John Sparry

Jazz Musician

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atmospheric photograph of Mr Sparry

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.
Jazz Services 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 eighties.

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 Cater("Heath" from 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.

John at play...
RIP Bryn Venus, much missed

John Sparry's photograph by GRAHAM GOUGH.
Photographs of John playing vibes, Jim and Richard by RONALD H. SMITH.
Photograph of Bryn by JIM SUTTON.
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