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BillF

Jazz in Manchester

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Today I met Bill Birch who has written and intends to publish a book called Keeper of the Flame: Modern Jazz in Manchester 1946-1972. The book has a foreword by Don Rendell and "brings to life vivid performances in the city by such legends as Dizzy, Miles, Rollins, Tubby and Ronnie." The book will be published at £25 once a list 200 subscribers has been obtained. If you're interested, email the author at birchiano@talktalk.net.

Mr Birch also answered a question once put to me by sidewinder, who asked what became of a dressing room wall signed by famous musicians at Manchester's Free Trade Hall, now that the building is a hotel. Answer: the wall was demolished and all the signatures, including Yehudi Menuhin's, perished, with the exception of Louis Armstrong's, which has been framed and now hangs outside the General Manager's office. :)

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Up again for this thread. After a 10 year delay I have finally bought a copy of this fine book. Mr Birch doesn’t seem to be selling it through Amazon directly any more but by some miracle I’ve found a discount ‘new’ copy. Looking forward to it !

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Was looking at a copy this afternoon at the home of Malcolm Frazer in Cheadle, Cheshire where we heard a fine local octet called Boplicity.

Bill's book is a fine record of the great things that  happened here, though leaving me wondering how the f--- did I miss Rollins! :o

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Have never seen any jazz in the Manchester area (other than that Alan Barnes and co. gig a few years ago Bill :)) but I’m sure that this book will be fascinating. Just wish I hadn’t left it so long to buy a copy ! Is Bill Birch still around these days?

There would probably be an equally good book project to do about Newcastle and maybe also Leeds/Bradford.

Edited by sidewinder

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6 hours ago, sidewinder said:

Have never seen any jazz in the Manchester area (other than that Alan Barnes and co. gig a few years ago Bill :)) but I’m sure that this book will be fascinating. Just wish I hadn’t left it so long to buy a copy ! Is Bill Birch still around these days?

There would probably be an equally good book project to do about Newcastle and maybe also Leeds/Bradford.

Yes, Leeds/Bradford.

Now, who did I see there?

Leeds: Ellington, Hodges, Hubbard, Mance, Shearing, Red Mitchell, Rushing, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Memphis Slim, John Lee Hooker, Witherspoon, Cecil Payne, Lucky Thompson, Konitz, Griffin, Brotherhood of Breath, Polish Jazz Quartet, Lyttelton, Tubby Hayes, Harriott, Rendell, Kinsey, Ganley

Bradford: Hines, Teagarden, Cozy Cole, Max Kaminsky, Buck Clayton, Emmett Berry, Dickie Wells, Earl Warren, Buddy Tate, Brubeck, Desmond, Joe Morello, Gillespie, Lightning Hopkins

That should do for starters!

 

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Newcastle would be a good one to do - ‘Club a Go Go’ etc., ‘The Kansas City of the North’ in its prime.

Edited by sidewinder

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8 hours ago, sidewinder said:

Newcastle would be a good one to do - ‘Club a Go Go’ etc., ‘The Kansas City of the North’ in its prime.

I didn't know it personally, but my bassist friend Danny Padmore came from there and spoke a lot about the EmCee5.

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There’s a bit about that Newcastle scene in the Ian Carr bio by Alyn Shipton. Wish Ian had written a full book about it !

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@BillF: Judging by that other thread linked above, I was under the mpression you had bought a copy back in 2011?

 

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My Bill Birch book arrived today (with the postie placing the package next to my door and not handing it over, made me feel like a leper  :unsure:).

Looks like a great book - bags of detail in it. Brand spanking new as well - a great deal for £10. :)

Edited by sidewinder

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Further perusal of content confirms that this is a fantastic book and absolutely definitive.

BillF - you were spoilt for choice back in the day. :D

Very interesting to see the pic of the ticket for the Hank Mobley gig there back in 1968 plus a photo of the man himself at that location. Probably back at the time it was just one of many gigs so of no great note, I guess.

Edited by sidewinder

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I visited Manchester on business 5-6 years ago and found very little jazz in the shops near and around city center. I did bump into Johnny Marr at a local shop. Our offices were in Bury and I took a stroll around Bury Market over lunch and found plenty of jazz records there.

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1 hour ago, sidewinder said:

Further perusal of content confirms that this is a fantastic book and absolutely definitive.

BillF - you were spoilt for choice back in the day. :D

Very interesting to see the pic of the ticket for the Hank Mobley gig there back in 1968 plus a photo of the man himself at that location. Probably back at the time it was just one of many gigs so of no great note, I guess.

Yes, I was at the Mobley gig.

Perhaps a youthful me is in the background!

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37 minutes ago, BillF said:

Yes, I was at the Mobley gig.

Perhaps a youthful me is in the background!

Typical !:D

No, just a profile pic of Mobley.

Can’t believe how much detail is captured in there. Pretty well every significant gig over the period must have been covered. Some superb photos too.

Never realised what would have been Beaulieu 1963 was held in the Belle Vue grounds. I once did a gig there too (scout band :lol:).

37 minutes ago, BillF said:

Yes, I was at the Mobley gig.

Perhaps a youthful me is in the background!

Were you at the Duke Ellington Free Trade Hall Concert? (19 Jan 1963)

There is a crowd photo of that one with Duke in the foreground.

Edited by sidewinder

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31 minutes ago, sidewinder said:

Typical !:D

No, just a profile pic of Mobley.

Can’t believe how much detail is captured in there. Pretty well every significant gig over the period must have been covered. Some superb photos too.

Never realised what would have been Beaulieu 1963 was held in the Belle Vue grounds. I once did a gig there too (scout band :lol:).

Were you at the Duke Ellington Free Trade Hall Concert? (19 Jan 1963)

There is a crowd photo of that one with Duke in the foreground.

No. I was at university in Leeds in '63, but I was at the Free Trade Hall 70th Birthday Concert in '69. I recall a couple of French girls sitting behind me ungraciously describing the great man as "comme un cadavre" (like a corpse).:(

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reviving this post as I've just sourced a Joe Harriott LP with a Manchester connection (no CD version) that I wasn't aware of ie

Joe Harriott - "Journey: Free Trade Hall, Manchester 1963" (Moonlight Tunes MT 001) No other material released by this label

There are minimal details on the cover - not sure how legit this is but the sound quality is astounding

Three of the six concert titles are from his classic "Free Form" LP ie Coda, Calypso & Tempo.

Also there is a seventh track "In A Sentimental Mood" by the Stan Tracy Big Brass with lovely JH solos, c 1969 - this sounds like a studio recording

The Lord discography places it within the We Love You Madly sessions (20-21/8/68 - Columbia UK) as an alternate take. Wonder where that info came from.

Does anyone know who is/was behind this (original tape & LP pressing) - it's so well recorded IMHO with quite a bit of JH announcements/dialogue

Edited by romualdo

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There used to be an army of regulars that used to go to the Manchester Jazz Society - to listen to jazz records who waxed lyrical about seeing many of these Manchester gigs - not sure how many more of them are still with us 

 

Time gone by I used to turn up with my latest Mosaic Box set or new Blue Note CD and try to get them into the "new stuff" from the 50's and 60's - they used to call me the Blue Note Kid

 

Still here: https://twitter.com/jazz_manchester?lang=en

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Jazz Journal used to have a page full of details of those ‘recital clubs’ up and down the country. Often with lectures by prominent critics etc.

Never went to one !  For some reason though, they seemed to be concentrated on London/SE or Manchester.

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On 11/02/2021 at 4:21 PM, andybleaden said:

There used to be an army of regulars that used to go to the Manchester Jazz Society - to listen to jazz records who waxed lyrical about seeing many of these Manchester gigs - not sure how many more of them are still with us 

 

Time gone by I used to turn up with my latest Mosaic Box set or new Blue Note CD and try to get them into the "new stuff" from the 50's and 60's - they used to call me the Blue Note Kid

 

Still here: https://twitter.com/jazz_manchester?lang=en

I remember, in late 2019, resolving to go along to a Manchester Jazz Society meeting in the new year to follow, then COVID happened. I see that the Society is still going, now to be held virtually, indefinitely. Sod that.  

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