Jazz Band Central is the place to book a great jazz band or swing band in Scotland. We love to play jazz.
Traditional jazz in Edinburgh
Around 1960 ‘Old Bailey and his Jazz Advocates’, formed by trombone player Archie Sinclair and Mike Hart and, in 1969, another band in the New Orleans tradition, ‘The Louisiana Ragtime Band’, began long and successful careers in Edinburgh. Also in the 1960s appeared ‘Jack St Clair’s Jazz Band’ and the mainstream styled ‘Pete Martin’s All Stars’. A bit later, ‘Mike Hart’s New Society Syncopators’ began a long and distinguished history, a band which Mike later reinvented as the ‘Scottish Society Syncopators’, and reeds player Hamish McGregor formed and led ‘Seven Up’, the ‘Memphis Road Show’ and much later, ‘Fat Sam’s Band’. In 1981, a merger of ‘Old Bailey’s Jazz Advocates’ and ‘The New Society Syncopators’ produced the 8 piece ‘Scottish Jazz Advocates’.
Other bands included ‘Dr McJazz’, and the ‘West End Jazz Band’ which more recently has been based in Linlithgow. Over the years, most of the regular jazz activity took place in pubs including the ‘Crown Bar’, ‘The Place’, ‘The Woolpack’, ‘Basin Street’, ‘The Glenelg’, the ‘Navaar House Hotel’ and many others although at various times, jazz clubs were established and flourished for a while. A long-running session was established at the Starbank in Newhaven at which a resident rhythm section was joined each month by guest horns.
In Edinburgh, the average age of the bands and their followers is steadily increasing as fewer young musicians come into traditional jazz. Young Edinburgh jazz musicians now tend to play modern or contemporary jazz, although in the birthplace of traditional jazz, New Orleans, many young players are continuing to play the traditional style.
In Edinburgh new jazz blood is needed. Get out there, learn an instrument, start singing jazz and get along and support the local bands this is too good a music to just fade away.
Addendum: Some jazz musicians of the local scene but not mentioned in the text above are:
Simon Carlyle /sousaphone, Kenny Macdonald/ bass, Dick Lee /reeds, John Russell /guitar, Roy Percy /Bass, Gerrard Dott /reeds, Ralph Laing /piano, Dougie Boyter /banjo, Dougie Goodal /clarinet, Les Horne /trumpet, Gus Ferguson /trumpet, Owen Mcdonald /bass, George Gilmour/clarinet, Roy Dunnett /drums, Eric Jamieson /drums, Alec Mackintosh /trumpet, Eddie Hamilton /clarinet, Finlay Milne /trumpet, Bill Smith /trombone, Tony Sargent /bass, Jim Baikie /guitar, Bob Busby/reeds, Tom Renouf /piano, Bill Oliver /guitar, Henry Mackenzie /tenor sax, Donald Macdonald /tenor sax, Tommy Whittle /tenor sax...
And there will probably be lots more. But email me their (or your) names ...and I'm really sorry if you've been missed out.
OK... so most of the pictures have me in them, but that's because these are the shots people have given me throughout the years. If you send me digitised photos by email or prints by post for me to digitise (you'll get them back) I'll put them on this page.
|At Hill of Tarvit, Fife with Al Fairweather on trumpet, Robin Galloway on bass and Bill Smith on trombone|
|When it's Sleepy Time Down South, with Brian Weld playing the tenor banjo...|
|If you would like to suggest changes to the text, or if you have any relevant, or historic photos which you would like to feature on this page please email Ian at:|
|The Criterion Brass Band leading the EIJF Parade along Princes Street with Edwin as Grand Marshall|
|Fred Murray, forever trying to buy us all a pint...|
|Mike Hart on Banjo, Dave Keir on Trombone and Gus Ferguson on Trumpet with the QEII in the Forth||Jack Weddell on trombone, playing 'All alone by the telephone' to the ladies...|
|We are the Diplomats of Jazz, so F off! With Jim Petrie, Edinburgh's very own historic monument|
|The Spirits of Rhythm at Basin Street, Edinburgh with Fraser Gauld on trumpet. Vi posing like Lil Hardin.|
|Ian Boyter's 'Gumbo' Band with Tony Sargent on bass and Donald Corbett on trumpet, Ian Cumming, trombone||The Spirits at Haymarket Bar with Violet on piano|
|The Spirits of Rhythm with Jim Gunton on trombone and Dave Strutt on trumpet playing at the World Economic Forum in Davos|
|George Gilmour on clarinet and Eric Jamieson on drums in the LRB, Alan Quinn relaxing a bit|
|Finlay Milne with his ma and pa and strange uncle Ian in Switzerland in the heat of the midday sun|
|Jock Westwater on Banjo on the Maid of the Forth when beards were the thing|
|The Spirits of Rhythm at Nobles bar in Leith with Robin Galloway on bass|
|Vi and Bev, ladies that play, probably discussing a dodgy chord change... or something|
|Lindsay Cooper on bass who played bass on the world famous Tubular Bells record ...playing with us|
|A father and son who used to come to all our gigs. We love you, we need you, anonymous punters...|
|Vi half way up a mountain in Switzerland|