Kenny Ball’s Greatest Hits

Official Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen Tribute Poster

Kenny Ball was a big part of Ian’s career. From being an influence on him at an early age, Kenny and Ian became firm friends as Ian’s career progressed. Ian was invited to tour Germany with Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen in the early 1990’s and was very soon covering for regular trombonist John Bennett during a very lengthy period of illness. Once Ian had joined Acker Bilk’s band, they were often on stage together in the famous ‘3B’s’ jazz shows all over Europe and Ian continued to deputise with the band.

After Kenny’s death in 2013, his son Keith Ball continued the band and John Bennett became unavailable due to continued ill-heath. Ian shared his time between Acker Bilk and his other projects, and played for Keith whenever possible, becoming more permanent after Acker retired in 2014.

In September 2017, Keith announced that he would no longer be running Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen and Ian offered to continue the music of Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen in the form of a tribute show, and here it is! The project has the full backing of Keith Ball and is the OFFICIAL Kenny Ball tribute show – accept no substitutes because this show will have the power, showmanship and authenticity of the original band with either Alan Bateman or Ben Cummings in the lead role. All members of the band have experience of playing in the original band, some of them as band members.

Ian and Kenny – Artemis Jazz Cruise 2009

The show is based on the golden years of the band in the 1960’s and therefore has a 4-piece rhythm section and being as all the charts hits of that time will be featured, the show is entitled ‘KENNY BALL’S GREATEST HITS’.

In the 1960’s, the band had many hit records, more than any other British jazz group during the famous ‘Trad Boom’. These included Midnight In Moscow, Samantha, March Of The Siamese Children, When I’m Sixty-Four, Sukiyaki, So Do I and so many more. Most of these hit recordings disappeared from the band’s live shows during the final 30 years of the band’s existence, yet they are still enthusiastically remembered by the band’s followers and fans who to this day are numerous and eager to hear them played live again.

With the theatres opening again after the dreadful 2-year pandemic break, the band is now making a renewed effort to get the show back on the road. Things got off to a flying start before all of that, so we don’t think it will be long before we’re up and running!

The band pictured prior to our last concert before the great Covid Lockdown! PHOTO: Paul Jeffries