Tributes to Jim
Jim Wilkes Memorial Concert at Waterfoot
New Millennium Theatre, 23rd Dec 2006
Dorothy was present with some of the family.
Len Taylor and his wife, Mary organised the event and Roger
Winpenny lead the band on Cornet/Trumpet.
03/07/06 - I've just been given the news from Barry Aldous that Jim Wilkes died today. I have no further information at this time but I'm sure you will all join me in passing on our deepest sympathy to his wife and family. Jim was indeed very special to many of us, he was always so bright and cheerful. His natural flair as a 'front man' as well as his musicianship surpassed many. Nobody could tell a story like Jim, and his imagination knew no bounds when it came to leading up to announcing the title of the next number. Thanks for the memories Jim.
04/07/06 - It was very sad today to hear that Jim Wilkes had passed away. As one of Jims "Rascals" I have a lot of respect for Jim, not only as a Trumpet Player, Front man, Vocalist and everything else that Jim was but as a friend. I was always made welcome when "Guesting" with his band "The Jim Wilkes Stompers" and was delighted when he asked me to become the regular bass player of "The Rascals".
Gerry & Margaret Clayton
04/07/06 - Jim made so many of us happy in his company, both as a Jazz musician and as a great and very warm person. He had true charisma and will be mourned and remembered forever, by thousands.
04/07/06 - We are all saddened to hear of the passing of our dear friend Jim Wilkes. He was a great larger than life character always full of enthusiasm whatever the gig and a very fine trumpet player, and front man. He played with The Festival Jazzmen on numerous occasions and was great fun always making up his own words to well known Jazz Tunes on the spur of the moment. We will all miss him so much and would like to pass on our sincere condolence to Dorothy and his family. We will never forget him.
Cyril & Nora Wroe & The Festival Jazzmen.
I was very sorry to hear about Jim Wilkes. He was a great entertainer and always willing to dep if free.
05/07/06 - Terribly sad news re Jim Wilkes, such a lively positive personality, yet another enormous loss to our Northwest Jazz world. Jim had depped for me in the past and I know how impressed the band were with the way he led, so many musicians and fans will miss him.
06/07/06 - Just like to say that we at Winston's Pennine Jazz ( on the other side of the hill) were very saddened to here about Jim leaving us. I worked with Jim regularly in the Tom Roberts Jazz Band and Jim also helped us out here at Pennine a few times. We will all miss his great skills as a trumpeter, entertainer and above all his qualities as a damn fine bloke, but of course there will be many great memories for us all, our best wishes to those closest to Jim. It was great Jim cheers Mate!!!
12/07/06 - Jim's passing will be a great sadness to
many people who knew Jim, whether as a friend or acquaintance. His
bubbly nature drew people to him. He will be sadly missed
13/07/06 - I well remember the effervesent Jim Wilkes making frequent trips to the Buxton area in the late eighties and early ninties to play with the Bibbington Limeburners and the Hot Spa Stompers. Playing alongside Ged Hone, Geoff Hallam, Stewart Scott, Chris Brown, Trevor Trueman, Dave Aspinall and a very young Spats Langham, to name but a few. His infectious enthusiasm for the music and his ability to grasp the attention of any audience were a delight to behold. Sadly the likes of Jim Wilkes with his multifarious musical talents are almost irreplaceable.
13/07/06 - Thanks for the info on Jim Wilkes. I would
like to pass on my deepest sympathy to his family. If you are in contact I would
be very grateful if you would do so for us all at Feast of Jazz. We are
unable to attend his funeral so please give them our regards.
20/07/06 - Many jazz fans will have been devastated to hear of the death of Jim Wilkes. The jazz world has lost one of the most popular bandleaders ever to grace the jazz stage. I first met Jim when Eagley Jazz Club was born in Bolton twenty years ago, and I soon realised what an exceptional man he was. He was obviously a top quality musician, but he had other oustanding qualities. He was a natural showman who got great personal happiness within himself when he was performing, and he knew exactly how to pass his happiness on to his audience. At the end of a concert where Jim and his Stompers had performed, all of his audience went home with a smile on their faces.
21/07/06 - Dear old Jim, what a great guy. I owe lots to Jim because it was he who invited me to join his band playing at The Anchor, Brighouse, when I had moved up from Pontypool to Harrogate in 1974. I had very little band playing experience, and playing with The Anchor Jazz Band as it was known, under Jim's spontaneous direction was a great learning experience. We made a recording on Palm Sunday in 1975 and recently Jim transferred the recording to CD. When The Anchor changed hands and the Band played its last gig there, Dave Cooper the reeds player commented, "It's the end of an era". And these words go through my head when I think of Jim leaving us to play on.
22/07/06 - Coming back from two weeks in Canada we were so sad to hear of the death of Jim Wilkes. We knew he was in hospital before we went and sent him a card from our grandson Phillip and ourselves. Jim was a fine musician and raconteur with a lovely nature and he also had a kind and generous outlook on life, For example ,when he heard of Phillip's interest in music initially at the age nine he gave him a small accordion. It was typical of the man that he always gave a lot of support to young musicians. He is a musical legend who will be sorely missed.
Kay & Phil Turner
23/07/06 - Dear Fred, I particularly want mention my dear friend Jim Wilkes, who died recently. He and I played together in North Yorkshire with our quartet and trio in the 1960s and since he subsequently lived in Rochdale for many years and I am in Birmingham, we used to meet mid-way about once a month for lunch and to put the world right. He played with my band, Syncopated Rhythm, in February this year and I have special memories of that occasion and very many others over our 42 year friendship.
I sang with Jim just once, for the Heartbeat Charity Night, and I feel so privileged that I had the experience. It was a great night, he was a great performer.
Reproduced by kind permission of Howard Maude, Dennis Harrison and Just Jazz Magazine March 2007
A memorial concert was held for the late Jim Wilkes on Saturday, 23 December, 2006, at the New Millennium Theatre, Waterfoot, Lancashire, to celebrate the life and musical career of an exceptional entertainer. Attending were family, friends and musicians who paid tribute to this larger-than-life character who, in a style all of his own, had provided over many years a unique contribution to the jazz scene, both to the North and further afield. Jim was equally at home whether playing at jazz dubs, horse racing meetings, corporate functions, weddings, birthday parties, or opening retail outlets with just himself and a banjo player. It is rumoured that on one occasion he played his trumpet whilst ascending in a hot air balloon, a feat which I can well believe did happen.
Early Music Days at Dudley Teacher Training College Dining Dudley College in September, 1955, I was soon involved in forming a college jazz
band. We played at college dances and local functions, and were quickly aware of a tall, thin figure with a shock of black hair, clearly infected by the spirit of our music. A first year student like myself, Jim Wilkes eventually asked, “What can I do to get in the band?” I suggested he learned the banjo — since this was the only instrument we didn’t have. Alter the Christmas break, Jim returned to college on a motorbike, with a banjo sticking out of his waterproof jacket. And — it turned out — he could play it!
of the week (11/06/17) about Jim Wilkes brought back some great memories from
some fifteen or twenty years ago when, as a former brass band cornet player I
was trying to master the mysteries of jazz. I met him just a few times, the
first of which was at Eagley jazz club and he was so enthusiastic about helping
me. He sent me some information on chords and invited me to his house for a
lesson on how to find my way around them. The back room of his house was filled
with a baby grand piano and the walls covered in pictures of him performing on
an array of different instruments. With great patience he explained how things
worked and played along with my stumbling trumpet solos, then as I started to
catch on, he played with increasing enjoyment and kept encouraging me to "go for
it". It is a session I will never forget - even though I was a rank beginner he
took great delight in the music and I can clearly picture his smile of quiet
satisfaction when his wife called through that it was fish and chips for tea.