Jazz Weekend

Start Date: Friday 21st September
End Date: Monday 24th September

Jazz Weekend – Friday, Saturday and Sunday September 20th, 21st & 22nd 2019


Hello again! We’re looking forward to meeting you at St Audries Bay in September. If you’ve been with us before, or if you’ve studied our programmes, you will have noted that we like to present a selection of bands and musicians that is different from many other jazz weekends. We like to offer you an alternative to the “same old same old” and to present performers of note who have something to say, and who articulate it well. Please read on – and you’ll see that, once again, we’re doing just that.  And, this year there’s even more! As well as presenting EXCELLENT MUSICIANS AND EXCITING BANDS, in 2019 we’re also featuring SWING DANCING DEMONSTRATIONS by HOPPIN’ MAD! who will also be giving DANCE LESSONS on Saturday and Sunday. Don’t be shy – they’re fun, and they’re pitched at all levels!  Throughout the whole weekend we have a very attractive programme of first class, entertaining, musicians who play their music with affection, integrity and with regard for their audience – who don’t “just go through the motions”.

JIM DOUGLAS AND THE St AUDRIES ALL-STARS. This truly exciting line-up has been assembled for the event by legendary guitarist JIM DOUGLAS. It will feature JIM, of course and an array of other great players. The ebullient MIKE POINTON is on trombone, RON DRAKE returns to the westcountry to play his elegant clarinet and sax, JOHN WATSON, powerful percussionist from the Chris Barber Band is on drums and the outstanding PETE FURNISH is the man on the double bass. The band will feature a different piano star on each of its two appearances, both of whom international stars in their own right. CRAIG MILVERTON is at the keys on Saturday evening and MARTIN LITTON joins the band to close the party on Sunday, Your host, JOHN SHILLITO, will be playing trumpet. The All-Stars is based upon a “one-night-only” band that JIM assembled last year for a private birthday party just outside London. The music was so good that the audience almost raised the roof – and Jim has been searching for an opportunity to do it all over again ever since. (I understand that, having got wind of the St Audries appearances, the birthday boy involved has already made his reservation – to celebrate all over again!)

SPATS LANGHAM’S HOT FINGERS. Tom “Spats” Langham and his delightful band have become favourites with our audiences following magical performances in 2017 and 2018 and here they are, back again for a third year by unanimous demand! Spats is an ever-popular, world class, virtuoso performer on a variety of string instruments. With a stunning repertoire of melodies on the guitar, banjo and ukulele, his playing evokes the spirit and skills of musicians like guitarists Django Reinhardt and Eddie Lang or legendary banjoist Harry Reser and others. He’s also a great raconteur with a warm and engaging conversational style of presentation. With a seemingly limitless flow of informative, interesting and amusing anecdotes, Spats adds background and colour to his choice of music, as well as spell-binding his audience. But Hot Fingers is much more than an individual performance, you will delight in the playing of Danny Blyth and Malcom Sked and find the vocals and personality of Emily Campbell charming and irresistible. Welcome back!

JOHN MADDOCKS’ JAZZMEN will be playing for us after dinner on opening night (Friday). John is an outstanding clarinettist who has been one of leading names in British “traditional” jazz since the 1960’s. It’s hard to believe he’s been around that long when you hear the sheer power and energy in his playing; (seldom achieved by musicians half his age), But, that’s not all! John is an accomplished, skilful, and sensitive player, whose devotion to his music shines through everything he does. That’s an important characteristic of all the musicians that we invite to play at St Audries.

CRAIG MILVERTON is a Devon – based pianist with a truly international reputation and we’re delighted that he’s able to appear at St Audries Bay. Craig plays with a veritable who’s who of British and international jazz talent. The names include Digby Fairweather, Paul Jones, Julian Marc Stringle, Mark Crooks, Dominic Ashworth, Scott Hamilton, Ken Peplowski and Warren Vache. And there’s a host of others. With his virtuoso ability and comprehensive knowledge of the entire jazz spectrum, Craig is also very much in demand as a solo pianist; and he’s also sought after as a skilled accompanist to star vocalists, such as Stacey Kent and Tina May. Few British pianists have his thorough knowledge and grasp of jazz styles, and his love of the music shines through and he is a natural at whatever he plays. Craig will be appearing with the Jim Douglas All-Stars on Saturday evening and with his own band on Sunday morning.

MARTIN LITTON is another renowned and internationally celebrated pianist who will be joining us this weekend. He’s acknowledged as one of the finest – whether as pianist, arranger, or bandleader – and a specialist in all the classic styles of jazz from the age of Ragtime  through to the Swing era and beyond. Martin has worked and recorded with many legendary British and American musicians, including Humphrey Lyttleton, Kenny Ball, Harry Gold, Clare Teal, Kenny Davern, Scott Hamilton, Bob Wilber, Marty Grosz, and Wild Bill Davison.

LITTON AND DAY. Martin will appear with JANICE DAY in one of their acclaimed LITTON AND DAY jazz cabaret duets on Sunday, around lunch time. JANICE DAY is an “authentic vintage vocalist”, and appears together with Martin, performing classic jazz slections from the song-books of Gershwin, Porter, Rodgers & Hart, Coward, Carmichael, and Berlin, with as much excitement and passion as if they’d just been written.  MARTIN also will be heard later with the Jim Douglas All-Stars on Sunday evening.

WASHINGTON WHIRLIGIG is a new and increasingly popular award winning jazz band from Yorkshire. DAVE HEPWORTH leads on clarinet and tenor sax and WILL ROBINSON is an excellent trumpeter with a military band training and a great jazz feeling. The band plays high energy music with a robust swing. ROB COTTERELL is an outstanding young drummer, ANDY BRAMALL is the fine guitarist, and the band is completed by the bandleader’s multi-instrumentalist wife, LIZ HEPWORTH, on double bass. We’ve known Dave and Liz for quite a few years now. They used to bring their young daughter down on holiday to Torbay and Dave was always welcome to sit in with John’s quartet at the Crown & Sceptre. We’re pleased to be able to welcome him, on Saturday afternoon, with his own band, which. in case you were wondering, takes its name from a 1943 number featured by the Charlie Barnet Orchestra.

THE RIVIERA RAMBLERS is a six-piece band that’s sort of grown out of my “Select Four”. I’m delighted with what we are producing together. We’ve got a marvellous rhythm section, with two guitars, JOHN WHITLOCK, who’s been a musical colleague of mine for about 25 years, and his son DALE WHITLOCK, who is a great player and also makes his own instruments. PETE FURNISH has been with me for a few years, too, and he’s our skilful and inspiringly intuitive double-bassist. They’re an expressive rhythm trio, and they make it such fun for myself and my two front line colleagues; BOB MARTIN on trombone and ZOE LAMBETH, on clarinet, alto sax and vocals. Bob, another military-trained musician, has a brilliant technique and just bursts with ideas. Zoe has a very fluid style and her playing on both clarinet and alto is sensitive and articulate. I guess I’m pretty well-known for my “straight-down-the-middle” trumpet playing and a wide ranging repertoire. You’ll find that we swing along merrily and melodically, and sometimes in a “Django-esque” sort of way. I’m sure you’ll know many of the tunes we play – and those that you don’t know, I’m sure you’ll like, because they’re all great melodies.

TREVOR RICHARDS. There’s nobody with a better feel for, understanding of, and ability to play true New Orleans style drumming than TREVOR RICHARDS. Born in Sussex, he initially learned to play in Britain, but then figured that the best place to learn jazz drumming the proper way was in New Orleans. So that’s where he went and he’s learned from, and absorbed the influences of, such greats as Paul and Louis Barbarin, Joe Watkins, Ray Bauduc, Freddy Kholman and others. He’s played with many of the great names from the heyday of jazz and is always a great character to play with, listen to, and watch. Audiences love him as much as musicians do. He now lives in Germany, but, when he pays a visit to the UK, we always try to arrange some gigs with him. Trevor will be guesting with my RIVIERA RAMBLERS on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.

JIM and MAGGIE DOUGLAS. Yes, it’s the great guitarist and his wife (Saturday, around lunch time), with melodies, lyrics and anecdotes. As you probably know, Jim spent many years on the the road with the great Alex Welsh Band. He’s also written a couple of books of reminiscences which make engaging reading. What we’ve also found out whilst working quite frequently with Jim over the last few years is that his wife, MAGGIE, has a lovely voice and knows a lot of lyrics to some, not often heard, verses of timeless songs. Often, when we’ve been abroad, Jim has taken out his guitar, to play melodies whilst we’ve sat around after a session, enjoying a last drink, and Maggie has sometimes joined in with charming vocals, beautiful and sensitive interpretations of lyrics that we’d never heard before. We were both enchanted by what she heard, and it was Pam’s idea and persuasion that has encouraged them to perform this set. MAGGIE AND JIM DOUGLAS are a lovely, musical couple, and just lovely people. We’re going to enjoy this interlude – and we know you will, too.

HOPPIN’ MAD! (Ann Peskett and Graeme Puckett) who delighted us with their skilful and attractive dancing last year, will be joining us again with some of their team to light up our evening intermissions with demonstration performances. They will also be giving DANCE LESSONS on Saturday and Sunday. Right from its origins, Jazz has been a musical medium of communication, intriguing the minds and delighting the ears of listeners whilst also enticing them to dance. If you’re a dancer, you know what I mean. If you’ve been wanting to dance, but have never quite made it – now is your big chance! Let yourself go! Ann and Graeme are expert teachers – they make their lessons fun, and they pitch them at all levels – from absolute beginner to pro.
St Audries Jazz Weekend is always a great place to be. The mouth-watering array of music is that has been lined up means that 2019 will maintain the tradition and be better than ever! The location is magnificent. There’s an indoor pool and sauna and outdoor and indoor games facilities. It’s a great place for a comfortable and relaxing holiday break. Just a warning, though. If this is going to be your first time – be sure to book early. Many of our previous years’ guests have already made their reservations. There has to be a cap on places, because ACCOMMODATION IS LIMITED!

Well, that’s what we’ve got lined up for you so far. An attractive line-up of first class, entertaining, musicians who play their music with affection and integrity and a regard for their audience, and who don’t “just go through the motions”. You’ll enjoy the environment too. We’re right on the cliff top of the West Somerset coast. Our chalet and caravan accommodation is of a very high standard and extremely comfortable.  The restaurant food is mouth-watering and always elicits spontaneous compliments: and the bar, recreation facilities and musical acoustics make St Audries Bay a great location for a relaxing holiday with some very fine jazz.