The Slammer StoryÖ 

The Slammers Maximum Jive Band began in October 2004; Ex-Alabama Slammers Neale (Bass) and Claire (Piano) had met up with drummer Gary and guitarist Scott of the Jive Cats, and were advertising for Saxophone Players to complete a new band. 

James (Vocals, Baritone Sax and Harmonica) came across the advert whilst searching for a second-hand fridge! Top Alto and Tenor Sax-Man Big Scott also answered the ad, and the resultant audition was a blast! This original line-up gelled immediately, rehearsing eagerly.  Jamesí vocal talents were soon to the fore, and the year ended with a storming debut performance at Chelmsford Southern Jiversí Club. 

2005 began with the release of a 3-track demo CD and the first appearance of the Bandís dapper stage outfits. New tenor saxophonist Andyís stunning Sam Butera-inspired solos lifted the bandís live shows to new highs at a series of successful performances, including Londonís 100 Club, Brighton Jive and Shoreham RnR Club. The excitement, enjoyment and passion within the band was infectious, capturing attention, repeat bookings and a growing following. 

A busy schedule of gigs at the end of 2005 brought a change in the Band's line-up, with Scottís increasing outside commitments leading to him eventually standing down. Guitarist Smokiní Bob stepped in seamlessly, bringing new quality to the backing vocal harmonies. 

In February 2006 the Band spent 4 days in the recording studio, laying down material for their first CD, planned for release on Pollytone Records later in the year. The Band enjoyed further touring, including Londonís Swamp Rock, the BAWA Club in Bristol and heady nights at the 100 Club with guest trumpeter Toby, but were sad to lose Big Scott, who is now taking a sabbatical from sax playing. A series of bookings in a new wave of happening London clubs took the band to a more diverse audience.

The highlight of the year came in October; the "gigathon" at the Kinsale Jazz Festival in Ireland. This amazing weekend sees the town buzzing with live jazz and blues, with everyone out for a great time, revelling in the music, wallowing in the warmly intoxicating atmosphere. The Slammers' six gigs raised the roof, the band had the time of their lives, the rapturous reception thrilling beyond words.

With the end of 2006 came yet another gigging highlight - a whirlwind weekend in Greece, playing at the newly opened Planet Music venue in Athens. Two outstanding nights, not to mention stunning daytime sightseeing!

2007 - A new year, new faces; the band welcomed new members Sharon (trumpet) and Mike (trombone) to the ever more powerful line-up. Festival appearances got the summer off to a cracking start, with top performances at Warrington BluesFest and the Midsummer Music Jazz Festival in Essex prompting instant re-bookings...check out the live recordings and photos here on the website. 

After a frustrating series of delays culminating in a change of record label, the long awaited CD "Jive Time" was released on El Toro Records in October. Immediately selling well, it listed in the HMV top ten of pre-ordered RnR new releases, and can be found on itunes and most internet cd retailers. 

A huge crowd enjoyed the band's high-energy show at the Thames Festival on the Southbank...a helter skelter ride indeed! (see the clips on  youtube) Another warm welcome awaited in Ireland - the band were delighted to return to the Kinsale Jazz Festival to headline a superb line-up at the Swell Bar.

Year end, and an early morning call saw the band crowding into the BBC Radio London studio, playing live on the breakfast show! A busy month of gigging climaxed with the 2007 New Year's Eve Party - a fabulous "Back to the Future" themed night at Blackheath Halls featuring the Slammers in the 1950's styled ballroom, and some startling pyrotechnics!

Reading Real Ale and Jazz Festival was one of 2008's summer highlights, a packed dancefloor and noisily appreciative crowd. A second CD was released in August at Bude Jazz Festival, where the band rocked the "Dance Tent" and featured live on the BBC Radio Cornwall airwaves. The CD "Hey There You!" is a live recording from Warrington Blues Festival, capturing all the energy, excitement and fun of the Slammer Show on disc.

September marked the end of an era as singer and baritone sax player James made his last appearances as the band's frontman. A key player from the start, James will be hugely missed. While his enthusiasm for the band remains undimmed, he has decided to bow out of touring to make more time for his farm and family.  With Bob also moving on, it was time for some serious auditioning...

After an extensive search, an exciting new line-up emerged; Duncan Moris became the band's new frontman; an amazing new talent, fresh from an European "Rat Pack" tour, Duncan made his debut at London's Pigalle and 100 Clubs, his boundless energy and enthusiasm fitting the band's style perfectly. The guitarist spot went to Tom Benzon, and the new look band saw out the year in style at Kinsale, Ireland. 

A busy start to 2009 saw the Slammer Show travelling widely - from Ireland to Disneyland in France, back to England, then an eagerly anticipated first visit to Spain, playing at the Palace de Expositions in Santander. Northern Ireland and Denmark were next; hugely enthusiastic audience receptions at both Derry and Aarhus Jazz Festivals compelled the events' organisers to hastily rebook the band for the following year. 

Summer saw a welcome return to London for some top dates, including the stunning Rivoli Ballroom and the Thames Festival on the Southbank. In October the band returned to Ireland to headline the Guinness Festival Club, closing the show to a packed house on three consecutive nights, as part of the Cork International Jazz Festival.

2010 saw the horn section expand to a 4-piece with the welcome addition of Albert Garza on Alto and Baritone Saxes. The band worked on developing some exciting new material before returning to Derry for another great Jazz Festival weekend. Touring continued with further visits to Denmark, taking in Randers, Rosenholm, and the amazing Riverboat International Jazz Festival, where the band headlined the Town Square Finale.

A busy end to the year saw the band returning to Cork Jazz Festival, again headlining a packed house at the Metropole Hotel, then some wintery journeys to UK dates including a final appearance at London's 100 Club and a spectacular Vegas themed Charity Ball in Gloucester. December saw the band heading over to Greece for a great weekend with the Athens Swing Cats, playing two nights at the Bacaro Jazz Cafe to a warmly enthusiastic reception. The year was seen out in spectacular style at the "Viva Las Vegas" New Year's Eve celebrations at Blackheath Halls, London.

2011 saw the band return to Derry Jazz Festival in May, a packed schedule included a headline appearance at the sell-out Pink Ladies' Charity Ball, and the town centre outdoor stage, attracting a massive crowd and some amazing jivers! Sim Murray replaced Albert on Baritone Sax, and the band said a fond farewell to trumpet player Sharon and husband Mike as they left to start a family.

An invitation from Ray Davis of the Kinks to perform at the Meltdown Festival at the Royal Festival Hall was one of the high spots of the summer, an amazing night at a world famous venue. Other notable appearances included Callander Jazz Festival in Scotland, Battersea Park Festival, and return visits to the magnificent Rivoli Ballroom and the lovely Gloster Swing Jive Club, with session players completing the four-piece horn section.

As the calendar rolled into 2012, both Claire and then Duncan decided that it was time to move on to other projects, and after a final March tour of Athens, the Slammer Story came to an end.

 

"Pick of the Festival.....guaranteed to get you moving."

- Kinsale Jazz Festival Magazine 2007

 

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