Donald Ashworth (Donald passed away on 23rd October 2013)
I note from reading your "News", Fred, that there are a couple of references to "The Wolverines" and the occasion of the inauguration in 1957 of Rochdale Jazz Club.The band was formed in 1954 and the original personnel were Jim Fielding (Clarinet), Eric Mainwaring (trumpet), Harry Ashworth
(piano), Ted Jay (drums) and myself, Don Ashworth on Trombone. In 1955 John Taylor replaced Eric on trumpet and the band continued to play for many years. At various times several of today's very active, excellent musicians, played with the Wolverines.
The Wolverines were the resident Jazz Band for some time at Rochdale Jazz Club when it was based at the Clock Face and I recall the inauguration in January 1957.
Amongst other venues we played, The Cavern, when allegedly the Beatles played our interval spot and, indeed, The Wolverines name appears on the Cavern wall of fame carved into a brick! We also played at the Sportsman, Thatched House and the MSG in Manchester.
I am now 80 years old and, over the years, apart from playing in the Wolverines I have depped with several Manchester bands and was a member of Maurice Pike's Panama Jazz Band during the 1970's. I have not played now for some years. As time passes there only three of the original Wolverines band still alive, namely Jim Fielding, Eric Mainwaring (Canada) and myself.
AT THE ROCHDALE JAZZ CLUB IN 1960
WIGAN JAZZ CLUB - MAY 1960
In the course of researching a review I was to write on The White Eagle Jazz Band's visit to "Jazz on a Sunday" here in Rochdale I came across a contribution to your pages by the late Donald Ashworth. Donald was recalling the formation in 1954 of "The Wolverines" and reflecting that other than himself there were only two of its original members still alive, namely Jim Fielding and Eric Mainwaring (in Canada). By pure coincidence an 82 year old Eric walked into our club last Sunday trumpet in hand and, after having his bona fides verified by a several of those present who could remember having heard "The Wolverines" at The Clock Face" all those years ago, was invited to sit in with the band which he did to great acclaim on "Doctor Jazz", "Blueberry Hill" and "I Found A New Baby". Keep the faith, young Eric. There are increasingly few of us left.
The Wolverines that I joined played at the Eagle in Rochdale. I too well remember the late Don Ashworth on trombone, known for his rugged no-nonsense approach. Another stalwart of that band was Dave Moore on drums. Some time ago, Dave lent me a tape of that era, with the proviso that I would convert it to CD. I had planned to complete this task in time for his Birthday last Saturday. Sadly, I did not meet this target!
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