THE JAZZ GENTLEMEN
In 2004, six North-West jazz musicians came together for a one-off gig. In the event, the band gelled so well and the music swung so sweetly that they just had to keep it going. So, hey presto, a new band, The Jazz Gentlemen, was born, made up of Derek Skepper (trumpet), Terry Brunt (trombone), Terry Porter (clarinet, saxes, flute), Maurice Gavan (piano), Keith Allcock (bass) and Dick Nancarrow (drums).
The band quickly established itself on the NW jazz scene, with lots of enthusiastic receptions at well-known jazz venues and at private functions, and with people regularly telling them how much they liked the freshness and variety of the music and the bandís obvious enjoyment in playing it. The Jazz Gentlemen drew their inspiration from the rich legacy of early jazz styles, from New Orleans to Harlem, and their programmes included Dixieland and swing classics, rags, blues, spirituals and ballads from the great American songbook. This emphasis on variety was reflected in the colours of their shirts !
After eight years of happy music-making, with plenty of Ďmagic momentsí, the band lost two of its members. Terry Porter retired, because of embouchure problems, and Dick Nancarrow fell ill and sadly died in 2013. Maurice Gavan also passed away on Monday 19th October 2015.
The rest of the band felt these losses deeply, given how close the band had been, but in 2012 they welcomed Barry Aldous on clarinet and tenor sax, a move which also brought a fine boost to the bandís vocal range. They were also fortunate to have the services of Peter Eddowes and Peter Darwin who shared the drum duties.
In December 2014, the Jazz Gentlemen took the decision to disband after ten thoroughly enjoyable years. Some members of the band had reached the stage when travelling long distances at night had lost its appeal and they reluctantly decided to call it a day. At its best, The Jazz Gentlemen was a truly thrilling band to play in and the band members would like to thank all the fine musicians who depped with them from time to time, the punters who supported them so loyally, and not least the hard-working jazz venue promoters who gave them gigs. They also thank you, Fred, for your tireless and invaluable promotion of NW jazz.