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Spike Heatley's 2011 UK tour

I recently had the great pleasure of hearing the Spike Heatley quartet playing at the Fleece jazz club. I never cease to be amazed and amused by Alan Barnes, or excited by the rhythm making of Mal Mortimore, especially on Zurich Express, written by the great Bill Le Sage.

However, the evening was made even more of a joy by my first live musical encounter with the gifted guitarist Andy Williams, who seems to provide a Slumberland jazz mattress, be it a ballad or an upbeat tempo to glide musically along.

During the 80s I remember Spike telling me "Got this great sax player called Alan Barnes, gonna be a monster." I know one thing for sure, Spike knows how to pick them. (Doug Page, by email)

. . . I thought I'd drop you a line about Spike Heatley, one of our jazz elder statesmen. I recently went over to the UK to hear him play at two venues. The gig at Fleece jazz club with Alan Barnes was excellent and it was followed by a trip to my old stamping ground, The Bull's Head at Barnes, where he was joined by Art Themen. Entirely different set but again great music played by two of our top men.

Now a mention for the trio itself: Andy Williams on guitar has come on leaps and bounds since I heard him in Jersey and Malcolm Mortimore is one of my favourite drummers. A really tight group and it must be a delight for guest artists who play with them. Please put the word out as this trio deserves to be heard far more. (Patrick Brown, France)

. . . It was my pleasure to attend a gig at the Electric Palace, Harwich on 12 May that featured Alan Barnes with the Spike Heatley trio. The evening was a fantastic success with the band playing an assortment of Benny Goodman material that was very pleasing to the ear. It was a nostalgic return for Spike to the town where he spent many happy years, as a resident, before leaving for a new life in France. It was great to see that the veteran double bass wizard has lost none of his skill and feel for the music.

Alan Barnes is true genius and his superb clarinet and sax solos captivated a very appreciative audience all evening. Andy Williams deserves a special mention, as one of the country’s finest developing contemporary jazz guitarists. All in all a very enjoyable evening. More very soon please! (Larry Warren, Clacton on Sea)

7 October 2011

Your Comments:

Posted by Spike Heatley, 7 October 2011, 12:01 (1 of 1)

Mark, when I got back from my trip to UK this year to play a few concerts with my trio and various front-line guests, I was very happy and surprised to see a copy of an email sent to JJ from a musician I knew when I lived in East Anglia. It's very kind of him to be so flattering but what he said about Barnsie and Andy Williams is the absolute truth!

This was the only concert where we played a programme of Benny Goodman music because the Electric Palace is a veritable "safe house" for trad bands (for want of a better term) but the Goodman programme saw all tickets sold and it was a pleasure to play this music for a change. Otherwise we played our normal sort of mixed programme of my own music and tunes which are rarely heard.

PS: Valerie Wilmer was right to correct me in the May issue I got the places right but the names wrong, so sorry to her. (Spike Heatley, Brittany)

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