Since the pandemic so cruelly interrupted normal life and careers, Pete Allen has gradually been introducing more musicians to his band, and now there are rarely fewer than eight – and sometimes even nine if there is a special guest.

Pete has been presenting Jazz in the Afternoon in Sidmouth for 15 years now, and what a feast of jazz it has been (and still is)! We have been stunned by the sheer skill and talent of the high-calibre players he brings. The fun they have together and the enjoyment they clearly derive from the music are infectious and have earned them a loyal following. The band continues to perform monthly (usually on the first Monday) at the Conservative Club in Sidmouth, when the place comes alive to the sound of jazz!

The band usually comprises the same members of the rhythm section, i.e. James Clemas (keyboard), Dave Hanratty (bass) and Jim Newton (drums). The regular front line includes Roger Marks (trombone), Chris Hodgkins (trumpet) and Pete himself on clarinet and saxophones.

They are frequently joined by the popular reed-player Trevor Whiting. He and Pete make a winning combination and when they indulge in a musical ‘chat’ the whole thing seems effortless. But behind that easy-going repartee lies a wealth of talent and experience.

The ‘eighth man’ is usually a guitarist/banjo-player. Last time this was long-term and much-loved band-member Dave Moorwood, who returned to a great reception. Next time (July 1st) this place will be taken by Denny Ilett Jr., a famous guitarist making his first appearance at the Sidmouth gig.

We in Sidmouth are extremely lucky to see artistes of such high calibre playing here on a regular basis, but in return we need to show our support in order for this to continue. There will be no August gig (Folk Week) but the band will be back on September 2nd.

In the meantime, the next performance will be on Monday July 1st from 3-5.30 pm, and admission will be £17.50 at the door.