Died Tuesday 12th Aug 2014
* John Turner passed away in September 2012
Susie Bentham has emailed to tell me that her husband, Allan Bentham, passed away on Tues 12th Aug peacefully at home. In 1954, head boy Allan, had a classmate at Wigan Grammar School called John Turner*, whose father Roy, had his own dance band before the war, and even made records! They listened to his whole collection and knew they had to form a band. Allan once told me, "I borrowed £16 from his father to buy an alto sax, and paid 5/- for a tutor book and taught himself. I went to my bedroom and didn't come down for two months". They formed The Woodchoppers Band which was a dance band. In 1955 the Trad Revival was in full swing and Allan helped founding Wigan's first jazz club, playing in an upstairs room of the Park Hotel, Wigan, under the name The Douglas Valley Stompers. In 1970 following a telephone call from trumpet player Harold Roberts, Allan played at The Crawford Arms with The Rainy City Jazz Band at Red Rock, Wigan. He went on to play in the Art Lester Orchestra, graduating to lead alto, and stayed for over thirty years. In about 1976 they changed the Rainy City name to Force Seven. Allan said, "Some people presumed we had therefore abandoned our roots. we had NOT! Fully half our program was always Dixieland. We thought we had added the fire of the best of New Orleans and Trad to our particular Dixieland style!". Of later years Allan taught musicians to play reed instruments and formed a band for his pupils, eventually asking his old friend Cliff Carty to join him, along with promoter Derek Daniels and son Jack after hearing him play at The Crofters Jazz Club. You can read more about these bands in Reminiscing - Force Seven
to read of the death of Allan Bentham. Memories of happy times with the
Rainy City Jazzband days, particularly The Crawford Arms [Wigan] nights,
late 60s early 70s. Those amazing charity nights for some very
worthy causes, one attended by no less than George Melly who sang with
us that fantastic night. He also made the presentation.
These are sad
So sorry to hear about the passing of Alan Bentham. We worked together with the Art Lester Band in the Horse Shoe in Little Hulton. At that time in the 1980s, I was new to big band music as I was working in the House Band at St. Edmunds Catholic Club backing the acts. Alan was always happy to help with any problems I had with the arrangements.
I'll never forget him.
R.I.P. Alan. - Gerry Clayton.
I will be at Allanís Funeral on Fri. I have lived in Blackpool for 40 years but I have kept in touch with Allan and Chris Carty. I hope other members of the Woodchoppers band will be there.
I will miss my friend Allan he
was 17 when we first played together.
sorry to read on the website of the death of Allan. Although we never
played together (I think, but the memory is bit suspect these days), I
had known Allanís name for a long time, by reputation (which was
considerable) and from his occasional writings which made a lot of
sense. He was kind enough to say some nice things about Cafť Olť, and
the clarinet and tenor playing of Dominic Groves in particular, on
hearing us at The Blundell Arms on the outskirts of Bolton a few years
ago. We also met at Chorleyís Swan With Two Nicks and at Horwich RMI in