Tag Archives: big band

Cliff Longhurst and the Jazzknights Orchestra Live in Staines

During this week of Magna Carta  the perfect sound-track has been Fanfare for the Common Man.

We heard the number played on Monday at the 800th anniversary dedication, brought to us across those verdant Runnymede Fields by her majesty’s own jazz ensemble — the Band of HM Royal Marines. The second time we heard Aaron Copland’s stirring anthem played live was at the Staines Riverside Club, this time brought to us by Cliff Longhurst and his JazzKnights Orchestra.  We think Cliff and the Knights pipped it!

Cliff Longhurst was a professional drummer for over 40 years, working with Matt Monro, Frankie Laine and Helen Shapiro (among many others) and he has toured with Herb Miller (Glen’s brother), in addition to working as musical director for several well-known television shows.

Now he leads his own big band – the JAZZKNIGHTS ORCHESTRA – paying special homage to the music of Woody Herman.  It’s an 18-piece combo, and at Staines the band also sported female vocals from the extraordinary talent of Pam Pecko-Smith. In this way, the band could unite the music of Herman with the songs of Ella Fitzgerald. The arrangements were genuine Woody Herman (pehaps with just a bit of “Basie swing”) and had been thoroughly researched, rehearsed and re-created for the pleasure of the crowd in Staines.

JazzKnights Orchestra at Staines Riverside Club with the extraordinary talent of Pam Pecko-Smith [right of picture]
We adored Alan Broadbent’s ‘Love in Silent Amber’ with those dark, saddened tones and empty memories.

The way the languid keys idled through a patch of golden horn before reaching the sax solo. Then the over-burdened love… It seems to have been held back for so long…  just toppled out. Wonderful.

Another favourite was the arrangement of “Poor Butterfly” (Hubbell) — inspired by Puccini’s Madama Butterfly and first found in the Big Show (1916). This was very danceable, with rat-a-tat battered rhythms converging onto sinuous trumpet, mellow sax and swelling trombone – creating waves of emotion.

We also loved the bopping jazz standard “Watermelon Man” which was the first-ever commercial piece written by Hancock (1962). Slightly gospelly in attitude, this number rattlles like a Windy City taxi during the morning race to work. The cries of the watermelon man barely audible above the traffic and through the smoky air, imbued with the aroma of fresh coffee.

Cliff Longhurst pushes all this along from his drums...
Cliff Longhurst pushes all this along from his drums…

Of course, Cliff pushes all this along from his drums, while the band members (clearly enjoying themselves thoroughly) move from careful concentration to over-joyed and carefree abandon in a just a few bars.

A high-point of the show was the familiar ‘Can’t By Me Love’ which had great pulling-power for the crowd at Staines, who were soon clapping along merrily and shuffling their feet.

This was a wonderful combination of beloved memories, creative innovation and attention to detail. Music of the highest quality.

Thanks to Cliff Longhurst and his Jazzknights for keeping this music alive and reminding us that gloriously played big-band jazz is still a powerful force and is thriving. Thanks also to the brilliant Staines Riverside Club for hosting such a memorable evening.

Words & Images: @neilmach 2015 ©
Link: http://jazzknightsorchestra.com/


5 Things- This Week in Staines



The Bad Thing! In Staines

The Bad Thing- Staines

The Bad Thing, St Peters Staines May 24 2008

Alternative rock outfit The Bad Thing, inspired by bands such as Foo Fighters and the Buzz Cocks (albeit with a more experimental and progressive sound) used a simple lyrical structure that allowed lead singer Scatty to throw emotion at the crowd. They are a hard band to peg, with their revolving system of bass and rhythm guitar keeping the sound fresh and constantly changing. Their song “What Up World” was the definitive song of the set.

The Bad Thing (from Staines) are a tight, experienced rock n’ roll unit made possible by 5 young men with a passion for music.

Best thing about their gigs is you don’t know what you’re gonna get from ’em till you get there, they like to play to new people, we’ve songs of good times, bad times, songs about you and songs about me, so go down and take a listen, you never know, you might be humming their tunes on the way home

They’re also playing at the Purple Turtle in Camden Town on 22nd June in BoB Round 2. Cheer them on!

Scott Freeman: Guitars, Lead Vocals, Songwriter, Keys

Sonny Evans: Lead Guitar, Backing Vox

Tom Ridler: Bass, Guitar, Comparative Vocals, Keys

Pete Rawlings: Bass, Guitar, Vox

Harry Shakespeare: Drums

May 24 2008 8:00P St Peters Hall ELECTRIC Staines,



Go see Innocent Enemies at Hobgoblin, Staines

Innocent Enemies

Innocent Enemies- The Hob, Staines, 22 May 7:30P

Innocent Enemies are a four-piece indie rock band originating from the Hounslow area.

The band formed in 2004 and with only a few original songs and a couple of well known covers began gigging in local venues. Towards the end of 2004, the band decided to focus on original material and quickly recorded their first demo at No Stairway Studios, Teddington. The demo contained live favourites Angel Eyes, Is London Listening? and Cavalier. It was through this demo that Innocent Enemies were able to secure a gig at Camden’s Purple Turtle, where they headlined the event.

In late 2006 the Innocents decided to take a break in order to focus on other projects. However, in late 2007 the band reformed with new songs, a new attitude and a clear vision of where the future will take them.

Paul Nicholas: Guitar, Vocals

Dan O’Sullivan: Bass, Vocals

John Carroll: Guitar, Backing Vocals

Gareth Powell: Drums & Purcussion
Influences The Beatles, Oasis, The Clash, U2, The Rolling Stones, Stone Roses, The Smiths, Stereophonics



Go to listen to virtuoso slide guitarist Michael Messer

Michael Messer by Alan Messer ©2004

Michael Messers Second Mind Band, Jagz Ascot, , 23rd May 8PM

Michael Messer is a virtuoso slide guitarist who has one of the best bands performing some of the greatest blues tunes produced this century. His playing encompasses the entire history of the blues but is totally individual and contemporary. His use of turntables in the band adds a new element to the music and Messer’s haunting vocals ooze authenticity and integrity. The American magazine, ‘Spirit’ listed Michael as one of the greatest slide guitarists ever alongside Duane Allman and Ry Cooder.

Michael Messer was born in Middlesex in 1956. Throughout his childhood and teens he played rock music with his two brothers and in various local bands. In his early twenties, Messer spent time in Nashville where he had the chance to meet and hear
some of the ‘greats’ of country music performing in their home environment. These included Roy Acuff, Hank Snow and Johnny Cash. Back home in England in the late seventies, Messer was mastering the art of Mississippi delta blues slide guitar, buying his first National steel guitar in 1979. He began playing blues gigs, both as a solo artist and in various local bands in the early eighties.

The 2008 band:

Michael Messer – Vocals & Slide Guitar

Ed Genis – Rhythm & Lead Guitar

Louie Genis – Turntable

Jerry Soffe – Bass Guitar

Simon Price – Drums

Occasional shows – Richard Causon – Piano
Occasional shows – Matt Round – Bass Guitar & Upright Bass

With Michael’s soulful voice & brilliant slide guita playing; featuring the unique Louie Genis ‘scratching’ with ancient blues vinyl & Ed Genis on rhythm guitar, this trio rocked its way through one & a half hours of the best & most original blues I have heard in a very long time. Highly original, totally unique & very catchy.
A brilliant concert! [What’s On]

Also catch Michael Messer on Jun 14 2008 at the LONDON MUSIC SHOW, ExCeL,



Go dance to the sounds of a Big Band- Staines

The RHC Big Band- Staines Riverside Club- Poster by aDPontes ©2008

The Royal Holloway BIG BAND- Staines Riverside Club, Thu 22nd May £3

For more information on any of the ensembles or concerts at Royal Holloway, please visit http://www.rhul.ac.uk/music/about-us/concerts.html or e-mail concerts@rhul.ac.uk.

Last year the band performed at the Frost Fair outside the Tate Modern

Instrumentation: saxes, trpts, tbns, kybd, gtr, bass, dr., perc., vocals

email: bigband@rhul.ac.uk.

Chuckle at the Terror of Pam Ann at 41,000 feet!

Pam Ann at Hayes

PAM ANN terror at 41,000 feet – Beck Theatre Hayes May 20 & May 21

May 20 2008 8:00P Beck Theatre Hayes

May 21 2008 8:00P Beck Theatre Hayes

Whatever happened to the golden age of flying? When ladies always wore heels and gents would smoke cuban cigars… and you could sit in the cockpit sipping champagne with the captain…before joining him in the mile-high club.

Now all you get is a long queue through security, a meaningless video presentation, a cheesy pasta meal you have to eat with a bendy plastic fork and a rude and rough looking ‘bird’ giving you the evil eye if you dare to ask for another pillow.

Pam Ann brings it all to you in this witty, sexy and very rude show … the highs and the lows, the good old days and the not-so-good present age of flying.

Pam has toured with Cher and Elton John and is described as ‘cruelly funny’.

Performed and written by Caroline Reid

To learn more click on Pam Ann’s myspace:




Get Your Tickets for Beck Theatre, Hayes

The Beck Theatre
Grange Road

Visit AdPontes-Staines Regularly for Staines Arts

Big Band – at Staines

Royal Holloway University ‘BIG BAND’

BIG BAND -Royal Holloway


The Royal Holloway Big Band ‘Graduated’ …. 8:30PM Tickets £3

Also don’t forget your ‘local’ Festivals CLICK HERE for more news


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