Whatever Happened To -
The Jazz Aces




The band currently does not have a residency and has not been listed in What's On for the last twelve months

Formed in 1981, the band, since that time, have had various residencies, the current one which they have held for a number of years, being at the Station Tavern, Lytham on the first Tuesday of every month, 8.30 to 10.30pm.

Their local reputation ensures that they are in demand for events, clubs, weddings, etc and have even played at a local crematorium for a New Orleans style funeral! The band does not consider itself to have a leader, but rather operates on a co-operative basis comprised of the following musicians:-

Mike Taylor-Banjo and Guitar:

A Scouser by birth, Mike’s family moved to Blackpool just after the war. He has had an interest in music for as long as he can remember and encouraged by a relative who played with the Halle Orchestra, he dreamed of playing music himself when older. During the mid 50’s he went to hear Chris Barber in concert and became entranced with what he heard. He renovated a ukulele banjo of his father’s and taught himself to play from tutor books. John Smith and he have been friends since school days and began playing skiffle together with friends at the age of 11 years.

Whilst at Blackpool Technical College in 1962 he joined the college jazz band on a Rag Day parade and has remained with jazz from that time. The college band became The Louisville Stompers and he stayed with them until 1966, joining Bob Crosby and the Crown Jazzmen until 1972, then the Savannah Jazz Band from Blackpool who often linked up with The Tavernors Folk Group,until 1981. He’s been with the Jazz Aces, formed that year, ever since.

Musicians such as Joe Pass, Barney Kessel, Django Reinhardt and Eddie Smith who played with Chris Barber, have had the most influence on him. Musically he has catholic taste, but melody and harmony are requirements for him to enjoy it. Listening to music, along with bird watching are his hobbies. Mike was an engineer with BAE Systems until his retirement in 2003.

John Smith – Drums:

John is local born and bred. Brought up listening to his relatives’ 78’s of dance band music, Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington, he wasn’t aware that it was jazz, but he liked it. Whilst at Palatine School with Mike Taylor he became skiffle crazy and they spent many happy hours making music with friends and their homemade instruments.

He was self-taught and like Mike, the first jazz band he joined was formed at Blackpool Technical College in 1962. For a short while he played with a rock group in Blackpool known initially as the Tornadoes, then becoming the Zeros. At the Cartford Arms in Little Eccleston from 1964 to 1966 he played with the Louisville Stompers, joining the Crown Jazz Men in Preston from 1967 to 1973, Blackpool’s Savannah Jazz Band from 1973 to 1979, then Cyril Wroe’s Festival Jazz Band up to joining the Jazz Aces three months after Mike in 1981.

Eric Delaney was probably the main influence on his musical career, along with Chuck Flores, big Sid Catlett and Dave Tough.
There isn’t a particular style of jazz that he prefers over any other, but he does like music with structure and chord sequences.
Golf and listening to music are his hobbies.
He was a senior design engineer with BAE Systems until his retirement.

Bob Worswick – Bass and Harmonica:

A mouth organ was the only instrument he had as a child and it was this he continued to play after joining the Royal Air Force at the age of 18. He admired the musicianship of Max Geldray and Ronald Chesney, becoming a member of a harmonica trio playing in stage shows at the Preston Palace. Here,he got stuck with the string bass and found he liked it, paying 30 for his own instrument and picking up an ear for the music by listening to big bands such as Count Basie and playing along to the music on Radio Luxembourg.

In 1958 he became a Methodist lay preacher and laid his bass to rest for 8 years whilst enjoying Bill Haley and the Beatles and becoming a school caretaker in 1964, a job he held for 30 years!  1996 saw him ordained as a Minister with a special ministry for sheltered accommodation. He is based at Wycliffe Memorial Anglican Church in Preston.

In 1987 he met up with The Jazz Aces at a charity function in Kirkham. He played with them for a while, took a seven year break and returned to them in 2002. His string bass he has exchanged for a fretless bass guitar, and more recently, an upright electric “stick” bass, which he makes sound remarkably like the “real” thing!  During the band’s sessions, a popular feature is a trio “band within a band” featuring Bob on harmonica, along with mike on guitar and John on drums. Not only does this usually bring the house down, it also enables the front line to rest their poor old chops, top up their glasses, or in the case of Cyril, to have a crafty fag outside!
It has been suggested that for weddings the band could provide a package deal to include the clergyman!

Cyril Robinson – Trombone:

Originally from Preston and now living in St.Annes, Cyril is the front man on the microphone, his jokes being notorious throughout the North West. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your point of view) these have to be kept squeaky clean, in order to avoid the Wrath of Bob, the band’s aforementioned resident clergyman!

His introduction to jazz was via The Jack Jackson Show where he heard Pee Wee Hunt playing 12th Street Rag. Liking what he heard, he went on to be inspired by the expressive trombone of Spike Jones playing with his City Slickers and acquired a G Bass trombone when his father brought one home that he had “picked up” from the recently disbanded army band in which he’d played. Cyril joined the Preston Silver Youth Band for a while, then entered the R.A.F., playing with both the military and the dance band. Practicing in the bathhouse, they regularly had wet towels thrown at them! He came out of the R.A.F. because he didn’t get the posting to southern Rhodesia he wanted, got married, moved to Nottingham and didn’t play for ten years.

Playing again became a necessity for financial reasons! And forty-odd years ago Cyril returned to Preston. Replying to an advert for a trombonist in a jazz band, he took up with Sam Greenall at the Cartford Arms in Little Eccleston and the Lancaster Pub in Preston. There he was poached by Bob Crosby to join his Crown Jazzmen where he found John and Mike with whom he is now playing. He depped with The Fylde Coast Jazzmen for a while then joined The Jazz Aces some 23 years ago. In his time he has served as a builders merchant, cab driver and decorator. He enjoys quizzes, crosswords, walking in the Lake District, plays the odd round of golf and rides a bike.l

Harold Salisbury – Clarinet, saxophones and flute:

In a long career, Harold has covered the full gamut of jazz. From New Orleans to Free Improvised Music and just about everything in between. New Orleans with Thomas Jefferson, Wingy Manone and Nat Gonella. Mainstream with Pat Hawes and Al Fairweather at London’s 100 Club. He led a big band featuring Harry Becket and Graham Bond at “Klooks Kleek” in West Hampstead. Gigged with Alex Welsh, Kenny Ball, Bob Wilber and Peanuts Hucko. Be Bop with Howard McGee. Post Bop with the Kenny Shaw Band. Led the North West fusion band “Free Parking” in a long residency at the Lamb Hotel with a guest list that included Don Weller, Bruce Adams, Mike Walker and Tim Garland.

From parading with a New Orleans band including Cuff Billet and members of the Ken Colyer Trust to broadcasting on B.B.C’s “Jazz in Britain” with Lol Coxhill’s Hot Lava International Band to playing Ronnie Scott’s Club with Brian Dee, Tony Archer and Phil Kinnora, Harold has “been there, done that”. Most multi-instrumentalists restrict themselves to playing one instrument at a time, but not Harold. On occasion, he will have a “Roland Kirk” moment, taking up two of his saxophones, usually soprano and alto and blowing them both together in harmony – quite alarming if you are not expecting it!  All in all, he has proved to be a most worthy successor to the band’s original reedman, Dave Lee, who departed a couple of years ago due to his many other musical commitments.

Alan Beecham – Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Mellophonium and Keyboards:

The band’s token southerner, Alan was born within the sound of Bow Bells, or would have been if Herr Hitler hadn’t silenced them at the time.  Having a jazz-mad brother ten years older than himself, he was, from a very early age, exposed to the music of King Oliver, jelly Roll Morton, etc .

He commenced piano lessons at the age of eight, but gave this up a couple of years later when the skiffle craze swept the country, learning basic banjo and guitar and fronting his own group by age 11. By the time he was 15, his family had moved South of the Thames to Battersea and he joined a jazz band formed by schoolmates. They were sometimes augmented by a pianist called Vince and wow! could he play a mean boogie! He eventually went on to form the much acclaimed rock band “Atomic Rooster”. Inspired by what he had heard, Alan once again took up piano, and also started playing trumpet, studying with Owen Bryce. At age 18, the family moved to Southend on Sea, Essex, and for the next few years, Alan was playing mostly keyboards with various blues and pop groups, notably The Fingers, cutting a number of discs at the famous Abbey Road Studios and appearing on German TV .

By 1967, it was time to get married and get a “proper” job. Oh, and return to JAZZ – this time on trumpet. “Proper” jobs included jeweller, window cleaner, and painter/decorator, meanwhile playing trumpet with the Gerry Attrick Jazzmen, and trumpet/keyboards with his own band , for several years regulars at the Annual Southend Jazz Festival. Just prior to moving up north he had a four year residency at the Cliffs Bandstand, until the said cliffs began to crumble and the venue had to be closed before it slid into the sea! During this period, Alan also found work as a film “extra” and can be seen, albeit briefly, in such films as “Shakespeare in Love” (on trumpet), Finding Neverland “(on piano) and singing in a chorus in “Phantom of the Opera”.

Since moving up to Arnside in 2004 most of Alan’s work has been on piano in many of the area’s hotels either with his trio or as a solo act, but when Ron Hancock decided to call it a day back in 2006, he jumped at the chance to join the Jazz Aces in order to “get a blow”.

Oh and vocals? Well each member of the band is known to wax lyrical as the occasion arises, but NOT you will be glad to know, all at the same time!


Mike Taylor:
John Smith:
Cyril Robinson:
Alan Beecham:
01772 685315
01253 735566
07966 815913
01524 760051

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