As the song say’s ‘’It’s the most wonderful time of the year ‘’ I can’t say that this has been that wonderful but thankfully most of us are still here.
December for me as a jazz promoter means a break at Christmas and the New Year but still I have to get into the spirit of the season. December was a short month due to the demand for Xmas parties that made money for the venue unlike the jazz. This month makes me think of our annual Big band bash. We had many big bands over the years at the club Mark Gilbanks- Sounds 18- Shades of Kenton(now S.K.2) Blackpool big band- but the Christmas gig became an annual event for the Northern jazz orchestra led by Paul Rigby who really got into the spirit of the season with numerous raffle prizes and the band dressed for the occasion. A great band with a great leader driving them on the drums. Paul continues to teach and play and is greatly involved with Ribble valley jazz and blues, who have gone from strength to strength with their now yearly festival.
Other events that come to mind ‘’Hats off to the Man ‘’ A Sinatra tribute with Mark Gillbanks Orc with vocals from Jonathan Lavel and band members the likes of Munch Manship, Doug Whaley,Georgina Jackson, Rod Mason,Duncan Winfield, Bob Howard to name but a few.I remember the promotion leaflets I produced for all the events became collector’s items, typo’s and misspellings was always a topic of conversation. At the Christmas big band gig I would provide everybody with a glass of sherry and a mince pie due to a typo it read (Mice Pie) and that became the norm hence forth.
I sincerely hope you found the website to your liking and kept safe during 2020 We hope for better things in 2021 Stay safe all of you .Hope to see you all next year. All the very best to everybody have a lovely Christmas and New Year Cheers!!! DENIS
Hi everyone, sorry for the lack of content over the last few weeks. We had a little trouble with the website but it's all fixed now. During this time we did however have a chance to work on Google Sites just incase we lost the old webspace. This worked out well too as we now have both sites and this makes things much more "User friendly" now with multiple styles to suit your media machines. Also we are pleased to say that some of the many videos and sound recording are now on a "YouTube channel" and this has been updated with all the previous music files we shared since January that accompanied the monthly stories and updates.This will be updated with more great stuff as the months progress. Please stay tuned and we hope to get more content to you all more often. Thanks very much and "stay well" Denis.
Hi everybody, another month has disappeared all too quick. I thought we would look back at some of the many pianists who have graced the clubs, over the 16 years, and played our white YAMAHA BABY GRAND. In total there has been more than 40 pianists that have been either resident, Deps, or visiting artists who have entertained us with their pianistic skills. Of course the main man for the club was DENNIS FREEDMAN, He was there from the onset of the club and subsequently became part of the Tommy Melville Quartet at the RHYTHM STATION in 1997 and when Tommy retired it became the R/S TRIO.
We are lucky to have in the north west many great pianists that I could call on when required even at short notice .The likes of Chris Holmes, Richard Wetherall, George King, John Ellis, Paul Killvington, Dan Wieldon, to name but a few all extremely capable and professional .
The list of visiting pianists is also long and with their diverse personalities and styles from all around the world. Yutacka Shiina Japan, John Collianni U.S.A., Rossano Sportiello Italy , Gerry Spencer South Africa, Grant Winsor Australia. Again not all were recorded i regret to say, but I will endeavour to put on as many as I can with small snippets of those we managed to record. Yutacka Shema retuned the piano each time he played two of the clubs and after others played it they said it's like a different instrument but so much better, mind you he did work for YAMAHA
The song has ended but the melody lingers on...
The sad passing of PETER KING made me think of the musicians that have passed on over the last few years. The Rhythm Station has been graced by many great saxophone players from all over the world but in the main from the U.K. Here with fond memories and with a touch of sadness are DANNY MOSS- DON WELLER- BOBBY WELLINS and the long term U.K. resident SPIKE ROBINSON .U.S.A. Spike even loved cricket ,I believe he and Roy Williams attended test matches whenever possible. Each of these great musicians played the club on several occasions and in different combinations, DANNY MOSS with his son DANNY Jr-DON WELLER solo and with BOBBY WELLINS-BOBBY WELLINS solo ,and with DON WELLER, STAN TRACEY & BENN CLATWORTHY- SPIKE ROBINSON solo & with JACK PARNEL all ably accompanied by The TOMMY MELVILLE Quartet Tommy himself a great tenor player he like all the others sadly missed.
This months video clip is a short clip of DonWeller at the club in 2008 (click the pic below to check it out..
Also this month is a short clip of Tommy introcing Don Weller and Bobby Wellins in his usual comic style we all knew well.
Another month has gone, I hope everyone is safe and well in these unusual times .It seems strange to me that the thing that keeps most of us sane are music and the arts but they seem to hold no value by this government and the confusion for us mere mortals is to say what!! Fag packet strategies. As a jazz fan I do like improvisation but with jazz musicians there is always structure, enough said.
Last month we featured the ladies and we continue with some more we hope to delight you with their talents. Two very different ladies
but equal talents ESTHER MILLER , & MARLENE VER PLANCK
Esther Miller much younger with more than a touch of glamour but with a great feel for the music. Esther has been described as a cross between Shirley Horn & Annie Ross. Esther is one of South Africa’s leading vocalist, born and raised in Port Elizabeth she began to study medicine in Cape Town where she first encountered live jazz and quickly realised that jazz had the greater draw, she then underwent a dramatic career change .the rest as they say is history recently her career changed again from jazz clubs to sailing the world’s oceans and don’t think there is a country she has not visited on her travels she now lives in Demark with her husband Hendrik. Now sadly in lockdown and has turned into a domestic goddess. Let’s hope she will be back soon whether on land or sea, ALL THE VERY BEST TO YOU ESTHER.
Click the video links to see Eshter perform "Early Autumn" and "The other woman" at the club
Marlene Ver Planck . Sadly Marlene passed away 2019 in her home town NEW JERSEY Marlene played all three clubs for me and I can say with honesty what a pleasure it was to work and listen to a consummate professional that she surely was .A remarkable couple her husband Billy accompanied her on her first visit he gave up his playing career to help Marlene with hers Billy was a fine trombonist & arranger he arranged all of her numbers and helped her to be in great demand as a session singer and later as a soloist in her own wright Billy was the love of her life may they both now rest in peace
Click the video link to see Marlene perform a song from 26/02/03 at the club
and to quote Marlene, in her own writing...
"Fun memory of Jimmy Scaffe's award"
Ladies that played the club
Its time now to feature the ladies that attended the club. There have been quite a few over the years, but unfortunately not many where recorded. Not my doing may I add. From locals like LYN FAIRBANKS DOREEN EDWARDS JULIE EDWARDS to LILIAN BOUTTE NEW ORLEANS- ESTHER MILLER SOUTH AFRICA-MARLENE VER PLANCK NEW JERSEY – U.S.A. STACEY KENT- Others including LEE GIBSON –FIONA DUNCAN-SANDY RUSSELL- YVONE HUTTON -BECKY KILLGORE U.S.A. - JO LESTER DEBBIE WILSON- All vocalists female instrumentalist’s where thin on the ground at the club, low in numbers but high in quality. The likes of KAREN SHARP ALLISON NEIL and later at the other clubs JAZZ AT THE CHAMBERS – JAZZ AT THE FIELD –ALICE SAWADSKI VIOLIN /VOCALS MAGDALENA REISING HARP/ VOCALS. Karen Sharp was the most frequent female instrumentalist and she also paired up with Allison Neil on another occasion she joined forces with the great tenor sax man ROERT FOWLER with a tribute to ALL COHN & ZOOT SIMS. KATHY STOBART was booked to play the rhythm station but cancelled when asked teach Dame JUDY DENCH to look like she could really play the saxophone for the film “THE LAST OF THE BLONDE BOMBSHELLS “Must admit she did a great job. ESTHER MILLER played the Rhythm Station several times her first occasion was with her long time pianist Gerry Spencer who also lived in S/Africa on other occasions she used our house band members along with the likes of pianist STEVE MELLING- ESTHER also PLAYED THE CHAMBERS this was with the great PETE KING and STEVE WATERMAN- BECKY KILCGORE was accompanied by DAN BARRETT TROMBONE EDDY ERICKSON GUITAR/BANJO plus the house band. B.E.D. was the name of BECKY’S C.D. They were regulars at the Blackpool jazz party on the bank Holliday in May they came straight from Blackpool then back to the U.S.A. Thanks once again to TOM BARRON. I recall BECKY KILGORE arriving looking very distressed I asked her if she was ok she said that the ride from the station in Tommy MELVILLES car was the worst experience of her life Tommy was not known for his driving skills.
This is a footnote to the Karen Sharp, Robert Fowler, tribute to Al Cohn & Zoot Sims night November 28th 2008. Little did we know that this would be the last night at the Rhythm Station Our M.C. Gerry Dodd even spoke about bringing other notable Duos in the New Year? I received a phone call from Alan Greenhalgh to say that the receivers had been called in and we could no longer operate from this great venue. We met for lunch to discuss what could we do to carry on with this great jazz club, that was if I wanted to. It seemed strange as the jazz club side of the Rhythm Station was as popular as ever and we had now been running for the past 11 years with a reputation second to none. I agreed to carry on if we could quickly find another venue A.S.A.P. The next task was to remove our baby grand piano and as much equipment as we could muster Alans work force managed to remove the piano and in the meantime we had found a premises that could accommodate the Baby Grand.. This was THE CHAMBERS a large civic type building just across the road from the club. At first this seemed the ideal location but it turned out not to be the case, It was winter, heating lighting acoustics and the costs of the room did not make it ideal for what had always been a great atmosphere at the old club . A short video clip of the gig is here ...... video clip
June brings sad news that Don Weller has passed away on 30th May. Don played at the club on many occations and will be sadly missed by all who ever had the fortune to go to any of his gigs at the club. He brought happiness to many as a musician.
"Good night God bless Don" and our condolences to your family.
Don was included in our February update were Don played
" Soul Eyes by Mal Waldron"
Don Weller 19 December 1940 –30 May 2020
This Months audio recordings are taken from live gigs at The Rhythm Station and are all from duo perfomances.
"TWO'S COMPANY" .... and they bring in the crowd
Mark Nightingale and Andy Panayi
Pete and Conte Candoli
Pete King and Gerard Presencer
INTRODUCTION OF MEMBERSHIP NEWS CLIPPING FROM BOLTON EVENING NEWS (2008)
This is a JAZZ NEWS clipping by Fred SHAWCROSS from Bolton Evening News regarding the introduction of membership for
The RHYTHM STATION . I introduced this in 2008 and this gave me more control of the finances and therefore more flexibility to bring in full bands with their own arrangements and not subjected to
The usual standard tunes when guests where not sure about the house band, although they were more than capable of anything that came their way.. In the first year I razed £1500, members received a discount of £2 on the door with a saving of £100 if they attended the full year and more if you had dual membership, after all we did promote jazz 50 weeks in the year. Fred Shawcross is a journalist and a musician and he featured the club frequently in his jazz articles he also co- ran the band named "JERIATRIC JAZZ". A GREAT BUNCH OF GUYS. Thanks Fred for all your help.
It’s really nice to have our first members story by Bernard Mc Alinden, a long standing jazz fan and a great supporter of the RHYTHM STATION. He mentions his very first visit to the club to see the West coast legend HERB GELLER. The recording of Herb Geller is the earliest I can find I don’t know if this is the concert that he first attended. Some of the early concerts where not recorded unfortunately. Date of recording March 14th 2000 personnel Herb Geller alto sax TOMMY Melville TENOR SAX Dennis Freedman piano Simon Houghton Bass Jim Scaife drums. Herb visited the club on several occasions and he was living in Europe at the time.
There is a lot more to be said about (BERNIE) as he is known by everybody at The club but I will leave that for a later date.
"Your Stories" from Bernard McAlinden
The other recording is by THE JAZZ COURIERS led by MARTIN DREW DRUMS,MORNINGTON LOCKET T/SAX, NIGEL HITCHCOCK T/SAX STEVE MELLING PIANO ANDREW CLEYNDERT BASS. With a “FOGGY DAY”
Martin Drew with Tommy
Two audio clips for Aprils update
What can we say about Marty Gross. If you haven't seen him live you have missed a great treet. in the clip on the site he says nobody knows the verse of this song, and tells you about a prize if you know it. I first met Marty at Blackpool the antics between him and Ken Perploski has to be seen to believe. The best duo I have ever heard. If you want more of Marty let us know and we put more on. Marty Feb 29/2000.
Bud Shank I have mentioned before He was the most enthusiastic player I have heard at the club.His age did nothing to dampen his approach too the music recorded April 14/99.
This months update has more additions to the "Artist" pages along with some direct links to video clips that we have started to compile from the libary of gigs from the club. The videos that are currently available are highlighted by a coloured link on the artists instrument list. We will be adding as many videos as possible and to get us started, the first few are by...
Rossano Sportiello on Piano
Alan Barnes on Clarinet with Jim Hart on Vibes
Derek Nash / Barritone Sax with the house trio who were on the night Dennis Freeman on Piano, Steve Berry on Bass and Jim Scaffe on Drums.
Marlene Ver Plank on Vocal with Chris Holmes on Piano, Dave Lynane on Bass and Jim Scaffe on Drums .
The vides will be short clips of gigs rather than any full concerts.
Please note that the videos used are mostly filed by Alan Spencer and we are extreemly grateful that he took the time to film on so many occations. He also took some wonderfull photographs of the artists that will also be used on this site.. also..not to forget the many artist he provided over night accomadation when required.
Thanks Alan ( your friend Denis)
This months updates includes sample music from a Ben Castle gig recorded at the Rhythm Station on February 2nd 1999 and a Don Weller gig fom 1998 . These are some of the earliest recordings saved from the early days of the club. If anyone has any earlier recordings we would love to hear from you and help to share them if you wish.
Ben plays " The Sunny Side Of the Street "
Don plays " Unknown ballad " maybe you can identify it for us?
** Reply from Rod Mason with " Soul Eyes by Mal Waldron" Thanks Rod **
Let us know on our facebook
Jan 16th 2020
16th January is the date that coincides with Denis's and Spike Robinson Birthdays. Coming up on this date will be a small tribute to Spike with an audio recording recorded at The Rhythm Station on 27th April 1999 with Jack Parnell and the resident duo on the night.
click pics below to see larger version and click here to hear audio music from the Rhythm Station gigs.
Music tracks are "Nancy with a laughing face" / "I get a kick out of you" and "April Showers"
Also in January on the 24th, we remember the late great tenor saxophonist Bobby Wellins
A HISTORY OF THE RHYTHM STATION JAZZ CLUB
A place to see who played at the club over the years.
A collection of memories and stories from the live gigs from the past with great live photos, footage and interviews with the artists.
A chance to share your memories from your nights at the club.