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