The local Jazz scene is mourning the death of one of its stalwarts Andy Gardner, pianist, leader and founder of the Wyre Levee Stompers.
In 1974 Andy persuaded a group of amateur musicians from various musical backgrounds to get together and play traditional jazz, thus the Wyre Levee Stompers was born. It soon became established and attracted a good following of supporters. Any secured a fifteen years residency at a local pub and currently, the band has been playing at the Wings Club, Cleveleys, for thirteen years.
To a great degree the band's success was due to his leadership and to his sense of humour, his jokes, some very
risqué, enlivened many a session. His admiration of Marilyn Monroe was referred to in his ongoing weekly joke - "Everything reminds me of Marilyn Monroe except our Trombone player, because, there's a limit to everybody's
Andy always encouraged aspiring musicians to play jazz and often invited them to sit in with the band. There are many of them who now play jazz on a regular basis.
Irene ("Buttercup") , Andy's partner for many years will always have the support of the band members and the band will continue to play as Andy would have wanted.
The Wyre Levee Stompers
Date: Sun, 8 Jan 2006
Dear Fred, What a shock to read of Andy Gardner's passing in your news letter: yet another ambassador for jazz in the northwest, the world of jazz has lost so many in recent years. On the many occasions that I have had the privilege and pleasure of playing deputy trumpet with the Wyre Levee Gang, Andy was always cheerful, witty, and a joy to make music with; my sympathy goes out to his family, and to the members of that nice relaxed bunch of musicians. - Best regards,
Yarrow River Jazz
Very sad to hear about Andy Gardner. I played bass on many occasions with the "Stompers" as a "Dep".
Andy was always one of the "Characters" of the jazz scene and he will be missed by us all.