Beaufort Jazz

Great music – and you are invited!

Bob Clarke to feature Monday 6th December!

Bob Clarke and friends

Bob Clarke and friends

Next Monday will of course be our Christmas Beaufort Jazz evening – and to mark the occasion we are delighted to announce that our featured musician will be the veteran jazz violinist Bob Clarke. When we first heard that Bob had agreed to play, it has to be said that we were very excited about the prospect of seeing  a superb musician who has played with some of the great jazz legends during his long career.

Bob’s professional career began in the early 1950’s when he was often to be found playing in the Soho clubs of that era. It was an environment that he enjoyed working in and eventually Bob went on to play in some of the iconic Soho jazz venues such as the Mandrake Club and Ronnie Scotts – at its original Gerrard Street location. On one such gig, Stephane Grappelli happened to be in the audience and the two met and became friends, often dining together and no doubt discussing gypsy jazz at some length. In the late 50s he went to play in Moscow with the Denny Wright Trio and then went on to tour the world. Eventually Bob settled in Paris playing at many of the top venues including 10 years at the Crazy Horse.

During his travels he associated with many  legends and enjoyed a number of musical collaborations.  He met Elvis at the Lido in Paris and on a trip to Las Vegas met both Duke Ellington and Nat King Cole. Bob also played on a number of occasions with Diz Disley and introduced Diz to Stephane Grappelli who in later years would work together.

By 1977 Bob had now formed the Bob Clarke ensemble and returned to England from Paris. The gigs quickly followed with  a season’s contract at the Victoria Palace. Then in Silver Jubilee week they played the opening act at the London Palladium. Nowadays, Bob still ventures down to London to play and during the summer months can often be found at the Keswick Jazz Festival where he plays to a loyal and appreciative audience.

On Monday, Bob will be accompanied by his friend Peter Birtwistle and two Beaufort regulars, Mike Dexter on upright bass and Matt Wells on rhythm guitar. It will be quite a night for Beaufort Jazz. As well as being  a great evening of music it will also be small piece of Jazz history.

As usual the performance will begin promptly at 8pm so please take your seats in good time for the start.

Look forward to seeing you on Monday!


November 30, 2010 - Posted by | Beaufort Announcements | , , , ,


  1. Hi:
    I was recently trying to find out more info about the Mandrake Club as I worked there in the 50’s before immigrating to Canada. I was delighted to read the article about Bob Clarke as he use to play at the Mandrake when I worked there, and was such a delightful person and excellen musician. So happy to hear he is still playing. I have printed off your article and photos to send to a friend in Ohio who also worked at the club when I did. He may or may not remember us, but there were three of us from East Ham who worked there, Sheila Donavan, Pat Stephens and myself Doreen Lowe.
    If anyone has any more history on the Mandrake I would be interested in hearing from them, when it closed, etc.
    Great article.

    Comment by Doreen Lowe | January 6, 2011 | Reply

    • Hello Doreen

      Many thanks for your comment and kind remarks. It makes it worthwhile researching and writing these articles when we get a response like yours.

      You will be pleased to know that Bob was a great success when he played for us. We have some video which we are hoping to put up on the web in the near future.

      As regards the Mandrake club, we will see if we have any more information. If anyone reads this and knows more about the clubs history, please post a reply!

      Comment by beaufortjazz | January 7, 2011 | Reply

    • A bit late responding, Doreen, but if you write to me at I have a photo of Bob Clarke with me and two other friends taken at the Mandrake Club in Soho. If memory serves it was in Wardour Street or thereabouts.

      Comment by Michael | August 31, 2012 | Reply

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