Whatever Happened To -
The Festival Jazzmen

Photo - Danny Riley, 7th April 2003

This seven piece band was originally formed in January 1974 when a group of enthusiastic jazz musicians got together and started to practise in the back room of the Queen's Hotel, Poulton Le Fylde near Blackpool. Now, more than twenty years later, this group of semi- professional musicians under the leadership of founder member Cyril Wroe are still playing on the Fylde coast when asked, although not with all the musicians shown in the picture. 

With their extensive repertoire of traditional jazz and mainstream music the band comprises clarinet/tenor sax, trumpet, trombone, piano, bass, banjo/guitar and drums. To celebrate their 21st birthday the band made a live recording at Uncle Tom's cabin, Blackpool, their weekly Wednesday night venue at the time and followed this with a second recording at Blakeys Cafe Bar in 1997. The tapes were well received by Jazz F.M. Manchester who frequently broadcasted selected tracks on their Sunday programme. The band has also broadcast live on Radio Lancashire and featured in the prestigious magazine Lancashire life. 

The Band at Blakeys 4th March 2002 - Photo Fred  Burnett

An early achievement was in reaching the semi-final of the Holstein/Jazz Journal National Jazz Band Competition, at the same time winning several awards for outstanding individual musicianship. With steadily widening popularity they have played venues further afield including, the Isle of Man; East Anglia; the LLangollen Jazz Festival; Blakeys cafe bar at Blackburn, Bolton Cricket Club, the Hesketh Arms, Southport, a selective, jazz orientated pub; Jim Bowen's Redwell Inn; the Outgate, Hawkshead; on the Lake Windermere steamer and as guests in the Mayor's parlour, Blackpool Town Hall. Some of the country's leading jazz musicians have been featured as guest soloists with the band, and these include Roy Williams, John Barnes, Digby Fairweather, Dave Shepherd, Ben Cohen, Martin Taylor, Tommy Burton, Keith and Marcia Pendlebury. 

The band has played to packed audiences at various venues throughout Blackpool and the Fylde Area. The style of music is orientated towards Dixieland, with the occasional mainstream number included in the programme. The band line-up consisted of the leader Cyril Wroe (clarinet, tenor sax & vocals), Cyril Lyons (Trombone), Adrian Ridgway (Piano), Ron Strachan (Banjo, Guitar), Gerry Clayton (Bass), Geoff Gallagher (Drums). Ron Hancock (Trumpet).

Cyril Lyons died July 2010

Festival Jazzmen Tape/CD :-

The Festival Jazzmen Live Volume 1 - Recorded at Uncle Tom's Cabin

Lady be Good : Big Butter & Egg Man : Bugle Boy March : New Orleans : Canal St. Blues : At The Jazz Band Ball : Bourbon St. Parade : Black & Blue : Blue Monk : China Boy : Night Train Blues.

The Festival Jazzmen Live Volume 2 - Recorded at Blakeys Jazz Bar, Blackburn

Wolverine Blues : Sister Kate : High Society : Honky Tonk Train Blues : Tishomingo Blues : Georgia Camp Meeting : Nagasaki : Panama Rag : My Merry Oldsmobile : Trouble In Mind : Washington And Lee March : Just A Closer Walk With Thee.

The Festival Jazzmen Live Volume 3 - Recorded at The Royal Oak, Poulton-le-Fylde

Algiers Strut : Davenport Blues : Milenburg Joys : Coney Island Washboard : West End Blues : Hiawatha Rag : Dippermouth Blues : Panama Rag : Muscrat Ramble : Da Da Strain : Bugle Boy March : Ponchartrain Blues : Kid Ory's Creole Trombone : Black Cat on The Fence : Original Dixieland One-Step : I'll Be Glad When You're Dead

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