The Grimsby Jazz Club where Fleetwood Mac and other global superstars performed in front of a crowded audience
Over 60 years ago, world jazz superstars graced a Grimsby stage, but now it’s empty and hidden behind a busy Victoria Street.
The Southbank Jazz Club once occupied the entire top floor and had two fire escape stairs cascading down the sides.
It’s just a shell of itself, rotten and rusty with the jazz club now closed.
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Looking at it now, it’s hard to think that it was once home to superstar musicians from all over the world.
Every Friday, Sunday and Monday, queues descended the several flights of concrete steps leading to the club, waiting to enter and listen to live music from Jimmy Witherspoon or other local legends such as The Leo Soloman Trio. .
Perhaps the two best-known local bands were The Rumble Band (which was later renamed simply Rumble) and Calmen Waters.
They both made regular appearances in the hall, often dubbed “one of the last purely jazz concert halls.”
Their names still resonate to this day as one of the leaders of the music scene in Grimsby.
The boom in blues music in Britain came to an end in 1968.
Big names such as the Keef Hartley Band, the Savoy Brown Blues Band and even Robert Plant & The Band of Joy had taken to the Southbank stage and performed to local audiences.
The club began to feature other bands, not just jazz and blues, with lively performances from Paper Dolls, Showstoppers, Brian Auger and Julie Driscoll and even folk legend Tim Rose gracing the stage.
The club would transform into a coffee bar on Saturday afternoon, but the spirit of the music would continue as the latest songs played through the speakers while people savored their coffee.
If you walked past the venue on Friday October 11, 1968, you would see lines crisscrossing the building and moving up the surrounding streets to Victoria Square.
Original Fleetwood Mac guitarists Peter Green, Danny Kirwan and Jeremy Spencer and drummer Mick Fleetwood had made an appearance at the Southbank Jazz Club and filled it to capacity.
In 1971 it was taken over by a new owner and renamed Southbank Renaissance. Sadly, it closed for the last time shortly after struggling for a few years.
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