Live jazz at Bearwood

Corks social club in Smethwick plays host to a regular Thursday evening jazz club and this Sunday I was lucky enough to attend an out door event in the beer garden of this unassuming little club. Tucked away in the back of Corks social club at 558 Bearwood Road I was mesmerised by the beauty of this event.

Maybe the venue was not the prettiest but the quality of the music and singing was breathtaking.   The BlueNotes sing regularly in the upstairs of this humble club every Thursday and this Sunday they had an al fresco event which seemed the perfect setting for such top notch live music.  The BlueNotes were formed by Andy Hamilton MBE and are still playing here.  For my visit this Sunday I was entertained by lead singer  Vic Evans  who has a soulful and haunting quality to his voice and a youthful twinkle in his eye.

Vic Evans on lead vocals.

Sitting outside in the sunshine and enjoying a gin & tonic really is the perfect way to enjoy this free live event, but  sadly it seems to be something of a secret so if you want to hear  some superb live music  this is definitely an event to attend.  A pint and a gin &  tonic came in at a very reasonable £6.00  and there was some food being cooked on the barbecue too.  Families with children, groups of  young adults, what looked like some rugby players and elderly couples were in attendance, it was all very friendly and we shared a table with another family. There are some wooden picnic tables and a few chairs had been bought outside, but if you want to bring a blanket then sitting on the floor would be a great option.

Vic was accompanied by Andy Gayle on saxophone and the grandson of Andy Hamilton himself, Louis  Hamilton-Foad   on drums. What a talented young man Louis is too. The pianist and guitarist were equally as talented and together this band were so much more than the sum of their parts!
Saxophonist Andy Gayle

A few guest singers also took a turn on the microphone and after Vic had regaled us with a few jazz classics he moved on to singing some reggae covers including  the Bob Marley hit  Don’t  Worry (’bout a thing)  and a few calypso style songs that I didn’t recognise, so if you think you don’t like jazz, no worries, there is bound to be something to get your toes tapping.  I will admit I did enjoy a bit of a sing-along with a lot of the music from yesterday, including For all we know.  Vic also enthralled the crowd with a perfect rendition of Moon River. Moon river bought a tear to my eye, such was the emotion  from Vic. With hits a plenty from the likes of Nina Simone, when Lorna sang  My Baby Just Cares For me.  We were sat in the beer garden of a social club in Bearwood, but it felt like we was in a smokey bar in downtown New Orleans, such was the atmosphere here.

The music really was beautiful, the singing was emotive and soulful, the atmosphere was fun and friendly and this was all free. We are planning to return to one of the Thursday evening jazz nights which are not free. We even took a peep inside the upstairs room that plays host to the regular Thursday jazz nights and I was delighted to see a huge poster of Andy Hamilton upon the wall.

The poster was up very high so I’m afraid my photo is not from the best of angles.

Everyone was so friendly and welcoming to us. From the cheery and chatty barmaids in the club to other guests enjoying the jazz in the sunshine and even a few members of the band came over to say hello and shake our hands, female vocalist  Lorna  Harris even greeted me with a hug like I was an old friend.

The next event at Silvershine jazz club is on September 7th where the BlueNotes  will be holding a jam night. Entry is only £5.00 and as I said earlier, the drinks are very resasonably priced.

Should you wish to attend the next event at Silvershine Jazz club, and I highly recommend you do, you can find further details on their website here



  1. My home town is Bearwood and I have written a poem about my experiences of growing up in the town…….

    Apologies to South African Folk Singer Whistling Roger Whitaker and his 1970’s Christmas hit: Durham Town: This is my #BrumPoem about my home town Bearwood


    I aye gunner leave ‘ole Bearwood Town…..
    I aye gunner leave ‘ole Bearwood Town…..
    I aye gunner leave ‘ole Bearwood Town…..
    COZ it aye tha sorta place ter gemme darn…..

    Councillors Piper, Eling n Jaron
    Do soo much fer are Bearwood Mon
    Loike Billy Spake
    Does fer thee ‘ole Black Countray

    Smerrick is Richard Marshall’s patch…..
    This local Councillor does Sooo Mutch…..
    Fer Bearwood n Smerrick…..
    Smethwick in a Stew n Lightwoods Park……and House…..

    Juss two of ‘is projects……Ooh worra lark……!!!
    I, and others from ‘is Bearwood Crew…..
    Did Volunteer…..
    Fer Smethwick in a Stew…..

    As a fantastic reward fer uz all…..
    Who Volunteer fer are Bearwood…..
    ‘N’……What’s more…..We did Volunteer…..
    Fer tha Beer on tha Black Countray Buzz…..

    Juss a few yers agoo the Sandon Road “SIX”
    Did trundle too n fro…..
    With thee ‘Aglee Rowd crowd
    From the 6 Terminus on Sandon Rowd…..Tha Buzz

    Past Saint Chad’s….where I was was barn
    Way back in ’58…..
    Lookin’ All ferlarn…..
    As “A Babe in Arms”…..

    I wuz taerken,’Ome…..
    Ter live in a Flat…..
    Above 67…..Three Shires Oak Road…..
    The CHOP SUEY BAR…..

    Chinese Food…..MADE IN ‘EAVEN…..!!!!
    ME Mom n Dad Dot n Lez…..
    Did scraerpe tergether enough CASH
    Ter raise a Deposit frum BRUM MUNICIPAL BANK

    At the top of Willow Ave…..
    It wuz their prank…..
    Ter buoy an ‘Owse…..
    In Willow Ave…..

    The first thee ‘ad with an indoor LAV…..
    Did scrimp n save…..
    Me Mom n Dad did werk sooo ‘Ard…..

    Me Mom Dot at the Midland Red…..
    In Rutland Road doin’ overtime on a’ addin’ machine…..
    Werkin’ till she fell in ter ‘er bed…..
    Ter buoy this ‘Owse…..


    Keith Bracey

    The Brummie Bard from Bearwood near Birmingham


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