To return to the John Sparry home page, click
Telephone: (01384) 359109
Some jazz-related links you may enjoy:
Chiltern Hundreds jazz site
looked after by Eddie Fowler.
The Trumpet, Bilston whose
site includes a Rogues Gallery and a listing of forthcoming attractions.
Jazz West Midlands - new and reviews from around the area
Birmingham JazzFestival aka Big Bear local promoter with some big-name events
Jazz At The Bonded Warehouse and other pages looked after by Bill Adams
The Wilbraham Arms, Alsager another pub not too far away with regular jazz.
a national site with lots of information and links.
John started in jazz as a drummer back in the fifties with the Graham Garner Group,
a dance-based band whose regular jobs included the Thatchers' country club at Trysull.
Over the years since his main instrument has become the vibraphone (though he still
appreciates a knock on the drums if anyone can be persuaded to book him!). John has
"mentored" many musicians young and not-so-young over the years, including his regular
first choice bass player Jim Sutton, whose first jazz job was at the Navigation,
Greensforge, with John and Bromsgrove accordionist Roy Stelling, in the early
The Heath Coldfield Quartet
The Quartet came about originally in the early nineties (a private function at the
Mill Hotel, Alverley, was the occasion) when John struck up
a firm friendship with Sutton-Coldfield based drummer par excellence Pete
Wall Heath, "Coldfield" from Sutton Coldfield, you see...). Pete should not be
confused with his son Peter, who has an international career as a drummer.
The Quartet's material has
always been wide-ranging, including jazz standards both ancient and modern, latin
numbers (on which John has been known to unleash his conga drums) and jazz
renditions of some very unusual material which is best described as long forgotten
pop songs of the forties and fifties.
A key to the ongoing success of the Quartet
has been its ability to play loudly where required (for example at the Trumpet) but
also to be able to disappear into the background when the occasion demands (functions,
private parties and so on). Though not a dance band, the Quartet has been known to
search its pad for the occasional foxtrot and quickstep...
Very sadly, Pete died in 2002 and is much missed. The fourth member of the
Quartet until recently was Bryn Venus, an eminent pianist described by John as "from the leafy lanes of
Solihull, the Cyril Washbrook of the keyboard". Bryn passed away in April of 2014, but the Quartet continues in the same vein
as before, however, with any of a number of regular guest musicians picked from the
best players on the local circuit.