To accommodate its extra sessions, for a few evenings, CJC has been forced this season to move away from Fridays. The choice of traditional jazz for our first Tuesday session proved that this change should have no great impact on our attendances. Another large, enthusiastic audience turned up to hear the John Maddocks Jazzmen
- a band that has now existed for over 30 years - play their brand of New Orleans-style jazz.
Opening with a rousing version of C’est Magnifique – the first of several tunes with French titles that the band played – John introduced himself and the band to the audience. With him on clarinet and alto sax were Peter Wilkinson on trumpet, Sid Bailey on trombone, Peter Tamplin on piano, Stuart Gledhill on bass, Keith Dorey on banjo and guitar, and Steve Niece, deputising on drums for Brian Barker. John then paid a glowing tribute to the star of the evening, our brand new piano, which received a very warm round of applause!
The programme continued to the interval with tunes of varying tempos, some well known and others less familiar, whose composers included Jelly Roll Morton, Kid Ory, and Bunk Johnson. My favourite of the first half, however, was the lovely clarinet performance by John Maddocks of Dans Les Rues D’Antibes , a Sidney Bechet composition.
During the interval John was kept busy meeting people and selling the band’s CDs. He also made some adjustments to increase the volume of the piano, when he was asked by someone to make a special announcement to the audience. After starting the second half with Paper Doll, John checked that the audience were now happy with the piano and then paid a short but telling tribute to the disc jockey, John Peel, who had died earlier that day. For me the moment could have only been bettered if the band had then played us an Undertones cover - but instead they went on to play Buddy’s Habit by King Oliver.
The rest of the second half continued in similar vein to the first with one single and outstanding exception, a solo piano performance of his own composition Rupert’s Rag by Peter Tamplin. This was heard in absolute silence and received the loudest applause of the evening. It would have been merited even if the piano were 20 years old and scratched!
The second half concluded with a lively version of Jelly Roll Morton’s Doctor Jazz. We had heard a band that lived up to its reputation as a good, solid band with John Maddocks an outstanding and dominating player.
The evening left no one in doubt that there is a committed audience for traditional jazz at the CJC. Its enthusiasts will be pleased to learn that there will be another night of traditional jazz in the second half of our season - Friday June 24, when Cuff Billett’s New Europa Jazz Band will be playing for us.