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Bebop Spoken There

Dave Gelly: “From 1 January 1920, when prohibition was imposed in the US, people didn’t stop drinking, they just stopped drinking legally.” – (Jazz Journal October 2017).

Regina Carter: “When I was a teenager, I would daydream about going out on a date and dancing to Ella’s music.” (Down Beat October 2017).

Today Monday November 20

Afternoon

Jazz in the Afternoon - Cullercoats Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 4QS. Tel: 0191 NE30 4QS. 1:00pm. Free.

Classic Swing - Marquis of Granby, Streetgate, Sunniside NE16 5ES. Tel: 0191 488 0954. 1:00pm. Free.

Evening

?????

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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

The John Potts Story


Ted Fry of the notorious Figleaf Jazz Band passed your e mail on to me. So great to hear from you. You say from a website people are hunting me down – hope it’s not collection agencies after the 3 quid I borrowed from Joe Shenton in 1951. You are right about the College of the Venereal Bede connection – we were there at the same time – moi from 57-59. Do you remember GE Selby of the English department – he tolerated some of our more bizarre interests in eng lit. Keith Oglesby was my room buddy and he had the entire Frank Sinatra Capitol recordings at the time – big influence in later years.
I think 1957 was the year I started with the River City Jazz Band of Newcastle. In the early 1950s I had started with Tojo’s Jazzmen from Gosforth with me on mandolele (cross between mandolin and ukulele) and Tojo on bass trombone – we played Norrie Paramour arrangements – the reedman played an A clarinet while the rest of us were in Bb so we had some very advanced dissonance for the time! A little later I played banjo in Clem Avery’s Jazzmen with Peter Cole on piano – we were both at Heaton Grammar where there was quite a bit of jazz – and pitched fisticuffs between the trad jazz maniacs and the Stan Kenton aficionados.
Around 1952 Peter Cole and I formed a band with Johnny Handle on piano (he later moved on to folk and the High Level Ranters) with Colin Beale on clarinet and Chas Cole on drums, Pog Hall on banjo. We played some dances at All Saints Youth Club in Gosforth. Called up for 2 years in the RAF 54-56.  
Meanwhile Ray Shenton, Herbie Hudson and Harry Stevenson who had heard us at All Saints were involved in a mouth organ band called the Harmonica Hoodlums coached by Maxie Share who had a music store in the Grainger Market. After I got demobbed I was working as a porter at Newcastle Central Station when this bloke told me on a coffee break that the only other person he knew who wore orange crepe sole shoes was a geek called John Potts. By this time heavily bearded I confessed that it was indeed I. Ray said that they had recently formed a band called The River City and that their trumpet player had just been called up for national service and was I interested in playing for them – did Harold Wilson vote labour!! – of course I joined up right away and played with them until 1962. Great fun years with Ray Shenton on the oldest tuba in western Europe, Joe Shenton on washboard, Herbie Hudson trombone, Harry Stevenson on clarinet, Brian Sampson on drums, Colin Hopper on banjo and self on trumpet.
Ray Shenton tracked me down through the Figleaf Jazz Band website and we have corresponded a few times and exchanged photographs of the early River City.
I was married in 1960 with a sweetheart I met at the Downbeat Club in Newcastle. With two kids we headed off to teach in Cadiz Spain in 1962. Returned to Gateshead in 1963 for a year then off to Ankara Turkey to teach for 4 years before emigrating to Canada with 5 kids (a Canuck baby added in 1974). Didn’t play any jazz until about 1973 when my mom-in-law brought my trumpet from  Blighty. I had no case and carried it around in a paper bag. Fell in with the early Figleaf Jazz Band about this time – by coincidence the piano player is Geoff Mulholland from Walker, Tyneside (didn’t know him in the UK), Roger Kerslake trombone played with various bands in Devon before coming to Canada. Ted Fry drums and Dildo Dave banjo were mates in Toronto recently deported to the Great Frozen North for unsavory behaviour. Bass player Bruce Rumble was at the time an acne blighted teenager – now in appalling physical decline like the rest of us. 28 years later the band still has the same personnel although we have gone through several reed players two of whom passed on to celestial (or otherwise) endeavours some time ago.
Glad to hear that the Ashington Jazz Club is going strong. Perhaps you can send me some stories about jazz in the northeast. The 1970s and early 80s were the halcyon days for the Figleafs – bars, ski clubs, restaurants often 4 or 5 times a week. In recent years there has been little interest in trad jazz and we are regarded as pre-Jurassic dinosaurs. The band gets a few summer jobs in parks and plays the Simcoe County Jazz Society once a year. I play mostly now with a group called Moonglow which as a trio concentrates on swing style while as a duo (plus computer) play senior citizen residences – standards (Gershwin, Porter, Rodgers-Hart), Irish, Scottish, Newfoundland, novelty songs.
You were pretty accurate guessing my age – actually I’m 75 pushing 76. I would love to hear about your adventures since Bede College.I think you found the figleaf website which also has a link to Moonglow. If you listen to the musical examples you will hear that my excruciating tone has deteriorated over the years and my pathetic technique is even more pitiable.
http://www.figleafjazz.com/
page7.htm
http://rstrathdee.com/
moonglow/
John Potts (pottsi with a small pee.)
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Original post. from George Simpson.

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About this blog - contact details.

Bebop Spoken Here -- Here, being the north-east of England -- centred in the blues heartland of Newcastle and reaching down to the Tees Delta and looking upwards to the Land of the Kilt.
Not a very original title, I know; not even an accurate one as my taste, whilst centred around the music of Bird and Diz, extends in many directions and I listen to everything from King Oliver to Chick Corea and beyond. Not forgetting the Great American Songbook the contents of which has provided the inspiration for much great jazz and quality popular singing for round about a century.
The idea of this blog is for you to share your thoughts and pass on your comments on discs, gigs, jazz - music in general. If you've been to a gig/concert or heard a CD that knocked you sideways please share your views with us. Tell us about your favourites, your memories, your dislikes.
Lance (Who wishes it to be known that he is not responsible for postings other than his own and that he's not always responsible for them.)
Contact: lanceliddle@gmail.com I look forward to hearing from you.

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