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Bill Brunskill, the Jubilee and Other Jazz Bands

Don Coe

Inspired by the articles written by Ron Drakeford about jazz in Kingston-on-Thames (click here), banjo player Don Coe recalls life with Bill Brunskill's band:

Let me say, right up front, that I played the banjo with more enthusiasm than talent. I have an enormous respect for the technical Don Coeability of present-day banjoists and can never hope to achieve the digital dexterity of most of them.

Would I want to? I don’t think so. In the days of the jazz revival in this country it was the job of the rhythm section to lay down a solid, exciting beat and, by God, was it exciting! A solo then was once through the tune thumping out the basic chords, with an occasional glance at the chord book and the odd tremolo and flick roll. The main idea was to give the front line a rest. The drummer also went wild for a few bars hitting everything in sight.

My introduction to jazz was immediately after demob from the army in ‘51. I was given a banjo by a colleague at work who played guitar, and he announced that we would go next week, to the Camberwell Art School where there was to be a dance. I had a week to learn a few chords. He had arranged that we would sit in after the interval and said, “Don’t worry, it’ll be so loud that they won’t hear you anyway”

We did and they didn’t! The band was the Crane River Jazz Band with John RT Davies, Ken Colyer and, I think, Ian Wheeler - it was all such a blur.


Here is a video from a programme introduced by the late George Melly featuring Bill Brunskill.




The Bill Brunskill Band

I married soon after this and we went one Sunday evening to the “Fighting Cocks” at Kingston to listen and dance to Bill Brunskill and his band. Several weeks later when we were on nodding terms with the band, I had the temerity to ask Bill if I could sit in one night. “Of course” he said. (In all the years I played with Bill I never recall him refusing anyone a sit in)! The following week I noticed that the banjo player had changed. It was Eddie Smith, who was to join Chris Barber a couple of weeks later. Eddie was filling in for Bill’s full time banjoist who had moved on.

I couldn’t have been that bad because soon after Bill asked if I would like to join him until he could find a full time banjo. I was to stay with him for many years.

We were resident at a Club in Gerrard Street, Sunday afternoons at the Cy Laurie Club in Windmill Street and at the ‘Cocks’, Kingston, on Sunday evenings.

The Band comprised Bernie Newlands (trombone, Bernie raced a Riley Nine), Bill (Trumpet/Cornet), Reg Woolley (clarinet), Me (banjo), Blind Johnny Fletcher (washboard, thimbles and cowbells (!) and Bill 'Punchy' Wren (piano).

Because of Johnny’s contacts at the Royal Institute for the Blind, we blagged rehearsal facilities at their HQ in Tottenham Court Road. The first night I attended we struggled up three flights of stairs in the pitch dark, Johnny leading ‘cos he knew the way. He had neglected to ask them to leave the lights on. Bill tripped on the stairs and put a dent in his cornet. He never let Johnny forget it at subsequent jobs. He would shake his fist a couple of inches from his nose and say, with a grin, “Look at that, you crab – buggered up a perfectly good instrument”! Johnny, not able to see would just put two fingers up and carry on assembling his cowbells.

I had arrived in at the deep end. So there I was, a fully fledged member of Bill Brunskill Jazz Band with a brand new chord book with about ten tunes copied from that of Bill Wren. Bill Brunskill was so tolerant that he would call a tune and ask me if that was OK. If not Bill Wren would call the chords with his stentorian voice while I scribbled them into my book! Sometimes he would say, “Just like ‘Closer Walk’ but move it up a couple of frets”

Then Bill B would give one of his crooked smiles and stomp it in.

I remember a time when we were well into the second half at Gerrard Street and the place was really rocking. Moisture was dripping from the ceiling and we were all in a euphoric haze. The ‘stage’ was made up of trestle table tops supported on beer crates and was bouncing up and down in time to Blind Johnny Fletcher ’s right foot. The piano was on the floor to the right and Bill 'Punchy' Wren was in a world of his own.

Through the fog of sweat, dust and cigarette smoke we could see four or five black guys carrying suspicious looking cases forcing Albert Nicholastheir way through to the front. Bill blew louder and faster which didn’t exactly have the calming effect he intended.

With a final flourish of his horn, Bill ended the tune and confronted the visitors. They had just finished a concert at the Earls Court NFJO concert and had been advised to visit Gerrard Street to 'ferret out Bill Brunskill, who would be sure to invite them to sit in’.

So it came about that Albert Nicholas and three others, whose names I never did learn, climbed up onto the stage and, for the next 30 minutes or so, blew, banged and sang us into oblivion. It all ended uproariously when the beer crates finally gave in and we all collapsed in laughter over Bill Wren who said something like, “F*** it” , got up from the floor and walked out!

Albert Nicholas


One of our venues was at Richmond. It must have been in 1955 ‘cos my wife, Bron, was very pregnant with our first born, Steve, and he arrived in May of that year. Arriving in the town I Austin 7slammed on the brakes of my Austin Seven and rammed the back of a car waiting at a set of lights. The furious driver insisted that I follow him round the corner to exchange details. I did - but unfortunately whacked into his car again just as he was getting out! He was now incandecent with rage (I think Don means 'incandescent', but who knows ... Ed). He opened my door, presumably to drag me out and beat me up. At that, Bron gave a convincing groan of imminent childbirth and the driver stopped in his tracks, apologising profusely when I told him that we were seeking a hospital – urgently. He drove off. We drove the few yards to the Jazz Club and had a great session. Bill was so impressed with the excuse for my delayed arrival that he became Godfather to my son, Steve.

Bernie Newlands (trombone), had moved on by now and his place had been filled by Fred Bannister (Fred married Wendy, daughter of the Richmond Jazz Club proprieter). We played an enormous variety of venues. Those which spring to mind are, New Cross Working Men's Club, Eel Pie Island, Walton-on-Thames at the Nat Gonella Club, (I believe that Bill Brunskill had played guitar with Nat in a previous life), Hampstead Youth Club, Riverboat Shuffles and Southend Pier.

My most memorable times are definitely those when we played the Cy Laurie Club on Sunday afternoons, then on to the ‘Fighting Cocks’ for the evening session. I was working in Charing Cross Road at that time and lived in Kingston. Parking was a doddle in those days before yellow lines and parking meters. I would park in Windmill Street, drop the banjo off in the Club, walk round to the ‘Star’ restaurant in Old Compton Street for a cheese sandwich & coffee, and that would keep me going until a beer and crisps at the ‘Cocks’ in the evening.

Sometime during this period Johnny Fletcher had moved on, I think that his wife had died, and he Terry Pittswas replaced by Sandy Saunders on drums and we now had ‘Uncle John’ Renshaw with his patched-up bass. Bill Wren was still with us. I cannot recall who was on clarinet. It wasn’t Reg Woolley. Fred Bannister at sometime gave way to Terry Pitts. (Certainly Terry was playing with us at Gerrard Street when Mike Peters and Eddie Smith who were sitting in the front row, said to Bill Brunskill with a grin, “We’re not really here to hear your trombone player”) Terry left us soon after!

Terry Pitts


(Here is a video of Terry Pitts playing with Bob Erwig's band in 1995 with the fine voice of sixteen-year old Alex Pangman singing Bessie Smith's 'Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out').




'Uncle' John had a Vespa. One afternoon during the interval he took me on the pillion and drove us round and round Trafalgar Square at silly speeds. He had an old telephone, complete with bellVespa ringing tone, screwed to the footboards and operated by a footswitch. He would draw up alongside an unsuspecting car, ring the bell and ‘answer’ the phone. No wonder his bass was is such a state. The Vespa was his only means of transport and he would strap the bass to the pillion with the finger board resting on his shoulder. I’m not so sure that that would be allowed these days.

There’s someone I’d dearly love to make contact with. Apart from Uncle John Renshaw I never did know who played bass with us. When John formed his Elastic Band his time with us faded. One night at the ‘Cocks’ in around 1960 or a little later, a stocky Scot asked for a sit in. He was a bass player and happened to have his fiddle with him ‘just outside’. We knew him simply as 'Mac'. He joined us there and then and stayed until long after I left Bill to join the Jubilee Jazzmen – the 'Jubes'. Mac would slap not only the strings but also the back of the instrument in a dominating 6/8 time regardless of the tempo, whether it be a march or a stomp. We fell about in glee. I’d just love to know what happened to Mac.

(If anyone remembers 'Mac' please contact us - Ed.)

I feel that it needs to be firmly understood by those who were not there at the time, that bands like Bill Brunskill, the Jubilee Jazzmen and many, many others were strictly amateur. We all had jobs to go to during the day. It says a lot for the talent that formed those bands that they were invariably welcomed into the Big Clubs of the day by the resident band and we often descended into cellars 100 Clubto sit in with the likes of Humphrey Lyttelton at 100 Oxford Street, and, if we could get past Ruby on the door, Ken Colyer in Newport Street.

Bill was always greeted with affection at these places. He was half a generation older than most of us and was a kindly, avuncular man. He was vigorously protective of the band members and once, when we were threatened by a group of Teddy Boys at the end of the session after a job at a Hampstead youth club, he led the way to our transport, his Morris Ten station wagon, inviting them to deal with him first.

He was a Judo Black Belt and an instructor at Kendo so I suppose it was his demeanor which had the lads scatter.

Talking of Bill’s motor car, it had a dodgy S.U. petrol pump which needed regular stimulation in the form of a heavy boot on the firewall to keep the solenoid awake. This was particularly important to him when we went south of the river through the Blackwall Tunnel. The cost of a tow out of the tunnel was not to be considered by Bill who, on the approach to the tunnel, would shout to the occupant of the passenger seat, “Kick the bugger, kick the bugger”. This never failed to reduce the rest of us to tears of laughter, until finally Sandy Sanders put his foot right through the rusty part of the firewall and a trip to a breaker's yard in Bromley cured the problem for good. Bill found a ‘new’ pump for a quid. We had a whip round.

Just some of the musicians who were regular sitters-in or deps. at the ‘Cocks’ and at the parties held afterwards, include Mole Benn, Neil Millet, Greg Potter, Bill Skinner, Terry Pitts, Brian Taylor, Jim Sheppard, Cyril Keefer and, of course most of the Jubilee guys.


Listen to the Bill Brunskill band playing The Robert E Lee at the 'Cocks' in the early 1960s




I was to join the Jubes, the Brian Taylor Band and Mole’s band much later.

Ron Drakeford mentions the Commodore Club at the rear of the Odeon in Kingston (click here). I seem to recall that the club was run by one, Ian D’Or. I was playing with Mole’s Dixieland Jazz Band at that time and would park my car, an open sports Frazer-Nash ‘Boulogne’ in the Odeon’s car park. It was a two-seater with a rather dented pointy tail end. I came out of the club one night to find on the seat squab, an envelope containing £25 and a letter. The letter read something like...” I do apologise but I inadvertently reversed into your car and trust that this money will be sufficient to effect repairs to the bodywork.”

I never did see where he had hit it! That was a good evening’s earnings.

During the years I was with Bill Brunskill and in particular at my local venue, the ‘Fighting Cocks’ we had a loyal following of fans who would invite us to parties. Living in a flat next door to the ‘Cocks’ were John and Yvonne; at Cobham, Austin and Angela, and then John and Yvonnethere were Frank and Eileen who lived on a boat at Surbiton, the three most-remembered couples who were to become close friends.

Yvonne and John Fowler dancing at the Fighting Cocks
Photograph © Yvonne Fowler with love and thanks


The band would cram into living rooms, both on and behind sofas, in gardens and bedrooms – they were fun times. In the small hours when things quitened down, we would lounge about in an alchoholic haze listening to Armstrong, Ellington and Clarence Williams on 78’s

It was with Bill’s band that I was introduced to Riverboat Shuffles. One particular shuffle from Kingston to Windsor comes to mind. Bill was playing the promenade deck and the Jubes (Jubilee Jazz Band) were down below in the saloon. When we moored up to go through locks, both bands would disembark on to the bankside and the fans would dance both on the boat and on the tow path. There’s nothing quite like playing and listening to good jazz on a warm, sunny and lazy summer afternoon in the open air. At Molesey Lock, a fan called John, who had brought along a sousaphone hoping for a sit in, slipped and fell into the Thames. He spent a long time getting water and weed from the yards of brass tube and caused much laughter in his attempts to get the thing going again.

We were invited to North London one weekend for a garden party adjoining Hampstead Heath. The band and dancers spilled out on to the Heath and we were joined by the Jubilee Jazzmen at sometime during the second day, a Saturday, in the afternoon. We must have stayed the night there. I recall that Greg Potter was on banjo and I was invited to double up with Greg for a while. It was around this time I joined the ‘Jubes’ and Greg moved on.

I remember the very last job I had with Bill. It was at ‘The Lord Napier’ in Thornton Heath, the first time we had played that venue, and it proved to be that evening when Bill negotiated a residency which, I believe, continues to this day. I did visit the ‘Napier’ some years later when Bill’s son, Bill junior, was on banjo. Things had changed quite a bit and I was led to believe by Bill that the consensus was that there would be no more ‘sit-ins’. Sad really. That was the last time I ever saw dear Bill.


Here is a video of Bill playing at the Lord Napier in 1999.





The Jubilee Jazz Band

The Jubilee Jazz Band was centred on North London and rehearsed in a pub in Hampstead.The front line was Dave Cutting, Dave Reynolds, Dave Tomlin on trombone, trumpet and clarinet respectively and in the rhythm section Don (?), Don McMurray and me, Don Coe, on bass, drums and banjo. The ‘Jubes’ were now nice and symmetrical with three Daves and three Dons. We soon began to refer to each other by instrument in the Welsh idiom i.e. 'Dave Trumpet', 'Dave Clarinet'.

A short time before I joined the band it had been called the Swamp Fever Jazzband and letters from the Performing Rights Society were addressed to a S. Fever Esq. They were very polite in those days!

The very first job I had with the band was at a famous boys’ school in Kingston to celebrate their 'Hop' for the end-of-term exam results. I turned up on time to find the hall filling up with pupils falling about in anticipation of a wild evening and already slow hand-clapping an empty stage. “Where’s the band?”, I enquired of a sixth-former with beery breath. “In the Head’s office with the police”, came the answer.

Apparently the lads were helping with enquiries into the mystery of missing candle holders from the piano following their ‘Beginning-of-Term’ hop a few months before! But all went well, and 30 minutes late, we started an absolute barnstormer of a job which ended in the early hours the following morning when we were all thrown out by the caretaker and his tearful wife.

So here I was in the mid-sixties with another band, a different lot of friends and new places to play in.

I cannot recall how long I was with the Jubilee Jazz Band but I shouldn’t think that it was much more than a year. I do recall that it was all rather uncertain with nights spent away from home at various dubious houses and clubs. (Who did live at ‘Robert Street’?) We also spent quite a lot of the time at the A&A Club. I believe that this all-night Club/Caff was for Actors & Artists but it always seemed to be occupied by taxi drivers keeping warm on steaming mugs of tea and sausage sandwiches.

Music-wise, the band was firmly set in Colyer mode with Dave Trumpet, in a semi-dream state most of the time, leading us through rags, marches & stomps.

Stevedore Stomp and Going Home were, of course, mandatory at most jobs. My lasting memories of that period were the lilting sound from Dave Clarinet, a George Lewis fan, and the punchy, driving and exciting choruses from Dave Trombone. Dave Trumpet would almost disappear into his tin bowler-hat-mute-thingy, with head, hands & instrument describing small circles in true Ken style. Aficionados of the Colyer band will know what I mean!

We would play anywhere at a drop of a hat. I remember the band playing on a Central Line tube train all the way from Tottenham Court Road to Epping and back again so that we could call ourselves The Tube Jubes! I know – we were young.

In those days we seemed not to leave bands but just drift from one to another. There was never, to my knowledge, any argument or ill-feeling. One just started playing with another band. Maybe it was a case of rose-tinted specs; or something!

I don’t even remember how or when, but I was now with the Brian Taylor Jazz Band.

The Brian Taylor Jazz Band

A brief summary of the band may be of interest here:

Harry Sowden, bass, lived an ‘alternative’ life and was a quiet, gentle man. He would get his head Harry Sowdendown for a kip under the piano during the interval and chew raw garlic cloves whilst awake. I first learned of meditation from Harry.

Harry Sowden
Photograph © Don Coe


Drummer Ken Pring, an architect, arranged for us to play at the Holloway Road Polytechnic, his Ken Pringplace of study as a student. None of that University rubbish in those days, you’ll notice! Ken’s partner in his business had rather a nice yacht on the Crouch which we stayed on once. A pal of Ken’s fell into six feet of water from a gangway whilst carrying an outboard motor. Reluctant to let go of the motor he tried to jump up, holding it above his head so that we could lift it out! It didn’t work. He nearly drowned.

Ken Pring
Photograph © Don Coe


Cyril Keefer, clarinet. Blind in one eye, he would, from time to time, remove the mouthpiece from his Brian Taylor Jazz bandinstrument and roll his glass eye down the remaining bit to, “See if it was clean.” His wife, Lilian, played with the Ivy Benson Band – or am I dreaming that!

Brian Taylor Jazz Band
Photograph © Don Coe

This photograph is of the band playing a session at the Cy Laurie Club one evening in about 1960. The line up is: Cyril Keefer, clarinet, Brian Taylor, trumpet, Jim Sheppard, trombone, Harry Sowden, bass, Ken Pring drums and Don Coe, banjo.


Brian Taylor, trumpet. He eventually formed a travel company which specialized in trekking. An BrianTaylorabsolute pleasure to play with he also became interested in my hobby of control line model aircraft. Brian had a yacht on the Crouch and I remember fouling somebody’s mooring when we foolishly dropped anchor after a hairy sail in a strong blow in the estuary.

Brian Taylor
Photograph © Don Coe


Brian had many friends & fans and one of them, Ginger, was most helpful to me when, after my Austin Seven Special shed it’s flywheel somewhere in South London, he fixed it for good. Nobody could beat him when he had a 1-1/4” socket and a five foot scaffold pole in his hands!

Jim Shepherd, trombone. I still have visions of Jim under a kitchen table on the Isle of Wight. The Brian Taylor and Jim Shepherdband had been booked to entertain at the birthday party of a fan. When we arrived we were asked, “What would you like to drink?” We were amazed when we were each given a bottle of our chosen medicine and a glass.


Brian Taylor and Jim Shepherd
Photograph © Don Coe


I seem to recall that mine was a bottle of Glenfiddich and a case of ginger wine! We each had a Z-Bed in the ‘band room’ What a party! We missed the ferry home a couple of days later and played on the Yarmouth Pier for half a day. The Kitchen Table? I’m not telling - - but it involved Jim’s bare behind and a basin of sugar.

Austin 7

Now that I’ve introduced you to the members of the Brian Taylor Band, I can relate some of the events and jobs which were part of my life. It was early 1960 and the car was an Austin Seven special. Twin SU’s on a down-draft inlet manifold. Very fast!

I was still married (!) and had the same daytime job as a designer with an internationally renowned design group in Charing Cross Road.

The Brian Taylor Band had a residency at the Cy Laurie Club and I can see by reference to elsewhere on this site (click here) that we had Thursday nights and it was 3/- to get in. I also notice that Sunday afternoon sessions are announced as "Trad. musicians sitting in with Bill Brunskill’s Jazzmen”. 2/6 for few hours of heaven!

The band had a great following and earned a few five-star write-ups in Melody Maker. I recall that they said our Shout ‘Em, Aunt Tilly was worth the 3/- on its own. Mood Indigo wasn’t bad, either. We seemed to have quite a lot of jobs in the Finchley area. I don’t know why, for most of the band lived south of the Thames.

I remember one party that turned out to be a Bar Mitzvah in a barn complete a free bar with hay bales as seating and hurricane lamp lighting. The potential for disaster was incredible. It wasn’t long in coming, either. The booze was in full flow and Cyril Keefer ’s solos on clarinet were becoming increasingly shrill in the best klezmer tradition. (Klezmer? Look it up in Google!).

As the night wore on and after having had requests to play Hava Nagila and Bei Mir Bist Du Schejn over and over again, Cyril was now unstoppable and the band was falling about in hysterics when it happened. One of the whirling, black-hatted and bearded dancers knocked a hurricane lamp flying and the resulting blaze was extinguished by the congregation leaping about and screaming. Cyril played on.

With the increase of band jobs and my daytime job beginning to involve foreign travel, my marriage began to suffer together with my place of abode. Life went on. All is hazy around this period but I recall waking up one morning to see that my Austin Special wasn’t parked outside. In it’s place was a 1927 Rolls Royce saloon with a cut glass panel dividing driver from passengers; silver flower holders and braided silk hand-holds. I had apparently swapped it for my Austin. It Don Coe Rolls Royceturned out that it was a temporary arrangement and the Austin eventually re-appeared. Did the Rolls belong to Terry Pitts? I think it did.

1927 20 – 41 Rolls Royce

Back in the Cy Laurie club the band went from strength to strength. Cyril ‘wrote’ an up-tempo blues he called Red Knicks Blues. It was in the key of C and dedicated, we were told, to a young fan with a flared skirt whose jiving technique involved spinning at a great rate just in front of the band. You should have been there!

On a sultry summer's evening at Cy’s we were all a-dream with Mood Indigo. The lights were dim, the atmosphere was relaxed and the dancers had their heads on their partners' shoulders. My current ‘squeeze’ entered the room wearing a tight, white woollen dress. She smiled and gave me a wave. Brian and Jim were harmonising with eyes closed. Cyril, who was near a live microphone, turned to me and, with an Al Capone accent, shouted, “Who’s da mouse? ”

The dream was shattered for all those present.


Alex Revell has been reading Don Coe's continuing story of the Bill Brunskill Years and writes:

Don Coe's piece about Bill being a judo expert reminded me of a gig I once did many years ago with Bill at, I think, Mike Daniels' club in Soho. There were some young black guys - students I think - in the audience and some yobs came in and started to hassle them, calling them the usual names. The black guys kept quiet, which wound up the yobs even more and things started to look really nasty. Bill put down his trumpet and got down off the stand to sort things out. Not knowing about Bill's judo skills, I said to the trombone player, whose name I forget, "We'd better get down there and give him a hand!" He said not to worry, Bill could take care of himself. I have a memory of bodies flying in all directions, with little Bill in the centre. When the police finally came I think the result was a couple broken arms and legs amongst the yobs. Bill was quite unperturbed. He was quite a character.

Drummer Ken Pring recalls a certain Christmas and the Angels of Oxford Street:

I remember in the early 1960’s when Oxford Street’s Christmas lights and decorations were threatened with imminent disaster. Don Coe and I worked for Beverley Pick Associates who had designed the flying trumpet playing angels which faced each other across the whole length of the street. Someone had telephoned us to tell us that the angel’s stomachs were swelling: pregnant angels? The problem was that the backs of the angels were open and faced the sky; torrential rain had gathered in their stomach regions – and with further rain threatened we were in danger of fallen angels! Or, of them splitting open.

The angels were made of plastic with a certain amount of elasticity but there were limits to them being able to expand and contain the accumulating rainwater. Don came up with an idea which solved the problem. He asked the City Display Organisation – who had erected the angels to supply some 20 ft long poles with razor blades embedded in one end. They were to be delivered to 100 Oxford Street at midnight. The next step was to recruit Christmas Angelspersonnel.

Don telephoned all the jazz bands playing in, or near, Oxford Street to meet at the 100 Club where they were provided with the razor bladed poles and asked to make a small incision in the stomach of each angel with them.

Luckily, there was little traffic that night and the ‘operation’ was carried out discretely and effectively: the angels returned to their original virginal shape and did not end up on the tarmac where ‘angels fear to tread’.

The press never got hold of the story thanks to the discretion of the jazz musicians.

Don remembers the incident well and sends us the above picture:

'The year in question was 1960 and it was Regent Street. My boss, Beverley Pick, had gone into Regent Street with a 410 shotgun when I told him of the phone calls to the office telling of the rainwater impregnating our angels. Beverley and I were well known to the police at that time of year, we both had permission to park our cars anywhere in Regent Street and me in Oxford Street as No1 In Charge and No 2 In Charge of Christmas decorations respectively. (He lent me his XK140 for the occasion!). Beverley parked his DB2 Aston Martin on the steps of the Eros monument Piccadilly Circus - you could in those days - and let loose at the nearest angel. He missed. A passing police car politely asked what the **** was he doing and advised he left the scene forthwith to consider alternative arrangements! The rest of the story runs broadly along the lines related by Ken!'

Ken Pring played with Don Coe in the Brian Taylor Band and later joined Wally Fawkes Troglodytes. He plays now with the Crouch End All Stars – with Wally. The band members are so ancient now it has been suggested that it should be rechristened ‘The Crouch End Old Stars’.


Michael SherborneBill Brunskill Ol Man Mose

Wendy Sherborne writes: 'My Dad, Michael Sherborne (often spelt with a 'u' by mistake) was in Bill Brunskill's Jazzmen as the trombonist and also played with Ken Coyler's Climax Band. I have some records they made still. I have heard him on Youtube sing 'Ol Man Mose', he is now 74 still alive and kickin'. He often talks of the Lord Napier pub and the trips to Canada, Germany, etc. on various tours with bands and playing with Monty Sunshine etc., but he never kept in contact with other band members after moving to South Wales in 1982. I think a few have passed away since. He isn't involved in music anymore and doesn't play the trombone any longer. Mick is on album cover - first from the right with the beard! If anyone has any information I would like to hear more about him.'

Listen to Bill Brunskill's Jazzmen playing 'Ol Man Mose





Ann Clarke writes: 'The late fifties -  those were good old days in Kingston.   I was with my friend Carol Mayer who shared my love of Trad. which was inherited from my young  father who had a collection of records.   He would come and pick us up from the Fighting Cocks, only because it was an excuse to listen to Bill Brunskill.  Carol and I were at Kingston Art School and life revolved around the venues, The Swan at Mill Street (Fridays?), Burtons  (Thursdays)  -The Fighting Cocks, where we drank cider, and once could afford 2 pints, and were dancing all the way home.  We also went to the Commodore down by the river, ran by two men who took us home to try and find out whether they were gay or not.   They decided they were.  I remember one of the best dancers went under the nickname of 'Drake' - he had a beard.  The Fighting Cocks was definitely the favourite.


© Don Coe and Sandy Brown Jazz 2011 - 2016

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Other Articles:


Kingston Jazz
by Ron Drakeford

How I Found Jazz And Changed My Life
by Kath Sanders
Finding Trad
by Anthony Abel

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