Monday, 23 February 2009

Big bands in greenwich

Hopefully now everyone has tickets for the Greenwich University Big Band concert that Fred Parrott is running - Iris Bryce writes as follows

"With your Big Band Jazz concert - I thought you might be intererested to know that in 1949 Owen and Iris Bryce opened the first Jazz Club in Woolwich, the venue being the Cavendish Rooms in the Ritz Ballroom in Woolwich New Rd. A few months later we moved it to Mr.Tilley's Dance Studios in Calderwood Street - we called the Club 'The Sunday Barbecue' and not one of us had any real idea of what a barbecue was!. Owen was a founder member of the George Webb Dixielanders, the pioneer New Orleans Jazz that played in the Red Barn Barnehurst from 1943 - 46. In 1946 Humphrey Lyttelton joined the band and the rest as they say is History! I have written about this in TREE IN THE QUAD, the story of life in Woolwich in the 1940's - 70's - this was published by the University of Greenwich. The book has photos of the opening night when we brought three jazz musicians from Paris over, and the opening ceremony was by Ray Sonin, the editor of THE MELODY MAKER. The book is available from the Greenwich Heritage Centre. If we can help in any other way please don't hesitate to ask

Thanks Iris - I'm sure I'm not the only person who remembers Owen when he was playing in (whoops) the 1950s. His was easily the best band on Friday nights at the Terminus in Gravesend. Not sure if its industrial history, but it'll do!

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