BATTLE OF BRITAIN ANNIVERSARY Art&Jazz FARNBOROUGH JAZZ CLUB 16September 2016 CELEBRATED BIGGIN HILL’S PART IN THE BATTLE.
“Never, In The Field Of Human Conflict Was So Much Owed By So Many To So Few”
Sir Winston Churchill on the RAF after the ‘Battle of Britain’
We celebrated this year’s ‘BATTLE OF BRITAIN’ 76th ANNIVERSARY with an art exhibition to show Keith’s Grant’s Spitfire and jazz watercolour paintings, plus a special fun jazz band called ‘THE FENNY STOMPERS JAZZ BAND. This all happened here at our FARNBOROUGH JAZZ CLUB in Kent. Unfortunately we had missed that very special marker – the 75th – last year due to my family circumstances, but we certainly celebrated in style this year. It was a fancy dress party (although was optional of course) and some great photos will follow to show off the brilliant effort by some. The band intended giving us plenty of entertainment with a 1940’s flavour and that they certainly did. DENNIS VICK (leader) was playing clarinet, DAVE MARCHANT played trumpet & harmonica, JOHN LEE played trombone, BRIAN VICK (Dennis’ brother) played banjo, DAVE ARNOLD played both double bass & Sousaphone and KEN JOINER played drums.
The celebrations were in honour of those RAF boys (and they were boys, most of them) from 15th September 1940 (not just 15th either) and the band did them proud. We are just over three miles away from Biggin Hill (on the flight path too) and Keith remembers, as a little boy, standing on his front doorstep, seeing all the Spitfires and Hurricanes, during the fighting off of the enemy bombers, making them fail their mission to annihilate London. Although there are many pubs close by, that these lads frequented, we are also literally just seven miles away from perhaps the most famous one, The White Hart, in Brasted, Kent. This was where footprints were found on the ceiling, left by the WRAFS being held up by pilots (who were letting off steam) to ‘walk the ceiling’. So you see, they were fun seeking and would have loved this band and the antics they got up to (sadly, I’m told the pub no longer holds any original memorabilia – I wonder if the footsteps have been removed).
The band played plenty of dance numbers for us and I shalll try to ‘draw a picture’ of how the evening went. I was so busy and so I’m afraid I failed to write my notes down, but can tell you, ‘Canal Street Blues’ was super and we all got up to perform our line-dance – I wasn’t drunk, but I did go wrong a few times (leaving us laughing) and no, I’m not getting old – or decrepit either!!! What did you say?
Anyway, John was featured to play the next number, being ‘Honeysuckle Rose’. He is a lovely trombone player and played with such feeling. Then I loved them playing ‘Chimes Blues’, such a wonderful rendition (especially on the second time, they played so softly and so in tune (the front line that is), playing the ‘bells’ brilliant. Next came Brian’s feature. He played ‘The World is Waiting for the Sunrise’ just spectacularly. It’s a lovely tune and has been played by other bands here, but not too often, well done Brian. ‘Swinging Shepherd Blues’ was a number played next for the brewery (SHEPHERD NEAME), who supply our club with our bear They played it so well too, especially Dennis.
‘I Scream, You Scream, We all Scream for Ice Cream’ came next. Now I had been telling Dennis on the telephone, how I was going to be singing in a gig with Keith (for the first time,) on the following Sunday. I told him how shy I was about singing and was very nervous. How I wouldn’t sing at our club as it was a paying audience! Well the little ‘xzyxz* (if you know what I mean) got me up to sing with the band. Of course he had the placards up for me to follow the (few) words. This was with Ken’s wife Sue. Dennis also pulled Trudy from our audience, to hold the words up for everyone to sing along, plus she played the maracas. The audience loved it, because it was such a laugh.
The previous week , it was requested to have a brolly parade, so the band performed ‘Bourbon Street Parade’ for us. Steve (one of our regulars) brought his collection of handmade umbrellas, complete with flashing electrics. It certainly added to the whole atmosphere.
Then came the piece-de-resistance! They performed their next number ‘Me and Jane, In A Plane’. How fantastic they were, with John coming out to – and around the audience, playing his trombone, as if to be the gunfire of a Spitfire or Hurricane, dive bombing. They all had on leather caps with goggles and RAF scarves – they were brilliant. I know it isn’t unique, but was so very well done and another feature to add to the atmosphere of the evening.
We managed to fit in another line-dance to ‘Come on and Stomp, Stomp, Stomp’, which was a great number to do to, even at a Charleston beat! Then, to round off the evening, they sang the ‘White Cliffs of Dover’ with obvious audience participation. Our lovely bar staff kept us ‘happy’ with ‘Spitfire’ and ‘Master Brew’ flowing (among other drinks of course) and for this special occasion, SHEPHERD NEAME kindly gave some bottles of ‘Spitfire’. Although we had possibly some twenty regular supporters missing, due to holidays, we had a wonderful nucleus of fairly regulars and a great time was had by all. Everyone enjoyed Keith’s paintings and he sold some too.
Nothing like jazz and art together,
Your hosts, Diane and Keith
‘Canal Street Blues’ – Joe ‘King’ Oliver (1923)
‘Bourbon Street Parade’ – Paul Barbarin (c. 1953)
‘Honeysuckle Rose’ – (m) Fats Waller, (l) Andy Razaf (1928)
‘Chimes Blues’ – Joe ‘King’ Oliver (1923)
‘The World is Waiting for the Sunrise’ – (m) Ernest Seitz (l) Gene Lockhart (1918) Seitz conceived aged 12yrs1904
‘Swinging Shepherd Blues’ – (m) Morris ‘Moe’ Koffman, (l) Rhoda Roberts & Kenny Jacobson (1958)
‘Me and Jane, In A Plane’ – Leslie Edgar & Joseph George Gilbert (1927)
‘Come on and Stomp, Stomp, Stomp – Jack Mills (Chris Smith, Irving Mills also credited) (1927)
‘I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream’ – Howard Johnson, Billy Moll & Robert King (1927)
‘White Cliffs of Dover’ – (m) Walter Kent, (l) Nat Burton (1941)
Just a reminder of last year’s newsletter. I wrote of the Monday after last year’s celebrations (Battle of Britain’s 75th Anniversary at Biggin Hill). It was about my wonderful day watching a lone ‘Spitfire’:
N.B. Today (23rd September 2015) is the first day of the Autumn Equinox. The South Pole will see a glimpse of daylight for the first time in six months and the North Pole enters six months of dark – hmmm. Here in Kent, it is a beautiful morning – sunny and hot, with not a cloud in the wonderful blue sky. I had been swimming early this morning. Stopped off at Holwood Farm, Shire Lane (near Biggin Hill) for some tea and scones. I sat outside in the sun and enjoyed a lone Spitfire, with its black & white striped D-Day markings on its wings, obviously enjoying himself and still around after Monday’s commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain How I wish I had been up there with him. However, I feel lucky to be alive on such a glorious day, one to remember.
Xtra…. This was all repeated this morning (25th September 2015). The ‘Spitfires’ are from Biggin Hill Heritage Hanger – see their website: www.flyaspitfire.co.uk – you can hire a flight with them – think of this, if you need an idea to give a very special present to that someone who has everything. I also found out that Wednesday’s pilot was Don Sigourney and today’s was Richard Verral, who both flew on the D-Day Commemorations
I shall also be back to fill you in on this evening too – including photos.
4-IN-A-BAR+1 to play at YE OLDE WHYTE LYON
Sunday, 18th September 2016 3:00pm till 6:00pm
We also had a special date for you to enjoy and this was KEITH GRANT’S QUARTET, 4-IN-A-BAR+1 playing smooth jazz at YE OLDE WHYTE LYON in Locks Bottom (Kent). It was held indoors (Publican Tim had decided not to take a chance with the weatherc, They also have great bar staff, serving tasty SHEPHERD NEAME’s ‘SPITFIRE’ (among other drinks of course, such as ‘Master Brew’).
The quartet was KEITH GRANT on drums, JOHN LEE on tenor sax, TIM HUSKISSON on piano, TIM PHAROAH on double bass and the ‘+ 1’ being me (Diane), and I did manage to sing a few songs too, even though I hiccupped a little!
Diane and Keith