The Randolph Five: Hot Swing Night and Larkin’s Jazz

Hot Swing Night!

Saturday 17 November 8pm. £10/£25 with supper.  Phone 01308 459511 to book.

Alyn Shipton and Ian Smith

A band made up of some of Britain’s leading swing and mainstream jazz musicians arrives at Sladers Yard on Saturday 17 November.  The Randolph Five play gems from Louis Armstrong and other giants of jazz, and the night promises dancing and lifted spirits as they capture the heyday of hot nights in Harlem and cool nights in Kansas City.

The band takes its name from the Randolph Hotel in Oxford, where the group first came together in the 1980’s, to play its individual brand of jazz. Trumpeter Ian Smith, pianist Colin Good (Bryan Ferry/Roxy Music) and bassist Alyn Shipton (BBC R3’s Jazz Record Requests) were then all members of the big band Vile Bodies (immortalised in the opening credits of Ian McKellen’s film of “Richard III”).

This little group was their chance to escape the formal arrangements of the big band, and to play the hard-swinging jazz they loved in the style of a late night Harlem jam session. In the current version of the band they are joined by saxophonist Dave Gelly, a pioneer of modern jazz in Britain with the New Jazz Orchestra, and drummer Ewan Stewart, a leading player on the London jazz scene. The music includes well known songs from Louis Armstrong, Lester Young, Ben Webster, Harry “Sweets” Edison, and Teddy Wilson.

Ian Smith has played trumpet with many British bands, and worked with talents as varied as Gwyneth Herbert, Hank Wangford and Michael Horowitz.
Alyn Shipton toured in the London Ragtime Orchestra for fifteen years, and also played with Ken Colyer’s Jazzmen. Colin Good is a sought after musical director and pianist.  Dave Gelly was the voice of jazz on BBC Radio 2 for many years with his own show, and he has played saxophone with numerous stars of British Jazz. Ewan Stewart loves the music of drummers Philly Joe Jones and Louis Hayes, and brings a fiery dash to every band he plays with.

See them in action at Pizza in the Park, London:


Sladers Yard have a newly expanded café. Specialising in fresh, organic and locally grown ingredients, the café serves delicious homemade food at reasonable prices. For the Hot Swing Night we will be serving during the performance with cabaret-style tables and waiter service. Expect dancing and high spirits.

Saturday 17 November 8pm. £10/£25 with supper.  Phone 01308 459511 to book.

Larkin’s Jazz : SOLD OUT!!

Sunday 18 November 12 noon at Sladers Yard. Tickets: £10 / £18 with light lunch.

Philip Larkin was unique in 20th Century British poetry.  His poems combined intellectual depth and technical mastery with a popular appeal and accessibility that won him huge audiences.

“Larkin’s Jazz” tells the story of the one truly happy and enduring love of the poet’s life – his love affair with the excitement, beauty, spontaneity and togetherness of popular jazz.

The show combines music, poetry, readings from Larkin’s hilarious letters and prose, and reminiscences of his friends.  The Randolph Five will play some of Larkin’s favourite music, and songs in tribute to great musicians of whom he wrote insightfully and movingly.  They will also perform Ian Smith’s jazz settings of Larkin’s poems originally commissioned for BBC Radio  3’s “The Verb”. The event also includes a selection of music inspired by Larkin’s writings about jazz during his long career as a critic for the Daily Telegraph in the 1960’s and 70’s, including his passions for Sidney Bechet and Eddie Condon, as well as what he called the “lean, unhesitant, surprising tenor sax” of Lester Young.

Cast in the role of Young is his biographer, the well known broadcaster and author Dave Gelly, playing clarinet and tenor sax. On piano is Colin Good, well known to Oxford audiences for his long tenure with the big band Vile Bodies, and now keyboard player for Bryan Ferry. Alyn Shipton is the presenter of BBC Radio’s long-running Jazz Library, Euan Stewart is one of London’s finest drummers, and Ian Smith has led bands in and around Oxford as well as being a recognized authority on English poetry of the last century.

“Larkin’s Jazz” pays tribute to Larkin’s genius and relishes his humour and generosity.  And it suggests that his enduring literary legacy is inseparable from his lifelong love of music.

Sunday 18 November 12 noon at Sladers Yard. Tickets: £10 / £18 with light lunch. Phone 01308 459511 to book.

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