Totnes Jazz Workshop

The legendary Jazz trumpeter Dave Holdsworth has been supporting the Totnes Jazz Workshop for years and has finally decided it’s time to concentrate fully on his new project ‘Dave Holdsworth’s New Brew’ following the release of his acclaimed latest album, ‘Wodgi‘.

Dave has been playing Jazz in many forms since the 1960’s and is a stalwart member of Mike Westbrook’s Jazz projects. They recently returned from Italy where they performed a short tour with the ‘Uncommon Orchestra

The workshop emerged from a group of professional jazz musicians  known as the Totnes Jazz Collective featuring Mick Green, Lewis Riley and Sam Richards among others. The much missed drummer Fred Legg became the main organiser for many years and since his death after a long illness, Barry Cooper stepped in to lead the group.

Dave Holdsworth with the jazz workshop

Dave has been a regular presence who very much enjoyed his evenings as a guide to all things jazz. He brought his own arrangements of jazz classics which are lauded as some of the finest versions and coached the group at much anticipated monthly visits. The tutoring mantle will be taken over in 2019 by fellow trumpeter Sam Massey who plays with, and for many high profile artists and bands and is also a composer.

The workshop are keen to welcome new players to join them and play with no restrictions. You can improvise or not and take things at your own pace. They are often invited to play at fairs and street events and many bands have sprung out of the group following friendships being formed.

There were so many people having so much fun, I thought – I’ll have some of that!

Cheerio Dave!

An specific evening was arranged in Harbertonford village hall last week as a ‘goodbye’ to Dave Holdsworth and to celebrate all the time he spent with them over the last few years. More than 30 players turned up to celebrate with eulogies from guitarist Chris Taylor who thanked Dave for encouraging him to experiment with Jazz even though rhythm & blues was his introduction to music. Saxophonist Barry Cooper recalled that his first visit co-incided with one of Dave’s evenings and how encouraging he was.  “There were so may people, having so much fun, I thought – I’ll have some of that!”

Jane Blanchard play keyboards and also looks after the website, points out that the group is quite unique. It has no formal structure, no chairperson, nothing. It is simply a group of people who just love playing and come together paying just £3 each for an evening to cover the costs of the hall, pay a regular tutor and even contributes to an annual christmas dinner in a local pub.

What seems clear is that the Jazz workshop will continue for years to come and brings joy to everyone involved. Following the building works being completed at St Johns in Bridgetown, the workshop will likely be returning to it’s usual venue. All the details can be found on their website:

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