Jazz Portrait: Paul Bonner (trumpet), Tony Rico (sax) and Ben Martyn (bass & vocals)

Left to right: Tony Rico, Paul Bonner and Ben Martyn

Jazz painting of Paul Bonner, Tony Rico and Ben Martyn playing with The Fallen Heroes at a “Jazz In the Barn” concert back in 2009 in Throwley, Faversham, Kent. Sadly Paul Bonner died in January, 2011, after an illness spanning several months. I got to know Paul at The 100 Club and Fallen Heroes gigs. He was very personable and always had the time for a chat.
Recently I met up with Tony Rico again and we spoke about Paul.
So I decided to dedicate this jazz portrait to his memory.

Fine art print of Jazz Portrait of Tony Rico, Paul Bonner and Ben Martyn

Sax, Trumpet and Bass

Triple ace,
Sax, trumpet and bass,
Rico, Bonner and Ben,
Fallen Heroes’ men,
Setting the pace.
Martyn on vocals,
Fourth ace high,
As the Heroes reach for the sky!

Jazz&Jazz Copyright © 2011 Peter M Butler. All rights reserved.

I write a poem to accompany each fine art print of my jazz paintings and although this verse was written before Paul Bonner’s untimely death, after some reflection I decided the words highly appropriate.

Fine Art Giclée Prints of this portrait are available, with or without my descriptive poem. Simply email: [email protected] to place your order and help support jazz.

Rico, Bonner and Benn, “Jazz in the Barn”, Throwley, Kent, 2009


Tony Rico, saxophone, Paul Bonner, trumpet and Ben Martyn, bass and vocals, coming up trumps at
The Fallen Heroes’ April, 2009, “Jazz in the Barn” concert in
Throwley, Faversham, Kent.

[Read more…]

Jazz ART Gallery

Welcome to my Jazz ART Gallery. Below you will find an alphabetical list of all of my current jazz portraits and prints. Each painting is hyperlinked to a Special Feature about the musicians and bands appearing on this website.

The Feature article highlights the key facts about each musician at the time the portrait was painted. It also displays the painting, the Fine Art Giclée print and the verse. And it gives the reason why I chose to paint this particular musician or band and the inspiration behind the painting, as well as where and when the picture was first conceived.

For every portrait, I penned a poem putting into verse or prose the emotions I felt at the time. The only way to capture the emotive feelings of being in the presence of our truly wonderful musicians was to illustrate visually in vivid colour, through the medium of my choice and the strokes of my brush, the emotions that I felt in a split second of time. To then put those feelings into words, I chose to write a verse. The two are inseparable, Art and Verse, but how can they be displayed together? The solution – creating Fine Art Giclée prints was the way I chose to bring these moments to life for you to enjoy.

I hope you will take the time to explore my Jazz ART as you troll through my website. And if you also like landscapes and seascapes, then I must introduce you to Art&Verse where there are over 100 paintings, each with their own poem that I produced over 30 years ago.

If you would like to purchase any of my works – prints and/or original paintings or would like to know more about them and what I do, please email me at [email protected], I look forward to hearing from you.


A selection of my Jazz ART signed A4 and A3 Fine Art Giclée Prints, digital prints and original paintings are FOR SALE. They come with a special Certificate of Authenticity. To purchase any prints and/or paintings, please contact Peter Butler at [email protected] and I’ll reply by return.

I am in the process of putting my own Jazz ART online store on Etsy and will add a hyperlink to their site as soon as the store goes live. Thank you for taking time to visit my website and my Jazz ART Gallery.

Adrian Cox
Double Take

Amy Roberts & Adrian Cox
“Reeds in Duet”

Amy Roberts on Saxophone
“Amy’s Got Rhythm”

Annie Hawkins
“Annie on Bass

Barry Martyn
“Barry Martyn at The 100 Club”

Betty Renz
“Betty Renz Steels the Show”

Big Bill Bissonnette
“Alias B3”

Bob Thomas
“Bob Thomas of Thomcat Fame”

Brian Smith
Washboard Rhythm King”

Burt Butler
“Burt on Banjo”

Chris Marchant
“Sublime on Drums!”

Chris Tyle on Cornet
Head Honcho with Style

Christine Woodcock on Trombone
“Mysterious Lady”

Cuff Billet
“Cuff Billet on Trumpet”

Dave Arnold on Drums
“The Clash of the Cymbals, The Beat of the Drums”

Dave Bartholomew at The Palm Court,
New Orleans
“Let the Good Times Roll!”

Dave Rance’s Rockin’ Chair Band
“Let it Rip, Dave!”

Dom Pipkin
“Dom Pipkin Pumps Piano”

Dr Michael White

Emile Martyn 
“Emile on Drums”

Emile Van Pelt and Eric Webster
“Honky Tonk Time”

Esther O’Connor
“Esther Enthralls Her Fans”

Frederic John
“Frederic John on Trombone”

Jim Hurd & John Whitehead
“Frog Islanders!”

Gerry Birch on Sousaphone
“Jazz at The George”

Gordon Lawrence

Grand Marshall Jimbo Heads the Parade
“Good Time Jazz”

Gregg Stafford
“He Der Man!”

Hugh Masekela
“The Coal Train”

Ivan Gandon on Saxophone
“A Very Mean Sax”

John Pickett on Trumpet
“Plays Trumpet for Recreation”

Johnny Rodgers on Saxophone
“Passion Personified”

Joshua & Sandra Walker
“Neighbours Well Met”

Katja Toivola on trombone at Donna’s Bar, New Orleans

Keith Minter
Measured Beat and Rolling Peal

Laurie Fray on Clarinet
“The Pinnacle of Passion”

Laurie Palmer on Drums
“Drums on the Prom”

Leroy Jones at Donnas Bar 2010
“Keeper of the Flame”

Lionel Ferbos, Louisiana Jazz Legend
“Long live Jazz, Long live Lionel Ferbos”

Mike Pointon on Trombone
The Trombonist

Pete Lay
“Pete Lay on Drums”

Pete Smith on Sousaphone
“Come Join the Parade”

Ray Colyer on Trumpet
“Take it away, Ray”

Roger Nicholls & Pat Elms
“A Strummin’ and a Drummin’”

Sam Weller & Mark Alexander of Vocalion
“Trombone and Drums”

Sammy Rimington on Clarinet
“The Clarinetist”

Sammy Rimington
Take Two Sammys

Sammy Rimington & Amy Roberts Saxophone Duet
Eyes on the Master

The Fallen Heroes – Tony Rico, Paul Bonner & Ben Martyn
“Sax, Trumpet and Bass”

Tim Curtis on Sousaphone
“Tim on Tuba”

Tony Cunningham on Trombone
“Tony Cunningham Trombonist”

Tony O’Sullivan on Trumpet
“Spotlight on the Trumpet”

Trefor Williams on Double Bass
“Double Bass Ace”

Enlightened Jazz: The Fallen Heroes at The Bull’s Head, Barnes



On Sunday, 16th November I headed south of the river for a Fallen Heroes’ Gig at The Bull’s Head in Barnes. Overlooking the Thames, The Bull’s Head was one of the first jazz venues in London if not in the UK. Opened at the same time as Ronnie Scott’s it became known as the “suburban Ronnie Scott’s”.

Ben Martyn

Ben Martyn

Ian Beetlestone

Ian Beetlestone








Enlightened and inclusive approach to jazz
The Fallen Heroes are led by Emile and Ben Martyn, sons of Barry Martyn, long since based in New Orleans. I have spoken to Emile about my aims for promoting younger bands, a subject on which he has strong views. In fact, listen closely to what what Ben and trombonist George Simmons have to say in introducing two of the YouTubes featured below. They get to the nitty gritty of the eclecticism adopted by these bands in their un-blinkered and inclusive approach to jazz. So essential if we are to break free of the lamentations of ageing fans about the decline of “trad” and the plight of ailing jazz clubs.

George Simmons

George Simmons

Tony Rico

Tony Rico

Malcolm Neat

Malcolm Neat

John Ruscoe

John Ruscoe

Six men and a piano

Six men and a piano

Tim Penn

Tim Penn











But we’ll have to wait a while for Emile’s views because he wasn’t with the band in Barnes. He was taking a working break in New Orleans and visiting his dad. I’ll catch up with him some time soon at The Blue Posts, Rupert Street, in London.

The Musicians
Appearing at The Bull’s Head on the 22nd were band members Ben Martyn, Vocals & Guitar;  John ‘Radio’ Ruscoe, Guitar; Ian Beetlestone, Piano’ and George Simmons, Trombone; along with, guesting, Malcolm Neat on drums and Tony Rico Richardson on saxophone. Plus special guest Tim Penn also on piano.

Enjoy the YouTubes, enjoy the music – and listen to what Ben and George have to say.

Peter M Butler
Editor & Proprietor Jazz&Jazz

Photos & YouTubes © Peter M Butler, Jazz&Jazz

PS: I mentioned at the beginning of this post that I first saw The Fallen Heroes at “Jazz In The Barn”, Throwley, Kent, in 2008. I returned to Throwley for their 2009 and 2010 sessions. Back then I began painting jazz musicians (though I haven’t for a while due to time spent keeping Jazz&Jazz up to date). Emile, who is himself a fantastic artist, was happy for me to take reference shots to work from. So here are my Throwley works plus one of Barry Martyn playing his last gig at The 100 Club. I presented it to him in New Orleans. He wrote me a letter and urged me to “Keep doing what you are doing!”

2 emile_martyn

Emile Martyn

1 BarryMartynPortrait

Barry Martyn




Tony Rico, Paul Bonner (sadly no longer with us) and Ben Martyn.

Tony Rico, Paul Bonner (sadly no longer with us) and Ben Martyn.

Dom & The Iko’s Album Launch at The Phoenix Artists Club, London.



Dom & The Ikos packed fans into the Phoenix Artists Club on Saturday, 22nd November, for their Album Launch Party. It might not have been jazz as today’s “Mouldy Figs” like it, but jazz it was and the floor was packed with a host of Boppers, Lindy Hoppers and Swing Dancers, giving the lie to claims that jazz is fizzling out.


It’s not fizzling, it’s sizzling! 

A fast train from Bedford winged Ginny and me away from gruelling Saturday Night X Factor entrapment to be there, in person, to witness live this resurgent jazz spectacle in just one of London’s flourishing venues.

So, furthering my aims of focussing on our emerging new generation of Jazz Bands, here is a selection of YouTubes and photos which I shot at The Iko’s Launch Party.

The Ikos are Dom Pipkin (piano), Tony Rico (saxophone), Matthew Benson (trombone), Joe Cooper (drums) and Mao Yamada (guitar).





Faces in the Crowd!



Rich Bennet


Russ Bennet















Sizzling Clips Caught On Jazz&Jazz YouTubes


Facebook: Dom and the Iko’s ALBUM LAUNCH

Peter M Butler
Editor & Proprietor Jazz&Jazz

Photos & YouTubes © Peter M Butler, Jazz&Jazz

Related Posts:
Dom & The Ikos Album Launch – Saturday 22nd November
Let’s Avoid The Jazz Generation Gap!


Let’s Avoid The Jazz Generation Gap!


New Orleans cornetist Oscar “Papa” Celestin (1884-1954) was a jazz giant in New Orleans and especially on Bourbon Street with his Original Tuxedo Jazz Band from 1910 right up until his death in 1954. Stars in his band included Louis Armstrong, Peter Bocage, Bebe Ridgley, Lorenzo Tio, Jr. and Isidore Barbarin. One of their greatest numbers was “Original Tuxedo Rag”

I have a special reason for presenting this YouTube of “Original Tuxedo Rag” played by Baby Jools & The Jazzaholics in September at the 2014 Autumn Jazz Parade in Hemsbsy, Norfolk. As well as Baby Jools (drums) the band includes young bloods Karl Hird (clarinet) and Jim Swinnerton (bass) playing alongside “old timers” Denny Ilett (trumpet), Brian Mellor (banjo) and Mike Owen (trombone). Jools played alongside Denny with Max Collie’s Rhythm Aces and Mike has recently returned from a longish stint in Denmark.

It’s great to see younger and older musos mixing it together. Come to that, it’s also good to catch glimpses of “older” fans dancing.

The Future of Jazz
In recent Jazz&Jazz posts I’ve featured fans’ and musicians’ views on the future of jazz and received a staggering response. Two comments that especially struck me were:

“I must admit that as a “young person” I wouldn’t go to jazz clubs…. it would have to be presented in places where only young people are, e.g. student union bars. Otherwise it would be like having a night out with the grandparents. Start with having good, exciting young bands performing at 6th form colleges and music conservatoires and see what happens. Encouraging oldies to bring young people to normal jazz clubs is just going to kill the music even more…”

“There seems to be two diverging scenes. 1) Keeping the old jazz clubs going for the declining numbers of ageing members and musicians; 2) A revival of the jazz of the early to mid 1900s played by young, trained musicians in their own style and for their contemporaries. It would be nice if they could overlap but it appears the old and the young don’t necessarily mix well.”

Dynamic Baby Jools

Dynamic Baby Jools

Closing the Jazz Generation Gap
Despite these comments I have a plea! Let’s not give up on younger and older fans sharing venues and gigs.  If Baby Jools and his band are happy to play at Festivals like the Hemsby Autumn Jazz Parade, why shouldn’t we aim to get their younger fans involved.

I also have this message for the “oldies”. The younger, new generation of jazz bands are going places. They are recapturing the jazz of the 1920s and 30s as well as later eras. We began featuring these bands on Jazz&Jazz some months ago. So if they are playing at venues near you, why not recapture some of your youth and get along and join in the fun! Because they are the future of jazz.

Shortly, I’ll post a feature discussing the role Jazz Festivals could play in a fully fledged UK Jazz Revival.

See also: “Jazz Has A Great Future”

New Generation of Jazz Bands Featured on Jazz&Jazz to date:

The list is already long and growing yet longer:

New York’s Hot Sardines “Celebrating Hot Jazz in High Style”

Left to right: Jason Prover, Evan “Bibs” Palazzo, Joe McDonough, Miz Elizabeth, Nick Myers, Alex Raderman, Evan “Sugar” Crane, “Fast Eddy” Francisco

Left to right: Jason Prover, Evan “Bibs” Palazzo, Joe McDonough, Miz Elizabeth, Nick Myers, Alex Raderman, Evan “Sugar” Crane, “Fast Eddy” Francisco

Adrian Is Back!
Featuring the Adrian Cox Quartet at Botany Bay
Old Hat Jazz Band – “Capturing the Quintessential Sound of Early Jazz”
Hot News: Old Hat Jazz Band EP Launch

Old Hat Jazz Band

Old Hat Jazz Band

Graham Hughes’ Sunshine Kings Jazz Band [This post will soon be updated] – Revitalising the Jazz Scene
TJ Johnson’s Band Ignites The Crypt
“TJ” in The Crypt!
A Combustible Combination! The Martyn Brothers & Sammy Rimington at The 100 Club
The Fallen Heroes
Rich Bennett’s Band Brings the House Down at The Autumn Parade
They Came, They Saw, They Conquered … All in the Nick of Time!

Dom, Sophie Smiles and Tony Rico

Dom, Sophie Smiles and Tony Rico

Dom Pipkin & The Ikos – Introducing “New Orleans in London” – Seeds for a UK Jazz Revival?
Ikos at The Alleycat
Olney Jazz Club Features Ben Holder, Master of the Jazz Fiddle!
Speakeasy Bootleg Band to Star at Liverpool’s Riverboat Shuffle Music Festival
Introducing The Jake Leg Jug Band


The Jake Leg Jug Band

Setting the Pace for Jazz: The Irresistible Magnetism of the Sant Andreu Jazz Band
Outstanding London Debut For Young Catalonian Jazz Star Andrea Motis
Introducing Tuba Skinny! Flying the Flag for a New Era of New Orleans Jazz Bands
“Oriental Strut” – Tuba Skinny at Fest Jazz
Tuba Skinny Echo Bunk Johnson with Big Chief Battle Axe


Tuba Skinny

Introducing Canada’s Incredible “Eighth Street Orchestra”!
Introducing “The Bardi Manchot”

Toulouse based "Le Bardi Manchot"

Toulouse based “Le Bardi Manchot”

Magnificent Seven Jazz Band – Sheer Dynamite!
Getting the Younger Generation Involved in Jazz
Rising Jazz Stars
Next @ The Ent Shed, Bedford
Jazz @ The Ent Shed, Bedford

Peter Mark Butler
Editor & Proprietor, Jazz&Jazz

Keep posted – more to come ……… !


Photos & YouTube © Peter M Butler, Jazz&Jazz


Jazzers’ Debate No 1: Younger Jazz Bands and Musicians


Jazzers’ Debate No 1

Younger Jazz Bands and Musicians



Peter Mark Butler

The best introduction to my one of my recent Jazz&Jazz features is from an email I received today from my close friend Ray in Castaic, California: “Good interview with Trefor Williams. One observation from a jazz outsider: it seems as if all the groups are quite elderly. Are there no up & coming younger jazz artists in the UK or the US or elsewhere?”

I replied, “There are, Ray, but admittedly they are few and far between. But that is changing as this feature and other posts in Jazzers show”.

Not just any old festival, this is an Inspirational Jazz Fest! www.jazzandjazz.com

Perhaps I should have rephrased my reply to say that could be changing, so before continuing the debate here is a very apt passage from Pete Lay’s Editorial in Just Jazz, March, 2013:

“We strive to promote youngsters in jazz, but I did get irritated when we received notification of the National Youth Summer School to publish. Great in principal but any youngsters wanting to attend are confronted with various criteria, funding applications, bursaries and more off-putting auditions. More importantly, I do not see any provision where youngsters will be instructed or lectured on the era of jazz which we promote and that our readers enjoy. It seems most young musicians who will attend will have already attained some level of proficiency. I do hope their teachers haven’t ignored Armstrong, Morton, Ory, Henderdson, Russell, etc!

“I understand that Alyn Shipton and Keith Nichols are certainly doing their best to keep the history of jazz alive with their pupils, and are to be congratulated. I just wish there were a lot more like them.”

Clare Gray was first to respond, commenting with a link to http://swungover.wordpress.com and an article on A Quick Note On Training Bands To Play For Dancers.

Ken Taylor then recommended we watch this video recorded at The Hive, Shrewsbury – “the young band “Brownfield Byrne Quintet went down a storm!” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqznrXpp0QQ

upon which Chris Barber commented “nice thoughtful version of one of my favourites..congratulations.”

This set the ball rolling and  to give the debate a boost I posted:

Peter Mark Butler 


Time to reinforce the aims and goals of Jazzers and Jazz&Jazz.com.

“The art of life is to know when to seize on accidents and make them milestones.” Chairman Humph. (A gem from Humphrey Lyttelton’s autobiography, “It Just Occurred to Me”).

I stumbled back into jazz just a few years ago, started to paint portraits of jazz musicians, joined the Southern Sounds New Orleans French Quarter Festival tour in 2010, and realised that jazz has reached a woeful low in the popularity stakes.

Frankly put, with ageing bands, musicians and fans, if action isn’t taken soon, jazz and in particular New Orleans jazz will simply fade away, even in New Orleans. Yet there are younger bands, musicians and fans out there to carry the torch, and they need all the support and encouragement we can give them if they are to stay on track.

One solution lies in the forging of relationships between the “oldies” and the “young’uns” – bands, musicians and fans! Cross fertilisation of the skills and thrills of jazz … forging a partnership between older, well established bands and dynamic younger bands and setting a pattern for bringing New Orleans back to the UK.

But it’s not just a matter of watching this space. We want members of the Jazzers Group to get involved. How? By inviting bands, clubs, musicians and fans to join Jazzers and work together to achieve a not so impossible lift off to a sustained revival of New Orleans Jazz, the source of all of our popular forms of music.

I would welcome a proliferation of posts along these lines from north, south, east and west. Let’s get the show on the road.

Read the “About” section of Jazzers. It has more to say about these goals.

Peter Butler
Founder of Jazz&Jazz.com & Jazzers

The following exchange of views ensued:

Martin Bennett As a generalisation, one of the main reasons for what seems to be a lack of interest in the young, is the venue itself. Most of the venues are places modern youngsters wouldn’t be seen dead in. Places full of chairs and tables are of no interest to them. People under 25 prefer to stand – as you will see at festivals and many jazz clubs in Holland, all of which have cheering youngsters to a point of overflow – places where the over 40s wouldn’t want to be seen dead in here in the UK.

Peter Mark Butler A very valid point, Martin, which we need to pay attention to! Such limited venues include pubs yet even pubs are turning jazz away these days. But fans are not prepared to pay sufficient for their jazz to make that difference. As Pete Lay recently wrote to me: “That is why the audience mentality has to change, and it will do, if we can get the younger audience on board – they are used to paying for their nights out.” Somehow we must learn from Holland and Germany. Perhaps it will take a concerted effort to get daring with venues! In fact I included a post on Jazz&Jazz recently based on developments at the Leeds Jazz Club addressing just this point: https://www.jazzandjazz.com/?p=2206 Perhaps we should check up on how Leeds is doing now.

Martin Bennett Leeds Jazz Club runs a Jump Jive dance group in conjunction with the jazz nights. It works very well and all of the Jump Jive dancers are under 30. There is a similar group of dancers from Greater Manchester which turns up at clubs suitably set up. There are no clubs I know of in Manchester working on a regular basis so they have to travel – usually to Jump Jive Bands. Leeds has it sorted.

Peter Mark Butler I believe Jeff Lewis and Speakeasy Bootleg Band are doing something similar in Liverpool, so it can happen. We need to get more on board! As I’ve stressed in my Just Jazz articles and on Jazz&Jazz, fans and even bands must learn not to be so precious and be prepared to “mix it a bit” if traditional jazz is to regroup for a revival.

Clare Gray Jive swing and similar is absolutely thriving at the moment – go to the TwinWood website http://www.twinwoodevents.com/index.html to see what they have on and pics of this year’s great events. We went and although big band is a different ‘fish’ to what most folk in this group are aiming at, there were some other decidedly more jazz-orientated bands there also, as well as a lot more of the 50’s vibe. I’m not suggesting Twinwood is the ideal venue for Trad, Dixie etc, but I think it’s likely that the young ‘keenies’ that we meet at our LindyHop classes will naturally progress to the cooler shades of jazz – in fact I am noticing a lot of them ‘liking’ tracks and bands that definitely are smoother and just as good for them to dance to. So the upshot is, keep the music alive and as public as possible. Keep on pushing it out there and they will come. I agree that it might be that pubs are a dying source – they’re up against so much attack on their profits (non smoking, rising beer prices, more people drinking at home etc) that they can’t really take a punt on bands that might not bring in the drinkers (a lot of these youngsters only drink softies anyway these days – horrors!- whatever the media says about binge drinking). So perhaps the secret is to start looking for big, open venues where jazz events might be held and start building it from there. There is interest in dinner jazz from smaller restaurants and while I know that some bands might blanche at that idea, its all getting the good stuff out there, so don’t knock it if you can get it.

Twinwood Festival is The No. 1 Vintage Music & Dance Festival! www.twinwoodevents.com Twinwood Events hosts the annual Glenn Miller Festival and Rhythm Festival at the historic Twinwood Airfield.

Martin Bennett Jeff’s a good chap and certainly does his bit over in Liverpool and has developed a wider range which works very well.

Clare Gray Good for you Peter. With your determination and contacts you’ll get this party started! Am really hoping the scene starts to open up a bit soon. I’m itching to get into something new – using the Trad, blues, dinner, dance band and other ‘grooves’ I’ve got into since the late 90’s. I’m determined to find some folk to enjoy that with. As a ‘younger’ jazz fan I find it frustratingly difficult to break in with the hardened older players who seem to enjoy ‘noodllng’ (nothing wrong with that) but don’t really want to gig or to push it much. Can’t say I blame them, but where are all those players who want to make a noise??? Get them out of the woodwork and you’ll start a fire!…..

Chez Chesterman Trouble is, if you mention the word jazz the kids will not turn up. To them jazz is a naughty word. Call it swing, play the right tempos and they’ll come flocking in. Forties swing is the one that gets everyone hopping.

Clare Gray I agree. Amongst my fellow jive swing/lindy dancers (many quite a bit younger) there’s a nose-wrinkling at the ‘J’ word – yet they’re tapping their feet and swinging along to it all the same. Perhaps you’re right – give it a different hat and they’ll all want to put it on!

Dave Mayor Members of the Bude Jive club also belong to the Bude Jazz club, most welcome they are too.

Peter Mark Butler It seems all is not lost. Yet, taking the comments received so far, there is a long way to go. To Chez and Clare I’ll respond with a conversation had at the Hemsby Autumn Parade last year. Barry Price asked the girls serving behind the bar if they liked jazz. “No!” was the answer. So, pointing to the stage he asked, “Do you like this kind of music?” And they said yes they did! So he told them this was original, traditional jazz. So the jazz that put them off could well have been ultra modern jazz – you know, the self indulgent stuff you can’t even tap your feet to!

Clare Gray Funny you should say that Peter. When I first started doing the Trad stuff with Bob Thomas, a friend and former colleague laughed when I told him and said “you’re not doing all that dreadful scatting stuff and singing to Shakespeare sonnets are you?” He thought it was hilarious and took the mickey whenever I said we had a gig . One day I was playing some trad in the car when he came with me on a business trip. He was really enjoying it and I turned and said “this is what we do”. He was quite impressed, and although I would never say he’s going to be listening to it by himself, he came along to a gig and had a good old time. I was a bit worried I might offend the group mentioning the truly ‘modern’ jazz, but in my opinion it is that stuff – where no one is playing the same tune or in the same key it seems, and the drummer appears to be building flat pack wardrobes in the background – that puts people off sometimes. This probably makes me sound like a total Philistine, but if we want to draw people in, we must start with what good old Bob calls ‘Happy Jazz’ as well as ‘Dance-y Jazz’ and then we have a better chance of keeping this bird in the air.

Peter Mark Butler I’m keeping this vital debate on the boil on Jazzers for more members to have their say. I will also cross reference it to Jazz&Jazz.com and invite followers’ comments there. We’ve reached the blatantly obvious conclusion that if “traditional” jazz is to make a comeback we, fans and musicians alike, need to be less precious about the purity of the genre. I’m all for “mixing it a bit” and am not against mainstream per se, but we shouldn’t forget the roots of New Orleans jazz and of jazz dance, because I believe if that could be reintroduced the kids would go for it and follow jazz, even if they adapted the dance styles to their own modern tastes. “New forms of jazz dance developed with new music, such as the Charleston, swing, rock and roll, and the Caribbean reggae” (Dancin’ Unlimited: http://goo.gl/X1lOu).

Oh, to be young again!

Jeff Matthews I named my band ‘The Chicago Swing Katz’ because the word ‘Jazz’ has a bad name with many people. Very sad really. I have left ‘jazz’ concerts early because even I was bored with the music. And I am an enthusiast of all kinds of ‘jazz’!

Jim Lodge For me, part of the problem seems to revolve round the “purist” attitude. Some bands and listeners (and some musicians) project an “if it isn’t a carbon copy of (insert original of choice) it’s wrong”. This leads to a situation where we end up with a glut of what “Popular Music” refers to as “Tribute Bands”, and their musician equivalents. Such a path can only lead to a joyless stultifying conformity, without life or excitement.

Jeff Matthews Ref: Jim’s purist comment, I know musicians who say that “if you are not black and born in New Orleans before 1939, you don’t play jazz”. My trip to New Orleans to attend the jazz course there showed me that many purists are equating all New Orleans jazz with the revivalist Music they heard which didn’t reflect all the different jazz and characters involved. It was a city filled to the brim with music of all kinds played by musicians of different technical abilities. Most had remarkable facility and many were highly proficient music readers. They had to be in order to survive. And there is room for all styles. It’s all wonderful music.

Tim Penn Well Jazzers – I think this may be what Peter may be talking about: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9esH2rw-wF8&feature=g-upl Note – saxophones and electric bass!!! And this was preceded by a version of Junco Partner and followed by Ray Charles’ ‘What I Say’ (His birthday on Sept 23rd – so we paid a few tributes this night). The evening finished off with a funky version of The Meters Hey Pocky Way – which veered off into using some of the Miles Davis “So What” minor inversions and a little bit of Cecil Tayloresque Free Form piano over the Funk.

Is this a step too far for the traditional audience for Jazz? I guess only time will tell. But many of us see this 20th century evolution of New Orleans based music as something to be celebrated and embraced. But then I remember my dear departed friend Mac McGann telling how he was summarily kicked out of the trad jazz band he was playing in in the late 50s / early 60s – because he brought a guitar along to a gig instead of the tenor banjo.

Peter Mark Butler Right on the mark, Tim! If jazz is to make a comeback fans have got to accept change, or as I put it, “mixing it a bit”. After all, the story of jazz has always been about improvisation, mixing it a bit, and it’s no different today. Especially if we are to appeal to younger fans.

“Kicked out for playing guitar instead of banjo,” you say! Don’t tell Tony Rico this. Martin Bennett recently commented: “There are plenty of clubs I could name that won’t have bands that don’t have a clarinet as the main reed. Saxophone is a dirty word that has to be kept away from clubs that promote what they refer to as British Trad. This has been said to me by several club organisers who refuse to book bands with saxophones – and there are hundreds of jazz followers who think that way. Howard Murray, our reed player, was challenged by a man in Colchester Jazz Club who severely berated him for playing saxophones and soon left but not before HM had said to him ‘when I started playing music I didn’t have you in mind!'”

Peter Mark Butler An elderly fan recently cornered me to voice his criticism of a particular very impressive trombonist for being too flamboyant, “not subtle enough, not smooth enough.” At that very same gig I heard a youngster asking his mother if she could she buy him a trombone because “I want to play jazz like that!” This speaks a thousand words! Because jazz isn’t inert, it’s exuberant, dynamic as well as soulful.

Jeff Matthews May I add to the discussion by first stating that a style is a style. New Orleans, traditional jazz is a style and different sound hewed out of the western scale by years of experience and love. Although originally from New Orleans, it was developed and embraced by people around the world. It is still extremely popular wherever it is played. But since the demise of Louis Armstrong as Ambassador for jazz and in the UK, the finish of Kenny Ball’s appearance on TV in the Morecambe and Wise show, traditional jazz has had no profile. You can have the best product in the world but if nobody knows about it….!

There are many forms of trad played up and down the UK to enthusiastic fans but it is almost a forgotten style of music because of the deliberate culling of music in other forms, apart from ‘pop’ music which is played ‘for the many’ for the financial benefits of the few. The wonderful interpretation of traditional jazz by Brian Carrick is just as valid as any other even if it’s band members and fans are in the senior part of their lives. Age is not the issue nor is whether a sax is acceptable. Most bands are well past that point. Let’s just play the music.

But, what is true and to me is the null point of all of this is promotion. Not a changing of the music to accommodate ‘pop’ culture, but a promotion of the best elements of the music to the general public which consists of people of all shapes, sizes, colours, education and age. We need some of the ‘names’ in trad jazz to step forward and promote New Orleans/Traditional/Dixieland/Chicago style jazz. Call it what you may. A new set of ‘Ambassadors for the Tradition’. Where are you guys?

All that ‘ageing audience’ stuff will take care of itself if the music is brought back into the public eye. Get some good looking musicians ready who play the music well – not bending it to rock ‘n roll – but playing what we already have with heart and conviction. Then get those ‘names’ involved. Where are you Jools Holland? Where are you Jamie Cullum? Stop mis-educating people about what real jazz is and stick to some time honoured definitions.

It’s time for us jazzers to start influencing our ‘world’ and look for ways to insist that we have a cultural right to play and ‘broadcast’ our musical art. Time to make the general public aware of our music and embrace it once more. The rest will follow. And there will be bands in the Ken Colyer mode as well as those who will play jazz in a more R&B way. But people must hear it and have a choice. By the way, there are already enough ‘knock out’ musicians in the UK, young and old who already hold the professional stage. Let’s get THEM heard on jazz shows and on TV shows. Good presentation, good arrangements, good foot stomping tunes, that infectious NO rhythm. We did it in the recent past. Why not now!

Peter Mark Butler Excellent, Jeff! A couple of your lines are worth emphasising: “We need some of the ‘names’ to step forward and promote New Orleans/traditional/Dixieland/Chicago style jazz. Call it what you may. A new set of ‘Ambassadors for the Tradition’. Where are you guys?”


Introducing “New Orleans in London” – Seeds for a UK Jazz Revival?

Dom with Alex on Guitar

And why not? After all, isn’t it time London reclaimed “St. James Infirmary”?

“St. James Infirmary Blues” is based on an 18th century English folk song called “The Unfortunate Rake” … about a soldier cut down in his prime as a result of morally questionable behaviour. The title is derived from St. James Hospital in London, a religious foundation for the treatment of leprosy which was closed in 1532 when Henry VIII acquired the land to build St. James Palace.” (Extract derived from Wikipedia).

How appropriate then that “New Orleans in London  is a newly launched jazz venture aimed at “Sharing the sounds and spirit of New Orleans with the people of London”.

What’s more, it’s an initiative led by a group of enthusiastic younger musicians rapidly gaining a following of young fans. At the centre of the initiative are “Dom Pipkin and the Ikos” along with the driving force of two talented young ladies, Sophie Smiles and Kate Pierodis.

Alex, Dom, Tony, Bubu Drum and Tim

Once every fortnight Dom and The Ikos meet up at The Alleycat Club in Denmark Street, London, for a “New Orleans Music Workshop and Jam Session” to which musicians, jammers, fans, touring artists and even promoters are welcome. The entry fee is just £4 but jammers don’t pay! Besides this, the group have recently created and launched Mardi Gras Mambo, along with East London Street Parades, and gigs such as their Storyville events

Dom, Sophie Smiles and Tony Rico

Come to think of it, Dom’s Alleycat New Orleans Workshops closely resemble an incredible jammers’ evening I spent back in New Orleans at Treme’s Candlelight Lounge.

And now to add to the drama, Jazz&Jazz.com along with The Peartree Monday Jazz Club are discussing with Dom Pipkin and Sophie Smiles extending “New Orleans in London” to “New Orleans Comes to Welwyn Garden City”. Plans are under discussion for a Peartree Jazz Club Special featuring Dom Pipkin & The Ikos with a top Hertfordshire based Traditional Jazz Band, name to be announced shortly, possibly followed by an Alleycat style jam session.

But a word of warning to Traditional Jazz fans. Yes, Dom & The Ikos play great traditional jazz numbers but to attract youngsters back to jazz they also “mix it a bit” – yet always within New Orleans genres.

I was recently called a “radical” and even “subversive” but in the same breath praised for daring to be challenging in my efforts to reinvigorate Traditional Jazz. But as I stated in my “Analysing Jazz” Article published in the August issue of Just Jazz:

“Is any of this so revolutionary? Surely not. Has it not ever been so in all forms of music? Older stars giving way to younger stars, who, while staying basically true to the inherent traditions of their chosen music, “stretch it” a bit for their fan bases as older fans give way to younger fans.

“After all, hasn’t jazz improvisation – the ‘Expression of Freedom’ – in itself always been stretching and mixing it? Louis Armstrong perfected the improvised jazz solo and before that Dixieland first featured collective improvisation within their musical arrangements.”

Who knows – if we can succeed in building on “New Orleans in London” and on “New Orleans Comes to Welwyn Garden City” – where next? It could lead to a whole new dimension in a UK Jazz Revival! Remember the origins of “St. James Infirmary”!

Tim Penn, Sophie Smiles, Tony Rico, Dom Pipkin & Bubu Drum

Bubu Drum

Bubu Drum Incognito









 Jammers, Tréme Style:
(Photos © Peter M Butler, Jazz&Jazz) 



Last but not least, ghosted in from NO!

Dom Pipkin & The Ikos Top the Bill at Mardi Gras Mambo

Dare I announce this event to Traditional Jazz Fans? Yes, indeed I do dare because it follows hard on the heels of my article in the August issue of Just Jazz magazine: “I want to play like that!” Analysing the Jazz Scene – Past, Present and Future”

So over to Dom Pipkin to announce his Mardi Gras Mambo in his own words. And despite the Rhythm n Blues, note his references to Professor Longhair and James Booker.

“Kind grooving folk,

“You may remember a night not long ago, when a warehouse in East London was filled to bursting point with New Orleans sounds of the highest order, where sizzling Rhythm n Blues met funky grooves in a most joyous marriage…well, for those who missed Mardi Gras Mambo in May, we’re doing it all over again on Aug 25th!

“Back at our spiritual home, the New Empowering Church, Westgate Street, London E8 3, we go head to head with Carnival fever for the swampiest after party this side of Bourbon Street.

“Headliners Dom & The Iko’s bring forth storming New Orleans R&B headed up by piano virtuoso Dom Pipkin. Conjuring up the spirit of Professor Longhair and James Booker, this band’s piano-driven grooves drive deep into the heart of this infectious RnB sound. Combining wailing saxophones and savage piano playing this band evoke the honky-tonk bars of notorious old Bourbon Street – one of the most compelling live RnB acts around.

“On support – The Coalminers! Delving deep into the pocket of funk – this band to fully dedicate themselves to the New Orleans Soul and Funk sound in the UK, building up a reputation of delivering their very own authentic Swamp Soul!

“Live and wild on the decks, resident Voodoo Queen DJ Lil’ Koko wields her stash of New Orleans vinyl-expect obscure Rhythm n Bues, funk and swamp infested brass till the wee, wee hours

“Come hungry, leave Soulful

“Jambalaya- Authentic Cajun delicacies to feast and fuel these late night frolics.”

On the Door:
£8 before 10pm
£10 for the late and loaded

But What About the Jazz, you ask?

Be assured, I have heard Dom play the very best of  Trad. It was Tony Rico, his saxophone player, who told me of his love for New Orleans Traditional Jazz. Yet at the time he was writing hip hop music. “I have to mix it, Peter, if I’m to make a living from my music!” Just as Dom himself has to mix it.

As I say in my “Analysing Jazz” article:

“All need not be lost. The potential for a traditional jazz revival is there to be seized upon if only the “oldies”, bands and fans alike, would lift their eyes above their parapets! The key is in emerging younger bands …… making their mark in New Orleans style.

New Orleans Jam Session with The Ikos at The Alleycat

“Take  London based Dom Pipkin & The Ikos. Dom runs regular New Orleans Workshops and Jam Sessions at The Alleycat in Denmark Street and he recently staged a very successful Mardi Gras event in Hackney. Younger musicians who attract younger fans, and yes, I mean young fans! They mix it a bit but trad jazz predominates. Dom recently appeared on Later with Jools [and more recently on Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Superstar] as piano accompanist to up and coming songstress Pamola Faith. That way he makes decent money to help support his passion for real jazz.

“At present these younger bands are following their own “routes to market”. Somehow there has to be a meeting of minds. A coming together of older and younger generation bands. Only then will “what goes around come around” as the older bands interact with younger bands to reinvigorate traditional jazz until it flourishes again.”

Brian Smith and I spent an evening with The Ikos at The Alleycat back in May. Brian (aka “Smiffy) runs The Peartree Jazz Club in Welwyn Garden City, and at the end of a great session he said: “I’d book them! Of course I’d ask them to concentrate more on Traditional Jazz even if they mixed it a bit and I’d tell our fans they’d be in for a treat!”

So if you are in the vicinity, why not get down to the Mardi Gras Mambo at the New Empowering Church on 25th August?


Ikos at The Alleycat

Three years ago I painted Dom Pipkin’s portrait on keyboard with The Fallen Heroes and since then I’ve constantly promised myself to to take in an Ikos’ gig.

So I was elated to make it to The Alleycat in Denmark Street, London, on May Day along with my daughter Susie, her partner Antony and Brian Smith (Promoter of the Welwyn Garden City Peartree Monday Jazz Club) for Dom Pipkin & the Ikos’ New Orleans Music Shop.

The gig couldn’t have been better named, reminiscent as it was of jazz and jam sessions in New Orleans in bars such as Frizzells and Donna’s Bar, to name just two. PLUS Dom and the Ikos have a whole bunch of YOUNG fans!

Dom isn’t only a great showman and brilliant pianist but also has a charismatic, outgoing personality and I want to thank him for giving Jazz&Jazz a huge plug during the Music Shop.

When I photograph musicians for my jazz portraits I concentrate on capturing their defining characteristics, their nuances and peculiarities. I did no less when photographing the Ikos for a selection of images for future portraits.

So here are Dom Pipkin and The Ikos and some of their “jammers”.

Dom in sentimental mood.

In the groove!

Tony Rico Solos on Sax











Tim and Tony - the perfect combo



Alex on Bass




Tim Penn on Accordion

Norman on Clarinet

Jammers in full swing!

Alleycat Reflections

(Photos © Peter M Butler, Jazz&Jazz)