max temp: 16°C

min temp: 15°C


Waterfront: Ipswich gallery owner rediscovers jazz music

16:37 20 March 2014

The original Jazzshades, from Ipswich

The original Jazzshades, from Ipswich


Gallery owner Tony shared a stage with music legends

Antony Coe has been running the John Russell Gallery in Wherry Lane, at the Waterfront for 20 years.Antony Coe has been running the John Russell Gallery in Wherry Lane, at the Waterfront for 20 years.

Art gallery owner Tony Coe, of the John Russell Gallery, has twin passions in his life, art and jazz music.

Mr Coe, who worked as a professional musician in the 1960s and 1970s, before concentrating on developing the gallery by the Waterfront, has recently re-discovered the joy of performing.

He said: “I haven’t played for 28 years, when I was in a band called The Regulars. I’ve started playing again, and I am enjoying it.”

Mr Coe met jazz legend George Melly when he was playing professionally and he agreed to open the John Russell Gallery for him.

Mr Coe’s father Ray was a musician and band leader with his Rayalto Big Band and he worked with Ipswich Town under Alf Ramsey,

Mr Coe himself took lessons in playing the double bass and later played the bass guitar in bands.

His introduction to rhythm and blues was at the new Ipswich Civic College.

Mr Coe, and a group of friends as The Jazzshades, played jazz at a concert to celebrate the opening of the Civic College.

The band supported The Cyril Davis Allstars, who had just lost two members including Mick Jagger who had formed the Rolling Stones, in that concert.

That band still included legends Dick Heckstall-Smith, Ginger Baker on drums, Jack Bruce on bass and Alexis Korner on guitars.

“Ginger Baker was mad even then,” Mr Coe said. “He had a see-through drum kit held together by string. I used Jack Bruce’s bass and my fingers started bleeding.”

In the 1960s with his own band, the Jazzshades, he played regular jazz nights at the Gardeners Arms in Ipswich.

He supported The Who at the Pier Pavilions, Felixstowe, in September 1966 with the Sullivan James Band.

He also played with Ipswich-based Geno Washington’s Ram Jam Band and with Le Blue, who wore berets and Beatle jackets.

Geno Washington was an American serviceman and collected various talented local musicians for his Ram Jam Band, which changed many times over the years.

“Geno lived in Wherstead Road and he introduced me to the music of James Brown,” Mr Coe said. “But if he had to work we lost our singer.”

Ram Jam gigs were always interesting, he said: “There must have been a 100 different line-ups. It was always chaotic.”

Somebody has sent Mr Coe an image of a poster for a gig he played in Spalding, Lincolnshire, in 1967 with Geno’s band.

It was called the Top Six line-up, in the Tulip Bulb Auction Hall, and it featured The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream, Geno Washington and the Ram Jam Band, Pink Floyd, Move and Zoot Money And His Big Roll Band.

As a musician based in London in the 60s he did various jobs between gigs, including DJ-ing at clubs and working as a croupier. He auditioned for the BBC and was offered a job on Radio 1.

“But I was a musician,” Mr Coe said. “I turned it down to go with a band to Greece. To me playing music was more important than radio.” Now the Jazzshades’ name is back, although Tony is the only original member and there is a changing line-up.

“The name is 50 years old,” he said. “We have played a number of local venues including at the gallery for exhibition openings.

“We do the Waterfront restaurants and will be going out on the barge Victor during the summer months. And we have a show at St Peter’s By the Waterfront on April 25.”

For that gig it will be Helen Abbey on vocals, George Double on drums, Mr Coe on double bass and Matt Keene on keyboards.



1 comment

  • what a great man ,i bet he could tell some stories , i wish him well

    Report this comment


    Saturday, March 22, 2014

Bea the cat is recovering well

A cat has been found collapsed on an Ipswich doorstep 10 days after suffering serious neck injuries caused by its own collar.

Crown Pools in Ipswich, where a man reportedly exposed himself on Saturday.

A man has reportedly twice exposed himself to girls in the changing rooms of an Ipswich swimming pool.

Heart FM DJ Dave Taylor during the charity busking session on the Cornhill in Ipswich where he was accompanied by his producer Nick mellamphy and students from Ipswich High School for Girls.

Heart FM breakfast DJ Dave Taylor took on a charity challenge with a difference this afternoon – learning to busk classic songs with the help of high school students.

Police have cordoned off an alleyway between Blanche Street and Christchurch Street in Ipswich after a man was stabbed.

Police are hunting for three men after a man was stabbed in the chest in Ipswich last night.

Abellio Greater Anglia

Trains running between Essex and Suffolk and the capital face delays, alterations and cancellations due to a defective piece of track at Harold Wood.

Dan Poulter with employees at B&Q

A Suffolk MP has said he will do what he can to try and prevent a B&Q store closing down with the potential loss of around 100 jobs.

Julian King and Ian Lea talk about custom bikes at the Copdock Motorcycle Show.

There was something for all motorcycle enthusiasts at Trinity Park over the weekend as a popular event returned for its 24th year.

Urban caterer chef, Simon Daniels cooking the goumet burger at K Bar and Grill, St Nicholas Street, Ipswich.

We all love a good burger, so we’ve picked out some of our favourites from across Suffolk.

Lord Nelson

You might wonder why the Lord Nelson in Fore Street has a glazed brick elevation to the ground floor when it is clearly a timber framed building of some considerable age, writes John Norman, of the Ipswich Society.

Olly Rofix drove a tractor the length of the country to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust 10 years after he was diagnosed with leukaemia

A Suffolk adventurer has returned from his latest expedition – from Lands End to John O’Groats on the back of a 1952 tractor.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages