Belfast Telegraph

Man about Derry

Big music fest a winner with one and all

WHERE does one begin? The choices were many, the quality consistent and the feedback fantastic.

WHERE does one begin? The choices were many, the quality consistent and the feedback fantastic.

I'm talking about the second City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival, which was such a tremendous success last weekend.

The first bunch of musicians I ran into were the brilliant Jive Aces, from London, who were rocking it up in Da Vinci's.

One of the more interesting features of the band is their membership of the Church of Scientology, but resplendent in bright yellow suits, Ken Smith, John Fordham, Peter Howell, Alex Douglas, Vince Hurley and Ian Clarkson certainly brought the "devil's music" alive to an appreciative audience.

I was delighted to meet Cork band leader, Harry Connolly again; he was ably supported by Derry's own George Hasson, Neil Everett from Belfast, Charlie Burton from Bangor and fellow Corkonian, Paddy Sullivan.

Promoter Joe Gallagher professed himself very pleased with the event and I also ran into Radio Foyle's Mark Patterson who had earlier hosted the Tommy Smith Quartet in the Everglades Hotel.

Mark's colleague and North- West Telegraph columnist Gerry Anderson was at the John Mil- ler Orchestra in the Waterside Theatre with his brother Johnny, home from Canada for a holiday.

Ernie and Mary Hamilton attended as did Annie and Sidney Courtney, and Frankie Robinson ? who played in Sunday night's finale ? attended with his wife, Florrie. One of the youngest present was 9-year-old sax player, Ryan Kavanagh, who loved the Glenn Miller classics.

The Orchestra's Managing Director, William Riley, reminded me that next year is particularly significant as Glenn played in Belfast in August 1944; his 100th birthday would have been in March 2004 and the 60th anniversary of his death, 16-12-04.

Also enjoying the show were Ernie Cromie and Andrew Allen, from the Ulster Aviation Society; Mr and Mrs Jim Lindsay, Roy Adams, Ronnie Reynolds, Susan Stevenson, Joan Gault, Maisie McGarrigle, Mario Tierney, Alec McKeown and Victor Campbell.

My final gig was the wonderful Henry McCullough in the Tower Hotel. When he sang "Locked in and we can't get out", my immediate response was "With music like this, who cares!" Accompanied by Rowe Butcher and Stephen Quinn, it was a tour-de-force from one of the gentlemen of rock 'n' roll.

A very satisfied bunch from Derry City Council marketing turned up for the gig ? Gerry McColgan, Nuala McGee, Sinead Glynn and Claire Lundy ? and after what was a very successful weekend, they had much to be happy about.

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