Jazz Lives at The Star, Old Wives Lees

The Stour Valley Stompers. Gerry introduces the band on the YouTube below.

The Stour Valley Stompers. Gerry introduces the band on the YouTube below.

It takes a very special landlord to keep jazz going at his pub despite severe setbacks. Earlier this year, Barry, Landlord at The Star, Old Wives Lees, suffered a severe heart attack and not only did Thursday night jazz sessions come to a screaming halt, The Star had to close its doors to all of its regulars.

But you just can’t keep a good man down. Even though he has undergone major heart surgery, Barry is back and The Star has opened its doors again. Gerry Birch tells me he is in good spirits and still playing an active part in the running of the pub, allbeit somewhat carefully.

Malcome Walton's Blue Rhythm Kings

Malcome Walton’s Blue Rhythm Kings

And Gerry Birch is back in business with his weekly Thursday Jazz Nights. Even as I’m preparing this post, The Blue Rhythm Kings are playing there tonight! I’d be there myself supporting Gerry, Barry and my numerous Star jazz friends if Old Wives Lees, close to Canterbury, Kent, weren’t quite so far away at such short notice.

But I can give them all a plug on Jazz&Jazz and announce Gerry’s Thursday Night rota of jazz bands over the coming weeks.

Tonight, as I’ve said, sadly in my absence, it’s The Blue Rhythm Kings.

Thursday, 2nd April: Gerry’s Anything Goes Band
Thursday, 9th April: Vocalion Jazz Band
Thursday, 16th April: Stour Valley Jazzband
Thursday, 23rd April: Blue Rhythm Kings
Thursday, 30th April: Southern Heat

Then on Thursdays evenings recurring.

Dennis Jenkins

Dennis Jenkins, Vocalion Jazz Band

I simply had to close this feature with these words from Gerry Birch following their first Thursday night resumption on 19th March:  “The pub was packed with all the old faces and a few new ones and some visiting musicians. Anyone who knows Barry will know that he is a man of few words and although he always enjoys the Jazz it does not always show. I don’t say this detrimentally, it is just his nature and we all “love” him. But last night the enjoyment really showed. It was a good tonic for him and he joined with everyone else in saying what a great night it was. All I can say, on behalf of all the musicians is it’s great to be back, long may it continue.”

Jazz&Jazz YouTube: Jazz at The Star, Old Wives Lees, East Kent, with Promoter Gerry Birch and his Stour Valley Jazz Band. “At A Georgia Camp Meeting” is a ragtime number by Kerry Mills written for piano way back in 1897.

Peter M Butler
Editor & Proprietor Jazz&Jazz

Photos & YouTube © Peter M Butler, Jazz&Jazz

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