Last updated Monday January 11, 2021 at 16:18:38

Alan Davies RIP
15th Aug 1939 - 11th Dec 2020
 
 
Alan Davis, drummer and leader of The Delta Jazz Band
Left to Right - Roger Browne, Frank Whitham, Dick Wharton,
Alan Davies, Arthur Pedder, Allan Wilcox

12/12/20 - Meryl and I learned today in a íphone call from Diane that drummer Alan Davies had died last night. He had been suffering from a worsening heart condition for some time.

Alan was born (in 1939) and brought up in Liverpool, but had lived, we found out, for a while in West Kirby, Wirral, where I was raised. He played in a number of Merseyside bands and was well-known in the region, but our paths did not cross until he joined the Milenberg Boys in (I think) the late 1990ís. At that time he and Diane were living in St Asaph, North Wales. About ten years ago they removed to Cornwall, to live in a park home on a site in St Annís Chapel near Callington. We visited them there a couple of times.

Already having musical contacts in the area, Alan found drumming opportunities, but the distances to gigs, the diminution of jazz work and Alanís health problems combined to bring a gradual termination to such activities. Alan and Diane did much touring of Britain by caravan and mobile home and his annual Christmas reports would give details of such expeditions. While in St Asaph he had been involved in cultural Welsh-German exchanges between Denbigh and Biebertal, and had assembled, and taken to Germany, bands of North-West musicians for a number of years. After the cessation of such adventures, Meryl and I accompanied Alan for a weekend in Biebertal to meet Karin and Horst Steinmuller and some of the other luminaries of the exchanges.

I enjoyed Alanís company and his playing, which I found very sympathetic: if I changed the accentuation any time he would pick it up and follow very smartly. There was much leg-pulling between the two of us regarding football (he a Liverpool supporter and I an Evertonian) and politics, where the red and blue colours were reversed. Although we knew he was not at all well, his death has come as a shock Ė I hope it is not seen as irreverent for me to recall Spike Milliganís supposed last words.

Meryl joins me in saying farewell to a true friend and sending condolences to Diane.

Harmoniously,

John Muskett


13/12/20 -

Sad news about Alan:

Thoroughly nice chap. Iíve known him for years and enjoyed his company twice in Beibertal, Geisen, as a member of his Delta Jazzband; Beibertal is twinned with Denbigh and Alan worked tirelessly to promote this with his annual trips with the band. Our thoughts are with Diane at this awful time.

Jon Critchley


13/12/20 -

I was so sorry to learn that Alan had died, and Helen and I send our deepest condolences to Diane. This has not been an easy year for any of us, but it has been particularly hard for her.

It is some forty years since I first shared the stand with Alan on drums, when he came in as a dep with Five and a Penny, My first impression was that he was a real enthusiast who loved to talk - about jazz, about Liverpool FC, about politics, about cars Ö all manner of interests that we had in common, and even though our views often differed we quickly became firm friends.

Alan was a born organiser, and it was he who set up the residency at The Black Dog, Waverton for the Ray Hayes Roaring Twenties Jazz Band in the mid-eighties. I was invited to join on bass at Alan's recommendation, and with Ian McCann on Banjo I have to admit we made a pretty formidable rhythm section. (With Ray on clarinet, Alan Bray on trumpet and either Arthur Williams or Alan Pendlebury on trombone, the front line was also 'pretty formidable', and Alan Bray's talented wife Tina 'Bricktop' Earl would regularly join us as vocalist.)

Those were great times, brought to a premature end for me by my 'emigration' to the Netherlands, but my relationship with Alan Davies didn't stop there. He had another band, Delta Jazz, that regular toured in Germany through the two north-Wales twinning associations that he had also helped to organise, and we, as a family, made regular gigging trips from Holland to Germany, met and played with Roger Browne (among others) for the first time, and made a number of lasting friendships with German families, all at the behest of Alan Davies. What a guy!

We lost him, to some extent, when he and Diane decided to 'retire' to the south-west, but of course he remained an active musician and a regular contributor to Fred's website; in fact, come to think of it, it was he who first put me on to it. There must be scores of north-west jazz musicians who have as much to thank him for as I do, and I hereby raise a glass to his memory. Thanks, mate!

Allan Wilcox


16/12/20 -

I was so sorry to hear from Diane that Alan had passed away. I knew he had been ill with heart problems as he had the sense to let most of his friends know the situation earlier this year and spoke only 3 or 4 weeks ago to him on the phone. I could tell he was having a tough time.

I first met Alan when I was playing in the River City Jazzmen based in North Wales and the photo I attach was taken whilst we were recording a couple of numbers for a S4C programme named Taro Tant at the Theatre Gwynedd in Bangor with Stan Williams (tpt) Ray Hayes (clt) Alan Pendlebury (tbn) Jon Penn (pno) "Curly" Jones (bjo/leader) Glyn Jones (bass) and Alan Davies on Drums.

One of the numbers we did was Henffigg "Penny Farthing" (would any Welsh speakers please correct if necessary) . I remember the session well as I had the privilege of playing a very good grand piano and of having my bald head powdered so the lighting would not reflect too much for the cameras.

Later I was with Alan in Ray Hayes Roaring Twenties Jazz Band based at the Black Dog, Waverton, Nr.Chester which Alan Wilcox referred to in his letter. Where most of the musicians were chastised (Verbally) by Ray if our performance was not quite up to his aspirations! Regrettably that venue eventually turned into dining pub with no live music.

After Alan & Diane moved to Cornwall I saw them both from time to time when they visited the Bude Jazz Festival.

It's been a pretty bad year for Jazz Musicians we have lost this year which makes it so much more important for those of us still around to keep the "flame" alive.

My sympathy to Diane at this sad time.

Jon Penn

RIVER CITY JAZZBAND - Bangor

1993 Roaring 20s Jazzband - Denbigh Town Hall, NorthWales

 

17/12/20 -

Sorry to learn of the death of Alan Davies. In my early days of playing jazz, I often used to meet up with Alan especially as he lived not far from me in Neston on the Wirral. His playing improved greatly over the years, especially under the dictatorship of Ray Hayes (who often had me ending up with bleeding fingers at the end of a gig) and his organisation of touring bands was always enthusiastic, although I never took part in any out of respect for my liver. I was never aware that he and Diane had moved to St. Asaph, as it's just up the road from where I now live and it would have been good to meet up with him again. But, athough I lost touch with Alan, Jazz Northwest kept us all up to date with his various activities. He was, as Jon Critchley says, a thoroughly nice chap and I too would like to send my condolences to Diane.

John Hill


17/12/20

I played with Alan only once er... maybe twice somewhere in Scouselandia but retained an amazing first impression that here was a very able, experienced and sympathetic drummer whose name I never forgot!

Another hero leaves us.

Howard Murray.


Hello Fred,

Thank you so much for the tribute for Alan. He was always looking at the website to see what was happening 'up country' so much so he was always mentioning your website to many people down here, he was so impressed with all your hard work for the jazz fraternity.

He never forgot all his friends and fellow musicians who he thoroughly enjoyed working with, he had not played recently as his fingers were so swollen with the heart failure but still took an interest in what was happening.

I want to personally thank all the musicians that he played with, too numerous to mention, for all their help and friendship over the past few years, and to all the musicians who wrote such kind words,  it is a great comfort to me

We have been in Cornwall fourteen years now and he played all over the two counties but still remembered his time in the North West and Wales.

He went very peacefully in a local hospice for which I was very thankful as they looked after him brilliantly as I was finding it very difficult. The one regret is that he never met you face to face as he was on holiday when you attended his usual venue.

With all best wishes,
Diane Davies

 

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