Garioch Jazz Club

Jazz in the Garioch

A Potted History of the Garioch Jazz Club

The Garioch – the rural area of Aberdeenshire centred on Inverurie ‘whaur Gaudie runs’ – was hardly a jazz desert in the 1950s and 1960s. Whereas Aberdeen City was able to attract the truly big names from the South – Ted Heath, Joe Loss, Humphrey Littleton, Buddy Rich etc. – Inverurie and the surrounding district held its own with local, versatile bands led by Charlie Day, Alex Garden, Manson Hosie and Bert Young. The Garioch community even occasionally supported a Show Band which performed in Inverurie Town Hall. In the 1950s interest in jazz, swing and big band music was such that bands from the South were invited to the Garioch: George Chisolm, Dick Charlesworth and His City Gents, The Clyde Valley Stompers, George Melly and Trio and the Tubby Hayes Quartet.


Then came the 1960s…

Following on from the emergence of skiffle, rock n’ roll, in the mid-1950s, the popularity of pop quartets epitomised the emergence of The Beatles in 1963 dealt a swift blow to jazz everywhere.

Nevertheless, a coterie of jazz enthusiasts kept the jazz flame burning in the Garioch. However, until late 1982 there was no particular focus for the genre. Then, resulting from the success of a concert given by a local ensemble – The Sandy West Jazz Band – a meeting of jazz fans was held in January 1983 and The Garioch Jazz Club was born.

Douglas Benton, who had set up the original concert, was appointed President of the Club, whose membership at the time numbered 20. Some were professional musicians, some taught music and some others played as amateurs. All, however, appreciated jazz ‘from the heart’.

In the 1984 – 1985 session, the duties of Club President were taken on by Sandy Bryce. Of Sandy, Ed Douglas (a later Club President) said “It was … under the leadership of Sandy Bryce that the club made its major leap to the position where it has become the Mecca for jazz bands all over Scotland and the North of England.” And that is certainly true.

Under the stewardship of Sandy Bryce and Ed Douglas the club’s session format took on the shape it has today : eight concert-style gigs from September to May (excluding December), each built around either a local band or bands invited from further afield – from Inverness through Edinburgh, Glasgow and the Isle of Bute to Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

‘Built around’ needs some explanation. It is part of the Garioch Jazz Club’s charter to bring knowledge, understanding and love of jazz to local youth. Thus, with the permission of the hired professional bands, the Club often invites youth or school bands to perform a set during an interval. Bands who have so performed have been the Jazz Bands of Inverurie, Kemnay and Cults Academies.

In December 1992 the Garioch Jazz Club celebrated its tenth anniversary by means of a special event in the Banks of Ury hotel.

In recent years, the Garioch Jazz Club has been adopting the benefits of the “information age”. A past Secretary, Ian Jackson, persuaded many members to receive the Club’s monthly newsletter by e-mail rather than by post, thus reducing the Club’s not inconsiderable postage costs. At the beginning of 2001, the Club’s website – now at www.jazz-club.co.uk – was created, thus enabling its activities to be promoted globally.

The Garioch Jazz Club has now passed its 30th anniversary and continues to go from strength to strength. The Club continues to provide first class jazz entertainment to its members and visitors.




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Below is the Calendar for 1991 - 2 to remind those who were there.