Great Western Jazz Company
The Great Western Jazz Company was originally formed by trumpet-player, Bob McTeare in the 1980s, but was later disbanded. It was reformed in 2006 by Bob together with trombonist, Paul Hawkins and reed-player, John Lancaster.
Sadly, Bob died in 2012, and further changes were forced on the band in following years, particularly by the lockdowns, when Paul was forced to retire. The band is now a quintet, still playing a wide range of tunes by composers from Armstrong to Zawinul, essentially in a swing style which has appealed to audiences and particularly to dancers in Cornwall.
John Lancaster, clarinet and saxophones, is a Londoner who migrated to Cornwall almost 30 years ago, after a similar period playing in London and the South-East with musicians, well-known and not so well-known. In Cornwall, John was a member of the New Jubilee Jazz Band for over 20 years before forming the Great Western with Bob and Paul.
Dan Hughes, clarinet and saxophones, is one of the two younger musicians now bringing new blood into the band. He has a Jazz Degree and a First Class “ear”. His drive and humour have been great assets to the Great Western for a number of years. He also plays in another swing-orientated small group called Swingology.
Jerry Tilley, guitar, joined the band in 2009, having migrated to Cornwall from London, crossing the line from Rock Music to Traditional Jazz. In his former life he was a member of Bill Haley’s Comets, until Bill died. Jerry is another member who brings not only schooled musicianship but also great humour to the band.
Sam Norman, bass-player, is the newest member and the other “youngster”. He brings his drive to the rhythm section, whether on double bass or electric bass. He also plays with other groups in Cornwall, mainly bands led by pianists, Simon Latouche or Richard Penrose.
Bobby Stephens, drummer, is, with John, one of the two original founder members of the Great Western from 2006. A proud Cornishman, he has had decades of experience driving Cornish bands, of all styles, including Jazz Foundation and the aforementioned New Jubilee.