Ongar Jazz Club

Founded in 1986



Ongar Jazz Club was founded in 1986 as a non- profit making organisation and has developed into one of this country’s leading jazz clubs.

Concerts are held monthly from September through to May. Our AGM (open to all) usually precedes the October concert.

Our charity work helps worthy local organisations and money is raised entirely from the generosity of our members through our monthly raffle.  Information about the charities we support can be found here.

There is no fee for membership for the forthcoming 38th Season.


Digby Fairweather, Humphrey Littleton, Maxine Daniels, Cy Laurie, Ronnie Scott, Terry Lightfoot, Monty Sunshine, Dave Shepherd, Acker Bilk, Kenny Ball, Alex Welsh, Merseysippi Jazz Band, Martin Litton, George Webb, Brian Dee, Chicago Teddy Bears, Neville Dickie, Keith Nichols, Christine Tyrell, Max Collie, Richard Leach, Hugh Rainey, Mike Daniels, Jonathon Vinton, Jeff Barnhart, John Maddocks, George Huxley, Kevin Grenfell, Enrico Tomasso, Julian Marc Stringle, Amy Roberts, Richard Exall, Ian Bateman and many others…

All concerts take place in Budworth Hall Ballroom, High Street, Chipping Ongar, Essex, CM5 9JG



Too many jazz clubs closed during the Covid-19 pandemic never to re-open.  But we’re delighted that Ongar Jazz Club (‘OJC’) is going from strength to strength.  We no longer need to make special arrangements for the conduct of our concerts, and you can pay at the door on the evening of a concert.  But to be sure of a seat now that we are back to normal playing to full houses, you can make your seat reservation(s) in advance by bank transfer or by using the booking form on the web site.

To pay by cheque, please send your payment to our Bookings Secretary, Paul Keska, together with the Booking Form which you can find on the web site – click here.  For bank transfers our bank details are: Barclays BankAccount: Ongar Jazz Club; Sort Code: 20 29 86; Account No: 10429686; quote as a reference the name of the person making the booking followed by the date of the concert, for example: Bloggs J 20/09/24.

If you find you are unable to attend a concert for which you have pre-paid you may sell or gift your seat reservation.  Please note that cheques will be cashed unless you notify Paul Keska of your non-attendance not less than forty-eight hours in advance.

Drinks and Nibbles!

Nerissa and Claire’s Coffee Bar and Restaurant are offering a ‘Help Yourself’ hot and cold buffet menu to be eaten in the Main Hall, at £10 per personserving from 19.00, no booking required.  Hot drinks sold separately are also available.  For more information email –

The Budworth Bar will be open for alcoholic/non-alcoholic drinks –  please do not  bring your own drinks as you will not be permitted to consume them on the premises –  Thank you!

We will publish any changes to these arrangements here so, keep checking the web site for up-to-date information.

The Chairman Speaks

Sadly, our 38th Season comes to an end with our May concert.  But we’re going out with a bang – Martin Litton and his Rhythm Band  are bringing their “Tribute to Fats Waller” to The Budworth.

The good news is, we’ve already put together next season’s programme starting in September.  We’ve an exciting programme lined up for you with some new faces, as well as bands returning by popular request.  Please note that there is no concert in January to allow for essential building work to the Budworth ballroom – there is a concert in June instead.

T he first concert of the 2024-2025 Season will be “Jungle Nights in Harlem” by The Midnite Follies Orchestra.  This will be something extra-special and entrance will be by pre-paid ticket only, so book early.  Tickets will be available from 26th April, and will be on sale at our next two concerts, or through our web site.  You can find details of all the bands and the artists who will be performing in the “Programme” section of the web site.

Many of the musicians we feature at the OJC are top ranking performers of international repute.  I often find myself totally carried away by musicians, some colleagues of mine, whose performances are magical and worthy of the concert stage at the Albert Hall, or jazz clubs such as Ronnie Scott’s in London. It is, of course, a fact that many of them have performed at large venues in London and Europe, and often further afield.

These performances all take place at the Budworth Hall in the High Street.  The Budworth is now being run by a new committee under the Chairmanship of Paul Keska.  Paul and his team are doing a wonderful job carrying out much needed refurbishment work inside the building and have been carrying out essential repairs to the exterior.   Their progress has been nothing short of phenomenal, and I thank them for their initiative and energy.

Thanks to Paul and his team we now have new chairs and tables to use in the ballroom which creates a fabulous, relaxed atmosphere in which to enjoy the wonderful music.  The bar is now open during concerts, and it is also possible to have a light buffet meal from the on- site café before the evening’s performance.  So, our concerts are performed by professional jazz musicians in a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere with food and drink readily available.

What’s not to like?

Alistair Allan – Chairman, Ongar Jazz Club



PROGRAMME 2023 – 2024

We’ve worked hard to bring you another great season of jazz for our 38th Season – so, put the following dates in your diary and don’t miss out.  Concerts consist of two hour-long sets with an interval of approximately 20 minutes, and end at about 22.30.  Our popular raffle in aid of local charities is drawn during the interval –  so don’t forget to buy your tickets on arrival.  

Find us now on Facebook –


24 May 2024 8pm

American jazz icon Fats Waller was only 39 when he died but he left a rich musical legacy.  And it is one that lives on through magnificent musicians like Martin Litton and his Rhythm Band who are bringing their “Tribute to Fats Waller” to The Budworth.

Martin Litton is an internationally renowned pianist, arranger, and bandleader, equally at home with all classic styles of jazz from the age of Ragtime through to the Swing era and beyond.  Martin has broadcast frequently on BBC Radio 3, talking about and demonstrating the music of Jelly Roll Morton, Fats Waller, Earl Hines, and Teddy Wilson.  He has worked and recorded with many legendary British and American musicians, including Humphrey Lyttleton, Kenny Ball, and Harry Gold.

Martin has arranged Waller’s classics and, in between weaving his magic on the ivories, presents them with a fascinating and amusing insight into the life of Fats Waller.  He will be joined by a stellar group of friends for the gig including:

Janice Day – Vocals
Enrico Tomasso – Trumpet
Trevor Whiting – Reeds
Tom ‘Spats’ Langham – Guitar & Banjo
Malcolm Sked – Double Bass
Richard Pite – Drums

Click here to see excerpts from Martin Litton’s Red Hot Peppers at the Upton Jazz Festival 2022








PROGRAMME 2024 – 2025

Alistair Allan has worked hard to create another great programme of jazz for our 39th Season.  So, put the following dates in your diary and don’t miss out – we’ll add full details of bands as soon they are to hand.  If you want a printed copy of the programme flyer – click here.  Please note that entrance to The Midnight Follies concert on 20th September will be by  pre-paid ticket-only – tickets will be on sale from 26th April.

There is no concert in January this year to allow essential building works to be carried out to the Budworth ballroom – there will be a concert in June instead.

Concerts consist of two hour-long sets with an interval of approximately 20 minutes, and end at about 22.30.  Our popular raffle in aid of local charities is drawn during the interval –  so don’t forget to buy your tickets on arrival.

Find us now on Facebook –


20 September 2024 8pm


25 October 2024 8pm


15 November 2024 8pm


13 December 2024 8pm


28 February 2025 8pm


28 March 2025 8pm


25 April 2025 8pm


23 May 2025 8pm


20 June 2025 8pm












38th Season

Bands who’ve entertained us so far during the 38th Season include:

Ian Bateman’s Jazz Band 

Ian Bateman – Trombone
Alan Bateman – Trumpet & Vocals
Trevor Whiting – Clarinet & Saxophones
Sean Moyses – Banjo & Guitar
Craig Milverton – Piano
Tom Clarke-Hill – Double Bass
Nick Millward – Drums


Tad Newton’s Jazzfriends

Tad Newton – Trombone and Vocals
Gary Wood – Trumpet, Flugelhorn and Vocals
Mike Wills – Clarinet & Saxophone
Alan Haughton – Piano
Tomas Pederson – Double Bass
Ronnie Fern – Drums


Rico and His Rythm

Enrico Tomasso – Trumpet and Vocals
Alistair Allan – Trombone
Tim Huskisson – Clarinet & Saxophone
Colin Goode – Piano
Martin Wheatley – Guitar & Banjo
John Sutton – Drums


John Maddocks’ Jazzmen 

John Maddocks – Clarinet & Saxophone
Tom Connor – Trumpet
Chris Gower – Trombone
Chris Satterly – Piano
Peter McCurrie – Double Bass
John Hall – Drums
Andy Dickens – Banjo & Guitar


The Djangoliers

Simon Hurley – Guitar
Rob Ford – Guitar
Zac Barratt – Clarinet
Andy Staples – Double Bass


The Windy City Weatherbirds

Magnus Pickering –  Trumpet
Joe Pickering – Clarinet
Daniel Pickering – Trombone
Chris Hyde-Harrisonstrong – Double Bass
Adam Merrell – Drums
Harrison Dolphin – Guitar


Sarah Spencer’s Transatlantic Band 

Magic Mike Henry – Cornet
Rob Pearce – Trombone
Sarah Spencer – Reeds
Hugh Crozier – Piano
Jim Swinnerton – Double Bass
Rod Brown – Drums


The Harlem Meer Cats 

Ned Bennet – Alto-Saxophone, Clarinet
Jeff Williams – Trombone
Alan Berlyn – Trumpet
Colin Good – Piano
Jerome Davis – Double Bass
Matt Redmond – Banjo & Guitar
Richard Pite – Drums


37th Season

Bands who entertained us during the 37th Season included:

Digby Fairweather & Friends 
Peter Rudeforth (alias Digby) – Trumpet
Julian Marc Stringle – Clarinet & Saxophone
Alistair Allan – Trombone
Nick Dawson – Piano
John Ellmer – Drums
Murray Salmon – Double Bass

Dave Browning’s Jazz Cats 
Alan Beeching – Trumpet
Richard Exell – Clarinet & Saxophone
Brian Butler – Trombone
Dave Browning – Piano
Graham Smith – Drums
Keith Donald – Double Bass


Simon Nelson’s Dixie Mix 
Simon Nelson – Trumpet
Karl Wirrman – Clarinet & Saxophone
Chris Wigley – Trombone
Kevin West – Guitar & Banjo
Tony Wilkins – Drums
John Benson – Double Bass

The Forest Hill Owls 
Harry Evans – Trumpet
Michael McQuaid – Clarinet & Saxophone
Chris Lowe – Trombone
Martin Wheatley – Guitar & Banjo
Nick Ball – Drums
Dave Horniblow – Baritone Saxophone

The Amy Roberts Quintet 
Amy Roberts – Clarinet, Saxophone and Flute
Richard Exell – Clarinet & Tenor Saxophone
Richard Busiakeivicz – Piano
Nick Millward – Drums
Gavin Scott – Double Bass

Enrico Tomasso’s Swing Band 
Enrico Tomasso – Trumpet
Michael McQuaid – Clarinet & Alto Saxophone
Mark Crooks – Clarinet & Tenor Saxophone
Colin Good – Piano
Nick Ball – Drums
Jerome Davis – Double Bass

Richard Leach’s Street Band 
Richard Leach – Trombone
Tony Pipkin – Cornet
Zoltan Sagi – Clarinet       
Martin Wheatley – Guitar & Banjo
Nick Ward – Drums
David Deakin – Sousaphone

Pete Allen’s Sextet 
Pete Allen – Clarinet, Saxophone, Banjo, & vocals
Chris Hodgkins – Trumpet
Roger Marks – Trombone       
James Clemas – Piano
Jim Newton – Drums
Dave Hanratty – Double Bass

Jules & the Jazzohollicks 
“Baby” Jules Aldridge –  Drums
Mike “Magic” Henry – Trumpet
Kevin Grenfell – Trombone       
Karl Hurd – Clarinet & Saxophone
Warren James – Banjo & Guitar
Jim Swinnerton – Double Bass


Bands who entertained us during the 36th Season included:

Kevin Grenfell And His Jazz Giants
Kevin Grenfell – Trombone
Jeremy Huggett – Clarinet & Saxophone
Graham Hughes – Double Bass
James Clemas – Piano
Jules Aldridge aka ‘Baby Jools’ – Drums

The ‘All-Star’ Gala Concert Band
Mike Henry – Trumpet
Mike McQuaid – Clarinet & Saxophone
Alistair Allan – Trombone
Malcolm Sked aka ‘Skeddy’ – Double Bass & Sousaphone
Martin Litton aka ‘Professor’ – Piano
Tom Langham aka ‘Spatz’ – ‘Parlour’ Guitar & Banjo
Richard Pite – Drums

The Ian Bateman Jazz Band
Ian Bateman – Trombone
Enrico Tomasso – Trumpet and vocals
Craig Milverton – Piano
John Watson – Drums
Graham Read – Double Bass
Joanne Eden – Vocals

Graham Hughes And His Sunshine Kings
Peter Rudeforth – Trumpet
Duncan Hemstock – Clarinet & Saxophone
Graham Hughes – Trombone
Colin Good – Piano
Rupert Gillett – Double Bass
Laurence Corns – Guitar
Bubu Otis – Drums

The Peter Rudeforth Jazz Band
Peter Rudeforth – Trumpet
Duncan Hemstock – Clarinet & Saxophone
Andy Flaxman – Trombone
Louis Thomas – Double Bass
John Ellmer – Drums
Tim Huskisson – Piano

The Julian Marc Stringle Sextet
Julian Marc Stringle – Clarinet & Saxophone
Anthony Kerr – Vibrophone
Dominic Ashworth – Guitar
Andy Cleyndert – Double Bass
Rod Brown – Drums

The Eagles Jazz Band

Richard Exall’s Shooting Stars
Peter Rudeforth – Trumpet
Richard Exall – Clarinet & Saxophone
Alistair Allan – Trombone 
Colin Good – Piano
John Watson – Drums
Sean Moises – Guitar
Graham Read – Double Bass

New Orleans Heat


Useful Links

Below are links to some excellent websites for jazz lovers – click on the title to go straight to each web site:

The Jazz Centre UK – the brainchild of our very own patron Digby Fairweather,TJUK celebrates jazz in all its forms – check out the web site and visit the centre in Southend.

The National Jazz Archive – Founded by Digby Fairweather in 1988 the mission of The National Jazz Archive is to safeguard the heritage of jazz in the UK.


Below are links to the websites of some of the local charities we have supported over the years – click on the title to go straight to each web site:

Essex and Herts Air Ambulance (‘E&HAA’) – we have supported this vital service for several years.  E&HAA invited our members to a ‘behind the scenes’ webinar held on Wednesday 10th March 2021 at 10.00 am.  If you were not able to log in to watch the webinar live you can catch a recorded version here – please note the webinar proper starts after 9 minutes 20 seconds.

St. Clare Hospicethis local hospice which offers compassionate care to those facing a life-limiting diagnosis, and their loved ones, is regularly chosen by members for our charitable support.    

Dementia Friendly Bowls – the Alzheimer’s Society sponsors this project to enable people with dementia to continue to be active in the community by playing short-mat bowling.

Kids in Need – is a local charity dedicated to supporting children who are terminally or seriously ill, or who have multiple disabilities – here is their letter thanking us for our recent donation.

Little Havens – is a nursing-led hospice that provides care for children and young people up to age 25 from Essex, who have been diagnosed with a complex or incurable condition. 



Click on the PDF icon to download a document directly to your computer or tablet.

Concert Booking Form –
Kids In Need acknowledgement letter May 2022 – 

Members Newsletter February 2023 – 
Members Newsletter January 2023 –
Members Newsletter October 2022 –
Members Newsletter September 2022 –
Members Newsletter May 2022 –
Members Newsletter January 2022 –

Programme Flyers:
39th Season Programme  –

PResident: Digby Fairweather


Alistair Allan – Chairman: 01277 896041
Debbie Keska – Treasurer: 01277 365670
Paul Keska – Bookings Secretary: 07768 815390
Patti Nicholson – Publicity: 01277 899504
John Root – 01277 363989
Christine Davis – Charity & Raffle Co-ordinator: 01277 890283
Pauline Lester – Caterer: 01277 890369
Jim Davis – Web Site Co-ordinator: 01277 890283

Get In Touch

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For details of membership and for ticket sales contact:

Paul Keska 07768 815390