Harrow County School for Boys

Afro-American Music Society 1958

The Society meets every Thursday at 4.00pm under the guidance of Mr. Oliver, and illustrated talks are given by members or Guests on bands, musicians or vocalists.  the year's programme was started by Mr. Oliver's giving a series of talks on the background of Jazz, and after this introduction, many interesting talks were given to the Society by members.

During the course of the year we heard four programmes illustrated by live performances; the first was by Mr. Kincaid on "The Guitar and how it should be played," which attracted a large audience from within the school.  This was followed by two talks by Pat Hawes, the famous bandleader and pianist, who spoke on "The role of the pianist within a band" and "The Influence of ragtime on Jazz."  Mr. Hawes, a gym master at Blackwell School, is well known to this school as his band has played at several school dances.  Later in the year Tony Kohn, an old boy of the school playing guitar with Chas. McDevitt, was invited to come along and give a programme on ballads and folksongs, with background accompaniment by an improvise group consisting of Dennis Wayte, Mr. Oliver (Harmonica) and Mr. Kincaid (Guitar).

A series of talks was given by members on the more popular of British bandleaders, including Ken Colyer, Chris Barber and Sandy Brown, and it was interesting to notice that there is some considerable interest in British Jazz.  "Blues" was the subject of another series of talks to the society.  Mr. Oliver spoke on Jimmy Rushing, the Kansas City vocalist, who visited great Britain during last year and this theme was carried on by Walton, talking on Bessie Smith, and the classic blues singers of the 1920's, and by Paul, talking on some contemporary blues singers.

After a talk by Rutherford on Omer Simeon, the New Orleans Clarinettist, the Society heard a series of talks on Mainstream Jazz which stemmed from Kansas City and this series includes talks on Vic Dickenson, Buck Clayton and Count Basie and some of his sidemen.  To maintain topical interest various talks were heard on Jack Teagarden, Max Kaminsky, Cozy Cole, Earl Hines and Eddie Condon, who are all Chicago or New York musicians who visited Great Britain during the last school year.

Finally a short series of programmes was given on Modern Jazz which included talks on Oscar Peterson, and on the Modern Jazz Quartet when they visited England.  To found a small Library the Society purchased some of the publications of the Jazz Book Club and these were on loan to members throughout the year.  The Society is indebted to Mr. Oliver for his guiding influence, and to the Officers for the year, McEwen, Walton and Wayte.

                                                                        C. R. C. P.

(from Gaytonian 1958.  C.R.C.P. is now Professor Chris Paul, Head of the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Liverpool)

return HOME