Band Contact - Colin Mason Tel/Fax 01282 699571
The band was formed in 1984, making its debut at the Leeds and Liverpool Hotel in Brierfield establishing the regular Friday evening sessions that became its hallmark for more than twenty years. From there it moved to the Springbank Hotel (four years), the Wellsprings Inn at Sabden (five years), the Higher Trapp Hotel (two years), the Grey Mare at Belthorn (four years), the Holden Arms (three years), the Whitchaff (two years), the Village Inn (three years) and Rosegrove Unity Club.
For bands, the closure of many hostelries - has resulted in fewer and fewer venues able to sustain regular jazz sessions. Hence, most of the Pendle Jazzmen's recent gigs have been private events, but the Band has recently secured a 'residency' at 'IGHTEN MOUNT CLUB', Romford Street, Burnley BB12 8AF on the first Thursday evening of each month at 8-00pm.
Over the years there have been inevitable changes in personnel but, always, the basic philosophy has been maintained - the fun of playing and the sharing of their enjoyment of Dixieland/Mainstream jazz with other enthusiasts and the general public.
A very popular band, it has performed at venues throughout Lancashire and Yorkshire with occasional invitations to play in Wales, the Wirral, the Lake District, Knebworth and Vitry -Sur - Seine, in France.
It is in demand for special occasions - engagements, weddings, birthdays and christenings as well as promotional events for large, medium and small companies.
The current line-up is usually: Stuart Whiteley (trumpet), Mike Pearson (trombone), John Brunton (clt/sax), Mike Reddin (guitar/banjo), Dave Joyce (bass) and Colin Mason (drums).
Mike Pearson (Trombone)
I joined the local brass band aged eight years old, and moved onto trombone at eleven. At fourteen I joined a small dance band with some of the other young players doing weddings, birthdays etc. We were asked to support Kenny Ball and his Jazz Men at the opening of the local civic hall, a great experience and my first taste of jazz. At twenty one I took up the guitar, taking lessons from a jazz tutor, we later formed a little group playing in the style of Django Reinhardt. I continued with brass bands until about 28 when I got the opportunity to join a professional band playing in the Mecca nightclubs. I took lessons on the saxophone and ended up playing trombone, tenor and alto sax in the band. After about four years the band split and I had to get a real job again. I gave up playing for around ten years, but dug out the trombone after a friend asked if I fancied having a go at playing jazz. His dad used to play with the Wolverines in Rochdale, so away we went. I became quite popular on the jazz scene around Manchester over the next ten years or so, but as work and business commitments clashed with gigs I had to stop playing again. Soon after, I took early retirement from work, sold the business and house and retired to Cornwall to die. Ten years later and still alive, family ties dragged me back to the Northwest where I have re-joined the Pendle Jazzmen and play with anyone else needing a trombone.
David Joyce - Bass Guitar
Music has always been and is part of
my life, either listening to or playing bass guitar in various bands, from trios
to big bands. I have also been involved in Cabaret, Theatre Work and some Studio
Recordings (Strawberry Studio with the Sounds 18 Big Band was one of them).
Stuart Whiteley (Trumpet)
Stuart was born and raised in Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire and was inspired to learn the trumpet in 1953 after hearing Harry Mortimer play the Haydn Trumpet Concerto with the Halle Orchestra. His work as a chartered accountant took him (and his wife, Kath) to Jamaica in 1969 where he played in the pit orchestra for several musicals. On his return to England, in 1972, he worked for a number of local companies as accountant/company secretary. Around ten years later he was approached by the late Len Fletcher to start a new jazz band – the Pendle Jazzmen. Sadly, from the point of view of the band, he moved to Thurso (Northern Scotland) in 1994 to pursue his career in accountancy. Whilst there he continued to play with various ensembles: North Coast Jazz Band, After Hours Rhythm and Blues Band and the Caithness Symphony Orchestra. Returning to Lancashire in 2010 he joined the Burnley Alliance Silver Brass Band where he distinguishes himself on Eb soprano cornet. He is delighted to have been asked to re-join the Pendle Jazzmen. Stuart is a fastidious and dedicated brass player, rarely allowing a day to pass without some form of practice to “keep his lip in” and improve and consolidate his technique. His great enthusiasm for his music making and his irrepressible, happy personality infects both audience and band members.
Mike Reddin (Guitar/banjo)
At the age of fifteen Mike, following parental pressure, found himself in a 'Minstrel Band' despite being unable to play a note on the banjo he was given. Regular lessons from the leader led to a life-long fascination with the instrument even though he soon outgrew his minstrel days. Once again, he was "pushed" into turning up for an audition - with the Jazz Aces after borrowing a guitar and re-tuning the strings to a banjo configuration. To his surprise he got the job! A few years later an invitation to turn professional in London was dashed by his call up to do National Service. An established Manchester musician engineered a position for him in the Army band where he took up clarinet, playing in many small groups as well as jazz/dance bands. Turning down the temptation of signing on he returned to his job with the C. W. S. but continued with small group playing on both instruments. Music faded somewhat as the demands of developing his own business (and family commitments) meant his time was limited. Later, he joined Pete Haslam's Band and has worked for many years with Jed Hone's various groups as well as Colin Ball's 'Metro Swing' and, of course, the Pendle Jazzmen. He has an established reputation in the North West as a popular, reliable and accomplished rhythm guitar/banjo player as well as being a notable soloist.
Colin Mason (Drumkit)
Colin started listening to dance band and jazz music in the mid-fifties before purchasing an old set of drums (for £20) and playing in a "skiffle" group at his local church. He studied to be a teacher in Manchester and whilst at College helped to form a jazz group and took part in his first recording. The demands of the profession left little time for playing - except cricket where he was a stalwart of the amateur league for no less than five decades. A growing interest in music by his children (two of whom now have degrees in music) revived Colin's own enthusiasm and he began to study and play timpani and percussion with the Burnley Municipal Symphony Orchestra before returning to his first love - jazz - inspired by the late Stan Barker and Digby Fairweather of Jazz College. At that time he was approached to join a new band being formed, to be called the Pendle Jazzmen. He studied New Orleans, Mainstream and Be-bop drumming with the acclaimed teacher/drummer Dave Hassell. Poor health brought about early retirement but by husbanding his limited energy and strength he has been able to set up, organise and act as Musical Director for the Burnley JUNIOR Alliance Brass Band. He also plays with (and occasionally conducts) the SENIOR Band but has relinquished his role in the Kings Park Big Band and the Symphony Orchestra to concentrate on the administrative side of the above commitments.
John Brunton - Reeds
John, inspired by ‘The Benny Goodman Story’, began to learn clarinet at the age of sixteen, with an interest in the Blues and New Orleans developing at the same time. His particular inspirations were Johnny Dodds, George Lewis and Albert Burbank. In the late 1950s and early 1960s he saw many of his American jazz and blues favourites who were visiting the Manchester area. He started playing with local musicians there.
The years 1962/3 were spent travelling with friends
– living and working in Jersey, France and Spain. On his return to Burnley, and
for the next few years, his leisure time – apart from listening to jazz and
attending concerts – involved playing football and cricket at a very good
amateur standard. By the late sixties he was working as a clerk at the Lucas
factory and was married with two sons – both of whom, having been brought up
steeped in jazz, are now professional musicians in France and Germany
respectively. Still continuing his sport he began playing music again and joined
the Accrington-based Riverside Jazzmen and also took up the tenor saxophone.
His superb sound – on both clarinet and tenor – with an amazing knowledge of tunes means that he is in great demand, playing with Spirit of New Orleans, Forest Jazz Band, Martin Sharp’s Mighty Four as well as the Pendle Jazzmen.
Photographs by Barry Aldous
Pendle Jazzmen at the Ighten Mount Club, Burnley