Swansea Jazz Club : 75th Anniversary year 2024
Musician Dave Cottle has been Artistic director at Swansea Jazzland since its inception in 1996, continuing the weekly jazz events in Swansea following on from the Swansea Jazz Society . Dave has been arranging weekly performances at the Swansea Club for 27 years, along with the Swansea International Jazz Festival that Dave started off in 2014. He has to date arranged over 3500 jazz events in Swansea. The Swansea Jazzland name has built up a great reputation throughout the UK and Internationally with musicians worldwide as a respected organisation and as a performance venue & gig that artists cherish and remember fondly.
Swansea Jazz Club : A Brief History 1949 - 2023
Dave first went along to the weekly Swansea Jazz Club in 1975. At that time weekly events were organised by the Swansea Jazz Society. Local Jazz Musicians Derek Morgan, (Drums), John Ham (Trumpet) & Russ Jones (Piano) had been stalwarts of the local jazz scene, along with others, for almost 30 years at that time. Drummer Derek Morgan, returned to Swansea after spending time serving with the army in West Germany Post WW2 and also playing jazz with American service men whilst there. Derek presented the first ever events under the Swansea Jazz Club name in 1949, supported by his driving enthusiasm and financial support from his father.
1950's Swansea Moderm Music Club Committee men
(L-R) John Ace, Marcus Lord, Derek Morgan, Russ Jones, Vince Guiffrida, Mervyn Lloyd pictured early 1950's, the bedrock of the early Jazz Club.
Walter Stuckey is a devoted jazz fan and a member at Swansea Jazz Club who never misses a gig. He has been a follower of the weekly jazz scene in Swansea for 7 decades. It was back in the late 50’s when he started going along every week to the Glanmor Club. Maurice Levenson, who was better known as Schmoo to everyone was one of the driving forces getting the club going along with Swansea musicians, Derek Morgan, Russ Jones and John Ham.
Walter recalls, "I remember watching John Ham playing trumpet in his RAF uniform when home on leave! The local musicians would be the backbone of the club and would be joined by guest musicians. One regular throughout the 60’s and for many years to come was saxophonist Danny Moss with his wife, vocalist, Jeannie Lamb. Danny’s son, Danny Moss Jr. is a fine double bass player now resident in Australia, and on visits to the UK plays at Swansea Jazz Club.
The Glanmor Club even hosted Amen Corner for their debut ig, but sadly ran into financial trouble in the late 1960’s and the club had to close by the early 1970's
Swansea Jazz Society enroute to Beaulieu Jazz Festival 1962 (Walter is pictured centre).
Don Rendall plays to a youthful attentive audience ins Swansea 1961.
Weekly Jazz Events continued as part of the Swansea Modern Music Society series of events at the Glamor Club in Swansea throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s. Swansea Jazz Society was formed in the late 1960’s and with the demise of the Glamor Club by the early 1970’s, the Jazz Society found a new weekly home at the Swansea Liberal Club in the early 1970's.
Going on to host so many memorbale Jazz Evening by leading International Musicians & locally based musicians.
Artists such as Red Rodney, Peanuts Hucko, Humphrey Littleton, Eddie Lockjaw Davis, Tal Farlow and Benny Carter, amongst many others.
Other notable venues have hosted jazz for periods, including The West Cross Country Club, Ellingtons, Mundays Wine Cellar, Grand Hotel, CapeHorner, Mumbles Conservative Club.
Red Rodney at Swansea Jazz Club circa 1977
Lionel Davies (Bass) Red Rodney (Trumpet)
Swansea Jazz Society presented some big events in the 1960's/1970's at the Brangwyn Hall and the Top Rank.
These included Buddy Rich Orchestra, Woody Herman Big Band, and many of the top British Jazz Ensembles
Woody Herman Big and at the Top Rank 1977
The Jones Family Trio, L-R Ieaun (Bass), Russ (Piano) & Steve (Drums) often provided the house accompaniment at the weekly sessions in the 1970's/1980's & 1990's
Bassist Ron Davies (L) with Stevie & Alfie Williams by the bar in the St James Club, in the 1980's
Constellation Big Band at the Liberal Club 1980
Front L-R (Saxes) Norman Hopkins, Graham Hart, Geoff Salter, (Trombones) Staff Bowen, Jim Francis, Alan Pearce
Back L-R Alfie Williams (bass), Dave Cottle (piano), Trumpets Eddie Thomas, Bill Davies, Gerald Roberts, Tony Dudley, Nigel Fitzgerald
1985 ensemble at the Liberal Club
L-R Dave Cottle, Steve Williams, Jeff Meredith, Derek Morgan, Arwyn Hopkins
Dave Cottle’s involvement with Swansea Jazz Society was purely musical throughout the 1970’s/80’ and early 90’s. Playing with his own ensembles at the Liberal Club, and in Bands with Derek Morgan, John Ham and Russ Jones. The Swansea Jazz Society moved venue in 1990 to another location in Swansea, Ellington’s, with support from the Welsh Jazz Society. However by 1996 Jazz events had come to end at Ellington’s and the Swansea Jazz Society fractured into smaller groups. It was at this time Dave Cottle became involved in forming Swansea Jazzland and returning to weekly Jazz at the former venue, the Liberal Club, which was now the St James Club.
The St. James Club hosted weekly Jazz events under the Swansea Jazzland banner until it closed in 2018. So many memorabe gigs & nights took place there, including Laurence Cottle All star Big Band, Bill Bruford, Shakatak, Hamish Stuart Band, NYJO, MYJO and a galaxy of visiting Bands and Musicians such as VIncent Herring, Tim Garland, Ben Castle, Mike Clark, Harold Mayern, and so many more. VISIT ....... See the past programmes 2001 - 2023
Laurence Cottle All Star Big Band at St. James Club 2004
The formula of hosting International Bands/Natioanl visiting bands, plus Guest Musicians with the house trio, along with South Wales based Jazz musicians and Bands and also hosting Jazz Jam sessions open for all ages and abilities to play with the vastly experienced house trio, Plus Master Classes with experienced Jazz Musicians/Educators has been the established formual that has worked well since Swansea Jazzland took over the reigns back in 1996. Jazz music is so full of cultural diversity in its so many differing styles of musicality. It is Drawn from so many diverse musicians of different cultural backgrounds and histories.
Swansea Jazzland began the Swansea International Jazz Festival in 2014. 50- 60 Events over a long weekend in June based around the Swansea Maritime Qurater
Swansea International Jazz Festoval & Swansea Jazz Club Patron Sir Karl Jenkins with Artistic Director Dave Cottle at the innaugral 2014 Festival
When the St James Club closed in 2018, the club moved to the Garage Music venue in the Uplands, its home for the next 5 years (Including the Covid pandemic period)
A difficult period ensued for a few years after COVID and the Club moved again in 2023 to its current venue at Cu Mumbles
We Bid a fond farewell to the St. James Club in 2018
2024 promises a big year ahead with the 75th Anniversary of weekly Jazz club in Swansea, Swansea Jazzland (CIC) took the decision to revert the name of the club back to Swansea Jazz Club in honour of the forthcoming anniversary.
Swasnea City Council is now operating the annual Swansea International Jazz Festival under the guidance of Swansea Jazzland
Our Club Patron Sir Karl Jenkins (who incidentally used to play sax at the Glanmor Jazz Club in the 1960’s with Russ Jones, Derek Morgan and John Ham mentioned above) is also celebrating his 80th Birthday in 2024. Karl is going to rescore some of his early Jazz work (He was a renowned Jazz musician before all the classical composing began ) into a one off Jazz concert for 2024 here in Swansea with us. He will be working with Dave’s brother Laurence Cottle, one the UK’s finest Jazz Musicians and Big Band Arrangers to get the pieces scored up for a world class Big Band. Karl will be playing Jazz piano at the Concert too. This concert will be THE 75th anniversary main Concert for Swansea Jazz Club.
Jazz Club & Festival Patron Sir Karl Jenkins enjoying the 2023 Festival at Morgans Hotel
L-R Richard Cottle, Alun Vaughan, Paul Smith, Sarah Meek, Dave Cottle, Sir Karl Jenkins
Additional special events for 2024 include ‘The 1949 Concert’ a programme of jazz performed as it would have been heard in that year.
With pieces played authentically true to the instrumentation/amplification available at the time. Dave is working on that project currently.
More to come as we looke forward to a great year ahead in 2024, building further on the legacy of all those we have kept the weekly jazz flag flying here in Swansea
BEYOND THE CONCERTS!
JAM SESSIONS & MASTERCLASSES
Swansea Jazzland with support from Arts Council of Wales 2004 - 2018 held monthly open jam-sessions free to attend and open to all ages and abilities.
The sessions allowed players to learn the art of jazz, and perform to an encouraging and knowledgable audience.
The Swansea Jazzland house trio provide professional backing, and will guide any participants through their pieces, and all done with a friendly and fun attitude.
Jazzland also hold regular Masterclasses delivered by some of the finest jazz professionals in the World. Please check the club’s website at www.swanseajazzland.co.uk to find out about the next jam sessions and masterclasses.
Previous Masterclasses have been presented by the following artists:
Mark Nightingale - Trombone
Claire Martin - Vocals
Laurence Cottle & Ian Thomas - Bass and drums
Alan Barnes - Saxophone
Mike Clarke - Drums
Damon Brown - Trumpet
Vincent Herring - Saxophone
Bruce Adams - Trumpet
Erin Dickens - Vocals