We've played in a couple of other Cathedral Cities - namely, Bristol and Warwick - but Salisbury probably has our highest gig count of the three, given the number of return visits we've made down here over the years, and we've been witness to various incarnations of Salisbury Jazz Club in sundry venues - how well we remember those sessions in the cattle market! ... the sound of bellowing cattle, the rapid sing-song patter of the auctioneer, and the bang of the hammer - SOLD!
We once got rid of a clarinet player that way ...
This new venue and new-name club - The Salisbury Jazz, Blues and Swing Club to give it its full title - is based at the Social Club in Scots Lane and looks to be a very promising HQ for Mike Challis's determined efforts to get jazz back into the city itself - we really wish it well. We thought the audience looked a good-sized one for our first visit here, though Mike explained that he was rather disappointed by audience numbers, which had dropped off a bit through the summer months. Nevertheless, we were given a splendidly warm welcome and enthusiastic applause as the evening progressed, and it was great to catch up with a few old friends, and chat with some of the audience members during the interval.
We rather liked the slight typo in our title on the club poster - we were billed as Mike Denham's Cafe Sunset Stompers, which was a rather appealing variation on the official one, and of course Mike loves to get a bit of 'Personality Cult' credit as bandleader, because his name doesn't normally appear in our official title! We were recently billed down in Somerset as The Sunset Beach Stompers, which was slightly further off the mark, though we have been given rather worse mis-billings in the past - we were once announced as The Sunset Caff Stompers, which we thought sounded insultingly down-market!
It's such a good, comfortable venue here, with excellent facilities, and the acoustic is particularly good, compared to many we've played in. We thoroughly enjoyed our first session here, and hope very much that local jazz fans will continue to support Mike's great endeavours on their behalf. It's a stressful business running a jazz club, and Mike deserves all the support he can get from the good people of Salisbury and beyond - long may it continue!