A Day in The Life of a Jazz Band

Keith Allcock & Doctor Jazz

We had two contrasting gigs on Bank Holiday Saturday. We took a quartet (trumpet, sax, banjo and bass) to Morecambe to play for the opening of a new Claims Direct store. At the appointed starting time (10 30 a.m.) it was pouring steadily and we had to play our first spot inside the shop door. Thereafter, we managed to do most of the four-hour gig outside, with just the occasional spot of rain.

During the first set, we were joined in the shop by a dear old gentleman who produced a pair of clappers and began to accompany us, thoroughly enjoying himself in the process. He later reappeared playing a pair of spoons which he'd just gone and bought from Oxfam! A lifelong inhabitant of Morecambe, he could reel off nostalgically the names of all the theatres which used to flourish in the town.

 Next another elderly gent came talking to us who had recently had heart surgery and was afraid to go to jazz gigs in case he got too excited. He then proceeded to get quite excited about how the City of Lancaster had taken over little Morecambe.

Then we had to put up with a tipsy woman of a certain age who insisted on telling me that she used to go out with a bass player. She danced about in front of us, returning to the pub whenever we took a break. She seemed in good spirits (in more ways than one), but it was quite sad really. Every now and again she’d make eyes at Howard Parr on banjo and plead, “Come on, give us Leaning On The Lamp Post”. Poor old Derek Skepper wasn't too sure what to do when she sidled up to him seductively as he was playing his trumpet.

A handful of passers-by would sometimes stop and listen for a while, clutching their shopping bags beneath the dismal sky, before passing on indifferently. Occasionally, we got a bit of a clap and one lady from Lancaster University even asked for a card!

Then in the evening the full band plus Edwina did a riverboat gig on the River Weaver for the St Helens Hospice fund-raising organisation and it was an absolute wow. They were a great crowd and really enjoyed the music, giving us a terrific ovation at the end. That's the other side of the coin. They even had a whip-round for us because they found out we'd done the gig for expenses.

Such are the ups and downs of the itinerant jazz musician!

Keith Allcock

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