An evening of ‘trad’ at The Finchley Jazz Club – just a little East of Avenue House.

Live Jazz in Finchley
by Pam Taylor

Photo of Jazz evening

At the Finchley Jazz Club

Even though it was pouring with rain, it didn’t deter about 40 people from virtually filling the Wilf Slack Cricket Ground Pavilion at 19 East End Road, N3.

We didn’t like to over-stay our “press pass” welcome so we left as soon as we took our photographs and notes, but what we did hear we thoroughly enjoyed and will certainly return soon. The atmosphere was very friendly and welcoming but then most people who love jazz are.

The Finchley Jazz Club was formed in 1999 and meets every other Monday in the Wilf Slack Cricket Pavilion in East End Road, N3 at 8.15pm. (Future dates: July 14, 18, August 1, 15, 29, September 12, 26, October 10 24, November 7, 21, December 5 and 19). The style is really mainstream/traditional jazz. The entry cost is only £7 per person for two and a half hours of professional jazz entertainment. There is no bar at the club but customers can bring their own alcohol and there are soft drinks and crisps for sale at the door. It really is one of the great jazz sessions in the area. Full dates and other information can be found on their website at

The regular rhythm section consists of Malcolm Harrison on guitar (Malcolm plays regularly at The Lamb and Flag pub in Covent Garden and is very popular) and John Bayne on double bass and bass sax. John runs the club, also plays with Bix ‘n’ Pieces as well as the Armstrong Oliver Band and plays all the saxes, clarinet, tuba and many others. He also plays the bagpipes but they don’t seem to fit in with the jazz somehow so our readers may relax!

A different front line each session gives a continuous fresh feel to the entertainment.

The June 20th front line consisted of Peter Rudeforth on trumpet (Peter is a lead trumpet player with the Big Chris Barber Band), John Crocker on clarinet and tenor sax (John was with Chris Barber for over 20 years) and Keith Nichols on keyboard (Keith is multi-talented, playing keyboard, trombone, reeds and accordion. He has played with many famous names such as Bing Crosby, Harry Gould, Pasadena Roof Orchestra and has a few bands of his own).

The July 4th session will be different from the norm, consisting of John Cherry on guitar and banjo because Malcolm is on holiday; Tony Blackburn on drums (bet that surprised you); Trevor Evans on double bass and a double act consisting of John Bayne and John Ellmer who will both be bringing all the saxes, clarinets and scrap metal they can fit in their cars!!

Each session consists of five musicians but occasionally there is a special evening. The next special one will be on July 18th when Bob Dwyer’s Bix ‘n’ Pieces seven-piece band will entertain. A truly exceptional event.

So why don’t you give it a try? We will!

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