Roy Potts
 Passed away 2nd October 2015


03/10/15 - Martin Potts rang me a few moments ago to say his dad, Roy, passed away last night. He has been ill for some time although still playing up until a few weeks ago. He did of course lead his own band The Roy Potts Five & A Penny for many years and was always busy in an around Chester and the North West.  For the last ten years he has also been playing with the Savoy Jazzmen.  He was a real character, always giving a strong lead and very whimsical on the microphone. He will be sorely missed.  Condolences to Anne, family and friends. -

Peter Swensson (The Savoy Jazzmen.)

03/10/15 - R.I.P. Roy.

Your favourite word was “eclectic”, and your whole approach to your music mirrored this. When I joined the band, you settled my nerves by saying “ everyone brings something to the party”.

You allowed me to play, without worrying about “idioms”, and , in three years I learned SO many new (to me) tunes, because you just let me play and learn from you as we went along.

Thank you, Roy, and God Bless.

Love and sincere condolences to Ann, from Carol and me.

Frank Slater.

04/10/15 -

I will always have fond memories of my dear friend Roy, during my time playing with Five and a Penny.  They were such happy times.   You will be sadly missed Roy.  Glenda and I send our love and deepest sympathy to Anne and family.

Dave Burke

04/10/15 -

Very saddened to learn that Roy Potts has passed away. Although it was many years ago that I played with his 'Five and a Penny' band, then regularly at a residency in Moreton, Wirral and much later 'depping' on occasions at the Jenny Jones in Llangollen, I always enjoyed Roy's playing and inimitable band leadership.

Yet another great loss to the jazz fraternity in the north-west, he certainly will be much missed by his many followers and musicians, not to say Anne and his family to whom I wish to send my deepest sympathy and condolences.

Alan Davies

06/10/15 -

Sorry to hear the news about Roy. I played with him a few times lately and had to admire the terrific courage he showed to go on playing the music he loved in such difficult circumstances. He was an important figure on the NW jazz scene over many years. My sympathy goes to his family.

Keith Allcock

08/10/15 -

Some months ago, in the Sun, Llangollen, I found myself unable to keep back the tears as Roy Potts, sitting down and with tubes in his nose to deliver the oxygen supply on which his life depended, gave a beautiful and heartfelt vocal and instrumental rendition of ‘Precious Lord, Lead Me On’. I can still hear it now!

Roy’s courage – his determination to carry on playing and singing despite his obvious discomfort, and to do it to the very best of his ability – deeply impressed everyone who witnessed it. At first, he wasn’t sure whether he should use the oxygen while performing because he feared it might put the audience off, but no. He carried on playing, they remained loyal to the end and their admiration – and ours – increased by the week. His singing in particular, even when he could hardly breathe, never lost that seemingly-effortless, naturally expressive quality that none of us who heard him will ever forget.

Roy was my ‘jazz mentor’ from 1981 (when I first depped on bass with Five and a Penny) to the day he died. Back in 1981, I had been dabbling in modern and experimental jazz for a couple of years but, to my shame, knew little or nothing of the traditional repertoire. Realising this, Roy altered the positioning of the back line so that I was in the middle, immediately behind him, with drums on one side and banjo/guitar on the other. He also provided me with a music stand and gave me his chord book of those days – octavo landscape layout on stiff card, everything neatly set out by hand and in alphabetical order. (What I’d give to see that again!) During the gig, the audience saw the consummate bandleader fronting his band and focusing fully on entertaining them, but behind him I was never lost for a moment. Not only did he find the numbers and place them on the music stand for me but, with his forefinger, indicated precisely where repeats and theme-changes occurred as he was playing or singing, so that I was never lost for a moment. I’ve often thought about this since and wondered how on earth he did it, but that is how I remember it. In 1982 I joined the band permanently and was nurtured with the same care. As soon as I felt ready to rely on my memory rather than the chord-book and the guiding hand, we reverted to the conventional positions and I was on my own. From then on, despite my going to live abroad for fifteen years, our friendship never wavered, but more importantly his contribution to the local and national jazz scene simply grew and grew.

Roy was an inspirational bandleader with an unerring sense of what would please the audience at any given time. He knew the sound he wanted and always brought the best out of his musicians, but he was also extremely generous and a superb organiser. He deserves to be remembered among the jazz fraternity for his musicianship, of course, but also for his single-handed and generous rescuing of the Llangollen Jazz Festival when its original organisers pulled out in the mid-eighties, and running it subsequently for twenty years or more. And for the amazing courage he showed in the last year of his life.

Allan Wilcox

14/10/15 -

I first played with Roy's band on a casual basis in late '82 and eventually found that he was sounding me out for his forthcoming summer gig in Münich which occurred in mid-summer '83. After that, I played regularly and on all subsequent Munich trips which continued until 89. Roy's band was a roaring success at Waldwirtschaft, south of the city, both in terms of audience response (I never before played to a cheering crowd at the last concert of the 2/3 weeks) and individual comments from members of the crowd. "Best band for years" "You play more in one set than other Brits do all night!" "Even before you start playing, you look like a band!"

Each year, folk started planning their visits to Munich to coincide with dates of Roy's Five and a Penny Jazz Band, including a high ranking American Forces officer stationed in Turkey and a disabled German jazz guitarist, who'd been a kid in the Hitler Youth.

Roy certainly put that period together with great skill, fronting the show in the same manner. In the 1st concert, just as we were preparing to play the first number, I spotted some paper prompts, in German. (I'd not started to learn at that stage.) I said "Hey Roy.. I didn't know.. Do you speak German?" He winked and said "Oui... Un peux!!!"

Roy's band made many stage-side friends from the audience each year, in my case, some continuing to this day and leading to my making the effort to learn some German, using it wherever I could. including recent trips 2014 and 2015.

He responded to a request to play the Bavarian National Anthem and even acquired a piano copy for us to rehearse in the band accommodation. No.. we made the same mistake.. Not "Deutschland Über Alles, but "The White and Blue!"

Roy (and Alan Wilcox in particular) had a good friend in Alfred Groessner.. Hope I got that right Alan... who was instrumental in initiating these annual invasions of loonie Brit Jazzers. On one occasion, we stayed at Alfred's beautiful house for a concert in the garden. This house had an elaborate music room (some floors up!) and, on a music stand, next to a Bavarian style Klarinette, was a copy of a piece by Carl Maria von Weber. He married Mozart's sister Annerl. I know one and only one piece by Weber (Concertina) and at the time I could just about lurch my way through it. Without telling Roy, I duly lurched whilst pretending to read the wrong music. Old Roy was gobsmacked & highly complimentary to the point of embarrassment. I milked the moment until eventually conscience got the better of me and I owned up.

Just managed to duck the joking left hook which came my way! I couldn't even get the scale of C major out of that Bavarian liquorice stick!

Every year was full of fun stories, every year. every gig. Roy made an A1 move in setting up those concerts and also the gigs which were by-products, AND excepting one striking occasion, his organising skills also arranged superb weather for the gig which was out-doors.

The impact was eventually lost when the local authority suddenly imposed a total ban on PA following much neighbour moaning. The Bier Garten was at least 200 years older than ANY nearby houses.... er wealthy, Munich small palaces.

You ever played acoustically to 4.7k people in a forest setting? It was nearly as bad as playing inside a haystack.

The memories remain and the varying team, which diminishes all too regularly will remember more 'Roy Potts German Tales' than I. For more of the stories you'd need to move fast.. Alan Wilcox Bass, Roy Gregory Gtr. Banjo and yours truly on reeds, are all I can think of.. We just lost the main guy.

Sorry if I left out anybody. Any news of Mad Ron Arnold? The Source..Perpetrator and Villain of most Potterian Tales of Alte München,  especially the ten-inch cymbal in the hotel Pension Reuter... In MY ROOM.. 0300 German Summer Time 1985.  Wie sagt Man auf Deutsch "Murder!"

Other anecdotes,

Alan's Lost Rubber Mat.
Mad Ron's 'Aufweidersehen Pet' prank..
Ron's Goon show German which they loved, inventing a new word in his honour.
Band Joke of the year.
Filling in time when not playing on wet days.
One of our drummers is missing over Munich. We had a spare drummer on the bench.
Roy Greg Moonlighting in Munich and advertising the fact!
Howard's lousy German misleads Germans about his sexuality.
Trombonist increases audience size by bringing one of his own.

My sincere sympathies to Anne and Family.

Regret being unable to attend. Prior engagement for a cabbage...(CABG) Coronary Artery Bypass Graft - Fred

Curses upon the heads of Roy's enemies..those pesky moles in that enormous lawn.

Howard Murray

PS.. I was in Waldwirtschaft (Still nicknamed Wa'Wi ) bier garden earlier this year. PA systems are back in use!!

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