I am the music man -
Oom-pah, oom-pah, oom-pah-pah

31/07/16 -

Hi Fred,

I've been meaning to contact you for ages, finally plucked up the courage. Let me explain...

A good few years ago, using my very first pay packet, I fulfilled a fantasy of my trad jazz-loving Dad by buying him a (second hand) King trombone. The intention was to give him a project to occupy his time (he was approaching retirement). I had no real expectations of him in this venture other than to see him enjoying 'umpah-ing' along to his jazz music at home. Condensing the next 15 years or so... Dad and a like-minded and trombone playing soul, another Fred in Fulwood, would regularly play along together in 'Fred's Shed' in an enthusiastic if rudimentary way to records and attempt to replicate some of these. It was after several years of this that I was 'volunteered' into providing some rhythm when presented with an 'entry level' banjo (I had previously had a cheap electric guitar some 30 years earlier but had given up after a very brief and unsuccessful quest to become the next Jimi Hendrix.

And so for a few months I bashed out the only 3 chords I knew to some of our favourite tunes by the likes of Bunk Johnson, early Humph and Ken Colyer. Then one day Fred announced, on passing out a cd labelled "Gig Set", 'I've booked the venue.' 'WHAT?!!' came the collective cry. Yes, Fred was fulfilling his own jazz fantasy by booking a social club in Preston for his 70th birthday party for 80-90 guests, with us and two other, semi professional bands providing the entertainment! We had no right to be on stage given our level of playing but nevertheless we were joined on drums by Dad's best friend (who had only had one lesson previously and indeed one practice session with us before the gig) and my brother on the clarinet he'd last played some 30 years earlier at school, with myself on a very cheap banjo, armed with those 3 chords, Dad on trombone and Fred belatedly and nobly switching to trumpet. What followed was quite possibly the worst jazz anyone has had the misfortune to witness! Even by our poor standards we underperformed on the night. However the 80 or so strong audience of Fred's family and friends were very generous and tolerant and we were spared our lives.

This was to be the catalyst however to forge on and try to improve. In the intervening years since that fateful evening in 2008, we have, I must say, moved on some way. Alas Tony, the drummer on the night, has since died and poor old Fred now resides in a dementia home in Fulwood, the inspiration behind my father's near obsession with playing his trombone in the house at every opportunity. As for me and my brother, I have gone on to learning a good few more chords to the three I played back then whilst my brother now joins my Dad and I on clarinet most Sunday afternoons at out parents home, playing tunes and supping wine.

And finally in May 2016, after another old friend of ours joined the Sunday sessions on electric bass, we played our first 'gig' since 2008 at a care home in Southport where, hand on heart, we weren't all that good but we've certainly played worse!

That is the shortened version of the back story to this email. It's with some regret that my Dad always says wistfully that it's a shame we have nobody on cornet/trumpet, especially ironic as his grandson is a great trumpet player but dislikes trad jazz and rarely joins us. So I guess what I'm saying is, if there is anybody in the Ormskirk/Southport/Preston area who is not exactly a virtuoso on the trumpet or cornet but would like to sit in and play with us, that would be great. We're enthusiastic but poor and unlikely ever to play in public again, but for an enjoyable, relaxing afternoon of jazz and vino, it would be nice to have that cornet sound.

If you know of anyone or would like to post some or all of this rambling story/request, that'd be great and I can be contacted on the email address below.

Many thanks

Patrick Jenkinson,
Banjo player and, ahem, 'original member' of the Seaside Stompers!
Email: bfcelvis@yahoo.co.uk

10/09/16 - A few weeks ago I sent you a rather lengthy email about our fledgling family jazz band and our search for a trumpet player. Well thanks to you posting that request up on your webpage, we've met a tremendous bloke called George who lives locally and has now joined us for our Sunday sessions. He's of a much better standard than ourselves but is enjoying playing with us and passing on his knowledge. It's been very enjoyable and we've learned and improved more in the last two months than in the last five years or so!

So just wanted to say thank you for accommodating my email onto your terrific site, we couldn't be more thrilled how it has worked out so far.

Pat Jenkinson



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