The Lost Tapes

Tape No.12 in the series

Bankers At Play

The Natwest Jazz Band

I wonder how many of you heard this band play at Southport Flower festival, where I think they played for about 3 years?

Back row left to right Bob Higham, Dave Hill, John Goddard, John Moss
Front row left to right Duke Blatchley, Seth Marsh, Steve Davis, Reg King, Paul Wilkinson

Photo taken from 'You Can Bank On Us' LP and some of the musicians do not appear on this tape
Equally, some of the musicians below are not in the photograph


On this recording,  The Band consisted of

Seth Marsh Clarinet/Alto Sax (Leader)
Bob Higham, Trumpet
Steve Davis, Soprano Sax
Phil Gheerbrant, Tenor Sax
Paul Wilkinson, Guitar
Tony Kelly, Guitar
John Woolsey, Bass Guitar
John Shanks, Drums
Dave Hill, Sousaphone

Sleeve Notes

Bands dressed up to look like bank officials are not unknown, but a 9 piece jazz band composed entirely of real life bankers must surely be unique. Every musician in the NatWest jazz band is either a manager or senior staff member of the National Westminster Bank group.

the rather improbable origins of the band go back to 1974 when pianist Frank Moss approached Seth marsh with the suggestion that they meet on neutral ground to try over the Brahms clarinet sonatas. This they certainly did - but quite how, over the following months, this duo came to acquire two more bank colleagues and then to emerge as a Jazz ensemble nobody now seems so sure. However, jazz it definitely was, bankers were playing it, and that was the best news in years. Word quickly spread through the banks city offices and out to the branches in the suburbs : soon enquiries from colleagues about joining the little group began to roll in-from those presently active in Jazz, from those who sought an introduction to the idiom from those who gave up playing years ago but thought they still have their instruments somewhere up in the attic.

Inevitably a line had to be drawn somewhere and the group finally settled to its present 11 man line-up about a year ago. because his vocal qualities were obviously too Good to miss, Jon Moss (Frank's brother) was invited to come along on an occasional guest basis even though he himself is not on the staff of the bank. The group played for a few internal bank functions and then, with a memorably successful lunchtime concert from the bandstand in Finsbury Circus gardens, in the city of London, the NatWest jazz band made it's public debut.
thereafter requests for services flowed in from all sides regretfully many had to be declined colon since bank staff, no matter how senior cannot, cannot disappear from their death as frequently as they might wish for others imagine exclamation (and spare time performing to say nothing of the earthling dash must always post problems with band members living as far apart as Chelmsford and Weybridge, Wembley and Burgess Hill. Nevertheless over the past year the band has managed to appear in support of many charity events including performances at the guildhall and the royal exchange, and has given concerts to patients at the number of the London hospitals.

the recording of this album in support of the Mental Health Appeal 1978, has obviously made increased demands of the bands resources and most of the work has had to be undertaken in the private time of its members. The fact that they have made this extra so willingly only exemplifies again their readiness, with impractical bounds, to help any cause they regard as truly worthwhile.

The Record.
Most of the tracks on this record or the numbers which the band has found to be the most popular at its concerts. They are mainly just standards and will be well known to followers of trad although dapper Dan dash here a game Lee accepted challenge to the singing style of Jon Moss may come as a surprise. the other number not heard very often is ugly child, this time some dash or dash perhaps one should say localised by trombonist John Goddard. If the words of this song I seemed a little unkind, it is worth explaining that the number started life entitled quotes you're some pretty quote and with some pretty clean lyrics to match. Years ago another trombonist becoming more and more exasperated by persistent demands to play and sing this detection, finally rebelled, went away retired it with titled it ugly child and wrote his own parody of the words. It is this stand-up version that has survived in the jazz repertoire. the other vocal tracks are nobody knows you to which the larynx adjusts with natural comfort and to Great effect and really swinging version of shine on which John Goddard not only sings the words but also treated to a course of his own performance brand of vocal nonsense. Also featured is go NatWest your Man a number especially composed for the record by leader Seth Mars is also the clarinet solo petite fleur the lovely tune with now rates classic status for the instrument on the sopranos sex of Steve Davis can be heard soloing on most of the tracks, always making an ingenious and lyrical contribution.

The mental health appeal
approximately half of the retail cost of this record will be be contributing to the mental health appeal. MIND and the mental health Foundation are most grateful to you for your contribution to our work.

1-in 5 families in Britain have a member suffering from some form of mental disorder and this problem can strike one at anytime young or old.

We know very little about the causes of mental disorder and treatment is therefore often less than fully effective. The mental health appeal will increase our ability to sponsor research to provide essential services designed to prevent breakdown and and to help those who have suffered, back to a normal life.

John Dankworth writes :

The band plays with a spirit and a sense of humour which many professional groups of this style would you well to emulate. Indeed several of his members would not disgrace the higher ranks of the Jazz profession had they not chosen the rather more secure profession of banking.

Quite frankly even if I could find any serious faults with the music of this ambitious and thoroughly musical group which I can't I will be very reluctant to draw attention to them. After all I happen to have an account at NatWest and I know better than to cross swords with one bank manager let alone a bank full.Here are the notes from the cassette -


Side 1

  1. That's A Plenty

  2. Go Natwest Young Man

  3. Ugly Chile

  4. Old Miss Rag

  5. Petite Fleur

  6. Spain

  7. Dapper Dan

Side 2

  1. At The Jazz Band Ball
  2. Strolling With Some Barbecue
  3. Nobody Knows You
  4. Big Butter And Egg Man
  5. Ja-Da
  6. Shine.



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