October Newsletter

Narberth Jazz October Newsletter

“Jazz washes away the dust of everyday life”

– Art Blakey

I saw that quote from Art Blakey when I was perusing the Mosaic Records website https://www.mosaicrecords.com/ recently and thought yes that’s what it does for me when I am stressed and listen to, for instance, Earl Hines easy stride piano on My Monday Date or Blakey’s live version of Bobby Timmons tune Moanin’.

I can’t afford to buy  Mosaic’s wonderfully remastered Blue Note box sets, but I can happily fill an hour reading the essays about my favourite classic jazz artists on their website which I recommend you do.


Welcome to Narberth Jazz October Newsletter. I hope you will forgive the above which is by way of distraction from the shame of having to abandon plans to present modern Welsh group Duski at Haverhub last month. I hope we will eventually be in a position to reinstate the project when we are all better established, but we could not afford the cost of going ahead with only a few tickets sold. I hope it will never happen again.

On to happier news. We are back in our natural home this month with a bevy of familiar names. The John Gibbon Trio return with star trumpeter Graham Pike on Thursday 21st. So please book your tickets now to be sure of a seat at the table. We will do all we can to keep everyone safe during this time of Covid with lots of air circulation and distancing. Bring friends if you can for a really entertaining evening of music.


Our November event is the most ambitious and most exciting that we have yet to present when we bring the multi media show A SALUTE TO HUMPH to the Queens Hall on Friday 19th

The 10 piece band led by trumpeter Chris Hodgkins features fine mainstream players from UK and USA, many of them with connections to Humphry Lyttleton’s many bands. The band will play many of his original compositions and arrangements as well as new pieces composed especially for the tour.

A travelling exhibition on Humph’s life and times will also accompany the tour and will consist of a multi-media presentation and visual archive display based on Humph’s writings and journals. Please tell your friends and family about this  great show which is touring the country and suitable for all ages. Tickets available now from our website www.narberthjazz.wales

Many of us knew ‘Humph’ as the hilariously deadpan chairman of I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue. But the much-loved broadcaster was also an exemplary and influential jazz musician. Louis Armstrong dubbed him ‘the top trumpet man in England today’, and not without reason. A master of his instrument as well as several others, he spearheaded the post-war traditional jazz revival in Britain, later forming his own band that set the standard for British jazz for several decades.


We would like to launch our twin long term aims of curating the start of a Narberth Youth Band and taking music into local care homes, but we need to access the funding which these require. We will be talking to PAVS who help voluntary organisations to find the funds to carry out community projects, and hope to have more news soon. Meanwhile, if you are aware of any young players who would benefit from group tuition, please let us know. We will have to demonstrate that we will fill a community need. info@narberthjazz.wales

If you would like to get involved in any way you can also contact us by phone on the dedicated Jazz phone 07778  563334

 This picture is of the first Narberth Youth Band, with leader Jim Luxton outside the Bridge Inn, late afternoon summer  1987.




I recently discovered Kansas Smitty’s, which turns out to be a young British band/creative collective  and not, as I had assumed, an American club in Kansas City. I enjoyed their attitude of embracing the musical traditions and having a good time with it.  See what you think, they are on YouTube, Bandcamp and their own website. https://www.kansassmittys.com/

The pianist in the band, Joe Webb is a fine stride player like Fats Waller & Earl Hines who is playing in Stroud at The Prince Albert,  on 1st November with his trio, if you happen to be in the area. If you have any recent discoveries, let us know, meanwhile I look forward to seeing you at Narberth Jazz event soon.

Declan and the NJ Team



It is with great regret that I have to tell you that despite our best efforts, ticket bookings for Duski at Haverhub are ultra low, and therefore we have, very reluctantly, decided to postpone that show.

As a small community group we do not have the resources to take on the large debt that going ahead with a small audience would entail. Haverhub are in the same position and they agree that it would be best to rearrange the gig.

We apologise to those of you who were looking forward to seeing this fine band, and the few who have booked will be reimbursed. We hope to rebook the band for a gig next year.

It is especially disappointing for me personally because I believe that it is important to present cutting edge jazz along with traditional and mainstream music. I want Narberth Jazz to be able to present a wide variety of jazz as an important part of the spectrum of Welsh creative arts.

The rest of our current programme will not be affected, and you can book future shows with confidence.

Declan and the NJ team

September News EXTRA

News extra September 2021

Hello all Jazz friends,

A warm welcome to all our new friends who have joined as members recently.

This extra edition of NJ news is sent because there was a date error in my first September one which is important to correct:

The DUSKI event at Haverhub is on Friday 24th. September and NOT Thursday as written.

Tickets through Haverhub at www.haverhub.org.uk or follow the link www.narberthjazz.wales

We are sorry for the mistake and hope you will understand as this is a special event presenting the best of Jazz in Wales today.

We hope you will come to this exciting new arts venue to enjoy this fabulous band. We have presented Duski at the Plas hotel a few years ago and they have just got better since then, so those that remember them will notice their progress. They are all graduates from Welsh College of Music and Drama who are also involved with other projects, but Duski is their first choice band. Their recent appearance at Green Man Festival was really well received and they have just released a live album or the first time.

Having an extra news gives us the chance to fix the rest of this year’s dates for Narberth Jazz shows, but there are more details on each show on the website www.narberthjazz.wales

October 21st GRAHAM PIKE with John Gibbon Trio

The London based jazz entertainer who plays trumpet, flugelhorn and harmonica returns with our ‘resident’ trio led by drummer and raconteur John Gibbon. Here he is with his sextet in spooky mode https://youtu.be/FTGB-jhbipQ

November 19th. SALUTE TO HUMPH

The Salute to Humph is to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Humphrey Lyttelton’s birth and to showcase his wonderful life, times and music. The tour will highlight how Humphrey Lyttelton led the way for the jazz revival of the late 40’s and 50’s and brought jazz to the mainstream with the first UK jazz record to reach the Top20, ‘Bad Penny Blues’. https://youtu.be/N1-pQziWiKk

Trumpet star Chris Hodgkins leads an all star 10 piece band in a tribute with audio visual

reminders of the great man who was a mainstay of British jazz and  BBC’s radio comedy for many years.

This will be a cooperative event with and at The Queens Hall Narberth.

December 2nd John Gibbon

Returns with a special band for the last show of the year, to remember John’s much loved piano man for many years, Phil Meades, who recently passed away.

Here he is with Julian Marc Stringle https://youtu.be/BNFNmRGxYnQ

Best wishes Declan Connolly

07988 666054 www.narberthjazz.wales

Newsletter September 2021

Newsletter September 2021

Hello all Jazz friends,

A warm welcome to all our new friends who have joined as members recently.

The Keith Marshall band gave a large and appreciative audience a great evening of swing music last month, sounding much bigger than their nine piece line up suggested.

The Firebyrd Trio and special friends

Thursday 9th September at Narberth Rugby club.

The next Narberth Jazz event is especially for all local members and friends to enjoy a low cost event on Thursday 9th September at Narberth Rugby club. The evening will feature The Firebyrd Trio and special friends. The trio consists of George Whitfield accordion, Alan Argent saxophone, and Jack Deere Jones bass, who will be joined by selected musician friends later in the evening.

These guys live locally, really know their music, and want to support our community efforts to keep jazz live and local. We hope that you will come and enjoy their mellow music based mostly on standards of popular music.

You don’t have to book for this event as the venue is large enough to cope, but parking may be scarce so cars are best left in the town, it’s only a short walk up the lane by the Creative Cafe to the club. This month is special for us as it is the first time we have had two events at two new venues in one month!


Friday 24th September at Haverhub, Haverfordwest

We have partnered with the new arts centre in Haverfordwest – Haverhub to present an exciting group of Welsh players who are pushing Welsh jazz into the 21st century with their blend of rock and improvised music – DUSKI.

We are proud to bring them to this exciting new arts venue which has already hosted exhibitions and young peoples gigs. DUSKI began as a trio in Cardiff comprising of sax, double bass and drums, then guitar (Dan Messore) and keyboards (Paul Jones) joined. Jazz styles morphed into heavy jams with collective improvising.

Duski toured the UK three times to promote their debut album. During this process, the band started developing new music that ended up dominating the set and a second album was on the horizon inspired by the music of Donny McCasslin and Pat Metheny. As well as musical, there were visual influences for the album including the works of David Lynch and Dario Argento. Their third CD, Make A Wish was released on the American Ropeadope label and shows how much this band has developed. They played Green Man festival and  toured Europe to great acclaim.

If you enjoy modern creative music this is a must, tickets £12 from our website www.narberthjazz.wales

You can hear them here  https://duskimusic.co.uk/album/make-a-wish


Narberth Jazz Projects

Information on our projects here www.narberthjazz.wales/projects

Youth Band

Last month we applied for a grant for our long term projects, but we missed the targets for funding. Undeterred, we will find the right formula and try again. Back in the 1990’s we helped a great musician and teacher, Jim Luxton, to start and run a Narberth Youth Band which played at local events, and we feel the time is right to revive the idea and help young people reach their musical potential. we now ask for your help to find young musicians who may be interested to play in a new youth band.

Do you have a young person in the family or neighbourhood who might enjoy being in at the start of a new band to play local functions and festivals? Please let us know at info@narberthjazz.wales

Jazz Afternoons

We would like to hold  ‘jazz afternoons’ at a local cafe or bar where we would invite people living alone to meet and listen to recorded music of their choice and meet people and perhaps make friends. Please let us know if you would like to take part info@narberthjazz.wales

Retirement and Care Homes – Music Project

Another ambition is to take our live music events into local care homes and make them available to our elderly friends who cannot get out to our live events. We will firstly video performances and stream them into care homes and eventually take musicians in to perform live in the homes. Several care homes have told us they would like to have our shows and we will continue to use your donations for this project. If you would like to suggest other places that would benefit, we would like to know. Please email on info@narberthjazz.wales


We hope you were able to get to the Aberjazz festival last weekend, but if you did not, you can visit Pure West Radio who streamed some of their concerts. Here is the link to one


The BBC prom featuring the young British saxophonist Nubya Garcia is still available here https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episodes/b007v097/bbc-proms

We hope to see you soon at one of the NJ events, and please remember we are guided by you so do let us know your opinions on any aspect of Narberth Jazz.

Stay well

Declan and the NJ team

Firebyrd Trio

Firebyrd Trio Narberth Rugby club Thursday 9th. September 7:30pm


The Firebyrd & Friends evening at Narberth Rugby club features three of the best players and nicest people in local music, they have played at recent Food Festivals and George Whitfield  who sings and plays accordion, has been entertaining  crowds at festivals and parades in Narberth for years. Alan Argent is now a marvellous saxophonist who is constantly developing and who’s playing currently reminds me of Stan Getz and Micheal Brecker. Jack Deer-Jones  is a very impressive young Bass player, equally at home on the big wooden one and electric basses.

They will invite some special guests to play on some  standard tunes as they progress through their set as opposed to an open jam session. They will add players to build to the end of the evening with a big line up of players. It will be a relaxed and casual blow with like minded musicians, all based locally. We are lucky to have many talented musicians here in Pembrokeshire and happily some of them want to be creative and entertaining in a jazz mode, and play for Narberth Jazz audiences.

Trio line up confirmed for Thursday 9th September.

Jack Deere-Jones (electric) bass

George Whitfield accordion & vocals

Alan Argent – tenor & soprano saxophone

Narberth Jazz Newsletter August 2021

Hello and welcome to all our Jazz friends,
Our launch event at Lampeter House last month was blessed with a lovely sunshine
day so that Moonshine Boulevard and Afternoon in Paris were perfectly in tune with
the day. They were so glad to be playing for an appreciative audience and we were
able to meet up with friends to enjoy the music. We owe a huge thank you to all our
core group and helpers who worked so hard to make it happen, and to our hosts who
graciously helped us to be there. You can also see some pictures from the day on our
Facebook page. Continue reading