A community-run arts centre in the Moorlands is hosting a special evening of jazz this month. The Foxlowe Arts Centre in Leek will be the venue for a nostalgia night to mark the 60th anniversary of Leek Jazz Club, which was once an important fixture of the town’s social scene.
A community-run arts centre in the Moorlands is hosting a special evening of jazz this month.
The Foxlowe Arts Centre in Leek will be the venue for a nostalgia night to mark the 60th anniversary of Leek Jazz Club, which was once an important fixture of the town’s social scene.
Every Thursday the club featured live music at the George Hotel, which stood opposite the Green Dragon (then the Swan) at the top of St Edward Street.
The club was formed in 1960 but the 60th anniversary could not be celebrated in 2020 because of the pandemic lockdown, and the original venue is no more. The George was knocked down in 1972 for road widening.
However, Dave Daniels, founder of the jazz club, currently on holiday in Leek from his home in the USA, has planned a jazz celebration at the Foxlowe next Thursday, June 16, as a reunion for club members and as an event for today’s jazz audience.
Chris Thompson, chair of Foxlowe trustees, said: “We are delighted to be working with Dave for this special event and hope jazz nights will become a regular feature.”
The club began in a small way in March 1960 by booking local bands such as the Ceramic City Stompers but within a year Dave was able to host nationally famous bands for special events.
At the time traditional jazz, or Trad, enjoyed a boom in Britain but lost ground to pop and rock in the late Sixties. It didn’t go away altogether and many of the young musicians of the Sixties are still playing today.
Born in Leek, Dave started his entertainment career when he was still at the old Stoke Tech college, organising a dance to raise funds for the students’ soccer team to do a tour of Ireland. Thanks to Dave’s promotional ideas it raised more than enough for the trip.
At Exeter University he continued as a booker for student union gigs and then set up his own entertainment agency. He booked bands for the big dance halls and organised his own events.
In 1969 he opened the very popular Samantha’s club in Derby Street, Leek. In the 70’s he also helped to organise the Buxton Pop Festivals with headline acts such as Chuck Berry.
After a holiday in Florida, Dave moved to the States permanently in 1976. He bought a bar in Miami and transformed it into an English-themed pub, Churchills, which became famous for live and loud music. British beer and English soccer on satellite television were other attractions, especially for ex-pats.
Dave sold the pub several years ago but still lives in Miami and keeps in touch with old friends in Leek and the wider world.
The Jazz Night at the Foxlowe next Thursday (June 16) at 7.30pm will feature the Bridge Street Stompers with guests including Nigel Keates. Admission will be £5 on the door.
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