The Darktown Strutters

Jazz as it should be played

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Meet the Band

Tony James (bass, vocals). Tony played trombone for over 40 years until it was stolen. Was someone trying to tell him something? As well as his own band Good Time Jazz, Tony previously played with the Quantock Jazzmen, Dr Jazz, Gentle Jazz and the London-based bands San Jacinto Jazzers and Dead Dog Stompers.

Pete Middleton (clarinet and alto sax). Pete has been playing jazz for many years and was delighted to re-join his ex Dr Jazz colleagues after a 20 year break. With Bryan Halliday - one of our regular guests - he then co-led the Jazz Gents trio on saxophone and clarinet for five years, and also plays baritone horn in the West Somerset Brass Band. Pete records our gigs and produces the CDs. Has a habit of disappearing to Australia from time to time to play with several bands down-under!

John Bradley (banjo, guitar and vocals). John has led the redoubtable Exmoor Do-Dah band for the past 12 years and lives to tell the tale. Previously with the Basingstoke Jug Band and the Heddon Valley Stumblers, he is the band’s main singer and also our PA expert. Having a sunny and optimistic disposition, nothing ever bothers ‘Banjo’ John.

Colin Frechter (keyboard). A pianist but also a renowned composer and conductor, Colin has worked with many artists, including The Troggs, The Four Tops, Elaine Page, Showaddywaddy, Elton John, Take That (with Robbie Williams), Shakin Stevens, The Bay City Rollers (!)  and Brotherhood of Man. He received gold discs For the single ‘Bye Bye Baby, Goodbye’ and the LP ’Once Upon a Star’.

Tony Mann (trombone, Sousaphone). Another West Somerset Brass member (first trombone). Tony is a highly talented multi-instrumentalist. His jazz history includes lengthy service as a featured bassist with The Dart Valley Stompers. He appears at many festivals and jazz clubs throughout the UK and abroad playing with world class musicians such as Digby Fairweather, Roy Williams and Jim Fryer. Tony currently plays Sousaphone with the Roger Marks Cornish Armada and double bass with the ‘tribute to jazz’ Pedigree Jazz Band.

Regular Guest Players include:

Terry Williams (trombone, vocals). Terry is one of the West Country’s top jazz trombonists. He always has a full diary and plays with numerous bands across the country. Terry has been a member of Denny Blackmore’s Tone Valley Jazz Band for over half a century and also leads his own seven-piece band Ambassadors of Jazz who perform regularly in Clevedon and Bristol.

Bryan Halliday (clarinet and saxophone). Bryan is kept busy with the Deane Big Band and the West Newton Jazz Band. Formerly, Bryan played in the Roland Halliday Orchestra, Dr Jazz and The Right Side of the Turf.

Andrew Barrett (guitar). Andrew is one of the South West’s leading jazz guitarists and educators. He teaches the Classical and Electric Guitar at Wells Cathedral School; has presented the lecture recital ‘Guitars and Lutes’ around the country and is an essential part of the Mark Three Jazz Trio. As a freelance musician he has performed in Portugal, France, Norway and the USA and played music for a BBC drama production.

Here they are - in all their glory

Andy Leggett (Soprano Sax, Tenor Sax, Alto Sax, Clarinet, Penny Whistle). Andy was reeds player with the Rod Mason Hot Five in Germany for 18 years, and has played with the Temperance Seven, Henry’s Bootblacks, Alice’s Wonderland Band, the Titanic Tearoom Quartet, Bob Kerr’s Whoopee Band, the Pigsty Hill Light Orchestra, the Sopranos as well as being Musical Director for the wonderful Sweet Substitute.

Ron King  (Trumpet, Harmonica). Ron started playing with the Acme Jazz Band in the 1980’s with a residency at the Engineer’s Arms in Newport. After a move to Cleveden, he joined the Sunset Cafe band, followed by The Beachcombers and then started his own band, The Meridian Jazz Band. He is a long time member of the Adamant New Orleans Parade band, and played in the ‘Six piece Suite at the Duke in Bristol for several years. Ron’s current band is the Rhythm Aces, and plays with many other bands such as Ron King’s Hot 4 and 6, Moonshine Boulevard and Jack Calloway’s New Sheridan Jazz Band.