon

Mayfield/ Castleton/ Gabriel’s, call it what you like, feels like home for the good jazzers of Rochdale. It is, after all, their third time at this club. They were here twice in the 1990s, when it was called Castleton Gabriel’s after the local football team whose social club it was. Spells elsewhere (the Kingsway Hotel, Spotland, The Broadfield Hotel, The Flying Horse) never seemed to last very long. For a variety of reasons, including falling attendances, Rochdale Jazz Club was, sadly, set to close in August 2008. Then, thanks to the good offices of an anonymous donor, it returned, in September 2008, to the newly-refurbished and re-branded club, now belonging to the local amateur Rugby League outfit, and got off to a cracking start when the Dave Donohoe Band played to a full house. It is true to say it has not looked back ever since and attendances have been good, averaging around 55 to 60. 


The Boss

As well as being M. C., Tony Sheldon is chairman of a committee of six which runs the club. He brings to the table the experience of a lifetime in business administration and voluntary work, which he has used to put the club on a professional basis, working within a budget and recruiting high quality bands. Like so many others, he came to Jazz during the Trad Boom, and was smitten from the moment he saw Chris Barber at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester. But for him it was never his only passion. He spent more than fifty years in football, playing, coaching, refereeing and in administration, and is still heavily involved with Salford City F. C. He is the co-founder and Vice-President of the international Cricket Memorabilia Society. For eight years, he wrote Jazz reviews for the Rochdale Observer and now sends similar material to Rochdale Online ( http://tinyurl.com/398b93q ). He is also an avid theatre-goer. His wide-ranging musical tastes as well as Jazz include Country and Western, Folk and light classical.

The Local Character

This has to be Catherine Hague, the club’s former stewardess. A former professional dancer and dance teacher, she still returns as often as she can to delight the audience, the men in particular, with her solo gyrations, centre stage and unabashed. She definitely has the X Factor!

Conclusion

As in most places in Lancashire, the people are warm and friendly and like to have a good time. In the two years of the club’s reformed existence, they have voted The Tame Valley Stompers and the Lez Bull Band as their annual favourites. This is a high honour, indeed, for these bands, bearing in mind they have beaten off so much high class competition, like Sammy Rimington, Dennis Armstrong, Dave Donohoe, John Shillitoe, Brian Carrick , New Orleans Heat, Spirit Of New Orleans, The Forest New Orleans Jazz Band, the Tuxedo Jazz Band and the Yorkshire Stompers, who have all played here. Clearly, then, this Jazz society is thriving and is the place for you if you like the wide and various manifestations of Trad that are being offered at a reasonable price and in a relaxed and congenial atmosphere. New bands this year include Mart Rodger’s Manchester Jazz and the Jelly Babies, from Sweden. Hurry on down!

Andrew Liddle
November 2010

 

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