Memories of VE Day 1995
Sent in on VE Day 2020 by Sam Wood

Hello Fred,

The 75th Anniversary of VE Day is making me feel old - because I can clearly remember the 50th!

My friend Harry Townsend of the New Jubilee Jazz Band was up from Cornwall and we had a blow at the Sunday night session at the Jodrell Arms, Whaley Bridge on the 7th May 1995.  By some miracle I found some photos yesterday, I knew they were lurking somewhere.

Sorry to say I can't remember the name of the band at the moment!  It was led by Phil Taylor from Glossop on Cornet and Flugel.  We took the opportunity to do a few "three tenors" numbers with myself, Harry and regular Trombone player Pete Haslam.  Harry had only brought his mouthpiece with him so he played my Trombone, I played Phil's Valve Trombone with my own mouthpiece.

Also in the photos are Gordon Stafford on Clarinet, Nigel Cretney on Drums and Mike Dexter on Bass.  At the back I think it was Phil's son Joe on Piano.

Pure chance that I found these yesterday, I'd been looking in the wrong place! I knew I had more photos of Gordon Stafford somewhere. I thought they were all recent shots from the Smugglers so this was a nice surprise for me, I'd forgotten that Gordon played at the Jodrell. I have more memories of him from the Cheshire Cheese in Buxton. Another long-running jazz night on a Wednesday, remembered by so many from the north-west. I think that ended in 1995!

The session at the Jodrell Arms was good experience for me. It lasted about 18 months then the usual thing, a change of landlord put an end to it. The band invited sitters-in from the start. At first I asked to play tunes I knew, then I'd choose some off their playlist and eventually I'd just get up when I was asked and play whatever was coming next!

I also met a lot of people from the Manchester jazz scene. There was Reg Kenworthy and Ed Fish, Bill Oldham (who died ten years ago this March), Paul Medina, Sammy Reynolds on reeds, and many more. If my wife was busy I'd get the train from Buxton and she'd come and meet me later and drive me home. She was quite late a few times but never let me down! The pub is actually one of the station buildings with access off the platforms to the first floor. It was effectively the "station hotel" which was confusing because "The Railway" pub was at the bottom of the approach road and was also a well-known music pub.

Another sitter-in was Julian Gregory, a violin player with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra in Manchester. Julian now has his own Gypsy Jazz band, apart from the "day job".

Phil Taylor was a school head and had a couple of bands who were mostly teachers - the Staffroom Stompers and the Backroom Buskers. I played with one of these for a while on Sunday nights at the Baker's Vaults in Stockport. I still haven't remembered the name of the band at the Jodrell.

More happy memories!


Sam Wood


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