MAY be the month of classical, jazz and rock n´roll

Norman Warwick thinks this month

MAY BE  jazz or classical or folk or dustbowl or rock n roll music or radio


Rehearsals for a Spring Concert on 17 May have been taking place on Wednesdays at 7.30 pm in St Michael´s Church in Bamford near Rochdale just across the road from where I lived with my parents whilst growing up. New members are always welcome in all sections, and players too, though string-players are particularly welcome to help make those melodies soar even more…. There are no auditions, though we trust you to have some proficiency in playing your instrument, whatever it is. Among the music to be played are movements from Handel´s Water Music and Royal Fireworks Suites, Eric Coates´´Sleepy Lagoon´, Robert Farnon´s ´Derby Day´and a specially composed ´Coronation Flourish´ by Graham Marshall.

PROGRAMME for May 17th


Handel – MARCH in B flat






Farnon – DERBY DAY

Boellmann – PRIERE A LA VIERGE from ´Suite Gothique´


La Rejouissance – Menuet 1 – Menuet 2


Not too far away from the above venue you might find a very different sort of sound !

MAY BE GREASE: The Musical

Rochdale Musical Theatre Company (RMTC) are set to transform the iconic Champness Hall into Rydell High from 5th-13th May.

Grease The Musical follows RMTC’s hugely successful, award-winning productions of Legally Blonde The Musical in October 2021 and The Producers in May 2022.

For many years, the Champness Hall has been underused as a venue for the creative arts. Way back in the 1970s I remember seeing Ian Dury and Elvis Costello there! So, it is with great delight to see that RMTC are continuing to bring high class entertainment to our revitalised town centre

With a talented cast, live orchestra and one of the most popular musical soundtracks of all time, RMTC’S high energy, all-singing, all-dancing production definitely isn’t one to be missed

Directed by Zac Grenier, with musical direction by Chris Addington and choreography by Nikki Cooke of Legacy Dance Academy, the production will truly showcase the incredible talent we have locally.

RMTC President, David Heaton, tells Steve Cooke of aata (left), that:

“Our 2023 production celebrates Rochdale Musical Theatre Company’s 125th anniversary [founded in 1898 and formally known as Rochdale Amateur Operatic Society]. Thank you to the theatregoers of Rochdale for their support over the years and I hope to see you at our production of Grease, as we continue to bring live theatre back to the heart of Rochdale.

“I’d also like to thank the dedicated team of volunteers involved in this production and our sponsors Storage World, Rochdale Style Magazine and The Lancashire Hospitality Co-operation.”

Tickets are selling incredibly fast for this electrifying production, which features all the classic hits such as “Summer Nights,” “Greased Lightnin’” and “You’re The One That I Want.”
So, what are you waiting for? Get your family and friends together, grab your leather jackets and join RMTC for an unforgettable night at the theatre.

Grease runs from 5th – 13th May 2 at Champness Hall, Drake St, Rochdale. Tickets £17.50, available now at:


Monday 8th May,

The Oaken Grove Vineyard

Coronation Holiday featuring Purdy

gates 12 noon followed by afternoon tea

music from approximately 2.00 pm

The Vineyard is located at Benhams Lane, Fawley, Henley-on-Thames RG9 6JG.

Gates open at midday and guests are welcome to enjoy drinks on the wine terrace before the jazz starts, Wines from the vineyard as well as other guest wines and local beers will be available to order. 

Monday 8th May

Coronation Holiday with Purdy (right)

gates at noon followed by afternoon tea and music from 2.00 pm

Enjoy the Coronation Bank Holiday with music, wine, food and beautiful surroundings. We are super excited to welcome Purdy back to Oaken Grove to celebrate this unique regal weekend! This will be a wonderful way to enjoy the Coronation Bank Holiday Monday and relax to the beautiful voice of Purdy accompanied by her amazing band. Taste the beautiful local wine from Oaken Grove and dine like royalty with a scrumptious, vintage-style afternoon tea delivered by local Henley company, Time for Tea. You can pre-order your food at the check-out when you purchase your tickets.
The music and seating will be located under our covered terrace overlooking the vines.
• A fantastic afternoon with the beautiful voice of Purdy
Afternoon tea served by Henley’s Time for Tea
• Wonderful vineyard surroundings
Purdy’s distinctive sultry voice and songwriting skills led her to a highly praised support tour with Jools Holland including a knock out show at The Royal Albert Hall where Purdy launched her first album ‘Diamond In the Dust’. Purdy’s recent appearance in hit Netflix TV series ‘The Crown’ singing ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ caused a media stir. Other accolades include performing her self-penned song to 90,000 people with the Royal Airforce at Wembley Stadium, guesting with Jamie Cullum on the BBC Cheltenham Festival stage and singing with Simply Red on The Royal Variety Show.
 Afternoon tea includes: Sandwiches, Scones, Cakes   Sunday 25th June The Oaken Grove Vineyard Trumpet Greats with Jenny Bruce Gates 12noon, afternoon tea 1.30 pm Music from approximately 3.30pm    

Monday 22nd May


The Crooked Billet, Newlands Lane, Stoke Row RG9 5PU

Arrive between 6.30 – 7.00 pm (pre show dinner) on stage 8.30 pm. Full regular menu, £30 music cover charge.

Robbie Williams worked with the Pasadena Roof Orchestra on his ´Swing When You´re Winning´ Royal Albert Hall show (where surprise guest Nicole Kidman duetted ´Something Stupid´). Robbie & The Pasadenas recorded the single ´Straighten Up and Fly Right´

The Pasadena Roof Orchestra formed in 1969 performing 1920s jazz, swing & The Tiger Rags. Putting on the Ritz with light hearted ´Jeeves & Wooster´ happy rousing ballroom music – playing the sweetest music this side of heaven. They were the late great Victoria Wood´s favourite band. The Roof Orchestra, are still fronted by vocalist Duncan Galloway who brings his original Pasadena ´Hotsy Totsy´ Gang to The Crooked Billet, Stoke Row Monday, 22nd May. Incidentally, ´Jeeves & Wooster´ TV series was filmed at The Crooked Billet. Hugh Laurie & Stephen Fry still frequent the put.

The Pasadenas, a quintessentially English bunch of eccentrics – astronomically popular around the world. Five sell out American tours, loved from Kuala Lumpur to Hong Kong. Abu Dhabi to Dublin. 29 albums to their credit. Including Robbie Williams, they´ve also worked and recorded with Bryan Ferry. Check out their BRILLIANT single ´Putting on The Ritz´ with the Puppini Sisters (YouTube). You´ll often find a Pasadena performing in other bands; Madness, The Kippers, Jools Holland, Earth Wind & Fire. The Pasadenas were instrumental in Jools Holland forming his rhythm & blues orchestra.

The Pasadenas have delighted crowds at Glastonbury, Goodwood, Cheltenham Jazz Festival with their quirky, uplifting set list including Pennies from Heaven, Nagasaki, Paddlin´Madelin´Home, Looney Tunes, Me & Jane in a Plane, Steppin´Out, Puttin´on the Ritz´. Enjoy The Pasadena Roof Orchestra Hotsy Totsy Gang within the intimacy of The Crooked Billet, Stoke Row, Monday 22nd May. No guarantee that Bryan Ferry, Robbie Williams or Nicole Kidman will join them! For further information, tickets and table reservations contact The Crooked Billet on 0149 682304 or

Sunday 28 May
Trumpet Greats with Jonny Bruce
Gates 12pm, food at approx 1:30pm. Music from about 3pm
£22, child £10, under ten free
Pre-order food when purchasing tickets
Information and tickets

We are delighted to welcome back Jonny Bruce, a superb trumpeter and exquisite entertainer who is based in Bristol and holds a national reputation. Fluent in the history of jazz trumpet, Jonny will cover pieces from Louis Armstrong through to Freddie Hubbard.

You may already have watched Jonny playing with the Moscow Drug Club, Brass Junkies and the Dockside Latin Orchestra.

Expect an afternoon of trumpet fireworks and gorgeous melodies on your tour of the Trumpet Greats!

Accompanying today’s music choice, you can treat your tastebuds to some culinary delights from the Little Urban Chef. Please pre-order your food at the check-out when you purchase your tickets.

The music and seating will be located under our covered terrace overlooking the vines.

Gates open at 12.00pm midday after which food will be served at approximately 1.30pm and the music will start at about 3.00pm.

for further details of all events listed visit Jazz In Rading web site or venue social media

Best regards from The Jazz in Reading Team.

Meanwhile elsewhere, too, jazz claims to be the genre of MUSIC THAT´S GOING PLACES.

Pianist Brian Kellock and drummer Alyn Cosker (right) are best know for ensemble work, with both musicians leading their own acclaimed trios. On Sunday 7th May at Merchants House, however, they will be working solo. BK is more familiar in this situation, having released a superb solo piano album. Bidin´ My Time, in 2019. He´s well-known for having a huge repertoire on apparently instant recall and spontaneity is one of his greatest strengths. So this will be a special. As will Alyn´s solo set. He´s played a few solo shows before and draws on a wealth of experience, adaptability, tonal and rhythmical variation and ultimately his sheer musicality to create an enthralling performance.

Saxophonist Helena Kay and pianist Peter Johnstone (left) continue their duo conversation at the gorgeously refurbished and intimate Quarrymen´s Arts Centre in Creetown, Newton Steward on Friday 12th May. Conversation is the right word for what they do, too, as they communicate with each other and their audience on original pieces that have a distinctive personality and items from the jazz canon that they give a real depths of expression and understanding.

The Tommy Smith Youth Jazz Orchestra (right) continue the 20th anniversary concerts in St Andrews on Saturday 20th May and Cumbernauld on Sunday 21st May. Well over 100 musician have passed through the orchestra and many of them are currently occupying significant positions on the jazz scene, so this is a genuine chance to catch the stars of the future.

The Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers
The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra reunite with the Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers to reprise SNJO director Tommy Smith’s World of the Gods. First performed in 2010, this is an extraordinarily physical and yet sensitive piece that sets traditional Japanese melodies into Mugenyko’s wonderful rhythmical choreography and inspires creativity from all involved. It visits Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock on Friday 26th, Perth Concert Hall on Saturday 27th and Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh on Sunday 28th

There´s been increased interest in the late Irish guitar master Louis Stewart since his 1977 solo album, Out of His Own was remastered and reissued earlier this year. Now comes a previously unreleased and only recently discovered due recording by Louis and his friend, pianist Noel Kelehan. Some Other Blues (left) has been likened – not without some justification – to Bill Evans and Jim Hall´s classic Undercurrent album and former Sony Records head of jazz from the UK and Europe turned radio presenter, Adam Sieff has described it as “phenomenal”.

Operating in a different style of music, Dutch guitarist Bram Stadhouders called on Flemish baroque ensemble Baroque Orchestration X or BOX, to create what Bram calls baroque for the present on his latest album, Suite X. You might remember Bram from Dutch improvising trio Under the Surface, whose concerts for the Going Dutch project illustrated Bram´s obvious talent for melody. Early reviews from Suite X have picked up on this, with comments including “wonderfully fascinating” and “sublime”. Jazz in May

Blue Lamp
Thu 4: Sam Braysher Trio
Sun 7: 2pm
Thu 11: Yaatri
Thu 18: Gabriel Latchin Trio
Thu 25: Mahuki

Jazz Bar
Mon 1: Jazz Bar Big Band
Wed 3: Sam Braysher Trio
Thu 11: Paul Harrison Trio
Fri 12: Mercy Mercy Mercy
Wed 17: C.A.L.I.E.
Fri 26: Freddie King

Thu 4: Playtime tbc
Thu 18: Playtime tbc 

Queen’s Hall
Sun 28: Scottish National Jazz Orchestra

Glad Cafe
Tue 23: Bancroft & Lyne

Merchants House
Sun 7: Brian Kellock solo/Alyn Cosker solo

Beacon Arts Centre
Fri 26: Scottish National Jazz Orchestra

606 Club
Mon 1: Natalie Duncan
Wed 3: Mina Agossi
Mon 15 – Tue 16: Dominic Miller
Fri 19: Bruce Adams with Alan Barnes
Sat 20: Mornington Lockett with Henry Lowther
Mon 22: Ray Russell
Sat 27: Trish Clowes’ My Iris with Dave Douglas

Ronnie Scott’s
Mon 1 – Tue 2: Stanley Clarke
Thu 4: Giacomo Smith & Mozes Rosenberg
Mon 8: Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Orchestra
Tue 9: Sarah Brown
Wed 10 Ben Wendel
Thu 11: Tom Scott & Friends
Fri 12: Oz Noy Trio
Sun 14: Nikki Iles Orchestra
Fri 19: Billy Cobham
Sat 20: Wayne Escoffery Qrt
Mon 22: Tineka Postma

Newton Stewart
Quarrymen’s Arts Centre
Fri 12: Helena Kay & Peter Johnstone

Perth Concert Hall
Sat 27: Scottish National Jazz Orchestra

Perth Theatre
Fri 26: Seonaid Aitken: Grappelli Night

As always, this list isn’t intended to be comprehensive – other gigs are available.

Meanwhile, The Manchester Music Festival takes place later in the year but they have sent us a newsletter   INTRODUCING THE RISING STARS playing MANCHESTER MUSIC FESTIVAL  2023

Manchester Music Festival returns for another summer of world-class classical music!  This season, we are proud to announce an expansion of our acclaimed Young Artists Program, the MMF Rising Stars Fellowship Program. Exceptional alumni, who distinguished themselves during their stint as an MMF YA as the star performers of their cohorts, will be invited to return and perform onstage alongside our esteemed guest artists.   This inaugural season, our Rising Stars will join our world-renowned guest artists to perform Felix Mendelssohn’s brilliant String Octet in E-flat major on July 6, 2023.  Read on to learn more about these accomplished young musicians.

  Maïthéna Girault – Class of 2018

Aïthéna Girault is a dynamic French Canadian violinist and pedagogue based in New York City. A passionate collaborative artist, Ms. Girault is a founding member of the Aurelius String Quartet and was the 2017 Grand Prize winner of the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. She was a first prize winner of the Canadian Music Competition and winner of the 2017 Golden Violin Award, Canada’s largest collegiate music prize.  Ms. Girault is currently pursuing a Professional Performance Diploma at the Manhattan School of Music with Lucie Robert on full scholarship. She performs on the 1858 Ex. ”Comte Koucheliov” violin by Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume and a bow by Ouchard, both generously loaned to her by Canimex.  

Ismael Guerrero Bombut –   Class of 2019

Salon De Virtuosi’s Career Grant Winner and Resident Fellow for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Ismael Ariel Guerrero Bombut (right) is an accomplished cellist who has won many competitions and performed all over the world as a soloist and chamber musician.  Being involved in many outreach programs in the United States and other countries, Guerrero is very passionate about serving the community and making classical music more accessible to the public. As a teacher, he has recently taught MasterClasses at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and George Mason University. Guerrero is also a Cello Professor at Pasadena Conservatory of Music. Guerrero has a Bachelor’s degree from Peabody Conservatory, and a Master’s Degree from USC Thornton School of Music, both of them in Cello Performance.  

Sebastian Gonzalez Mora –  Class of 2022

Sebastian Gonzalez Mora (left) is a 22-year-old Colombian Canadian violist. He began his musical journey at age 10 at the violin and later started learning the viola. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree at the Conservatoire de Musique de Montréal in Jocelyne Bastien’s studio, Sebastian is currently pursuing his master’s degree at McGill University under the guidance of Victor Fournelle-Blain.  Winner of the Pirastro prize for an Outstanding Young Talent at the 2021 edition of the Oskar Nedbal International Viola Competition in the Czech Republic, Sebastian is also a grand prize winner of the Chœur de la Montagne Competition (2018 and 2021), the Grand Prize of the 2018 MDA-Quebec Competition, and the second prize winner of the Lanaudière Festival Concerto Competition (2019).  

Cathy Heidt –  Class of 2022

Cathy Heidt (right), born in 1997 in Luxembourg, started to play the violin at the age of six. In 2013, she moved to Berlin to attend the class of Prof. Johannes Kittel at the “Musikgymasium C.P.E. Bach“. Afterward, she studied with Prof. Mark Gothoni at the “Universität der Künste Berlin“, from where she obtained her bachelor`s degree in 2020. Currently, she pursues her master’s studies in Hamburg with Prof. Tanja Becker-Bender.  Having a wide-ranging interest in chamber music as well as orchestral and soloistic repertoire, Cathy is constantly striving to expand her experiences. Cathy is 1st prize winner of the music competition “Märkische Musiktage 2015“ as well as of the International Mendelssohn Festival Hamburg 2021. She also received the gold medal at the “Concours Européen de l`UGDA Luxembourg 2021“.  

CHECK OUT The Manchester Music Festival web site for all details,…but quickly before tickets are sold out, because as the wealth of gigs shared with us by friendly listing agencies, this MAY be the month of all music !

On air sign background

If for any reason you cannot reach any of the gigs we have previewed here, or even if you can, you might like to help yourself to a plate of Hot Biscuits and listen in to Steve Bewick´s

weekly offering from the clouds. A good friend and an occasional correspondent to these pages, ´s  next jazz broadcast features a guitar duo in live session at Saison Jazz featuring Tim David Williams and Alex Hillman. You will also hear a Pip squeak production from Phil Portus.

Also included will be the 606 Gospel Group. Steve first wrote about the group on these pages under the title ¨WE ARE THE MUSIC MAKERS: SMALL GOSPEL CHOIR SOUNDING LIKE 606.

The article remains in our archives of over 900 articles and was posted on 20th April  2020 when Steve, (right) wrote

We had high hopes for our Sunday lunch concert at one of London’s prestigious jazz clubs: The 606 Jazz Club, Lott Street, Chelsea, England. We had a booking for an in-house eight piece Gospel ensemble going by the name of the 606 Gospel Group. It was billed as a great group, led by bass player Andre Gabriel, drummer Charlene and pianist, Rachael. They were to be accompanied by a five voice Gospel Choir.

The choir, being drawn from a pool of some of the finest Gospel singers on the scene, had been featured as part of the recent London Jazz Festival, as well as on BBC Radio 4 and the World Service. This was one of two events the club was putting on to celebrate International Womens´ Day. 606 Jazz Club also hosted the appearance of one Liane Carroll, winner of BBC jazz awards 2005/6 and who, at the Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2008 was named Musician Of The Year 2008.

The 606 club has been owned and run by musician Steve Rubie since 1976.  He was last year announced as the recipient of the Musician’s Company Jazz Lifetime Achievement Award 2019 at a ceremony in Tallow Chandlers Hall.

I managed to grab a quick word during our lunch time visit with Rubie, and I asked him to talk to me about the club´s history.

¨The club takes its name from its former address as it was originally a small 30 seated basement venue at 606 Kings Road,´ the owner told me. ¨The club moved to its current site in 90 Lotts Road in 1967. Its new home had a distinct red brick arched doorway. The club reopened in May 1988 and has developed so that it is currently licenced to provide food and drink for 165 people.´

Steve occasionally performs at the club he owns, with Samara, a band he leads ! This a five-piece jazz/Latin group in which he plays on sax and flute, with some well-travelled players. The pianist John Crawford has worked with a who’s who of international Latin musicians and Dill Katz, the bass player is visiting professor at the Guildhall.  Nic France, the drummer, has worked with just about everyone, including Dave Gilmore (Pink Floyd) and Bill Withers. Singer Liliana Chachian is considered to be one of the finest Brazilian vocalists currently working in Europe, with an unerring gift for melody and phrasing. The music is an infectious blend of Brazilian Samba, jazz/Latin and Soul, so I asked the club proprietor and musician how Gospel music, a far-reaching term in itself, fits into what sounds an already eclectic programme

The music ranges from modern jazz through soul,´ he told me, ´and then to Latin and rhythm and blues to Gospel, big bands and the blues. The club has a policy of booking local musicians and as such provides a venue for some of the finest British musicians, as well as encouraging a considerable number of younger players.´

This is reflected in their give-away 606, March 2020 CD which gave a listing of recent gigs at the club this past period, including players like Sara Dowling, The Coalminers and Jeremy Sassoon (a fellow Mancunian) to name but three.

Steve further stated, ´The club gives a platform for more than ten bands a week, so making it one of the largest club promoters of jazz in Europe today. There is no entry fee. Instead the musicians are funded from an optional music charge which is added to the bill at the end of the night.´

If you were to design a club building for the purposes of hosting jazz and blues artists I doubt that you would choose a twenty foot space between the stage and the rear wall. The building has an oblong shape with a rear bar area and off space kitchen area where, judging by the vegetarian options on our visit, deserves high praise for its culinary efforts.

The biggest challenge for the club is, as indicated, its irregular performance area. I was surprised to find that nothing was in place on the walls to suppress some of the echoed notes from the performers. This was clear from the drummers playing´, which was at times rather over enthusiastic. Nevertheless, the Gospel Choir gave a good account of their skills in such difficult surroundings, even whilst being overlooked from stage left by a sketched figure of Billie Holiday.

If the cramped and irregular performance space was not daunting enough for the Choir we were informed by Steve in his introduction of them that the eight piece choir would be further challenged tonight as the ill health of one member was leaving them to perform as a seven piece unit.  

At times we had the sound of a fiery fury urging the audience to denounce the devils words´, although most of the time they simply praised the Lord and sang of that Happy Day, ´when Jesus walked.´ On several occasions, too, ballads gently stroked the mood of the audience.

I left wishing good luck to both 606 and their Gospel Choir, and feeling reassured that the devil doesn´t always have all the best tunes!

I know, from reviews elsewhere in these archives of Sidetracks and Detours all across the arts, that our editor Norman Warwick similarly raves over The Lanzarote Gospel Choir, so I offer this review as a neat compare and contrast .

I also know how excited Norm was recently when I sent through a video clip of jazz violinist Olivia Moore, thereby introducing him to an artist he had not previously been aware of. He published my interview with her, and it is still available in the Sidetracks and Detours archives of all across the arts at

 Of course, my visit to 606 and my chat with Olivia took place, seemingly in a different era, but in fact only around a fortnight or so ago as the world went into lockdown. I know that Norm, and hopefully all our readers, will be delighted to see the 606 web site promising, in a more reassuring manner than Arnie, that ´we will be back.´ 

He will, too, I´m sure, applaud the way so many artists are making such a huge contribution to at least trying to ensure our emotional and mental well-being. It has often been argued that art does not, cannot, survive in isolation but it is proving, through the virtual world that it can. I have heard of creative writing groups here in Rochdale holding workshops via technology and there have been incredible efforts by the likes of Gareth Malone to even establish a virtual choir. Norm has, himself, spoken on these pages about You Tube contributions being made available by the likes of The Staves and First Aid Kit.

He will be delighted, then, to learn that this terrible challenge to our health, does on the other hand allow many of us, including artists, time to explore new avenues of creativity. The aforementioned Olivia Moore, for example, is currently travelling in parallel with me down the information highway as she puts her music to my newly written poem telling of my recent visit to Tel Aviv, so who knows whether this might lead to wider work fusing violin and poetry?

Meanwhile, Olivia is also looking to deliver workshops in the virtual world. If she was doing this in the real world, I guess you´d have to be on her bus route for the advert to be of use to you, but I´m assuming that you could join these classes from pretty much anywhere, and make a lot of new friends, and learn or improve new skills,  from the comfort of your home. There is, you see an upside to every downer. What an explosion of creativity there will be when the world turns and we all rush out to share what we have learned in these slowed down times.

It says a great deal about Hot Biscuits that this will only be a small part of a big programme.

Steve´s prophecy proved correct and the &06 club. and gospel choir and jazz in gneral have all come back stronger than ever.There are even more names who will be featured on Steve´s programme this week.

Dave Lewis’s 1UP, Helen Merrill & Stan Getz, Hernandez Jessica Wayne, Tony Kofi Lisa Kwei will all be played, and finishing it all off will be Au Bord du Bleu. If this looks interesting share with friends and join Steve 24/07 at



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