When making house-hunting trips to the Bath area from Surrey in late-2010, I regularly noticed road signs in Bradford-on-Avon for the Wiltshire Music Centre. Intrigued, I looked up their website, which showed a thriving mecca for all genres of music. There was also a link to “Jazz Factory”, a club for amateur musicians.
I have played guitar for more years than I would care to say, though more on the pop/folk side than jazz. Anyway, after we moved into the area in spring 2011, I plucked up courage and took my guitar along to WMC for one of Jazz Factory’s Monday evening sessions. I was placed in one of their musical ensembles and spent a term in learning Duke Ellington standards, with a smattering of musical theory. I was nervous before the end-of-term concert and was surprised when a member of the audience complimented my rhythm guitar playing.
Since then, I have attended Jazz Factory almost every term – as guitarist, then banjo player, and most recently as electric bassist (my true calling!). I have learned an immense amount from their enthusiastic and knowledgeable tutors and now really enjoy playing and listening to jazz in its many forms, from trad to hip hop and bossa nova. The club even kept going throughout the pandemic with lessons via Zoom, resuming face-to-face in May and holding our concert once again at WMC on 5th July.
If you are an aspiring musician of any age, ability or instrument – we have even accommodated a concertina! – do take the plunge into jazz and come along to WMC next term. We start on Monday 13th September at 7.30. For further details, see jazzfactory.co.uk, or look up our fun performances on Youtube or Facebook.