Had a Great Time with
Wilkes sadly passed away on 3rd July 2006
Guaranteed to bring a cheer to any party, Jim had been leading bands for over forty years and maintained an enthusiastic and vigorous approach to his music. The music style was free-swinging jazz including vocals from all band members. As well as traditional jazz numbers, there were several speciality items as well as all the well known party material. The emphasis was on entertainment and Jim's audiences rarely left without smiles on their faces.
Jim had a very busy programme which took him all over the north of England as well as visits to Scotland, Wales, the Midlands, the South and continental Europe. He was to be found at society weddings, anniversaries, parties, dances, jazz clubs, race meetings and all kinds of corporate entertaining events. He had played in a hot air balloon, on the Orient Express, and on the summit of Snowdon!
With Jim you got a bright happy jazz sound to set your feet tapping, with a varied programme of entertainment, plus a sense of humour that made the evening go with a swing.
The Jim Wilkes Stompers were formed 25 years ago and originally based at the Anchor Pub in Brighouse West Yorkshire. The Sunday lunchtimes there became legendary and the place was packed out with even standing room gone.
As well as Jim on trumpet there was Howard Maude on drums and Terry Arnold on trombone. Howard is an ace rhythm man with an enigmatic smile whilst Terry is the smoothest sounding bone man in the North. He also does superb vocals.
Paul Broomhead joined the band over 15 years ago and delights audiences with his reed playing. His performances range from a perfect reproduction of Larry Shields, via George Lewis, to Johnny Dodds and Sidney Bechet, interspersed with his own individual approach to clarinet, soprano, tenor and alto.
Geoff Kitson is an inspiring bass player who had been with the band for over 12 years and is always accurate and swinging. Of late he had gained a reputation for singing mournful love songs and he is rumoured to be `Just a Gigalo'.
Brian Herbert was the most recent recruit to the band and replaced Duncan Stockings who was one of the originals. Brian has both a national and international reputation and is, without doubt, world class on both banjo and guitar. He also sings like Elvis!
The Stompers were lively and creative. It really is true that no one knew exactly what was going to happen next except that Jim would seize the moment and use the occasion to perform memorable jazz and a thoroughly entertaining evening.
We may be old,' they sang, `but we can play the music.' They certainly could.
Click the play button to hear The Jim Wilkes Stompers play "We May Be Old"
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