The Wall City Jazz Band 1954 -
The Wall City Jazzmen made their debut on the
18th. January 1954 at the old Clemence's restaurant in Northgate Street Chester.
The format was to play Dixieland mainstream jazz and be as versatile as possible.
The original band was really the Stan Roberts dance band with Stan Roberts
Piano, Tom Jones Trumpet, Ian Ashworth Trombone and Tenor Sax. John Nutthall
Double bass, Alan Lewis Drums. Paul Blake was invited to make up the standard
front line on Clarinet.
Guest artists over the years included Earl Hines, Vic Dickinson, Edmund Hall Bud Freeman and many more. It also became quite normal for the band to play at jazz venues in London, such as George Webb’s Hot Club, the Fishmonger’s arms and Cooks Ferry, as well as concerts at the Shakespeare and Empire theatres in Liverpool. There were also gigs at provincial clubs such as St George’s hall, Blackburn and the Dudley Hippodrome amongst many others.
After the closure of Quaintways, there was a long period of inactivity (about 18 years) until Paul Blake decided to reform the band in 1993, with Tom Jones (trumpet) and Trish Lewis (vocals) from the original lineup. Gordon Vickers heard about the band's reformation and invited them to play regularly at his new hotel in Chester, the Mill Hotel and Spa. This was the start of a very long and successful residency, which is still going strong today. Trish Fields had to retire in 2005, due to ill health, and Irene Martin became the band's new singer in 2006. Tom Jones retired in 2008, leaving just Paul Blake from the original band, and Bill Buck who played drums from day one at the Mill. Malcolm Pendry joined on bass just a few weeks after Bill, and was with the band until he retired in 2017.
On March 26 2018 there was a 25th anniversary celebration of the band's residency at the Mill. One week later, Paul Blake announced his retirement, having also recently celebrated his 90th birthday; an amazing achievement!
Gordon Vickers has now
sold the Mill Hotel, but the band continues to play every Monday from 8 pm, with
a regular crowd of avid supporters.
For more up-to-date information and pictures, use the link below: