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Coventry Dance Halls, Studios and Schools

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Trombone Barry
Newton Abbot
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241 of 249  Sun 24th Jul 2022 4:39pm  
: Joined Jul 2022  Total posts:4

Circa early 1958 I joined Ricky Gerngross’s band on trombone at the Rialto Casino. Ricky’s band featured Bunny Roberts on drums, Bernie Clarke bass, Ricky on piano, who wrote some masterful arrangements for the band, Ron Axon lead trumpet, Ron Darlaston lead alto and also two brothers, one on second trumpet and the other on lead tenor, backed by Bunny’s brother Joe. Looking back, Ricky’s band was the finest that I had ever played in despite having depped for various Birmingham bands including Vincent Ladbrooke, Vernon Adcock and Mac Thomas at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall. Unfortunately “King Bingo” killed off the Rialto Casino. Other Coventry dance halls that I remember included the Majestic Ballroom next to the Queen’s Hotel at the bottom of Primrose Hill Street, Their resident band was led by Wylie Price who moved eventually moved to the Beach Ballroom in Aberdeen. Their drummer was Jimmy Nichols who stayed and became a good friend of mine. Jim taught my young brother-in-law, John Bradbury, the drums. John was a founder member of the Special AKA. John, Neol Davies and myself recorded the B side of Gangsters two years before the Specials were born. Quite an interesting story. A previous singer who I also remember performing at the Rialto Casino was Jean Hudson, a very underrated singer. She was red headed, pale skinned with sparkling blue eyes, and eventually married the drummer, the aforementioned Jimmy Nichols. Jean had one-time sang with an on-the-road band led by Frank Weir. If Jay, their daughter, is still alive, she could tell of the incredible friendship between Jim and Jean with Harry James, and the story that never made the national press. Another club that I remember was the Matrix Ballroom which was situated just off the Fletchamstead Highway, and regularly hosted big name bands of the day such as Ted Heath, Johnny Dankworth and, perhaps the most prestigious of all, the Maynard Ferguson big band. I remember that their resident band leader was Jack Owens. That band kick-started the careers of both Pete Warner (tenor) and Ronnie Simmons. Pete joined the Ken Mackintosh Band and Ronnie played lead trumpet in both the Ted Heath and Johnny Dankworth big bands, later on moving to the Thad Jones and Mel Lewis big band.
George Barry Jones

Sport, Music and Leisure - Coventry Dance Halls, Studios and Schools
Helen F
Warrington
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242 of 249  Sun 24th Jul 2022 5:15pm  
Moderator, : Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:3264

Hi Barry, welcome to the forum Wave Thanks for the interesting information.
Sport, Music and Leisure - Coventry Dance Halls, Studios and Schools
Rob Orland
Historic Coventry
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243 of 249  Mon 25th Jul 2022 10:27am  
Webmaster, : Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:1561

What a wonderful post, Barry, thank you. I wonder if on your travels you came across John (Jack) Ashby, who has posted on this forum occasionally in the past as "The Captain"? I'm in touch with him occasionally, and can get his attention if required! Cheers
Sport, Music and Leisure - Coventry Dance Halls, Studios and Schools
lindatee2002
Virginia USA
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244 of 249  Mon 25th Jul 2022 12:48pm  
: Joined Apr 2015  Total posts:153

That is a great thumbnail history of your career, venues and jazz in the Coventry area. I lived in Coundon so I knew the Rialto. My grandparents lived in Hillfields so I walked past that often on my way to their house. Also my best friend lived in Tile Hill and we went to the Matrix in the sixties to some great concerts. We also went to the White Lion jazz club which became a haven for blues fans.
Sport, Music and Leisure - Coventry Dance Halls, Studios and Schools
Dreamtime
Perth Western Australia
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245 of 249  Tue 26th Jul 2022 4:31am  
: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:2362

Linda, our haunt was the Rialto through the 60's, but did you ever visit the GEC ballroom? I can't remember the resident band at the GEC, perhaps someone could let me know. Definitely the good old days for music. Sorry, Barry just picked up your post with all the info I needed, thanks. Thumbs up
Sport, Music and Leisure - Coventry Dance Halls, Studios and Schools
lindatee2002
Virginia USA
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246 of 249  Tue 26th Jul 2022 9:27pm  
: Joined Apr 2015  Total posts:153

No, I never went to the GEC - where was it?
Sport, Music and Leisure - Coventry Dance Halls, Studios and Schools
Dreamtime
Perth Western Australia
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247 of 249  Wed 27th Jul 2022 8:16am  
: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:2362

Not exactly sure of the location, Linda, as a group of us caught the special Saturday night bus from Pool Meadow. If we missed that bus at 11.00pm. it was a long walk home. It could have been in Stoke. We went there a few times and I was impressed with the size of the dancing area, although we did prefer the Rialto as it was only a walk away from where we lived. There was a bar upstairs but you had to be a member. Good times always.
Sport, Music and Leisure - Coventry Dance Halls, Studios and Schools
Midland Red
Cherwell
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248 of 249  Wed 27th Jul 2022 8:30am  
Moderator, : Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:5086

On 26th Jul 2022 9:27pm, lindatee2002 said: No, I never went to the GEC - where was it?
Telephone Road, Stoke Thumbs up
Sport, Music and Leisure - Coventry Dance Halls, Studios and Schools
Dreamtime
Perth Western Australia
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249 of 249  Wed 27th Jul 2022 12:19pm  
: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:2362

MR, I saw that light bulb flashing above your head! Well, I got the last part right. Many thanks. Wink
Sport, Music and Leisure - Coventry Dance Halls, Studios and Schools

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