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Jazz musician Chris Ingham and folk musician Chris Wilbraham cast their expert eyes over the local music scene





JAZZ with Chris Ingham: cjr.ingham@outlook.com/chrisingham.co.uk

Friday, May 17

FREDDIE GAVITA (Hunter Club, Bury, 7.30pm, £18, headhunterslive.org, 07799 650009) Best Trumpet winner of the 2017 UK Jazz Awards and mainstay the Ronnie Scott’s Club Quintet presents ‘Freddie Plays Freddie’, a salute to the legendary Freddie Hubbard, with Chris Ingham (piano), Owen Morgan (bass) and George Double (drums).

Wednesday, May 22

CLARK TRACEY QUINTET (Stoke By Nayland Golf Club, 8pm, £18, 01787 211865, fleecejazz.org.uk) Renowned drummer’s latest group featuring Simon Allen (tenor sax), RJ Gilbert (alto sax), David Newton (piano) and Andrew Cleyndert (bass).

Thursday, May 23

HANNAH HORTON (Diss Corn Hall, 7.30pm, £17, thecornhall.co.uk, 01379 652241) Part of the Jazz at the Corn Hall series, Parliamentary Jazz Award-winner saxophonist/composer Horton is joined by Chris Ingham (piano), Owen Morgan (bass) and George Double (drums).

LULU PIERRE QUARTET (Hidden Rooms, Cambridge, 7.30pm, £20, cambridgejazz.org) Up and coming torch song stylist with echoes of Sarah Vaughan and Nancy Wilson, Lulu Pierre is joined by Alex Webb (piano), Tony Kofi (tenor sax), Hamish Moore (bass) and Dan Hester (drums).

Jazz musician playing the saxophone
Jazz musician playing the saxophone

FOR THE DIARY

Sunday, May 26

ALLISON NEALE QUARTET (Yalm Food Court, orwich, 19.30, £11.55, norwichjazzclub.co.uk) Shades of Paul Desmond and Jim Hall with this highly refined group featuring US-born Allison Neale (alto sax), Colin Oxley (guitar), Jeremy Brown (bass) and Matt Fishwick (drums).

Thursday, May 30

CLARE TEAL SEVEN (Apex, 7.30pm, £29, theapex.co.uk, 0124 758000) Popular swing singer and broadcaster with her all-star band featuring Jason Rebello (piano), Simon Little (bass), Ed Richardson (drums), Giacomo Smith (clarinet), Pete Horsfall (trumpet), Dave Archer (guitar).

Sunday, June 9

KYM CYPHER’S BRIGHTER TOMORROW (Colchester Arts Centre, 7.30pm, £16, colchesterartscentre.com) Upbeat performer sometimes described as ‘funky saxophonist meets 1940’s jazz singer’, Cypher is joined by Chris Cobbson (guitar), Anders Olinder (keyboard), Mike Green (bass), Mike Cypher (drums).

Wednesday, June 12

ADRIAN YORK TRIO (Stoke By Nayland Golf Club, 8pm, £18, 01787 211865, fleecejazz.org.uk) Pianist, educator and broadcaster Adrian York presents Conversations With Bill: A Celebration of Bill Evans, with Paul Whitten (bass) and Mark Fletcher (drums).

Tuesday, June 18

PHIL ROBSON TRIO (Maddermarket Theatre Bar, Norwich, 8pm, £16/£8 u25, norwichjazzclub.co.uk) Award-winning, versatile and creative guitarist/composer Phil Robson joins forces with Hammond virtuoso Ross Stanley and the powerful and inspiring drummer Gene Calderazzo to bring their own refreshing touch to the organ trio tradition.

Friday, June 21

CROOKS/FOWLER QUINTET: AL & ZOOT - A SALUTE (Hunter Club, Bury, 7.30pm, £19, headhunterslive.org, 07799 650009) Witty, tuneful and unfailingly swinging, the legendary 28-year Al Cohn/Zoot Sims tenor sax partnership specialised in good-natured, cultured, straight-ahead jazz. Mark Crooks (John Wilson Orchestra, Jazz at the Movies) and Robert Fowler (Pasadena Roof Orchestra, Humphrey Lyttelton) revisit Al and Zoot’s uniquely appealing music with consummate artistry.

Thursday, June 27

MARK LOCKHEART’S DREAMERS (Hidden Rooms, Cambridge, 7.30pm, £20, cambridgejazz.org) Stylistically free and slightly psychedelic new project from saxophonist and composer Mark Lockheart featuring keyboardist Elliot Galvin (Dinosaur, Elliot Galvin Trio), bassist Tom Herbert (Polar Bear, The Invisible) and drummer Dave Smith (Robert Plant).

FOLK with Chris Wilbraham: chris.wilbraham@tinyonline.co.uk

Last week, I became aware of the story of Billy Waters, a colourful character from Regency London. He was colourful in the colour of his skin, the clothes he wore and the way he carved out a living, busking to crowds on The Strand, singing and playing violin, while dancing, despite having a wooden leg. The song Lowlands/Billy Waters appears on Martin
Simpson’s new album, Skydancers. I heard him interviewed by Matthew Bannister on this month’s Folk Album Show where he lovingly described Billy’s extraordinary and ultimately tragic story.

Folk musicians jammin'
Folk musicians jammin'

Billy was born into slavery in America but traded his servitude to join the British Navy in 1811, where he flourished. He first served as an able seaman on a transport ship, the skipper of which happened to be John Austen, the youngest brother of Jane Austen. Billy was obviously highly proficient, as he was promoted and rose to serve as a Petty Officer Quarter Gunner on the frigate Ganymede. It was on this ship that he fell from the rigging to the deck and suffered two broken legs, one of which was amputated at the knee while at sea. He was put ashore in London, where to support his wife and daughter, impossible on his tiny Naval pension, he performed songs, singing, dancing and playing fiddle to crowds, wearing his blue naval coat, holes patched with scarlet, a feathered hat atop a judge’s wig and, of course, his wooden leg.

He drew large audiences outside the Adelphi Theatre on The Strand, becoming a well-known figure, to the extent that paintings were made of him in action on the streets of London and in The Rose and Crown near Covent Garden, known then as ‘The Beggar’s Opera’. Ultimately, his success led to his downfall. Pierce Engel wrote a novel entitled Life In London describing the street characters, including the area of St Giles where Billy lived. It was unofficially adapted for the stage and renamed Tom and Jerry by William Thomas Moncrieff and included Billy as ‘King of the Beggars’ with a fictional wife named Polly, after a bawdy song he sang. Rather than be employed to play himself, he was played by a white actor in black face make-up at The Adelphi Theatre, while Billy entertained the crowd outside.

To make things worse, the production brought him to the attention of the moral reformers of the Mendicity Society, leading him to be arrested twice within weeks of Tom and Jerry opening. He was made to swear never to busk again under the threat of imprisonment and separation from his family. With no income he had to pawn his violin. He fell into decline and apparently died with the words “Damn Tom and Jerry” on his lips. While he perished, Billy’s legend lived on. Twenty years after his death in 1823, porcelain figurines of him were being produced in Staffordshire and Derby. Last year, a blue plaque commemorating him was unveiled on a building on the corner of Dyott Street and Bucknall Street, the site of the building where Billy lived with his family and now, of course, he lives on in Martin Simpson’s song.

Here are next week’s gigs:

Friday, May 17

Risbygate Sports Club, Bury St Edmunds, 8pm. Milkmaid Folk Club, Eric Sedge. £10.

White Horse, Beyton, 8pm, Ask the Poet+The Larks. Charity gig for Myeloma UK.

Wingfield Barns, 7.30pm, The Black Feathers. £15.

Golden Hind, Cambridge, 8pm, Cambridge Folk Club: Double Header with Johnny Wright & Lexie Green; Cobalt Tales. £12.

The Junction, Cambridge. 7pm. Talisk. £21.

Saturday, May 18

Canopy Theatre, Beccles, 7.30pm, Janice Burns and Jon Doran. £12.90.

Sunday, May 19

John Peel Centre, Stowmarket Market Place, Folk Session.

Monday, May 20

Colchester Arts Centre, 8pm, Blowzabella. £17.50.

Friday, May 24

John Peel Centre, Stowmarket, 7.30pm, The Captain’s Beard, support from ShantyFolk. £13.

Golden Hind, Cambridge, Cambridge Folk Club, 8pm, The Often Herd, support Rob Clamp. £16.