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A gig in a castle?! ...

It's really rather rare to be invited to play in a castle - at least, none of us could remember ever having done so before. Of course, musicians in Tudor times would often be asked to play before the King in one of his castles, though the consequences of a poor performance were potentially fatal! ... fortunately, on this occasion, no such retribution was likely, though we still made sure we gave of our best - just in case! ...

The occasion was a family celebration of an 80th birthday - no small milestone! - which had been postponed from last March due to Covid restrictions. Our playing area was an elegant conservatory with the best view of any gig - ever! It proved to be quite difficult to concentrate on our playing, given the exceptional sea views through the large windows! We were looked after most royally by the family members, who made up our small but friendly and most appreciative audience. Furthermore, we were treated to a sumptuous buffet at half-time, and it was a rare treat indeed to play a private session for such a lovely family ...

The high point for trombonist Pete Middleton came when our 'birthday girl' first entered the room - completely unexpectedly, not only did he know her very well from the past, but he'd played regularly many years ago with her late husband, Geoff Cook, a highly-respected Bath-based drummer and fine vocalist! What a small world, indeed! Pete recalled being part of a legendary 'self-smuggling' operation towards the end of his friend's life, in which a group of Geoff's jazz mates somehow managed to sneak into the Bath hospital, and put on an impromptu session for him, in a small courtyard just below his window ... happy memories in one sense, though memories of a very sad time. Pete was really delighted to make contact once more with Di, and to meet the rest of the family. We all thoroughly enjoyed our visit to this unique occasion, and hope to see some family members again in the future, perhaps at a festival or one of our jazz club sessions. We hope you all enjoyed our music! Thanks so much for asking us to entertain you, and for looking after us so well!



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