To provide you with the best experience, cookies are used on this site. Find out more here.

Allow cookies

The Big Chris Barber Band

The Big Chris Barber Band close up

About

Chris Barber Still Blowing Strong After 70 Years

Chris Barber OBE this year celebrates his 65th year as leader of his band on a full-time professional basis. In fact, his career began even earlier - in 1949 – when he started his first amateur band which included Alexis Korner on guitar. Little could either Chris or Alexis have known that they were destined, in their respective ways, to become major figures in bringing blues and gospel music to audiences of the UK and Europe.

That first band, known as Chris Barber’s New Orleans Jazz Band, gave way to Chris Barber’s Jazz Band who played their first professional engagement in December 1953 following a spell when known as Ken Colyer’s Jazzmen. This ‘co-operative’ band gave it Ken’s name because he had gained publicity by jumping ship in New Orleans to play his trumpet alongside many of the local pioneers of the music. A policy disagreement led to the band ‘voting out’ Ken and he was replaced by Pat Halcox who remained with the band until his retirement in 2008.

By 1954 Chris Barber’s Jazz Band was performing at major concert venues such as The Royal Festival Hall and their first LP ‘New Orleans Joys’ included a skiffle track, ‘Rock Island Line’ featuring their banjoist Lonnie Donegan. Released as a single, it topped the charts both sides of the Atlantic and paved the way, not only for Lonnie Donegan’s solo career, but also for USA concert appearances by Chris Barber’s Jazz Band. So, as we can see, Chris Barber’s Band were ‘taking coals to Newcastle’ several years before The Beatles were acclaimed (and honoured!) for similar achievements.

Chris Barber, from out of his own pocket, financed the introduction to the UK and Europe, of numerous American artistes. The UK promoters weren’t interested because the band was selling out “without the need for guests”! The first visiting artistes to appear with Chris Barber’s Jazz Band arrived in 1958 in the form of Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee. Sister Rosetta Tharpe followed shortly afterwards. Tommy Tucker, Alvin Alcorn, Professor Alex Bradford, James Cotton & Dr John are just a few examples of U.S. artistes introduced to Europe by Chris Barber in the ensuing years.

During this time the bands of Chris Barber have been enriched by those experiences and influences. On record, Chris’ career has been skillfully encapsulated by Proper Records with their Double CD release ‘Memories Of My Trip’ (PRP CD 073). The aforementioned historical encounters are reflected on this recording, along with more recent collaborations with Van Morrison, Paul Jones, Eric Clapton, Andy Fairweather Low and others.

The Chris Barber Jazz Band of 1953 was a six piece line up. These days - known as The Big Chris Barber Band - it is ten in number. Chris’ explanation for that is interesting: “Throughout the years we have always enjoyed playing the music of Duke Ellington. From time to time we have brought to Europe the artistes we admire and who would enable us to perform larger arrangements than could be achieved by a six-piece band. For example we have been joined in the past by Wild Bill Davidson (piano) and Russell Procope (saxes) for the ‘Echoes Of Ellington’ tour. Then there was John Lewis (piano) with Trummy Young (trombone) on the ‘Swing Is Here Tour’. We now have, amongst our eleven, Bob Hunt – a student of The Duke’s music, a fine arranger of The Duke’s music and, into the bargain, is the proud owner of a trombone once the property of Ellington trombonist ‘Tricky’ Sam Nanton! So we can all play those Ellington arrangements whenever we (or the audience) feel like it!”

Brownie McGhee wrote ‘Memories Of My Trip’ back in 1958 as a ‘Thank You’ to Chris and his band after that first ground-breaking tour. Well, Chris Barber’s OWN ‘trip’ has so far extended well beyond 65 years and you can

bet he’ll still be ‘blowing strong’ at his 70th Anniversary concerts!

Guide Prices

Ticket TypeTicket Tariff
Per Person£22.50 per ticket
Per Person£20.50 per ticket

The Regent Centre
51 High Street
Christchurch
Dorset
BH23 1AS
Close window

Call direct on:

Tel01202 499199

Opening Times

Event Date (30 June 2019)
DayTimes
Sunday19:30

TripAdvisor

Map & Directions

Hide Facilities

What's Nearby

  1. Adventure Wonderland

    Dorset’s multi award-winning family theme park, Adventure Wonderland, with its great…

    4.12 miles away
  2. Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum

    The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum houses important collections of paintings,…

    4.26 miles away
  3. Compton Acres

    Enjoy over 10 acres of horticultural heaven with spectacular themed gardens, relax in the…

    6.8 miles away
  1. Lemur Landings

    Lemur Landings is one of Dorset’s largest indoor soft play centres, it really is the…

    7.7 miles away
  2. Tower Park Leisure Complex

    At Tower Park, Poole, a galaxy of entertainment unfolds. With the Splashdown water park…

    7.72 miles away
  3. Splashdown Poole

    Splashdown Poole is the South’s favourite all-action waterpark! Whatever the weather,…

    7.73 miles away
  4. Brownsea Island - National Trust

    Take a short boat trip from Poole Quay or Sandbanks to discover an island rich in…

    8.44 miles away
  5. Poole Park

    Just a short walk from the centre of town you'll discover a haven of peace and rare…

    8.48 miles away
  6. Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre for the Arts

    Experience, explore, discover and join in with the arts at Lighthouse, the largest…

    8.91 miles away
  7. Poole Stadium Greyhound Racing

    Let's Go Racing... A great night out for all the family, enjoy your evening & cheer your…

    8.94 miles away
  8. Poole Speedway - Poole Pirates

    For a thrilling edge of the seat night out watch the Poole Pirates in action.

    8.99 miles away
  9. Poole Old Lifeboat Museum & Shop

    Housing one of Poole's historic lifeboats, Thomas Kirk Wright, the old boathouse offers…

    9.09 miles away
  10. RNLI College

    The RNLI College is the home of the RNLI. Crew members from across the UK and Ireland…

    9.36 miles away
  11. Poole Museum & Scaplen's Court

    Discover the story of Poole - Harbour, Town & People from prehistory to the 21st century.

    9.38 miles away
  12. Sea Music Sculpture

    Sea Music. located on Poole Quay is the only British public site specific sculpture made…

    9.41 miles away
  13. Twin Sails Bridge

    Poole's landmark structure and the first bridge of its type to be built in the world.

    9.52 miles away
Previous Next

Search What's Nearby

Product Type
Proximity
Within miles