Gosport Jazz Club exists as a non-profit making organisation to provide and promote high quality live traditional jazz in Gosport and surrounding areas. The Club arranges live performances every other Wednesday by mainly British bands, although there have been visits by bands from as far away as Australia, the USA and Europe. For the programme see the Gig page. The current venue is Gosport & Fareham Rugby Club - for further details see the Location page.
The origins of the Club date back to the 1960s - see below for a more complete history of Pop music and Jazz in Gosport post-WW2.
Gosport was fortunate to have been the home since the early 1970s of the legendary trumpet player, Nat Gonella, and he was a member at the club for most of that time until his death in 1998.
For more information on Nat see The Last Post
A Nat Gonella commemorative gig is held in March of every year, near to the date of his birthday.
Nat’s last trumpet.
Graham Trevarton playing Nat’s trumpet at the gig by Roger Marks’ Cornish Armada gig in March 2016
Not so well known is that Nat also played the Clarinet and the Club was fortunate enough to be able to obtain this instrument in December 2014 together with proof of his one-time ownership of it. See the photos below. The Clarinet has been donated to Gosport Discovery Centre and has been displayed there since December 2015.
Above (left) - Nat’s Clarinet Played by Chris Pearce (Andy Leggett/Chris Pearce Quintet
and (right) by Bernie Murtha (Louisiana Jazzmen).
The venue at Gosport & Fareham Rugby Club
Cuff Billett’s New Europa Jazz Band
Gosport Jazz Club started in the 1960s at Gosport Community Association, Thorngate Halls. Then in the early 1980s Molly & Ken Barton, landlords at the Park Hotel, Park Road, Gosport (now the Park Tavern), started Jazz nights with bands including Cuff Billett, Doug & Dory Whitfield, Monty Sunshine, Bob Jenkins, Teddy Layton, Chris Newman and Nat Gonella. The club gave Nat a new lease of life. He appeared regularly and featured on Radio Victory with Cuff where Nat is particularly remembered singing "Miss Otis Regrets".
When Molly & Ken moved to Farnborough, Pat & Tony Wing took over organising the Jazz nights and ran them for over twenty years, later moving the venue to Gosport Borough Football Club, then Thorngate Halls.
In about 2006 Terry Hinkley took over responsibility. However, in June 2012 Terry suffered health problems and a Committee comprised of members took over responsibility for running the Club, as is currently the situation.
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