July 24, 2003

Smash hit for six, Jazz at The Rose Bowl

Keith Samuel

Scoring a smash hit for six at the Hampshire Rose Bowl cricket ground this summer is the driving music of The New Gateway Jazz Band.

This popular six-piece band make their third appearance this season at the showpiece new ground on Wednesday July 30, when they will dispense Dixieland jazz in the handsome Atrium Bar after close of play (timed for 10 pm) in the Rose Bowl's first day/night floodlit match between Hampshire and Northants.

"The idea is to provide some extra entertainment for cricket fans while they enjoy a drink after the evening's cricket action," says The New Gateway band's leader Keith Samuel, himself a cricket enthusiast.

This jazz-and-cricket cocktail was first tried out after the final game played by Hampshire at the old Northlands Road cricket ground in Southampton in 1999.

The man behind the idea, Ray Cook, Chairman of the North Hampshire Cricket Supporters Association, was keen to repeat the formula with the development of sophisticated catering facilities at the new Rose Bowl at West End.

The Gateway band - who carry the flag of Hampshire jazz far and wide at festivals and concerts all over the South - were a natural choice for this role. The batting order for the 2003 New Gateway band consists of Keith Samuel on trombone, Bill Harvey (cornet and vocals), Roy Sear (clarinet and alto saxophone), Maurice Dennis (banjo and guitar), Chris Waters (tuba) and Hampshire CC member John Hall (drums).

"There are lots of interesting links between cricket and jazz," says Keith Samuel. "Maurice Allom, a great fast bowler and England Test player in the 1930s, played the tenor saxophone and recorded with the pioneering Fred Elizalde jazz band. And after World War II, Frank Parr, who kept wicket for Lancashire, played the trombone in Mick Mulligan's Jazz Band. Humphrey Lyttelton is not such a big fan. When he was a schoolboy he skipped out of the Eton v Harrow match at Lords to buy his first trumpet in the West End of London."

The year 2003 is proving a vintage one for the New Gateway Band's style of Traditional/Dixieland jazz. This Hampshire band's first CD Dixieland Jubilee has received enthusiastic reviews in two national jazz magazines and the band has made significant inroads on the festival circuit - with bookings at Upton-upon- Severn, Swanage and Lyme Regis.

In Hampshire they appear regularly at the Concorde Club in Eastleigh, Gosport Jazz Club and the Brewery Bar Botley, and at many private and corporation functions. Recent colourful locales include playing on the deck of HMS Warrior at Portsmouth, for the Music by the Lake charity concert at Holywell House, at Swanmore and at the opening of the new Aura restaurant at Southampton Airport.

More information: Keith Samuel. Tel. 023 8026 5361. (New Gateway Jazz Band) Ray Cook (North Hampshire Cricket Supporters Ass.) Tel. 01256 782245