Monday 8 February 2016 A welcome return to the Griffin Park Jazz Club for John Keen’s West London Rhythm Kings, back for the sixth year running by popular demand. Plenty of their usual New Orleans and Trad classics with some familiar tunes added to join in with, clap along to and for the brave ones, even a dance!
And a special welcome back to Skiffle legend Chas McDevitt to sing and play a selection of favourites for us.
Leading as ever on his Armstrong-esqe Trumpet – John Keen, with rhythm section Tim Wake (Banjo), Peter Brooks (D.Bass) and Pete Littleproud (Drums).
Once again welcome to Iain McAulay (Tmb) as John Howlett is still unwell, and a first time welcome to a special guest on Soprano Sax – (filling in for John Laws) the brilliant “Blue Harlem” Jump – Blues man Al Nichols.
The band started with a varied first set; the popular “All of me” , then a slow blues “St.James Infirmary” Louis Prima (and Acker Bilk) favourite “Buena Sera” and the old 1880’s tear-jerker ballad “When you and I were young, Maggie”
Chas McDevitt then joined in with his sing-along theme song “Ace in the Hole”, “Hey Hey Hey!” and a rousing rendition of King Oliver’s “Dr Jazz”, before the Rhythm Kings finished the set recalling Louis Armstrong’s 1929 version of W.C. Handy’s “St Louis Blues”.
During the Interval we were entertained by an impromptu “West London Skiffle Kings” group with Chas McDevitt on guitar, first singing “Willie and the Poor Boys”. He was then joined by our very own top man “Mr GP Jazz Club” Bryan Clark on washboard and club regular John Habes (from Crawdaddy Blues Band) on harmonica . They played blues standards “Trouble in Mind”and “Sweet Home Chicago” and also of course Chas’s famous version of Margaret Cotten’s “Freight Train” that gave his skiffle group a No 1 hit single. in both the UK and USA in 1957.
The second band set kicked off with “Sweet Fields”, Fat’s Waller’s “Black and Blue” and then a superb solo cameo featuring Al Nichols on “’Deed I do!”
Then into sentimental trad ballads “the Gypsy” and “Girl of my Dreams”, W.C Handy’s “Beale Street Blues” a requested stately jazz anthem “The Old Rugged Cross” and a medley of “Bourbon Street Parade” and “Bill Bailey” brought the evening to a rousing conclusion.
Another great night at GP Jazz Club and a good turnout with some new faces despite the awful weather. Thanks to the band for a great show, to Chas for visiting us again and to Bryan Clark as ever for organising the whole thing. Please join us on the second Monday of every month for great jazz with friendly people at the Griffin Park Jazz Club.
[Many thanks to John Habes for this write-up!]