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THE ALGIERS STOMPERS
Back from New Orleans and in his native North-East, Brian formed the Heritage Hall Stompers, part of the British jazz scene ever since, while Thomas, to his fans’ delight,
was still visiting Europe into the 80s.
In 1996 Brian realised a long-held dream when the Algiers Stompers, named in honour of Thomas’s band, was formed from invited players who knew and wanted to work in that tradition. Fronting the Stompers also gave Brian an opening for his forceful Emanuel Paul- and Andrew Morgan-based tenor sax.
Debuting at the Glossop Festival of 1997, the band was an instant hit.
Then Brian, returning from a gig, was seriously injured in a car crash. For 18 months his playing future was doubtful, and not until August 1998 at the Bude Jazz Festival could the band celebrate his return with the first of several recordings. Since then there have been some personnel changes, but the Stompers, well-established, go from strength to strength with regular return bookings at leading clubs and festivals
across the UK, and tours including Belgium, Holland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Majorca, Malta, Switzerland and The USA.
Claiming to replicate Kid Thomas’s music would be an impertinence — as if anyone could - we celebrate it by adopting its driving, melodic, stepping-out-for-pleasure
style and its wide-ranging dancehall repertoire, hoping to warm the hearts and feet of those who caught his band in the
old days, and those who wish they had.
THE BAND MEMBERS
PETER WRIGHT (Trumpet)
Starting in his teens, Peter developed his skills on National Service with other young RAF musicians and played local jazz clubs Afterwards, gigging on his native Teesside,
he was on hand in ‘73 when Brian formed his Heritage Hall Band. Having also learned bass, Peter depped with the Heritage on both instruments, permanently replacing
Derek Winters in the trumpet chair in the early 8Os, since when history has repeated itself.
From 1974 he has also led his own New Orleans Preservation Band and played with other northern groups like Newcastle’s Vieux Carre. A wealth of experience includes working with Kid Thomas, Louis Nelson, Kid
Sheik, Thomas Jefferson, Freddy Kohlman, Sam Lee, Herb Hall, Butch Thompson, Sammy Rimington and Barry Martyn, and we were very pleased to welcome him to the
band in late 2003.
CHAS HUDSON (Trombone/vocals)
For many years the late LouIs Nelson, Thomas’s great trombonist, was a friend and teacher, and Chas plays the trombone Mr Nelson used on his last recording.
He has their kindness to thank for experience in New Orleans with the Humphrey brothers, Kid Sheik’s band at Preservation Hall, John Royen’s quartet variously featuring Wendell Brunious, Emery Thompson, Sadie Goodson Colar, Chris Burke and Barry Martyn, and on the riverboats with Andrew Hall. A band founder-member, he enjoys re-introdudng forgotten tunes from old sheet music.
Bob Rowbotham (Banjo)
Bob Rowbotham has taken over the banjo chair from Malc Hurrell who has now retired and is playing in his home County Devon.
Robert "Bob" Rowbotham is now permanatly with the Algiers Stompers, and he brings that Lawrence Marrero and Emanuel Sayles sound with him to the band.
Bob was for many year''s with our Late Departed Friend "Mr Chris Blount" R.I.P in the Chris Blount Band as well as the Delta Four, he is a much respected musician and his knowledge of the History of the Music of New Orleans is very extensive, for which he is always in demand to write articles and Critics on recordings of New Orleans and Musicians.
We are very proud and pleased to have Bob with the Algiers Stompers where he lays down those chords for the front line to sit back on.
GABRIELE GAD (Piano/vocals)
Gabby from Munich, started playing jazz at 16, with the Jazz Kids, she played for 12 years all over Germany, appearing on radio and TV and featuring her own compositions. After an excursion into rock music, she settled in London and joined the Frog Island Jazz Band, with which she played in New Orleans, she also formed the New Orleans Poppies with Bob Taylor, Jane Gwynn and Bill Brunskill.
Gabby is now one of the Croele Belles - seven ladies of New Orleans Jazz playing festivals and concerts. She teaches p[iano, continues to compose classical, choral and jazz works, and on joining us in 2001 established herself as a favourite, with audiences for her solid ensemble-playing and stylish vocals and solos; and with the band for lowering its average age by several years.
BILL COLE (Bass)
Bill started on banjo, then string bass, in 1957 with bands in his own Canterbury area. In 1961, moving to London, he joined Barry Martyn''s Camellia Band, accompanying Kid Shiek and then Kid Thomas and Emanuel Paul on their first European tours. He also played sousaphone with the New Teao Brass Band.
After stints with leading London bands, he joined Ken Colyer in October 1964, an eventful 5 years which included recording with George Lewis. In 1969 Bill moved to Nottingham where, with Jazz Spectrum, he accompanied greats like Bud Freeman and recorded with New Orleans clarinet legend Albert Nicholas: Versitility personified, Bill also recorded with Peanuts Hucko and on Sousaphone with Harold Dejan''s Young Olympia Brass Band.
Bill joined the Algiers band back in 1998 taking over from Ken Matthews (Another Great Old Style Bass Player) when Ken left due to medical problems, Bill; also plays with Black Snake Jazz Band, the Oriele Parade Band, and locally - enough to keep him out of trouble, you''d have thought
Dion Cochrane (DRUMS)
We are very pleased to say that we have now as a regular member of the Algiers Stompers, Dion Cochrane on drums.
Dion is the very best of the "Sammy Penn" style drummers that you could hope to have within the band, his drumming and style is straight from the Sammy Penn that we all loved with the Great "Kid Thomas Band." Dion has the Drive and Swing so important that is required for a band playing within the framework of the "Kid Thomas Band", and his impact upon the audience when playing is instant, and when he sings you are immediatly transported back to great days of Thomas with Sammy Penn.
Dion was with the much lamented Chris Blount Band for many years, before the untimely passing after a short illness of Chris Blount. Chris led his band for many years dedicated to the style of "George Lewis" of New Orleans, and it was a sad day when he passed away.