Jazz Classics

Under this self-explanatory title, we bring to life some of the great recordings by the jazz pioneers that we love. It is inspired by Keith Nichols’ enduring legacy which reveals the important role he played in the regeneration of this great music.

You will hear the iconic tunes by Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke and Duke Ellington with Enrico Tomasso on trumpet and Martin Litton at the piano. Janice Day will be delighting you with the great vocalist recordings of the time whilst Martin Wheatley and Robert Fowler will cover the banjo/guitar and sax/clarinet legends respectively. Malcolm Sked and Nick Ward are the masters of rhythm and Alistair Allen is a virtuoso of the trombone and will croon a few tunes of the thirties for you not forgetting to include a few novelty numbers that Keith was so famous for.


Remembering Keith Nichols – Stride Pianist

Some background information and memories from Tim Lord:

Keith Nichols was a Fats Waller-style jazz pianist, an arranger of 1930s music and a multi-instrumentalist playing saxophone and trombone. He started his musical life as a champion concertina player winning the top British award. In the 1970s he formed a comedy band called the “Levity Lancers” which used to play in the famous Watermans Arms on the Isle of Dogs. He became interested in 1930s music and regularly formed bands featuring the music of Fats Waller, Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong. I think Fats Waller was his best love and he regularly staged a Waller Show at the Purcell Room on the Southbank. In the 1980s whilst playing a solo piano gig in Paris, Fats Waller’s son, Maurice Waller, came up to him and said, “You are the nearest pianist to my father that I have ever heard.” Some compliment!

Keith continued to produce new shows up to the time of his death in January 2021. He was a regular performer in many of my Shropshire Jazz Festivals and would usually stay in my Bridgnorth house. I would awake at, say, 7am to hear my piano being played and I thought, “Fats Waller’s in the house!”

Keith was a great entertainer in his own right and is very much missed.