Sheila Collier onstage at Band on the Wall. The background is a mural that used to be at the back of the stage.
Photo possibly by Sefton Samuels.
Sheila Collier’s ‘Memories of The Band on the Wall’
When The Band on the Wall opened up its doors as a music venue in September 1975, Sheila Collier’s Smoky City Jazzband took up a weekly residency that lasted for six years. It was every Wednesday from 9pm to midnight. Prior to that we had a weekly club at The Midland Hotel [now The Metropolitan] in West Didsbury which became very popular, and where we had a wonderful array of guests, including The Alex Welsh Band, George Melly and Joe Harriott.
The Band on the Wall was very special for me. There was a real stage, good lighting and sound, a grand piano, and space to perform – a chance to dress up and ‘do my thing’. I would dream up fantastic ensembles to wear – and be teased by the band for my efforts! At that time I was a freelance fashion designer and worked on vintage garments with my friend Carl Twigg who had a boutique on King Street. I created some great outfits which I teamed with stretch black trousers and stiletto heels, over-the-knee, black leather boots! Years later I was having afternoon tea alone in Buxton when a lady approached me, she said she and her friends loved anticipating what I would be wearing on Wednesday nights.
Musically and artistically, it was a wonderful time for me. The Smoky City Jazzband was at its best. We had a great repertoire, and we were very creative in our choice of programme, varying it from week to week. We played New Orleans, Ellington, Gospel and Swing. We did not copy, but made our own arrangements.
Artefact added : 24th June 2020