Sunday 2nd December
'There cannot be another band with quite this range - from Dixieland via hard-bop to R’ n B’ - and as if this weren’t enough they turn into a close harmony group at unexpected moments. Amazingly accomplished.'
Dave Gelly -THE OBSERVER
Blues/pop legend Paul Jones (the Manfreds, The Blues Band, and RADIO 2) joins Digby Fairweather’s Half Dozen for a new show ’ROCKIN’ IN RHYTHM.’ Their debut album will be released in late 2009. Paul is an icon of the blues and pop scene, and has been so since the nineteen sixties. He was lead singer with the super group Manfred Mann. He had hit records as a solo artiste, including ‘Bad Boy’ and ‘Pretty Flamingo,” has starred in West End musicals, and has for over twenty years presented his blues programme on RADIO 2. He has toured successfully with the Blues Band and The Manfreds for many years
The most affable of jazzmen - has been in the music business for over thirty years. He continues to lead Britain’s most exciting jazz band his Half Dozen. First formed in 1995 the Half Dozen has been constantly praised for its versatility, professionalism, showmanship, and the virtuoso playing of its musicians. Their first album was issued in 1998, and an early review said :
From 2003 to 2007 they toured and recorded with George Melly, the legendary blues singer, their first CD collaboration being “Singing and Swinging The Blues!” which was voted THE OBSERVER Record of the Week in August 2003. George and The Half Dozen released a second CD on the Candid Label “The Ultimate Melly” with guests Van Morrison, Jacquie Dankworth, and The Swingle Singers. In March 2007 they recorded Melly’s last album of all “Farewell Blues” for Lake Records.
Since George Melly’s death in July 2007, Digby and his Half Dozen have teamed up with blues/pop legend Paul Jones (Manfred Mann, the Manfreds, The Blues Band,
Jazzband, which he co-lead with the late Pete Strange from 1984. The year 2006 also saw something of a resumption of his radio career, with a weekly show for ‘the Jazz’ (Britain’s first twenty four hours jazz station), which he presented from 3-5pm every Sunday until the closure of the station in 2008.
Digby has won numerous awards over the years; his work has also earned him the award of Freedom of the City of London, and of his hometown Southend-on-Sea - his own ‘proudest achievement.’ Digby’s acknowledged insight into the jazz world has made him an invaluable contributor to jazz reference books, including The Rough Guide to Jazz, and Grove’s Dictionary of Jazz. His memoir Notes From a Jazz Life was published to acclaim in 2002, followed by his DVD Scenes From a Jazz Life three years later, and his latest book about six years ‘On The Road with George Melly’ (Robson Books) received fine reviews in the national and jazz press in 2007. He is a superb trumpet and cornet player, with infectious enthusiasm and an affable, extrovert character.