And the Band Plays On ……

In his father’s footsteps, Keith honours the mantel.

Kenny Ball was due to play with His Jazzmen at the Wyllyotts Theatre in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, on 5th April this year and I had planned to be there. But it didn’t turn out that
way and I didn’t book. Then I learned from Syd Appleton, Kenny’s Stage Manager and
Sound Technician, that Ken’s wish was for his son, Keith, to keep the party going
and play on with his Jazzmen.

So, late in the day, Syd arranged tickets for my wife, Ginny, and myself, and I am able to vouch for Kenny’s confidence in Keith. It was a wonderful evening of full on jazz, Kenny style, played to a theatre audience full to overflowing.

Yes indeed “The Band Plays On” with Keith continuing on vocals but now also as leader. So, fans, be sure you don’t miss out on their concerts this year. Simply visit where you will find the full list of concert venues and dates.

Thank you Keith and the Jazzmen for the privilege of meeting you backstage during the interval and, just for tasters, here is a selection of photos I took from way back in the Gods (my choice) on the night.

Be sure to read Syd’s tribute to Kenny.

Spotlight on the future.

Bill Coleman, Nick Millward, Ben Cummings.

Nick Millward in command of the stage for a phenomenal Jazzmen drum solo.











Hugh Ledigo, maestro of the keyboard ……

…… accompanied by John Bennett, Kenny’s trombonist since then 1950s.










“Demon Horn Player” Ben Cummins takes a turn on vocals ……

…… and on trumpet solo.

Rhythm and Strings.










John Bennett, founder member of Kenny’s Jazzmen.                                      “John went professional with the Terry Lightfoot band in 1956, and there met Kenny Ball who was also to join that band eighteen months later.”                ( 

Bill on Double Bass

Julian Stringle, passionate on clarinet


The band plays on in the glow of The Master.

Photos © Peter M Butler, Jazz&Jazz


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  1. Jeff says:

    Great to see quality playing will carry on as Kenny Ball’s legacy. Was Andy Cooper not on board?

  2. Peter Butler says:

    No, Jeff, Julian Stringle is now on board – this from Kenny’s website:

    JULIAN STRINGLE – Clarinet & Vocals
    Julian was a child prodigy reed player. He was educated at the Latymer Music School and the London College of Music where he studied Clarinet with Wilf Keeley and Composition with William Lloyd Webber.
    He has played on concert, club, festival and broadcast dates with his own band and with:- Peanuts Hucko, Wild Bill Davidson, George Chisholm, Don Lusher, Kenny Baker, Cleo Lane & Sir John Dankworth. He has recorded with John Parricelli, Digby Fairweather, Danny Moss, Sam Brown, Roy Williams, Jim Mullen, Marc Almond, Tommy Whittle, George Melly, Joe Brown, Chas & Dave, The Grid and the Spice Girls! He has appeared at Wembley Arena with Meatloaf!
    Julian has recently joined the band since the departure of Andy Cooper after 45 years with the Jazzmen. Julian also stars the Digby Fairweather Half Dozen, backing Paul Jones and leading The Dream Band, his own exciting and melodic Latin-influenced jazz funk quintet.
    Julian plays Clarinet, Alto & Tenor Saxes and Sings – but the Clarinet is his passion and he is now recognised as one of the most stylish performers on the instrument in Europe.

  3. Syd says:

    Reply to Jeff ….. Andy Cooper decided last summer to leave The Jazzmen after 45 years service for personal reasons. He will be missed by the band and fans alike but is continuing to play with his Euro top 8 and makes guest appearances with other bands … Syd Appleton..

  4. Jeff Bradley says:

    Well hello to all, Kenny Ball and His Jazzmen and myself go back many years with their Tours to New Zealand and Australia,in fact my Jazzmen in Sydney supported them on their last Tour to Australia.
    So knowing the Ball Band with their Tours to NZ I traveled with them many times.There was only one clarinetist that did fit in with the Ball Band he was the late great Dave Jones, John Bennett and he worked beautifully together, totally a wonderful technician he knew his way around the clarinet 100%. No other clarinetist in the world today has ever come up to his standards and Kenny Ball knew it.
    Dave and I had many meals together so I did know him well.
    With Dave and Acker they were my Mentors, as I was learning the clarinet.
    It was a sad day when he was kicked out.
    No clarinetist today has ever played High Society, The Pay Off, For The Good Life the way Dave Jones played them all.
    Andy Cooper is certainly a good player too many high notes and no feel.
    As for this new clarinet player is he trying to be another ‘Kenny G’ with his long curls, I do think many clarinetist today are total show babies and have no feel. My mate for over 58 yrs Mr.Acker Bilk works with total perfection and plays with feel, with his rich, romantic, haunting sound, he picks his notes like a grand peace of poetry, always finding that ping in music, no wonder he sold many millions of his LPs.
    May Dave Jones and close friend RIP.
    So I do wish the Ball band best wishes it would be nice to maybe one day blow with the band.

  5. Philip Hoy says:

    Jeff, I agree with you 100%. Having run the Kenny Ball Appreciation Society for many years and have all Ken’s recordings, I have never heard Dave Jones’s ‘High Society’ bettered by anyone.
    Phil Hoy

  6. liam says:

    Hi All,

    Big fan of Kenny Ball music and as a clarinet player am fond of many of Dave Jones’ recordings with the KB Band especially as Phil has mentioned “High Society”. However, Andy Coopers’ work in the band must be looked upon with sheer admiration. A god of the instrument who could sing and be funny equally as good.

    The best


  7. Jim Tancock says:

    Hello Jeff, at last I have some information on the late Dave Jones. I do agree with all that is written by you. I met Dave in the early 60s at Exeter University along with all the other original Jazzmen. For years now I had always wondered whatever happened to him. I met John Bennett here in New Zealand last time they toured but I forgot to ask him in the rush of things. I have always been a huge fan of the Band but now I am a little disappointed as to the way the sound is but of course that’s to be expected. There is nothing like the original but full marks to Keith for his attempt to keep the name alive. Happy days.

  8. Ian Bateman says:

    Shocked at Jeff Bradley’s comments. Have you actually heard Julian Stringle play? He is one of top clarinettists in Europe and few can match him. What he looks like has got bugger all to do with anything – he’s better than Kenny G, but then who isn’t. As for Andy Cooper, he is a great entertainer (and player) and is an jazz icon in the UK! The KB band were not the same without him, but life goes on.
    Andy got out not long before the traditional jazz scene crumbled with the sad loss of Kenny and Acker and some of their top musicians. Full marks to Keith for giving it a go – it’s not easy!

  9. Inga Pooler says:

    You can never have enough of Kenny Ball’s Jazzmen. The more I listen to them, the more I want to hear … and Andy Cooper! What a fantastic entertainer! Adore Andy Cooper’s “King of the Swingers”, and “Ole man Moe” such talented musicians and happy, foot-stomping music is incomparable. This is real jazz, and is very much loved by myself and all the jazz lovers I know. So sad Kenny’s not around any more, but his music and his Jazzmen live on, and can never be forgotten. Salute to Kenny and Andy.

  10. liam says:

    Hi all,

    Just re-stumbled across this great post. I’m currently attempting to work my way through listening to the KBJB recordings (if that’s even possible!). With this in mind, the index compiled by Phil Hoy in KB’s autobiography is a good reference point. I have a few questions regarding some of the recordings and wondered whether Mr Hoy may be able to help or if anybody knew of a point of contact!

    Love to keep up with the posts here, Peter.
    Thanks for this.

  11. Peter Butler says:

    Seeing what I can find out, Liam.

  12. liam says:

    Thanks, Peter.

  13. Mr J Appleton says:

    Hi Liam, Syd the roadie here… I’m afraid to tell you that Phil Hoy passed away at the end of 2018 and possibly his work for the band may have gone with him. Phil was a lovely man and loved the band and anything to do with it. I’ll try to contact Jan, his wife, to see where all his archives are…. Syd

  14. Mr J Appleton (Syd) says:

    Hi Liam, your reference to God reminded me of a story about Dave Lones. He was playing at the 100 Club with Laurie Chescoe’s Good Time Jazzband and Dave was halfway through a solo which 100 Club owner, Roger Horton, was standing at the bar listening to. A punter approached Roger to say something and Roger stopped him and said ” shhh, God is playing ” … praise indeed from somebody who had seen them all!

  15. Stephen Levrant says:

    Hello there all Kenny B fans. Kenny was my inspiration to play trumpet and to perform in trad jazz and blues bands in the 1960s/70s, went to many gigs to hear him and the band. I have recently taken up the trumpet again after 50 years and would love to know what instruments Kenny played. I know one of his trumpets was sold at auction after his passing but the auction house have not kept any record of it, and I missed the chance to buy it. Any info gratefully received! Stephen L.

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