New Orleans Express
New Orleans Express was the name of a band that Dr. Ron Lloyd co-founded in Chester, England, in 1975. He had previously been a member of Liverpool University Jazz Band, The Dave Lind Jazzmen and The Gut Bucket Steam Orchestra. He left the Steam Orchestra to go to the Antarctic as medical and research officer. While down under he attempted to learn the trumpet, but was persuaded by his colleagues to quit. He returned to Chester as a general practitioner. In 1977 he left for Canada as a member of the Armed Forces at Petawawa.
Ron's first exposure to jazz was at the age of 16. He was captivated by the sound of skiffle music as personified by Lonnie Donnegan and was a member of his high school skiffle group on guitar. When Lonnie Donnegan came to his town to perform he stood in front of the stage all night long to get his fill. Lonnie Donnegan was the banjo player in the Chris Barber Jazz Band and skiffle sessions punctuated the sets of jazz. Ron was entranced, had his first epiphany and became a huge fan of New Orleans Jazz. He was lucky enough to be able to hear Ken Colyer at the Liverpool Cavern Club. Ken Colyer worked and played alongside jazz musicians in New Orleans and imported the driving polyphonic style to Britain. While playing with the Dave Lind Jazzmen Ron was exposed to the music of Jelly Roll Morton and was impressed with the sophistication and complexity of the music. From listening to recordings Ron began to really appreciate the early works of Louis Armstrong. Bix Beiderbecke was another hero. Ragtime piano and the Scott Joplin craze left its mark. One of the most fun-filled gigs he ever did was to play banjo in a Spike Jones style band in Pembroke. (reproduced from an article about the Canadian N.O.E. by Ron Lloyd M.D.)
In later years the band was run by Hughie Gerrard.
18/01/14 - Graham Martindale writes
Here is a photo I've come across of New Orleans Express which Hughie decided to commission. I think it was mid 1990's, around the time he distributed a cassette to us all with various tunes he wanted us to perfect, and tried to get us to get together for some rehearsals. We never did !!!