Fabulous Siesta Time Jazz in the Sun

Back in August, Just Jazz Magazine ran an article entitled “Jazz in the Sun” by Syd Appleton featuring “All That Jazz”, a Spanish based band of UK ex-patriots plus their Spanish pianist, who bring siesta time jazz to appreciative locals and holiday makers in Torrevieja, Spain. Courtesy of Just Jazz, following is a synopsis of Syd’s upbeat insights into
Siesta Time Jazz in the Sun.

Jeff Hull (bass) and Enrique Simon (piano)

After six years of searching Spanish property websites my good lady and myself took the plunge last Autumn (2012) and bought a little bungalow in Torrevieja (pronounced Torri-vee-ecka) just a 45 minute drive south of Alicante on The Costa Blanca.

Property prices had been steadily declining in the years we’d been searching and at the time the exchange rate of euros to the pound was excellent so it seemed the right time to buy. Our place is about 2km from the many beaches but we were told that there was also a local pay and swim facility just a few minutes walk away with a restaurant and bar.

The Marina Bar Stars “All That Jazz”

John Hutchins

So I wandered round there one morning to check it out and discovered The Marina Bar. Outside I was pleasantly surprised to see a sign heralding “All That Jazz”, a band of ex pats bar one – their Spanish pianist – who perform every Tuesday afternoon for the locals during siesta time.

The sessions are year round except for the month of August, presumably because during school holidays the place is packed with families and children. So every August the band get the opportunity to get back to England for some British sun!

Where Jazz Goes From Strength to Strength

Liverpudlians Dave and Rita Monaghan are the owners of the Marina and with the help of their friendly and very capable staff have made it a must for jazz and non jazz lovers alike. In the four years they’ve promoted jazz there it’s gone from strength to strength. Admission is free and the band play to audiences of between 80 and 120 customers.

Peter Emuus

Mike Hutchings

There is a two course lunch which costs around eight euros with a choice of five main courses and four desserts – I generally go for the home made steak and ale pie and apple crumble). A pint costs 2.20 euros, less than two quid, and spirits and wine are very reasonably priced. All in all great value for the delights on offer. I was lucky to get in the last time I was there as it was sold out so it’s best to book a table in advance – details at the bottom of this article.

There is a raffle in support of the band (remember admission is free), usually about 10 prizes, organised by their good friend Marion.

Roy Hubbard

Enrique Simon


Recapturing Bygone Eras

There are many excellent jazz players living either permanently or semi-permanently in the Southern Costa Blanca but very few have the ability, knowledge or inclination to play in the style started by the Original Dixieland Jass Band circa 1917, followed by Louis Armstrong and Fats Waller in the 1920s, right through to the English bands of the 1950s and modern times. We lost Kenny Ball in March, 2013, leaving Acker Bilk, Chris Barber and a springing of other names from our youth.

“All That Jazz” are fortunate to have clarinetist Roy Hubbard whose knowledge and experience of the original tunes is second to none. Their style of music may no longer be in vogue but what other types of music can have people of all ages dancing to the beat – from two year olds to eighty two year olds.

Such was the case in 2008 when the band were invited to give a concert to a wider audiencce in the San Fulgencio Theatre. The concert was a sell out and the highlight of the season. Then in 2011, “All That Jazz” gigged to another full house with the “Natural Gas Jazz Band” visiting from California in the Teatro in Torrevieja.

The music has a vibrancy which harks back to the Speakeasies, gambling dens and bordellos of the USA in the earlier part of the 20th century.

“All That Jazz” Line Up

Getting back down to earth, “All That Jazz”  are a band of friends making an impact on Torrevieja locals and holiday makers alike with their music . Everyone has something to give and with their mixture of New Orleans, Trad and Dixieland – the name “All That Jazz” came naturally.

But they are without a regular trumpet lead – “not too many around” according to bandleader and trombonist John Hutchings. So they have a superb soprano sax lead which, in my opinion, works really well.

The regular line up is:

John Hutchings trombone and band leader: John first went to a jazz club in Torquay and took up trumpet aged 28. From 1982 he played with AJ’s Big Band in South West England and a Dixieland band run by clarinetist Ron Ginger. Later on he took over the band, then called the “City Steam Band”. He also led a Traditional Jazz Quarter, “Jazz Bag”, for 15 years. He has also supported top stars including Kenny Ball, Acker Bilk, Humphrey Littleton and George Melly.

Mike Hutchings soprano and alto sax: Mike was just 15 when he began playing clarinet. He went on to play flute and tenor saxophone. In his early twenties he played with numerous bands around the UK – trad jazz bands, big bands plus pop, rock and cabaret groups. He recorded for the BBC at their Maida Vale, London, studios, broadcast live on BBC Radio’s “Jazz Club” and was in demand for numerous commercial recording sessions. Ten years a professional took him all over Europe until he settled in South Africa where he added alto sax to his repertoire and spent 20 years in demand for TV, theatre, radio and recording sessions, often as musical director. He also wrote and arranged for a 16-piece Big Band.

Roy Hubbard with Syd Appleton

Roy Hubbard clarinet:  Roy played with Birmingham based Zenith Hot Stompers for 36 years until 2004 during which time the band played gigs all over the UK, including all the popular jazz festivals. They also toured France, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden and Finland, plus California’s Sacramento Jazz Festival. Stars who guested and/or recorded with the band included Wild Bill Davison, Humphrey Littleton, Chris Barber, Wally Fawkes and Pat Halcox.  Roy also ran his own “Hotshots” and “New Delta Jazzmen” and Kenny Ball, John Barnes, Roy Williams, George Chisholm, Digby Fairweather, Monty Sunshine, Fred Hunt were amongst those who showcased with his bands.

Peter Emuss drums: Peter took up drums aged 14 and after three years at sea with the Merchant Navy he returned to London to play as a professional musician gigging around town with the likes of Diz Disley, Manfred Mann, Monty Sunshine and Al Fairweather. He drummed for Owen Bryce, Mick Mulligan, George Melly, Ken Sims and Long John Baldry. Pete spent ten years touring Europe with German and Dutch jazz and dance bands. Upon retiring to Torrevieja he joined “All That Jazz” to get back to his roots.

Geoff Hull bass: Geoff has been playing since the early 1950s. In 1960 he joined the Cambridge based Riverside Jazz Band with Andy Cooper. Later he joined Graham Dalley’s Dozen, broadcasting regularly on the BBC and starring at summer seasons on the Isle of Man, backing Matt Monroe, Frank Ifield, The Batchelors, Val Doonican and Helen Shapiro. Next came a season on cruise ships in the early 1970s following which he toured with the original production of “Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat” starring Jess Conrad. Then back to the West End to play with Bob Miller’s, Tony Evans’ and Ray Ellington’s bands before joining the Nolan Sister’s backing band. In the ’80s Geoff’s focus shifted to Midland jazz bands before joining the Pete Allen Jazz Band and the Rascals of Rhythm in the 1990s. He moved to Spain in 2004 and joined “All That Jazz” in 2008.

Enrique Simon piano: Lacking a UK pianist in Torrevieja “All That Jazz” was honoured to welcome Enrique as their resident “honky tonk” man. But that description hardly does him justice! Born in Madrid in 1975, he studied classical piano along with jazz and modern harmony in the Instituto de Musica y Tecnologia de Madrid (I.M.T.) with Juan Mendez. He moved on to complete his jazz basics in Argentina at the Escuela de Música Contemporanea de Buenos Aires with Master Ernesto Jodos. He has received masterclasses from pianists like Juraj Stanik (Holland) and Fabio Miano (Italy/Canada) and has been sideman for numerous virtuosos including Jordi Vilá, Amadeu Adeli , Richie Ferrer and Paul Evans. Enrique has also published two albums in Argentina and his latest works are with Sphere Jazz Trio, Chema Penalver New Orleans Jazz Band and South  American Journey. He is a member of Don Mathe’s and the Miller Men Big Band and the English Dixieland band All That Jazz. He also plays for cruises and hotels. In 2010 Enrique arranged and orchestrated “Peregrinos de la vida” by composer Manuel Mira (1895-1948). As Musical Director his most significant project was the musical-dance spectacle “Del Ganges al Guadalguivir”.

So although Spanish, is Enrique qualified to play with a band of English ex-pats in Spain? You’d better believe it!

Well Worth a Detour

With a line up like that, England’s loss is Spain’s gain!

So, if ever you are holidaying on the Costa Blanca, Torrevieja is just a 45 minute drive from Alicante, so well worth the detour to see and hear top rate  jazz while soaking up the Spanish sunshine. Just phone Dave to book your table. Tell him Syd from the Kenny Ball Band recommended The Marina Bar. You’ll be in for a treat. If you are a muso and happen to travel with your instrument, have a word with trombonist John and he’ll likely sit in on a couple of numbers.

The band’s website is www.allthatjazz.talkspot.com.
Their email address is: [email protected]

To book a table at The Marina call Dave or Rita on 0034 966707820.

The Marina Bar is on Facebook as Marina Bar Torrevieja Spain.

Syd Appleton
Roadie to The Greats

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  1. Ingrid says:

    Hallo die Musik gefällt mir. Wenn ich in Spanien bin werde ich sie mir anhören.

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