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Pete Brown.

Pete Brown.

Jazz and beat poetry at Jazz Hastings

Jazz Hastings is offering something completely different for its monthly session on Tuesday 7 August: an evening of jazz and beat poetry. Julian Norridge introduces the protagonists.

The tradition of combining poetry and jazz has a long history. In this country the legendary poet, lyricist and singer Pete Brown was at the forefront, working with Dudley Moore, Stan Tracy and Bobby Wellins in the 1960s.

Pete had his first poem published in an American magazine when he was 14. In the early ‘60s he was involved in the Liverpool poetry scene and began doing public readings. In 1965, he appeared on stage at the Albert Hall with some of the leading poets, including Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg.

By this time he had also formed The First Real Poetry Band so that he could read his work accompanied by jazz. This led to a residency at the fabled Marquee Club in Soho every Tuesday night.  It was Pete Brown’s luck that the Thursday night residency was held at the time by Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated.

Rock and Blues Skegness

Pete Brown performs at the Rock and Blues festival in Skegness.

That band included Graham Bond and Dick Heckstall-Smith, who had both played with Brown’s poetry band. Through them he met two other members of Korner’s band, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker, who would go on to form the legendary supergroup Cream with Eric Clapton.

They liked what Brown did and effectively recruited him as the band lyricist. He wrote some of their biggest hits, including I Feel Free and White Room with Jack Bruce and Sunshine of Your Love with Eric Clapton.

He’ll be joined at Jazz Hastings by US saxophonist Dr Kevin Flanagan, who moved to the UK in the mid-1980s. He has played sax for countless stars including B.B. King, Ben E. King, Led Zeppelin, the Sex Pistols and Portishead. He also worked with the hugely successful Tommy Chase group in the 1980s.

More recently, influenced by the ‘beat’ writing of Jack Kerouac and Pulitzer Prize winner Gary Snyder, he has been exploring ways of combining jazz with poetry readings.

For this unique evening, Kevin Flanagan will play the first set and Pete Brown  the second. They’ll be accompanied by Jazz Hastings stalwarts John Donaldson on piano, Simon Thorpe on bass and Darren Beckett on drums.


An Evening of Jazz and Beat Poetry, with Pete Brown and Kevin Flanagan Jazz Hastings, Tuesday 7 August, East Hastings Sea Angling Association (on the Stade behind the lifeboat station). Doors open 7.45pm for an 8.30 start, tickets £10 on the door.


Posted 15:15 Tuesday, Jul 31, 2018 In: Music & Sound

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