The Hunt for Carl


17/07/16 - I get some challenging emails from time to time with people trying to find someone from the past. Sometimes  I can find the answers with your help, and it's one of the most rewarding aspects of this web site when that happens. This next one though has to be the most challenging so far. It's from Julia Milward  in New Zealand. - "This is a bit of a long shot but thought it worth a try.  Barry and I both hail from the Wirral - our respective families emigrated in the 60s. We were talking the other day about a chap Barry used to work with at an Architectural Company in Birkenhead by the name of Carl Thompson - he was a Yorkshireman by birth and did his Architectural degree at Liverpool University. The last we heard of him was that he had retired to Nice (of all places!) in the South of France.  The reason for my email to you is that he was a very keen jazz enthusiast and trumpet player and belonged to a small band for a good number of years - sadly we can't remember the name of the band. They played gigs in and around the Merseyside/Liverpool/Wirral area. I know this is all a bit vague but just thought it worth a try that someone associated with Jazz Northwest might just know him and where he currently is. Barry is just 70 and thinks Carl was 8 to 10 years older than him - so there is always the possibility he may be making music in the hereafter !! If you can throw any light on Carl or his whereabouts it would be much appreciated - we just figured the jazz fraternity would be a tight knit group so might just have the answer".  Wouldn't it be great if we could?

 20/07/16 - Re Carl Thompson, here’s something interesting off the web.  Carl’s architectural business was in The Albert Dock, Liverpool: Never met him, though. -

Jon Critchley

20/07/16 - I played with Carl Thompson in the Mathew St. Ragtime Jazz Band from the late 80s until the mid 90s. By that time Carl had established his own firm of architects, Carl Thompson Associates, and we used to rehearse in his offices on the Albert Dock on Monday evenings, and then go down the stairs to Hartleys Wine Bar and finish the evening listening to the Merseysippis, who had a residency there. Carl also ran a band called the Climax Jazz band , which also played at the Bar X on the Albert Dock on Sunday evenings. When he left the Mathew St band, he became a founder member of the Tuxedo Jazz Band, which of course is still going strong. Carl still visits the UK fairly frequently -

Phil Yates

25/07/16 - Bonsoir Fred,  I am in regular touch with Carl Thompson. He and Jacqui live in the centre of Saint-Tropez (rather far away from us to call them our neighbours) and Carl is very active in the jazz scene down there with his French Tuxedo Band etc.. He is also an active member of the Rotary Club and recently organised his seventh annual "Foi de Jazz" where he booked Les Haricots Rouges as part of the gig. Carl & Jacqui drove up to stay with us a couple of years ago and I organised a few local (very non-jazz) musicians to play a few numbers with us in my basement. It was interesting to say the least but nonetheless very enjoyable.  - Graham Martindale. Graham has sent me Carl's email address and his phone number and says I'm sure he would be delighted to hear from Barry & Julia. I'll pass the information on. -

Graham Martindale

26/07/16 - Hello Fred, Well, I have to say your assistance has been fantastic and low and behold Barry received an email from Carl this morning!! I had sent an email to Didier Hussenot last night – so this morning I received a response from him to say ‘he makes music’ with Carl Thompson and was forwarding my email on to him. So this morning in my inbox I received a reply from Didier plus the one you sent through attaching Graham Martindale’s email and, as I said, Barry had one from Carl!! Somehow I felt you guys would be a pretty special tight knit group and so it has proved to be. Thank you doesn’t even cover it but please give yourself a big pat on the back for your part in the jigsaw. We will be over in the UK for 3 months from late August, so we are hoping Carl may be over during that time, failing which we may try to organise a stopover in France when we plan next years travels. Hope your news board works as well for other people looking for old friends in the future. -

Julia Milward

27/07/16 - Dear Fred,

I first came across Carl Thompson when he was studying architecture at Liverpool University in the late 1950's. It was a hot bed of jazz there in those days, and I had a school friend at the University who played clarinet in the band, Denis Smithson.

We were at Alsop High School, Liverpool and had a band which included Denis, myself on drums, Jim Enright on trumpet, among others. Jim and i were not at Liverpool, but at Oxford and Cambridge respectively, and used to go to hear Denis when home in the vacations. Denis sadly never played again after those days, good though he was in the Johnny Dodds style, and passed away in Wakefield a couple of years ago.

I remember being very impressed with Carl's playing, but did not come across him again until he was with the Mathew Street Ragtime b and at the Marlborough pub in Slater Street. He really got the band going and was a great loss to them when he moved abroad.

I used to go to the Marlborough from time to time, and was allowed by Lynton Ali and the band to sit in . I have a reasonable tape of one of the sessions with me on drums for some of the time and Jill Farrington singing.

Happy days all round

Regards, - Roy Swift

28/07/16 - Bonjour Fred,

Just when I thought I had cracked it - hiding away over here, some bugger breaks my cover. For those sad people interested, here is my potted jazz history.

Architects Jazz Band 1954/59  National University Jazz Band Competition - came 5th in Liverpool and last in Manchester - overconfident and pissed. Played at the opening of the original Cavern Club. The owner Alan Sitner paid the bands with a firkin of ale. Played regularly at the iron Door Club in late fifties and did lunchtime gigs at the Cavern for a coke and burger. Business, wife, four children and family life intervened and the Beatles came along - so a long break. Made mini-come-back with Ray Hayes and Derek Roberts.

Formed the Incredible Climax Jazz (with incredible arrogance!)  with Bart Pool, George Barnett, Colin Carney, Robin Tankard. Joined Matthew Street Ragtime Jazz Band with Cliff Barker, Lofty Davies, Bart Pool, Lynton Ali, and Peter on base. Played with guest Monty Sunshine and on radio Merseyside. The band played from the late 80s to the mid 90s at the Marlborough pub in Matthew Street.

Then came the Climax Jazz Band (not "incredible" this time) playing at the Bar X Saloon in the Albert Dock on Sunday evenings. We had Bart Pool on trombone,  Brian Legan on clarinet and sax, Derek Roberts and occasionally Reg. Aveyard on Banjo, Billy Moreton on drums and Robin Tankard on base. The Bar X was in the basement of the Jessie Hartley Victorian warehouse and the acoustics were terrifically suited to our New Orleans style.

Along with Brian Woods, we started the Tuxedo Jazz Band in the mid 90s with Brian on drums, Mal Horne (banjo), Robin Tankard (followed by Ray Owens and Jeff Jones (base), Brian Legan (clari and sax) and Arthur Williams (trombone). We started playing at the Woodside Hotel and moved on to the Old Colonial in Birkenhead docks. We had Jack Gilbert and PhIl Mason and Cy Laurie guesting with us. The band is now at the Old Wirraleans in Wallesey still dedicated to playing New Orleans Revivalist music every Thursday night.

Decided to retire to Saint-Tropez in 2000 and Jacqui and I bought an apartment in the old town. I formed the French Tuxedo band almost immediately playing at Café Bleu in Golf Juan and various outside gigs. We have a quartet for smaller venues. Pay is good with always dinner and wine included but gigs are infrequent and travel distances big. Frank Whitham is a great old friend of mine over here and we often do gigs together.

Bien amities,

Carl Thompson

31/07/16 -

Dear Fred,

With reference to Carl I was at University with him and was an occasional member of the Architects Jazz Band on rhythm guitar or bass before Robin Tankard in maybe 1955/56. I still have great memories of jam sessions in the Students Union.

I would be pleased if you could ask him for his email address as I would like to get in touch. Wish I had known last year when I was in St Tropez!

Malcolm Turnbull



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